And in the beginning He created (dramatic music trumpets!!!)…ok, ok…well how can I tell my story if I do not tell you where the story began. With that being said, I am going to go ahead and add a little disclaimer here:
This is the very real story of my personal battle with a silent enemy that has been named as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These are my recollections and memories both good and the dark and ugly. I will be speaking on all aspects of my symptoms, my fears, my struggles, my ups, my downs, my acceptance of my diagnosis, my self-destruction and ultimately my struggle of trying to win this battle at home. I will not be withholding anything, so consider yourself warned. I will try my best to not use real names, and if I do well I guess you can write me about it and maybe we can hug it out or…well just considered yourselves warned!
Now back to the beginning….
So considering this is an information/inspirational/educational series, I am going to get right to the meat and potatoes of this series, Why Me??
My story really doesn’t start off any different than many of yours. Born at an Army Hospital on Fort Bliss in El Paso Texas in 1978, to my hippie flower child mother, and a pot smoking Army-Cavalry-Tank Driving-father, really nothing from this point till the age of 4 or so can I recall so I will fast forward to my blurry memories of my early child hood.
Standing in the living room of a single wide trailer house on the windy outskirts of Wichita Falls Texas, wearing my diaper and a bottle in my mouth (yes still sucking on a bottle at 4 don’t judge me monkey!) I remember my mother cleaning and taking care of my baby sister Meagan (about age of 1). Tell you the truth all I can really remember is this, my mother and father constantly fighting. I remember my dad would leave the house and I would see my mother messing with the laundry. A little later I will explain why this event (my dad’s laundry) is so important.
I remember my mother and father fighting, yelling, and screaming at each other. They made no attempts to hide the anger but would battle daily it seemed. I remember waking up in my tiny twin bed and my dad lying next to me in my bed. This became the norm to me, I just thought that was how it was supposed to be, me and dad, my sister and my mother. Well just a year or so later, it ended up being my mom, my sister, and me….no dad. I do remember being so happy looking out the screen door on the weekends he was coming to pick us up. The visits were pretty consistent at first. Every time he would be on his way I remember my mother telling us how sorry he was to leave us like that, and how much she couldn’t stand the son of a bitch, and she hated his guts. I remember being so happy to see him, and of course he showered Meagan and I with gifts to make up for the lost time, then he would whisk us off to play at the amusement park, he was the most awesome weekend dad ever! Driving us home I could tell he hated it, we would round the corner and there she would be, my mother, arms crossed and mad as hell, because see my dad was never on time, and I am not talking late by 5 minutes… I mean couple of hours late…almost every time. Well the visits started turning into me standing at the door waiting for him to come and pick us up until it turned dark, hoping I would see headlights headed down the dirt road, but they never showed. In the background and through the reflection of the glass, I would hear my mother “see Zack your dad is such a sorry ass, if he loved you like he said he does he would be here, sorry bastard I hate him”. This would constantly resonate in my mind.
Well we finally moved to Vernon, Texas with my mom’s parents…good ole granddad and grandma. They were very sweet and were the epitome of old school parents…
morals…when they fought they would work it out…just love, well what I thought was love.
Which brings me back to the laundry….
See, I found out some time later that my mother would dig through the hamper while my dad was at work. She would take a shirt of his, and put lipstick on the colar, and when he came home she would start. She would accuse him of cheating, trying to get him to admit to it. I can’t tell you the answer to that but it brings me to the first point of this first part…why me? See I can never really remember feeling very important to my mother. I have memories of her whooping me, yes I understand discipline, but with her, I always wondered why she was always mad at me? Sometimes she would grab anything she could find…brush…clothes hanger…broom…electrical cord…really anything that was an object. I’m not saying that I was abused. I’m saying I remember her words and her anger. “You are just like your fucking daddy, just like him!”…wait a minute…she hates my dad remember…
Fear of being loved or recognizing feelings of love…
Now throughout this series I will stop and try to explain where I believe my fears come from. As I have done here…fear of being loved…see I have never had a real problem with any relationship until it gets to that part. Truly feeling like someone means what they say when they tell me…”Zack, I love you”. Of course the thought was nice and I just didn’t throw it right back either, because I really didn’t know what it was. I mean my grandparents told me, and I knew they cared for me. My dad would tell me, well when he decided he had time. But as for my mother, it was very rare for me to hear it, and if she did I guess I blocked it out because I don’t remember her being very loving towards me at all. See my mom was so jaded by my dad, and rightfully so, that she began to hate all men. In fact, she was very vocal about it. Everyone she would meet she wasted no time telling them how sorry my dad was and how he was a “worthless piece of shit”. In the same conversation she would look at me and say, “and he is just like his daddy “, with her lip curled in discontent.
Well seeing as though she hated all men, and they were all the same…and she couldn’t stand my daddy…well I guess the same goes for me. Because all I heard was I was just like the man that she so hated.