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August 21, 2020

Crying in a Room Full of Strangers. A Firsthand Experience of PTSD Flashbacks. {Poem}

I try to think about the good memories when I’m out and about. Have you ever been in a waiting room and just looked around to see everyone relaxing? Just regular people, reading those stupid magazines, perfectly quiet. I feel like those people just wouldn’t understand what goes on in my mind. Thinking about all the bad, gives me this feeling of separation anxiety. Like I am just different than everyone else. Who else grew up around gun violence? I look around the room. Probably no one. Who else tried to kill themselves because they thought they were broken their whole life? Hmm, probably no one. I find myself in that room just shaking and afraid. I tell my inner child to hush. They don’t know and they can’t know. If she cries any louder, the guy next to me will know that I am having a crisis. No one can know.


I try to use my traditions to raise my daughter. Home cooked meals every night, a clean house, wait… What else is there? I can’t think of it right now. There is just too much bad, there is no other family tradition I can think of that I actually want to be a part of. But then there is the drinking. I am just like him. Fuck, no. I only have one or two drinks every day, I can’t be like him. Wait, I think I am, what kind of non-alcoholic has two drinks every day? Shit, I’m just a piece of shit. I need to change…

Okay, I’ll come up with a list of everything I want to change about myself because my daughter can’t grow up like me. She can’t know what it feels like to be so alone. No. So just in spite of them, I will be the opposite of them. Wait, I’m losing myself. Who am I then? Why do I drink? Aren’t I a good parent already, do I really have to change all of this?


No you don’t. Parenting is not perfect, but there is a line. Just don’t cross it. If you have to change, then change because you want to, not for them. You are better than them. Just believe it. Believe in yourself, make your own traditions. Yelling and fighting is not the way to go. You may not yell at your daughter, but you yell at yourself. If you want her to love herself then you have to dig down deep. Deeper. And make the change to show yourself compassion. That is your strength. That is what you will have when it’s all said and done. Your dignity.

Wait what’s that?

You just have to find it and you’ll know.

That is when it will feel like all of this is worthwhile, Celina. All of this is worth it.


Well, okay. I am still sitting in this waiting room surrounded by strangers. I look around. They have no idea I just solved an existential crisis. I glance at the guy next to me who is still reading an outdated People’s magazine. I smile. Until next time I guess… I will just try my very best to not be in public when I think about these things. No one can know… That I have PTSD and this shit is haunting me. Constantly arguing with myself. Digging deeper. No even deeper. Crying inside, until I figure out my worth. Every single day is a battle between the past and the truth. I will find it.


I will find you.

My dignity.

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Celina Barone  |  Contribution: 4,435