The first time I saw the movie “First Blood” was at the theatre when it was released in 1982. I loved it. In the six years since my abduction and gang rape, I felt understood. The movie spoke to me about the war I had going on in my head. Today they call it post traumatic stress but back then it wasn’t recognized as a mental disease and there was no label or name for it.
The real war is what front line veterans’ call the aftermath of their traumatic experiences; the invasion of the psyche when the fighting stops. Can you imagine a war in your head every time you sleep or every time something triggers a memory of horror?
The only problem is that the war never goes away. The effects of PTSD last forever with some changes or fading over the years. It is masked often with alcohol, drugs and other distractions only to reveal its ugly head again and again.
Today PTSD is recognized by mental health professional as a legitimate disorder regardless of whether one is fighting an actual war or a personal war. Rape, domestic violence, death of a loved one or a car accident can trigger PTSD because we are ill equipped psychologically to handle trauma.
“First Blood” is available on Netflx and I can watch the movie anytime I need to feel hope and inspiration. Like many victims, I struggle at times to feel normal and to understand that I am not alone.
For the friends, acquaintances and family members who have criticized my distracted work habits, my periods of melancholy and depression, and my drug addiction of choice (food), how dare you judge when you have never walked in my shoes. And to those critics who have read my book “Thick Skin”, read what it says on my forehead. And a tip from my new friend Gail: FOCUS.
Suddenly I feel empowered and I am glad I took this opportunity to vent. I think I’ll watch “First Blood” again and I offer this link to a theme song with great meaning within its lyrics: