Females See Action
A Child's Point of View Page!
Why Is Daddy Like He Is?
By Patience H. C. Mason
My Mom says my Dad has PTSD.
"What's PTSD, Mom?" I asked. She likes to explain things.
"The whole word, PTSD, means after the terrible danger, a person can have this disorder."
"PTSD is a normal reaction to really bad experiences, like seeing your house burn down or seeing someone killed--not killed like on TV, but killed for real, like when the kitty was run over."
"Yeah," I Said. "I remember that. I still feel awful about it sometimes."
"Daddy has PTSD from the war. He saw people killed and houses burn and it's hard for him to get over that."
My mom likes to talk a lot.
"Yeah, but why does he always talk about the war?" I asked.
Why does he have nightmares? Why can't we touch him when he's asleep?
Why does he yell so much?
"Some of his PTSD symptoms are numb symptoms-- Sometimes it seems like he doesn't have caring feelings…like he's not there.
"Daddy had to numb his feelings in Vietnam so he could do his job and now it's hard for him to show that he cars, but he does care."
Mom told me some of the other symptoms are remembering symptoms. That is why Daddy talks about it so much.
That's probably why he worries so much. And why he doesn't want us to do things.
He is remembering that a little mistake can make someone die.
Some of the symptoms of PTSD are like freak-out symptoms.
Daddy got used to being real alert and ready for attacks even when he was sleeping. Now he reacts before he's awake as if he still needs to protect himself from being killed. That's why we don't touch him when he's asleep. He might hit us thinking he was still in the war.
Mom thinks that is also why he gets mad so fast.
Mom said sometimes the symptoms combine, too--combine means add together-- and men like Daddy can be so numb, they don't know they are getting angry until they are angry to control it.
And sometimes they can be so numb, they don't even know they are yelling.
"When Daddy was in the war, some of his friends were killed too.But there was too much danger to sit down and cry.
"Daddy had to get angry to stay alive, and he never got a chance to cry, so he's stuck in being angry a lot of the time.
Remember how mad you were at whoever ran over kitty?
Well, daddy is that mad too.
I used to think that if Mom and I were nice enough,
Daddy wouldn't be so unhappy;
When I would try real hard and Daddy was still upset, I would get real depressed.
Mom says trying real hard might make Daddy seem better for a little while, But nothing e do here and now can change what happened to him in the war.
We're not responsible and we can't fix it.
Daddy will hurt a lot when he goes into therapy--that's what they call the groups.
He'll hurt because he will have to remember all the bad things.
We're allowed to feel sad, too.
But because we know we're not responsible for how bad he feels, It will be easier for us to love him while he goes through it.
Now that we know Daddy has a disorder, we don't have to be angry at him for having symptoms.
We can love him, and we can begin to learn how to be happy, again, even though he still has problems.
I always felt so different from my friends because it seems so easy for them to get along with their dads.
I still am different, but it doesn't seem like a bad difference now, because I understand more about my Dad.
We hope Daddy will get better, but until he does, we will be all right.
I'm just a kid, Mom says, and my job is to be a kid.
Thanks for reading this. I found it very interesting... since I'm a daddy with PTSD too.
©1995 by Patience H. C. Mason. All rights reserved, except that permission is hereby granted to freely reproduce and distribute this document, provided the text is reproduced unaltered and entire (including this notice) and is distributed free of charge.
If you would like to learn more about the books and other articles by Patience H. C. Mason please visit her Website.You may also buy her books at Patience Press
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