“I Have PTSD:” A Poem on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The following is a poem by Wesley Perkins originally posted on the VA blog, VAntage Point:

I have PTSD

I was a Marine and I was a soldier

I served my country with honor, both in peacetime as well as in war

I’ve been called “hero” but I simply followed orders

I did so voluntarily, for tradition and to serve our great nation

The “heroes” are my fallen brothers and sisters who will never return home

Not a day goes by that I don’t see their faces and hear their voices

Not a night goes by without the same

I scream the same question, over and over every day, yet no one can hear

Why did i get to come back? I’m nobody special

I see the pain in the faces of families of the fallen

They are sons, daughters, wives and husbands

They will never again get to see their loved ones, as I get to do every day

What makes me so special?

I want so bad to take their pain away, but there is nothing i can do

I can’t help but constantly remember….that could’ve been me

I used to love to sleep at night

But now i know that’s when the demons come

My wife, she loves me, yet cannot sleep with me at night

I wake startled in the middle of the night…….it’s so dark and quiet and no one to say…”It’s all right”

I have to take a pill every night and hope….will I sleep well tonight?

I already know the answer…it’s going to be a fight.

I try to talk about it, but the words are hard to come by

I push the ones who love me away and think I’m protecting them

All the while screaming for their loving embrace

This thing I have, it strains my marriage

it threatens to take what little I have

I want to scream “Please help me!”

But i don’t know how to do that

I have been laughed at for having this, even by those I thought I could trust

When people ask and I tell them I’m a disabled veteran, I see their eyes gaze up and down

I wonder what they are thinking, so then I explain it yet again

Not all wounds are visible; this one is hardest to treat

I see my counselors and talk to other vets, those who will understand

I know i will have this for the rest of my life

And so i cope with it, morning, noon and night

I hope everyone reads this, and maybe someone it will help

Because it takes a lot of courage to stand up and say……

“I have PTSD….can someone please help?”

Wesley Perkins is an Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. In his free time, he speaks to students and others about PTSD and its effects on Veterans and their families.


One Response

  1. I can’t stop crying. I to have PTSD and although our stories are completely different I experience every single thing you do. Thank you so very much for sharing. Sending you strength comfort and respect.


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