PTSD Survivor Poetry: Darkness

In celebration of National Poetry Month, this week’s PTSD poem comes from …Sabine M. Pitcher.  Sabine wrote: I have written poems on and off ever since I can remember – since I was proficient enough in English (which is my second language). Some of my poems reflect my own feelings – but, more often, they start off with something I hear or read or somebody tells me. On a voluntary basis, I work with people who leave the UK Armed Forces, many of them former officers - so that’s an area I feel particularly close to and which is reflected in my poems: they are about loss, dying, loneliness, making difficult decisions. And, about living with the memories of it. I wrote one  poem after a brief chat with a Vietnam veteran. He said that it made his wife cry, and his daughter said “I understand now …”. That’s why I write.


By: Sabine M. Pitcher

In the middle of the night you’re suddenly awake. Was there a sound? Was there a light? You cannot say.

You feel something rise inside you. Slowly, very slowly. You feel trapped. You cannot breathe.

Your eyes accustom to the dark, but nothing stops the darkness that takes over your inside.

There is no way you stay in bed. You’re restless now, try to escape, but you can’t run.

You hear the sounds inside your head, the volume lowers in the light. But now it’s dark.

I try to tell you, you are not alone. Please let me help, please don’t push me away.

You turn around, you’re shaking now. I fight back tears. Tonight you need my strength.

In a few hours, daylight starts again. Meanwhile I lead you back to bed and hold you tight.

I know you better than you think. Your body talks and within short you fall asleep.

I still hold you when daylight breaks. I stroke your head, we have survived another night.


Bio: Sabine holds a PhD in psychology. She was born and grew up in Germany and now lives in London / UK were she works in adult education. She recently started a blog supporting her work with service leavers: Military-to-Civilian Transitions.


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