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Consistently Inconsistent

On April 10, 2011, in Personal Stories, Uncategorized, by admin

Randy D. Horsak, son of a WWII veteran –

Growing up with a parent who has PTSD is growing up in a world that is inconsistent.

Consistently inconsistent.

You never know what the next minute will bring. Or why. At 9:00 am the parent is perfectly “normal,” whatever that is, and at 9:01 the parent can become totally “abnormal,” whatever that is. The reasons, or “triggers,” associated with this sudden transition is what the child cannot understand. And how can he or she? The world’s best psychiatrists and psychologists do not understand it either.

Without a clue of what causes PTSD, much less how to respond, children find themselves in a whirlwind of confusing experiences.

They know that they have parents. They know that their parents love them and take care of them. They know that they are the ones to turn to for comfort. But when the parent “turns on them,” they get confused. They slowly lose their trust. They exit their comfort zone.

The only analogy that I can offer, from a child’s point of view, is that of watching television. You turn on the set, tune it to Channel 7, and begin watching. Everything is normal and fine and interesting when, all of a sudden, Channel 7 becomes static and Channel 8 comes in for a moment, only to disrupt your watching of Channel 7. Then, out of the blue again, the world reverts back to Channel 7, and normalcy.

As a child, you live your life on Channel 7. That’s the channel you desire. The channel you need. The unexpected Channel 8s are disturbing to you. Eventually, you begin waiting for Channel 8 to come in unexpectedly. You wonder why this happens. You wonder if it is your fault. More importantly, you wonder how long it will last when it happens. And you don’t know what to do.

Years before he died, the fact that I could not recall my father ever telling me that he loved me waxed stronger and stronger on me. Finally, I sought counsel. After explaining this to my counselor at length, he wisely suggested that I write a letter to my father, explaining my frustration, and then tearing it up and tossing it in the trash can, and moving on with my life. My father would never know my feelings, and I would be much, much better.
That’s what I did.
Almost two years before his death, on November 9, 2007, I wrote a letter….
Yes, I wrote the letter and then tore it up.  Now, that was a great alternative to forgiving my father, was it not? It was so well written. Grammatically correct, and just the right length, with correct punctuation. It came from the heart, too. It made me feel good, really good.

 

Randy D. Horsak, son of WWII veteran William Horsak
As excerpted from his book “Cross in the Background”
“The touching story of William “Cricket” Horsak—a high school football superstar who went from the football field to the battle field, finding himself thrust into the carnage of the Battle of Okinawa. He survived the horror and tragedy of war, only to continue fighting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for the rest of his life.” 

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