Finally in the PTSD ward, I was alcohol free but still a sick girl. I had trouble organizing thoughts. I stuttered. I had difficultly brushing my teeth. I couldn’t dial a telephone or tie my shoes. I couldn’t replace the battery in my watch. I couldn’t follow through with anything. I couldn’t focus. All this notwithstanding, I was happy to root out the source of my problem. Now, I could attack it and finally change my life. Every day, I looked at the sign that hung in the hospital entry hall: Not all wounds are visible.
- Physiological and psychological collapse as a result of the massive
PTSD-induced neurochemicals secretion and copious amounts of alcohol her
system was no longer able to process effectively. Difficulty concentrating,
a symptom of PTSD, accounts for her cognitive, manipular and spatial impediments.
First, the counselors convinced me I wasn’t crazy or just a hopeless
drunk. They told me what happened to me was not just in my mind. It
was real, and they had the means to treat it. At last, I saw a path out
of the darkness.
That was seven years ago. Since then, I’ve attended
twice-weekly PTSD counseling sessions, and my life is coming back to me. The
Veterans Administration classified me one hundred percent disabled, because
work a real job anymore. A few things I can’t do at all and a great
many I can’t do well. I can’t multi-task – cook and
listen to the radio at the same time – and I struggle to focus on the
kind of detailed activities that used to come naturally to me. I have
to make lists or I forget things like paying bills or grocery shopping. However,
I sleep better now, and when I have nightmares, I have mechanisms to deal with
them. The old Carol Jean, the silly little blonde from Pennsylvania who
went to amusement parks, football games and movies left me thirty years ago,
but now, I’m beginning to identify once again with the young girl I was
before I went to war. I can hear her voice. Sometimes, I can even
feel her feelings.