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Counting Sheep (A Poem About PTSD?)
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
There are four major problems associated with PTSD::
- Reliving the traumatic event – through unwanted and recurring memories or vivid nightmares. Getting really upset when you’re reminded of what happened, or having intense physical reactions like sweating, pounding or racing heart, or rapid or irregular breathing.
- Being overly alert or wound-up – having trouble sleeping or concentrating, feeling irritable or short-tempered, becoming easily startled, or feeling like you’re always on the lookout for signs of danger.
- Avoiding reminders of the event – such as activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the traumatic event.
- Negative thoughts or feelings – feeling flat, numb, afraid, or angry a lot of the time, having unrealistic expectations of yourself or other people, losing interest in day to day activities like work or playing with your kids, or feeling cut off from your family and friends.
Traumatic experiences are common, and about two thirds of the population will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives. In addition to traumas commonly faced by the general community such as car accidents and assaults, veterans can be exposed to severe traumatic events during the course of their service. This places them at greater risk of developing PTSD than the general population. Between five and ten percent of the general community are likely to develop PTSD at some point in their lives,compared to up to 20 percent of veterans (depending on the nature of their work and deployment history).
(source:Aust.Government Dept. of Veterans' Affairs dva.gov.au)
Song by Three Doors Down
by John Hansen © 2013
As nighttime creeps
And the Sandman peeps
I start counting sheep
To get to sleep.
I lie reposed upon the bed
A pillowed cloud beneath my head
My dream time state is full of dread
Sometimes I dream that I am dead.
I turn out the light
But sleep I fight
In the depths of night
Else I wake in fright.
Scenes of war just fill my dreams
Comrades dressed in jungle greens,
Bombs exploding, or so it seems
Women and children, I hear their screams.
Oil fuelled greed
Extolled false need
To watch friends bleed
So Iraqis could be freed..
I spring from the bed and grab my gun
Must keep the enemy on the run.
The Iraq mission, long since done
Afghanistan my latest one.
I was forced to kill
It plagues me still,
So I take a pill
Against my will
The 9 /11 attack is still our debt,
Bin Laden's dead, no more a threat.
With guilt and horror I still fret.
Has war helped lives? Not one, I bet.
My wife and children cower in fright
When I wake in terror through the night.
But the shrink says I will be alright
My long term future should be bright.
It's 2am, I'm not asleep,
The house is quiet, there's not a peep.
Like treading water in the deep
I close my eyes and count those sheep.