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My Battle against Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Updated on November 13, 2010
PTSD (Art by: Ireno Alcala)
PTSD (Art by: Ireno Alcala)

What makes a kid a sensible individual when grown up?

The best answer is good upbringing of the family, especially one's parents.

But when violent interlude disturbs the peace of the family as in war or accident, the normal disposition of an individual will be altered.

I've seen war veterans who come home with unstable thinking, recurring violent surge of emotions and drastic change in behavior.

An individual must face a traumatic event; for him/her to be diagnosed of having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I had recurring dreams about the tragic events that happened in our place way back the 80s. The battle between the military men and the NPA (New People's Army) rebels drove us from our place. I've seen some residents died before my eyes when I was still in elementary. I was succumbed with fear and always woke up at night with those tragic scenes happening again and again. The sound of gunshots and hand grenades reverberated in my mind. My parents sent us to the city for school. This helped me forget those scary moments for awhile. I became engrossed with reading both fiction and nonfiction books. I think this helped me forget those things because I focused myself on other interesting subjects that will benefit me in the future. Battling the demons in my mind through self-healing made me whole again and totally forget those events in my childhood.

This kind of trauma is not only the wounds inflicted on one's body but of another kind. It delves on how our minds battle to keep ourselves sane after witnessing drastic events.

Personal Battle with PTSD (Photo by Ireno Alcala)
Personal Battle with PTSD (Photo by Ireno Alcala)

Fear lurks in my mind

When I faced that scary event in my life, it is but normal to react negatively on that tragic situation. I realized later that a sudden fear can abruptly heightened and increase activities of some of our hormones and its effect will be our being 'jumpy' when similar event happened.

I watched the news lately, most of them were violent ones, like the killings, sexual abuses, kidnapping and road accidents. These generate fear to the community or event to our country.

The terroristic activities that pose danger in our lives made some other countries fear us due to these illicit activities that mostly claim human lives without remorse. Have you heard those travel advisories against the Philippines, lately? I'm sure you did.

If we live in fear and we cannot battle it face to face, then we cannot move on. Just like what happened during the highly criticized tourist bus hostage-taking in Manila where 9 lives were wasted, mostly Hongkong nationals and the perpetrator itself. It promoted fear to us and the rest of the world, blacklisting our country as its aftermath.

Post-traumatic stress disorder has grown into a huge proportion. Even I can no longer travel alone in the dark without taking extra precaution in order to defend myself for fear that someone will harm or kill me. It was then that the events that happened during my childhood recurred to me in my dreams again. Although, in a subtle way, but the magnitude of fear is still the same.

My only way to release some of my fear is to tell other about it.

I became suspicious of everything. I don't want to close the light again at night, leaving it open when I sleep. When my dog barks at night outside the main door, I become attentive of the voices of people passing the road. We live near the highway, so I can hear the roar of vehicles passing or even the footsteps by walking persons at night. I become jumpy again.

Symptoms of Post-traumatic stress

Those who survived a tragic accident will face what I've felt ...the recurring dreams or the trauma. It is not inevitable to experience the following because our senses, hormones and entire body and mind are adjusting itself to lead us a normal life again through the following:

  1. Memory-recall-as if the event is happening again
  2. Bad dreams or nightmares
  3. Being jumpy against loud sounds or reactive with those making pranks or jokes at them
  4. Trembling and sweating excessively
  5. Difficulty of breathing due to fast beating of the heart
  6. Anxiety when recalling the event again
  7. Cannot supress his/her emotions that often lead to anger
  8. Cannot think properly
  9. Cannot sleep well
  10. Always guarding possible danger
  11. Numbness of emotion or no feeling at all
  12. Difficult to express love or intense emotion
  13. Lost of interest to other productive things
  14. Cannot even remeber important eventsĀ  during his/her traumatic moments
  15. Often disconnected with the world or reality

Well, I can have manifestation of some factors, like difficult to show intense emotion or love, but I still believe that this world is the best place to live in. I easily lost interest to some important things. There are times that I don't want to go out the house and mingle with friend in our barrio. I just pass the time in silence, although my hands continue to tinker the keys of the computer's keyboard to complete a hub, like this.

I find inner peace by doing it, for now.

Battling PTSD with the help of professionals

I'm a passive churchgoer. I attend mass or fellowship occasionally. But this helps me to move on even the echoes of the past continue to haunt me. Faith keeps me sane and move to get along with the society if needed.

I had asked our guidance counselor in high school about it, the fear that lingers after the traumatic stage in my life. She consoled me that it will pass If I will continue attending to other important needs or priorities.

She further advised that I must look forward and set my goals so that I can attain it in a positive way.

My fear. It's on my mind, but it's conquerable. I had to do the best way to make myself better and be a good example to others.

Health Matters: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder c/o UCtelevision


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Wayne Anthony: Thanks for connecting yourself with this hub.

      Others may not admit this kind of experience but, it is happening to some in a particular community.

    • Wayne Anthony profile image


      6 years ago from NW England

      This is a wonderful, thoughtful article about PTSD travel_man1971. Being a PTSD sufferer myself also makes it important to get the message out about this, and that help is not far away when someone needs it.

      Good luck mate.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @MissFrost: Thanks for connecting with me through this hub. How about letting him read my work if his mood is not intense, then, he'll surely realize how I can cope up with PTSD effects.

      I hope he doesn't hurt you. Better seek professional help if it worsen.

    • MissFrost profile image


      6 years ago from 50% Island Girl, 25% East Coast Girl, 25% Country Girl

      Thanks for sharing and being open! Any advice for me? I think my husband has this and I'm having a hard time...

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @anjperez: My friends usually notice my 'moments' every now and then. As if my presence is not at all with the group. They usually jest on me about it.

      Thanks because you have circle of friends who can understand your trauma. We cannot battle fear if we will not face it.

      I'm praying for your continuous recovery.

    • anjperez profile image


      7 years ago

      travel_man1971, one of the saving grace after my assault incident was that my friends made me try to talk about the incident over and over. even if it was hard for me but it was a small step to my recovery. most traumatized person would totally avoid such instances. but talking to people you trust could release the fear. but one thing we got from PTSD is that we have heightened receptors and wider peripheral view. always on guard. to some extent this is okay. let us just be careful that the fear will not overwhelm us. as you have summoned others to come into the open about those dark moments...well, i have come out, too! i join you.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @carolynridge: Thank you so much for having time reading my hub. I hope others will come in the open to share those dark moments they encountered.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @djBryle: Thanks, kabayan. With all your support, I can get through with this.

      Yes, it takes a lot of courage and prayers to fight the effects of it.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @fujoshicat: Thanks for your understanding. It helps a lot. Sometimes, I felt isolated even though I'm with some friends. Those unwanted periods can recur even at daytime.

      If I'm occupied, I momentarily forget those events.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @PegCole17: It's hard to forget those dark episodes in my life. Dreams are recurring but the period intervals are getting fewer and fewer.

      I'm learning to cope up with those tragic memories.

      I can't erase it but I can also pacify its effects.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @daydreamer: Thanks for believing in me. There are instances that outbursts can refresh bad memories. If not for the loving and affection of my family, I will not live as a normal person as I am today.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very well written article. It's comprehensive and even thought-provoking. And since I suffer with this disorder, it's also relateable. Great Job !!

    • DjBryle profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

      You are a very courageous person kabayan. I admire you for that and also for sharing about your experience and its effects at HP. You are not broken for what once was, despite the effects of the past, you managed to be what you are today and I know you can make it through it all with the kind of courage that you have and with much prayers... God bless! tc =)

    • fujoshicat profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Yes, sharing one's fears with others really can help - it takes you out of isolation and makes you realize that you're not alone and there are others who understand. Thanks for posting this.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I admire your courage in light of what you experienced as an elementary school child. It's hard to even imagine such disturbing images, much less, to live through them. After reading a few of your hubs I see you as someone who has a lot of good things to contribute. And writing does help to debrief from our nightmares. I hope you'll find some comfort here among your HubFriends, and I'm thankful to be among them. All the best to you.

    • daydreamer13 profile image


      8 years ago

      Very interesting. I didn't know any thing about this really, until now. Thanx for educating me.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      8 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks, Barbar..much appreciated. I'm slightly cracked or broken inside, but with my group of friends out there, like in HubPages, i feel no remorse on what happened back in my childhood. I cannot evade it due to the political climate of our country back then.

      Now, I am more polished and renewed because of the 'rubs on my back' that good fellows, like you are giving/extending to me.

      We have our own 'inner wars' that we continue battling. Mine is subtly diminishing because of a friend like you. I'm overwhelmed!!!:D

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      well travel man I did not live through the horrors of war but through the violence of a childood then my own feelings of no self worth as a person then as a parent and the fear of failure as I watched my two children attempt to grow and mature...all the while battling depression and thoughts of suicide that I carried since a young teenager...I totally know where you are coming from! and while writing has also been a balm as well as faith in God, it was finally spilling my guts to my beloved husband and daughter and their compassionate and strong help as well as our hubpage friends that have brought me through that horrible blackness and into life just in the last twelve months!!!...I will not say I am ALL better but as I have said before my mirror may be cracked/but it is NOT broken! and that my friend is the message...we are NOT broken..we are OK and we WILL get better, one day, one article, one hubpage friend at a time!

      you hang in there!! We love you!! barbara b

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      8 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks, Ms. Carrie. It took me a year to really spill it out here on HubPages. It's not my weakness, though, but I must go through the rigors of recovery each day as it comes.

    • carrie450 profile image


      8 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      I feel for you travel_man1971. I know of someone with PTST and life is not easy for him. It's a constant battle. I commend you as this hub was very well written and easy to understand for those who haven't head of PTSD. Be well.


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