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Raw Perspective on PTSD And its Effects

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18 Years… and then?
When I was encouraged to write a few blog posts for TJF it took me a while to be able to sit down and write things. How do you explain how it feels to spend 18 years doing a job that you thought was your forever job? A career where you got to help people and try and make the world a little safer and brighter for everyone? 
Sounds like a fairy tale doesn’t it? Well, my friends, that’s because it is. A fairy tale. Not real. Far more horrific and confronting than anything you’ll ever see on Disney. And please don’t get me started on happy endings… that’s rare. 
When you graduate from the Academy everyone says the same things to you. “Congrats! You have a job for life.” 
Yeah…maybe not. Maybe it’s a job that you have for a while. Maybe it’s a job that changes you – and not always for the better. Maybe it’s a job that you can’t keep running away from because it will always catch up with you.
Maybe I should have known this before I marched off the parade ground and thought I was set. For life.
It’s hard for people to understand how it feels when your mind turns on you and doesn’t listen. When your mind says “Yeah puppies and kittens are fun, but what about this horrific fire you went to? What about that siege where you thought you might die? Or what about the drug addled mother holding her newborn baby upside down in the street? That’s fun. Do that.” (And I only told you the milder stuff…)
I wrote a thing. It’s what’s called a ‘Slam Poetry’ performance. And no I have never performed this and never will – I have the anxiety and PTSD now after all!
But I wrote this and really wanted to try and get across on a stage what it can feel like sometimes. 
Remember, your mind is a beautiful, complex miracle. Until it turns on you.
TJF – Look after your mates x

(Performer in the middle of a black stage. A single spotlight stays on her.)
(No background noise)
You can’t hear it. But I can.
The screams, the howls, the sirens 
Screeching of tyres, of bodies slamming against each other
Crying children, raging fathers, sobbing mothers
The sound of death. You can’t hear it. But I can.
The noise in the silent morgue. 
Souls want to tell their story. They vie for attention.
You can’t hear it. But I can.
Filthy pigs, dogs, fuck off coppers
You can hear that. 
I don’t hear it over the noise.
(White noise very low level – almost indecipherable.)
(Performer happy, hopeful. She walks around the stage and the spotlight follows her)
The day it started I didn’t hear it 
Pressed shirt, crisp badge and not a hair out of place
The Premier is coming for a photo opportunity. Smile. 
I had the biggest smile. The past fourteen months had led to this.
I made it.
I had a job for life.
The noise was there that day. 
But I couldn’t hear it… yet. 
(White noise comes up a notch)
(Performer curious…intrigued. Stay still in the middle of the stage again)
Have you ever seen a dead body before?
Today’s your lucky day.
Lucky. Day.
She looked like she was sleeping. Her skin was grey, her eyes were stuck. 
The noise whispered from her dead lips. 
But I didn’t hear it.
(White noise comes up another notch)
(Performer becomes faster with each verse from here on. She darts around the stage – almost trying to outrun the spotlight but it stays with her)
Two loud beeps above my head
A radio message. 
Code red!!
The sirens wailed
My heart thundered
The noise hummed, below the surface
I didn’t hear it
(White noise up a notch)
(Performer more frantic, out of breath, stressed, still trying to outrun the spotlight)
A woman stumbles in the street
Holding her baby by its feet
She smiles and waves
I gasp, my heart caves
I run and take her baby from her arms.
I take a baby from its mother arms
Because her mother isn’t safe. 
This baby is hungry. 
This baby is wet. 
This baby is… addicted.
(White noise comes up another notch)
(Performer stills again. Almost thoughtful in her demeanour)
I walk through the supermarket 
A baby cries in the next aisle
I hear the noise. 
I leave the supermarket as the shelves close in
I still hear the noise
I wake that night looking for a baby that I don’t have
You can’t hear it. But I can.
(White noise comes up another notch)
(Performer stays in the middle of the stage)
I stand in front of a house with blackened windows and doors too hot to touch
It’s over now. But I still hear it.
I hear the fire. I hear the screaming. I hear the pounding on a locked door.
But I came too late
Blackened bodies on stretchers
Chests compressed
Children in pyjamas covered in black
No air. No change. 
TV cameras wanting every moment
Wanting all of it except the noise
Nobody wants the noise
The noise is all I hear
(White noise comes up another notch)
Priority One.
There’s a man. With a gun. He has hostages in Martin Place.
Surely this is a mistake?
It’s December. 
You hear Christmas carols.
I hear the noise.
Nineteen hours I stood on my point.
Don’t come near. You might get blown up.
I had to stay. I had to wait.
I had to ignore the noise.
(White noise comes up another notch)
Eighteen years of noise. 
I never stopped to listen.
I never stopped to acknowledge
I never stopped.
You can’t hear it.
(White noise – so loud it needs to be shouted over)
The noise doesn’t go away
The noise gets louder until you pay attention
The noise takes over
The noise makes you listen
The noise is all I hear
The noise makes me anxious
The noise makes me wail
The noise makes me hide
The noise never stops
(White noise goes silent)
(Performer stays silent for a moment – contemplative.)
You need to talk about it
But no-one understands
You need to process it
But how do I do that?
Have some medication
I don’t want medication
You aren’t medically able to do your job anymore
Because of the noise
What noise?
The noise of death.
But isn’t death silent?
You can’t hear it. But I can.
Samantha Adair is a Thriller author, and you can check out her books here:


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