PTSD….I Never Saw That Train Coming – Written by Dave

Life can be difficult and hard to navigate sometimes. It’s during these times that we need to rely on our family and friends the most to help pick up the pieces.

However for Dave he wasn’t just going through a tough time. His entire life was imploding around him. A battle that could have been too hard for a support system to help. Yet for Dave, the unconditional love from his family never let him down.

Please enjoy Dave’s, vulnerable and inspiring story about love and support from a family against all odds.

Heidi Allen – Positive People Army Founder 

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I am a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) survivor. First diagnosed in 2008, I have received treatment at many different levels, to include an inpatient stay. At my worst, I was suicidal and homicidal and the only thing that kept me from ending my life was my amazing support system. This struggle has affected my whole family. They’ve watched me fight an internal war with no way to properly explain what was going on inside. In a healing process that can either split a family apart or make them stronger, I am grateful that I fall into the latter category. It wasn’t always that way. It’s hard to prepare for all the difficulties that comes with PTSD and, to be honest, I just never saw the train coming. Looking back, it was a slow moving and methodical train that had no choice but to collect a head full of steam the longer I ignored the obvious…that I was in trouble and couldn’t get out of this alone.

Being a father of 4 children, I always wanted to be the strong person that they can look up to. And being a husband, I felt like I should have been the so-called rock. I mean, that’s how I saw my father and that’s how I imagined a man should look like. There came a point where I was anything but strong. All of my positive behavior changed to negative and in the end, I started to create new habits of believing and feeling. This cycle of self-loathing consumed my existence and defined my presence. My wife did her best to shield everyone from this walking tragedy, however, she was also having a difficult time trying to justify my actions. She is immensely strong and determined. Although she may have wanted to run me over a few times, she has stuck by my side and wouldn’t quit on our family we created or me.

I couldn’t have asked for better children. From a young age, they had to learn the right way to approach me. For example, trying to surprise me from behind or jump on me while I was sleeping was not a good way for them to start their day. Sometimes they learned the hard way. There was one day where one of my son’s came up next to me and I was clearly zoned out. He put a toy gun up to my temple and pulled the trigger. Next thing you know he was on the ground and my wife was screaming my name. Luckily I didn’t physically hurt him, but he obviously was terrified. He never did that again.

Prior to my stay in an inpatient facility, I was a shell of a person. I was once asked by a therapist how I got up in the morning with all the symptoms I had been experiencing. The only reply I could come up with was that, when I woke up in the morning, I would place my feet on the floor and attempt to stand. If my body stood then I went on with my day. I’m not saying I was productive, but the people around me can physically see that I was there. I couldn’t remember conversations, or even people I had met. There were many times where I would be driving around and lose track of time and end up having no idea where I was. My behavior was unpredictable and I had no way of understanding the impact I was having on the people around me.

My kids have been a major source of my motivation to get healthy. I have three sons, ages 19, 18, and 13 and I have a daughter who is 9 years old. My wife and I started fostering her when she was 3 and a half and adopt her when she was 4. She has extreme behavioral issues, but that is a story for another day. My sons were that rock that I thought I should be. During my most paranoid of stages, the three of them were the only people in the world I trusted. I figured, in this estranged mind, that they were the only ones who weren’t going to hurt me or violate my trust. Talk about putting unnecessary pressure on kids. My wife never gave me a reason to believe that she would hurt me, but I was not healthy. She didn’t deserve this treatment and I have begged for forgiveness many times over.

Through it all, they have never given up on me. I have been brutally honest with them about my condition and as much as I can, have answered each and every question that they have had. They need to know my condition has nothing to do with something they have done. Since I have been honest with them throughout, I believe that they feel they are part of the solution. They protect me in their own way and are patient when I can’t remember recent events. They tell me it’s okay when I feel it is not. I am so proud of them and it makes me proud to know that my wife and I raised such great citizens of this world. And since that PTSD train of mine can depart the station without warning or concern for conflicting life events, my kids stand guard with my wife ready to take on the role of conductor to bring me back from a place that no longer defines me.

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If you loved this story you will also love My Unconditional Family Teaches Me The True Meaning Of Family 

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