We touched the topic of Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSS) before because this was the subject of previous poems we published on our website. In her poem, The Witness T.A.K. Erzinger describes what this means for her. To deal with living with this condition.
There is not just one form of PTSS. The condition or mental disorder manifests itself in many different ways. The development of PTSS is not limited to just one trauma. Not every trauma leads to PTSS. We mostly associate PTSS with something we know as Combat stress reaction (or shell shock). Though this is a different mental disorder, many people believe PTSS is related to those who fought in wars. Yes, PTSS can be developed due to war. PTSS is also developed when a loved one dies or someone became the victim of physical or mental abuse.
In her poem, this poetess – who lives in Switzerland, and has American roots – describes that feeling when you seem to step away from yourself. Thus making yourself a witness. This witness sees the darkness evolving around her. There is need to survive, to fight – even when this is so difficult. At times, she wished for the light to shine.
The last stanza of this poem tells us something important. Something that everyone who has to deal with PTSS wants more than anything: to rise, just like the Phoenix from its ashes. A metaphor that is used a lot in poetry and other literature, but it fits the poem very well.
We can only hope that one day, the light will indeed shine.
In silence, she repeatedly
witnessed the awkward
determined dances between the light
and dark in her psyche
yet her driven desire to survive
pushed away any looming fears
of death’s decay. As reached for the
light inside herself she was like
a phoenix rising from the ashes –
she was born again and could pursue
her destiny, healing herself
from past pain.