[Hpn] Articles on Psych Wards and on PTSD

Harmony Kieding worldhome@thesociety.net
Wed, 11 Jul 2001 04:52:41 -0700


Thank you so much for sharing your articles. I am the "owner" moderator of an
online support group for homeless people with ptsd- (about fifteen members or
so); is there any chance I could reprint this within the group (observing credits)
for people to read?

Harmony Kieding

PTSD Homeless

WorldHome- (no frames)

WorldHome- (frames)

>This message contains 2 articles which appeared in the July Denver VOICE.
>They are posted here with full reprint permissions for newspapers dealing
>with the issues of homelessness. Article 1 is a serious article on PTSD.
>Article 2 is a humorous article on Psych Ward 72 hour holds. I am the author

>of both. The complete text is in this message.
>Reprint permissions are granted with the following restrictions:
>NASNA members only
>No changes permitted except in article title
>"by" line stay intact
>Let me know you are going to use it and send me a copy of the publication.

>Katlyn Autumn Lynn
>Denver VOICE
>voice 303.380.6397
>fax 303.394.4486
>Have You Ever Been Victimized?
>By Autumn
>I try to live a calm sedate life these days. At one time I was a
>high-pressure adrenaline junky. I enjoyed the pressure, the thrill of people

>exploding all around me. I reveled in my sexuality and felt secure in my
>home. I always had fun with people in almost any situation and thought I was

>a good judge of character.
>Then came the assaults, the rape and attempted rapes, beatings while hand
>cuffed, beatings while having seizures, threats of gang rape and death by
>people who could easily deliver. Then came PTSD, which stands for Post
>Traumatic Stress Disorder. I try to live a sedate life these days.
>When you have PTSD something breaks inside you. Certain events trigger what

>is known as a flashback. This isnít some psychedelic flower child kind of
>fun thing like you can get from having done LSD in the past. In a PTSD
>flashback, you detach from the current reality and re-experience the trauma

>that was once inflicted upon you. When it happens you are pretty much
>powerless to make it stop. The experience is very, very real.
>As for my flashbacks, they usually entail all of the emotion and physical
>trauma of being gang raped. I feel the threats to my life, each blow to my

>head, my sides, and more. I feel the insertion of something vile and
>disgusting between my legs, it does not bring pleasure. It brings horror,
>revulsion, desperation, and pain. Mostly pain. I feel their hate, their
>rage, the consuming desire to see me die a violent and painful death that
>emanates from every pore of their bodies. I hear their voices full of hate

>and repressed fury pouring out of them onto me.
> I wish for death by any means just so long as that death is granted now
>before they manage to get any satisfaction out of their actions. I canít
>stop the flashback but I can die. That will make them stop. This way I will

>win. I find some way to bring about my death, a knife, pills, a razor, a
>bus, anything. This has to stop now!
>Sometimes you can take an anti-psychotic drug such as seroquel to stop the

>flashback. Sometimes it just goes on for hours and you try to survive.
>Surviving a flashback for me involves mentally following through on suicide.

>Often people around you decide to call an ambulance. When I was in a shelter

>ambulances were called at least 5 times. Other times you just wake up in the

>hospital. I try to lead a calm life these days.
>A male friend who witnessed me having a flashback remarked that he would
>gladly kill the men who did this to me. He was angry but I wouldnít give him

>names. He had no idea what happens to a woman after an assault. His
>girlfriend later confided her own experiences and how she was plagued with

>flashbacks for years. These are the kind of events that bring some woman
>closer together and drive them further apart from all males.
>If you are a male and are hugged by a woman who keeps her elbows down and in

>front of her while she puts her hands on your shoulders, this should tell
>you something about her or about yourself and how you are being perceived.

>She is keeping the option open of pushing you away and has certainly had
>some experience that has taught her to beware.
>Flashbacks are triggered by news stories involving murder, rape, prejudice,

>or any kind of violent acts. They can be triggered by aggression from men,

>sexual pressure, anger, veiled hostility, bigotry, and even seemingly
>innocent actions. There is no medication that helps PTSD other than the
>drugs you can take once you know there is a flashback under way.
>Many women on the streets have PTSD from sexual assaults. A large number of

>people donít believe itís a real disorder or that it results in disability.

>What do you think you would be like if someone managed to take away your
>sense of security and well-being? Imagine that you know from experience that

>a police officer can invade your home, assault you, make your
>significant-other watch while you are beaten and raped, then file false
>reports. Imagine that you know that at any time while you walk down the
>street at night a man might appear, pull a knife on you and demand you go
>down on him while he pulls out something that smells of old urine, filth,
>old cum, and feces. Imagine being accused of inviting an assault and
>attempted rape not because of what you did but because of who you are Ė
>someone who among other things has no home and spends too much time on the

>Once your childhood sense of invulnerability is gone, once you know this can

>happen to you, that there is nothing you can do to prevent it and it can
>happen any time or place, you become cautious. I try to live a very calm
>life these days. Angry males scare me. Iíve seen seemingly sane men go from

>being friend to attacker. Police scare me. Iíve seen people in authority
>positions go from upholder of the law to sadistic pure evil, afraid of
>nothing, unwilling to stop for any reason. Iíve seen jailers go from guard

>to torturer. Colorado scares me.
>PTSD is real. Donít doubt it. The next time someone says they have PTSD,
>treat it seriously. In time counseling can help but it takes a long time.
>PTSD is not a short coming or mental defect. It is the result of extremely

>violent crime inflicted against the victim. A person suffering from PTSD has

>been victimized. For some it happens as a result of sexual abuse as a child,

>for others it results from violence inflicted upon them as adults. This can

>be violence of any kind including that encountered in war. In each case the

>victim has had their basic human rights, their very right to exist,
>viscously violated. PTSD is real. It is disabling and can be seriously life

>threatening. I am not at all the person I used to be before all this
>happened. I try to live a nice quiet, calm life these days. There is no
>other choice.
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