PTSD – The truth I’ve learned to tell

My brother returned from service a different person. He’d been back in the country for three years, struggling with PTSD, which had been diagnosed by a clinician, who he said made no difference to the way he felt. While I always saw my brother as an open minded and honest person, he was now very often anxious, tense and closed to assistance-  there was a helplessness to the way he said this which made me realise he wanted help, but felt like it would never match his need. He felt broken. I had spent some time researching the topic and could tell that he needed the support of a psychiatrist. Mornington has a mental health facility that I’ve heard good things about so I brought up the idea of seeing someone with my brother. The practitioner I found had plenty experience in dealing with returned service people, and was confident they could help my brother return to a sense of calm.

I was relieved that we had finally found a psychiatrist that addressed the problems my brother experienced in a way that made him feel in control again. Looking at him, you’d never expect that he might have once felt anything but calm and centered. Now, he has adjusted to life as a returned serviceperson, and he says a lot of it has to do with perspective.

“I still struggle, but the treatment has helped me to manage the way I see things. For so long, I wanted to ‘get rid of’ the PTSD, to be able to conquer it, but the truth is, I had to go through it and learn how to live with it rather than evict it from my life. It’s a self acceptance thing, and that’s the final frontier- not the battle with the illness. If I’d never gotten help, I’d still be trying to beat this thing, and it’s like trying to outrun myself. Exhausting. Getting a specialist to help me deal with myself helped me find a way through. And here I am, living my life, all of it, the good, the bad and the awful.”

My brother and I talk more than we used to which makes me happy. He’s actually better to talk to than ever once he gets going. I honestly believe that the clinician helped him see a way through the darkness. We are extremely grateful to have him back.