This is not a regular review of a book. You will find more about Kevin’s biographical story in my Community page. To be frank, I heard of his book on the group Coping with PTSD, on Facebook. I have read the first 100 pages of Kevin’s story in one late evening, I could not put the book down. It was late. I needed a night sleep. So, I have been waiting until I returned to the pages again and continue the story. The first part is really focused on his episode in Poland, where a casualty occurs a long time ago, during a training. He is British, but he has been often deployed in Germany, in the eighties, with his family.
For the short story, Kevin got divorced twice. He had a daughter and a son. His PTSD, after the accident, brought chaos into his family life, as you can imagine. He also attempted more times, and he was not succesful, or he wouldn’t be here to wave his hand, and sharing his storytelling, for sure.
Well, I hope you don’t misunderstand this blog posts, about military life in the aftermath of post-traumatic stress. Despite of not being any military, I try to share the stories that I can relate to. Kevin evoked his struggle, not only for coping with PTSD, and recovery, through counseling, and medicines but also his battling against long-term sentences in prison. In fact, his sense of guilt, and also latest determination, reminded me of my fight against my sentence of being “unfit to my position” at work, in 2016. That occupational medical sentence has decided a huge switch in my mindset and life-style until now.
Guilt, because he felt that he deserved a punishment for his action (it was an accident!), and also for what he had become in his everyday life, with his wives. I, myself, went very close to feeling of attempting to my life, especially, when my job became unstable, and I was assigned short-term missions. Nobody really understood what was going on with me. Human Resources were the less empathetic. They clearly wanted me out. I was unfit for work, my best-friends were letting me down, I was rejected by my boy-friend (screaming did not help with communication), put on one side the kind of career which I could dream of, what else could I do? It goes without saying that those times of hardships pushed my willingness to sort it out.
Tonight, reading Kevin lines, I found myself wondering, if he has ever shared the same feelings than I have had. There is a milestone, in my story, at workplace, when I finally got the validation of my contract on a long-term relationship, in a service where I have been active for three years. Where my manager did not trust me, because of my PTSD (despite my flexibility to work on the weekend days, the service was overcharged, I was setting boundaries, to prevent a burnout, of course, she couldn’t like it), and I am not here to play the blame game. It has never been my purpose. She did not support me when I mostly needed, but I survived. She tested me, and I could prove myself once more, and even better. I could develop my resilience, and thanks to her, I became a champion ;p She has admitted, in the end, that I was a teamplayer, and left me with a positive evaluation. Nevertheless, I arrived at that moment, when I didn’t expect it, and I got confirmed. Validated. Approved. And the very strange sensation that I keep as memory of that moment, it is “You know what? I don’t give a damn”. Of course, because I wanted and needed this job to pay the bills, I just said: “Thank you”.
What is more remarkable in my story, it is that, I did not do anything to feel guilty with. I mean, I have felt guilty for overreacting to ordinary life events. Maybe because of the sick leave. Mainly, because something had broken a day in my life. Why should I feel guilty? What is stigma? What are we really talking about?
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