“What’s Behind The Curtain…?”


By Howard Lovely, Jr.

As I started attempting to understand what I now know is,…and has been,… undiagnosed PTSD up until August of 2005,…I have discovered many painful facts about my feelings and life. One thing that seems to go back so far is the idea and experience of [abandonment]. As a child when the guns, knives and angry words would so often surface between my parents, I had no vocabulary to describe what I was feeling as I watched and listened in horror as early as eight years old and up until age 21. At that time my skin tingled furiously for 13 years during my childhood from 1972 – 1985,…a feeling like a thousand mosquitos had descended upon me all at once to suck the “life” out of me and my groin pulsed as if I were about to wet my pants most times,…but never did. My mouth became like cotton,…my ears as sharp as a bat detecting the action & sound of a gun-bolt long before my eyes gazed upon the flash,…my breath intermittent and muted,…my eyes as keen as a hawk that has zoned in on its prey (my parents) and yet my feet and some part of my mind were rapidly frozen without my willful choice,…like an opossum or mouse trying to avoid the clutches of instant death. In all this foolishness at it’s best,…I discovered abandonment. Stigma is really societies way of “abandoning” anyone for any reason. My parents abandoned good judgement, me, themselves and worst of all,…my mind abandoned my physical body and got stuck behind the curtain(PTSD),…or more of a feeling of existing somewhere in between. The “in between” feeling is what I call “Living A Strange Death”,…an eery state of being both [present] and simultaneously [absent] with full unrelenting awareness of both. I call these moments [freeze-ups] and they got me in trouble with my grade school teachers all the time for so-called “Day Dreaming”, it hurt to be accused of not paying attention over and over again and I didn’t understand why my body continued to dissociate(clinical term for freeze-ups). As a child & adult,….these freeze-ups randomly happen all the time while doing just about anything such as taking a test, driving a car or installing rivets on an aircraft which scared the mess out of me while behind the wheel or holding a rivet gun at full blast; nevertheless, I was able to maintain composure somehow. For me,…PTSD is often times so silently horrifying that I often wonder what the hell might have happened to Edgar Allen Poe,…the master of fictional horror tales minus the blood & gore. Edgar Allen Poe explored this theme of being stuck between two worlds (a world of the living & a world of the dead) in the tale of “Mr. Valdemar, (1845)”. The idea / condition of being stuck between two vivid states of mind sounds weird and impossible and yet I have painfully lived it for 40 years and still don’t fully understand the phenomenon. Ironically my own experience of existing in my body that will not / would not function properly no matter what thoughts I commanded,…drove me mad and to the brink of suicide years ago. Similarly,…being stuck in a lifeless rotting corps tormented Mr. Valdemar in Poe’s tale.

Behind the PTSD curtain you will often find interesting, intelligent, compassionate, creative, spiritual / religious, non-religious, accomplished, socially upstanding, socially competent, kind-hearted, Uncles, Dads, Moms, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, Aunts, Husbands, Wives, Significant Others, Neighbors, a few Ass-Holes and Capable Individuals much like I think of myself…

What’s behind the curtain?,…choose to take a look,…you may be pleasantly surprised about what and who you discover.

2 Responses to ““What’s Behind The Curtain…?””

  1. Wendy B said

    Nice, Howard. : )

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