This month’s prompt: Winter Nightmare
Another broad one: go wherever the prompt takes you. It can be fiction or non-fiction, the nightmare can be Cthulhu or just a struggle with a troublesome New Year’s resolution (or anything in between).
At the end of the post, you’ll find links to others participating in this month’s blog chain.
My heart wrenches as I watch a friend struggle yet again with her demons. Demon seeds planted by a lost mother — lost to addiction, lost to mental illness, lost to the foster care system. Seeds that have grown tall as Redwoods in her heart, snaking through her psyche, destroying any hopes in her mind.
I see her strength and beauty. Yet she can’t. She sees only the lies her mother told her. The lies abusive foster parents told her. Lies she’s been telling and re-telling herself since she aged out without a family to call her own. Lies that no matter how much I try to, I can’t single-handedly weed out of her mind.
I see a family she has built through blogging: strangers who rally to her support, strangers who cajole and encourage, strangers who care. We see her worth: a beautiful soul, artistic, creative, expressive, passionate about helping foster youth. We see her strength: despite the lies, despite the struggles, she fights on.
Until last week. The pain overwhelms her and she goes to the park, intending to end herself. To end the pain. To end the nightmares and flashbacks.
We wait, we hope, we pray.
This time, she didn’t succeed. This time, the demons didn’t win. But the nightmares continue.
Apologies for this post being a bit of a downer. This is the reality that many foster kids and aged out foster kids face on a daily basis though.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions in the foster care system. Often, children and teens with PTSD are labeled Attention Deficit Disorder then drugged into submission with powerful mind-altering drugs while the true cause of their symptoms is left untreated.
Treatment can be a lifelong process. Even with treatment, living with PTSD can be a constant struggle. A simple act that you and I take for granted, such as going to the movies or talking about relationships can trigger frightening and disorienting flashbacks, anxiety attacks, and night terrors.
My friend has made enormous progress over the past year, although she doesn’t see it. When in the grips of her demons, all she can see is the lies and the terrors.
I was trying to write a flash story to illustrate her terror and illustrate how she might find hope. I never finished it though. A few days ago, my computer mysteriously stopped working. I’ve lost the only draft to that story until my geek genius husband can figure out how to revive or salvage my PC.
Plan B was to write a funny poem about how my computer died. But my friend’s struggle is weighing too heavy on my mind. As much as I want to poke fun at the frustration of my computer dying, it wouldn’t do her story justice.
Check out this month’s other blog chain participants, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses to this month’s prompt:
orion_mk3 (link to this month’s post)
MamaStrong (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama (link to this month’s post)
Turndog-Millionaire (link to this month’s post)
Alpha Echo (link to this month’s post)
LilGreenBookworm (link to this month’s post)
Domoviye (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion (link to this month’s post)
kimberlycreates (you are here!)
Suzanne Seese (link to this month’s post)
Diana Rajchel (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines (link to this month’s post)
Alynza (link to this month’s post)
Literateparakeet (link to this month’s post)
in_one (link to this month’s post)
Tompsy77 (link to this month’s post)
Inkstrokes (link to this month’s post)
kikiwiktor81 (link to this month’s post)
These Mean Streets (link to this month’s post)
areteus (link to this month’s post)
Abielle Rose (link to this month’s post)