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  • Writer's pictureJ.A.H

Understanding PTSD - A Client's Perspective: "When I'm Here, But Not Here"

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Sometimes when I’m here but not here

And muscle memory moves my hands alone

I’m fourteen---sixteen again, petrified

And falling uselessly at the feet of the willfully ignorant at home

A crease in my brows appears, my eyes fix into space

And my fingers and hands twitch like nobody’s business

The current year and my progress are all gone and I’m reliving all the moments

When I shed tears over a present and future I would never have

I am sitting in a Rindge classroom with panic in my throat

My expression blank except for the furrow in my brows like the one there now

My bouncing knee violently shaking the desk that held what to me was pointless

But to the willfully ignorant was, and still is, everything

When I am sixteen again, there is so much pain that I am lost in it

I’m more scared than I was when I was fourteen, and I’d have never thought that was possible

But my head spins, fluorescent lights shoot arrows into my brain that relentlessly stab me

And I walk in circles through my empty life with my terror and my sieve brain to keep me company

I buckled under, and was crushed by, the weight of other people’s willful ignorance

And sixteen was worse, so much worse, because the gaslighting had me questioning my own sanity

My insanity would have been a very serious issue too

But the willfully ignorant do not dismount from their stolen high horses to do anything, let alone

something difficult


It’s easier for them to blind themselves, place the blame where it does not belong, and ride around on

horses that are not theirs

And at fourteen, sixteen, eighteen, and now twenty-two, my soul is completely corrupted with cynicism

and I am haunted

But I know that I cannot look to them in order to dredge myself out of the past

That does not want to let me go.

- J.A.H



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