Monday, December 1, 2014

I Don't Sit and Think

I don't sit and think about my PTSD, my PTSD thinks about me and I sit. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Love and Hate

I didn't think I could hate until I experienced war
After losing comrades I wanted to even the score

I think I felt love and hate at the same time
Or toggled so fast it felt like rhyme

Felt love for my brothers
Hate for those other mothers

The extreme was too much and too fast
My brain couldn't handle the emotional contrast

David Rose - Vietnam War Veteran - Combat Medic

Monday, July 14, 2014

An Interview With My Shadow

Me: "What is your purpose and why are you here?"
Shadow: "To be your companion and never disappear."

Me: "I appreciate your friendship by every move."
Shadow: "Yes, I was hoping you would approve."

Me: "Seems like you are most defined in the direct sun."
Shadow: "Yes, I think that is when I have the most fun."

Me: "What happens to you when the clouds move in?"
Shadow: "I'm still there, just spread around really thin."

Me: "I miss you when the sun is down and there is no light."
Shadow: "That's when I'm with you the most, everything is in shadow at night."

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cleanup On Aisle Three

Visited my local hardware store
Had to pickup something for a home chore

A song came over the PA that hit my trigger
I stood there and cried with vigor

Then I heard, "Cleanup on aisle three"
Didn't take them long to get a fix on me

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sometimes I Close My Eyes

Sometimes I close my eyes and make my own paradise
I crank up my stereo and dream of some place nice
I'll switch among my Pandora stations
I like the tunes I've been listening to for generations

It may be jazz, classic rock or classical guitar
No matter what it is I'm always the star
I'll sing along at the top of my voice
And playing air guitar is always my choice

I love to hear my subwoofer rumble
This is not the time to be humble
Since I no longer visit saloons
One of my remaining joys is listening to my tunes

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Saturday, June 28, 2014

3 Glorious Minutes of Freedom

During the war we all got together to smoke dope
It was every bodies vehicle to cope

We used an empty quonset hut room
Set up a big stereo with lots of boom

Each night after supper we'd all gather 'round
Pass the joints and crank up the sound

Our theme song was "Our House" by CS&N
We'd play it again and again and again

Sometimes I'd stand up and conduct the song
Everybody in the room would sing along

One night recently I was driving a four hour road trip
"Our House" came of the radio and I thought I would flip

I sang at the top of my voice and pounded on the dash
Jumped in my seat and surprised I didn't crash

I laughed and cried at the same time
For a few minutes there I felt sublime

I became so emotional I pulled over by this big tree
For a few glorious minutes I was free, I was free, I was free.

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Friday, June 27, 2014


Was cruising along life's smooth road
Until my coping vehicle slowed
Encountered a PTSD-Tour
This side trip wasn't in the brochure

This detour is rocky, dusty and curvy
Has me going all topsy-turvy
Hope this detour road is not very long
The wide smooth blacktop is where I belong

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's Complicated

It's rather amazing how complicated PTSD is
There is a lot to consider in this tricky biz
I have memories of war fused in my brain
I still miss my buddies who were slain

My fight or flight response has been in play for decades
Then there's that intrusive thought that pervades
I have survivors guilt that hurts a lot
With all of the emotions that it brought

Became addicted to adrenaline in that damn war
In civilian life I chose to continue the gore
Did all kinds of things to feed that habit
Stayed busy running around like a rabbit

All kinds of chemicals circulating around
There is the man made compound
Can't forget the endogenous high
That can also make you fly

There's hyper vigilance and anxiety
There is avoidance of society
Also anger, boredom and grief
Disrespect for the Commander-in-Chief

Throw in the fact that I didn't know what was wrong
No wonder I didn't know where I belong
All of this sure did mess up my life
Now I know why I couldn't keep a wife

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

One Reason I Live By Night

One reason I live by night and sleep by day
Is so I can hear the birds at play

Listen to the video.

Started A New Happy Med Today

Started a new antidepressant from the VA.
Took it with a full supper today.

Doc said, "Take it with a full meal,
Because nausea is what you will feel."

Isn't that like eating a big breakfast before deep sea fishing?
As my head went over the rail, it was stable land I was wishing.

About four hours later the drug hit me
Experienced some reactions I didn't foresee

Felt like a big dark cloud moved in
Blocking a spot in the sky where the sun had been

My hands and face went numb
To this new med I had just succumb

"What's that you say?
I can't hear you till this ringing goes away."

Tried to stand up but sat right back down
Threw up because my head was spinning round

My pulse was 120 and my pressure was 154 over 103
Tell me again how this med is so good for me?

Tried to go to bed to get some rest
Couldn't do it for this thing pounding in my chest

My hands are trembling so much
These keys are tricky to touch

So when is the payoff for me
It's results I need to see

Do I need to wade through this four more weeks,
Before my doctor critiques?

So remind me again why I am taking this.
Oh yeah. So I can experience true bliss.

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm Not Afraid Of Death

I just realized that I am not afraid of death
What's so scary about taking your last breath

I've already experienced the worst terror of my life
Fear so thick I could cut it with a knife

So how much more hell could one life provide
Than a war in which I should have died

I've experienced heaven and I've experienced hell
Heaven is what I choose I know so well

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We All Live On The Same Rock

Everyone should see this picture of our earth
The perspective minimizes our girth
We should take care of the rock on which we live
Not take so much from it, instead we should give

If all people realized how small we are
It may reduce our differences by far
Should have cared for our home starting long ago
Take a real close look, there's no place else to go

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Saturday, June 21, 2014

It's Been Nice Knowing Y'all

Starting a new drug today for major depressive disorder
The doctor said my thoughts are out of order
I'm not sure yet what to make of all this
I hope soon to be in true bliss

I looked up the side effects today
Not sure this drug is here to stay
This drug may be worse than the disease
I know it comes with no guarantees

I will have nausea and will be dizzy
I could sleep all day or run in a tizzy
I'll have dry mouth and constipation
Also headaches from the dehydration

Sounds bad huh, but that's not all
The sexual dysfunction sounds like a ball
This drug could even act in reverse
I could get a lot worse

Through all of these side effects I'm supposed to get happy
And not be so snappy
I hope this works well for the long haul
If not, it's been nice knowing y'all

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Job Description for PTSD Self-Manager

Job Description

PTSD Self-Manager

Job Summary:
Manages all day to day and minute by minute feelings and emotions as pertaining to any symptoms of the PTSD disease including but not limited to: monitoring for realistic threats vs. self-perceived threats, avoiding external stresses, monitoring and adjusting anxiety levels, taking meds as prescribed.

Key Responsibilities:
1. Monitor and ration conversation and interaction time to not become overloaded too quickly. Spread yourself thin throughout the day in order to last all day. Become overloaded and over whelmed too early in the day and be finished early.
2. Monitor and evaluate potential threats around you at all times. Be aware of people, animals, situations of threat, sounds, smells, touch on the ground, in the air and on the water.
3. Prepare to respond at a split seconds notice. Have a safe place to land at any given point in your immediate area. This includes being aware of all exit doors and windows, position yourself to view entry and exit points at all times. Have a place of safe cover preplanned within quick reach should the need arise.
4. Reduce frustrating tasks to a minimum. Don't take on more than your level of concentration can handle.
5. Locate a happy safe place that can be used as a refuge when the stresses become too much to endure.
6. Manage potential stresses to keep stress to an minimum. Use avoidance as a means of safe survival tools.
7. Take meds as prescribed to manage disease chemically.
8. Avoid people and situations that may cause a trigger.
9. Avoid people to protect them from you and you from them. It's easier to have no relationship than to have a relationship that is misunderstood.
10. Avoid triggers that may generate nightmares and intrusive thoughts.

Minimum Job Requirements and KSA's:
1. Education: it is important to independent study your disease of PTSD. Also contact your local VA office and Vet Center to learn of available services. Be aware of how the VA system works in order to navigate it properly. Set up and attend counseling sessions in order to better understand yourself and your disease.
2. Experience: Experience, practice, trial and error is necessary to manage the disease. It requires a lot of experience, patience and understanding to effectively manage PTSD. Experience is very important.
3. Special Skills: honesty, foresight, patience, effective anger management skills, willingness to be secluded, self-survival skills
4. Certifications and Licenses: certifiably crazy

Physical Limitations:
Could have sleepless nights and/or days because of nightmares. Should be able to walk and do minimal exercise daily to aid in stress reduction.

The PTSD victim reports mainly to him/herself. Occasionally doctors and therapists will give you assignments to complete and turn in. No one reports to his position.

Your payoff for following this job description is a happier more stable life.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Free: Living Heart Donor Available

I think I qualify as a living heart donor
My heart might like a new owner

My heart is still good for pumping blood
But instead of lub dub, it sounds more like thud thud

Here is what my massage therapist said
She said, "Your heart chakra is dead"

"Your capacity for love is gone."
"Your emotional bank account is overdrawn."

So if I'm not using all of my heart
Give it to someone who needs a spare part

It's a good heart with lots of love to give
It has lots of ticks on it with many more years to live

So if you want this old heart of mine
Just call 555.9999

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Some Wounds Never Heal

Lots of ways to be wounded in war
Bullets, grenades, rockets and so much more

Some are mortally wounded and die right away
Take a big hit and don't last the day

Others are wounded but survive
Takes some time but they revive

There's a wound that doesn't bleed and you can't see
Just ask a few questions and you will agree

This wound stays with you for life
Infects, festers and causes real strife

Some survive it
Some commit

Regardless of the type wound you receive
War will kill you eventually I believe

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic
Inspired by Dr. Jackson and the Vet Center slogan

Monday, June 16, 2014

Where Is PTSD Safe?

Where is PTSD safe?
Should my own home be a chafe?
My home needs a PTSD safe room,
One that's free of gloom and doom.

My father and former spouse live with me.
When I come home, CNN is blaring on the TV.
Wolfe is on some war rant about who knows what.
The sound of automatic weapons hits me in the gut.

I've already had two hours of VA group,
Then come home to all of this poop.
Most people are desensitized to war action.
I know I'm of a minute fraction.

My place is small but they each have their own room.
Having no safe place to go is what makes me fume.
So I sit in my one living room chair,
Put in my ear pods of music, close my eyes and stare.

I need a room with control over what I see and hear.
A place where all my bad thoughts will disappear.
I need a refuge where I can meditate and pray.
Where really is PTSD safe anyway?

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Inside To Stay

I took a personality test one time years ago
Personalities like mine are almost zero

Yeah, I'm introverted but so what
I won't run around like some nut

With me it's not about being odd
It's about creating a facade

I have junk in my head I don't want you to see
I'm protecting me from you and you from me

You may never learn who I am
After all that war in Vietnam

One wife asked if I was a spy
Of if I worked with the CIA on the sly

Don't take it personal if I just walk away
There are words I don't want you to hear me say

You can study my finger prints in detail
And you won't learn what my thoughts entail

You can search my home everywhere
And you will come up bare

Read my CV all the way through
And you won't find a single clue

Follow me around day and night
You won't discover a single hint of my plight

Ask my friends. They'll say I'm cool
They'll say I'm no fool

There are two parts to me it seems
I don't want to carry the troubled one to extremes

It's a lot better this way
My thoughts are inside to stay

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

My Personal Definition of PTSD

As I read and study about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I am finding very few definitions of PTSD. Many articles have a title stating that they are defining PTSD, but in reality they are simply describing the symptoms of PTSD. Even Wikipedia does not have a good definition of PTSD in my personal opinion.

I am by no means qualified professionally to write a definition for PTSD; however, I am a Vietnam War veteran who has been suffering from PTSD for forty-five years and this is my personal unofficial definition of PTSD based on my own personal experiences and thoughts.

My Personal Definition of PTSD...

"PTSD is an anxiety-based mental and physical health disease that is initiated by a direct involvement in and/or observation of severe traumatic events in which the victims life is threatened. These traumatic events are permanently embedded in the brain to create chronic symptomatic effects and occasional immediate acute recall when a trigger similar to the original traumatic event is experienced. The PTSD sufferer lives in a constant heightened state of vigilance, involuntarily generated by the brain as a means of self-perceived, self-survival necessity. When triggers are experienced, the PTSD victim will engage in involuntary extreme self-protective response actions to protect him/herself and/or others in the area. Even though the PTSD disease is based on and born from the long-term recollection of past traumatic experiences, the disease is really about the anticipated anxieties of self-perceived dangers in the immediate future.

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Friday, June 13, 2014

Anger and PTSD

PTSD doesn't make my anger
Anger makes my PTSD

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic
Inspired by a Vietnam War brother

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Not Yet

I'm not yet where I want to be with this PTSD.
But thank God,
My PTSD is not where it used to be.

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic
Inspired by Dr. Sandy McKenzie

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Poetic Police

I enjoy writing these lines
and it's good therapy too
I enjoy poetry of all kinds
It gives me something to do

Something I have learned since I started
Is that the poetic police will find you
They are all being good hearted
They all want to do a review

One said, "I'll take a quick look
And let you know what I think."
I'm like, "OK you can read my book.
Just remember. You're not my shrink."

He said, "I think they are awfully good"
Isn't that one of those oxymoron things?
I don't want to be misunderstood.
I like all the support this brings.

He said, " Your poems have casual authenticity."
What does that mean?
I know I write with simplicity.
I want to keep my writings routine.

Another person said, "I will proof read for you"
"I will send you the corrected version."
I really appreciate all that they do.
They've been helpful since I started this poetic excursion.

I'm really not trying to win any awards now.
I just jot down my thoughts as they arise,
To try to help my veteran brothers somehow.
I'm not trying to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

I really don't care if I am missing a little dot here or there,
Or that little curvy one they call a comma.
At least the poetic police really do care.
Next, I will probably hear from Barack Obama.

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just Leave A Message

There is something I don't understand yet
Something about this PTSD I just can't get
That is why I can't follow a conversation
At least not for any reasonable duration

If somebody talks too fast there is no hope
I just stand there looking like a dope
I couldn't repeat what they said if I had to
I tried to listen but really don't have a clue

I think it has to do with my concentration
Not my friends quality of oration
There is a limit to how long I can stay in tune
When I reach my cap I'm finished too soon

I don't want to look like a fool
Don't want my friends to think I'm uncool
So I protect myself from them and them from me
Total seclusion is my self-surviving plea

It's not that I don't want to talk to you, I do
It's just frustrating for me to not connect with you
So if you want to talk, I'll give you a little presage
Call me and you will have to just leave a message

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Monday, June 2, 2014

My Sioux PTSD Ceremony

a soul 
who is a 
Native American 
shaman. He invited
 me to come to Washington 
to meet a tribal medicine man 
named Yellowhawk who has successfully 
treated PTSD for Vietnam vets. I spent a day 
talking with Yellowhawk and he decided he would 
like to perform a sweat lodge in my honor. We set 
it up for the next day. A sweat lodge is a large air tight 
dome that will hold about a half dozen people or so. Rocks 
are heated outside in an open fire, carried inside and water 
is poured over them to create steam. It works. The lodge is 
appropriately named. There were about six other Native Americans 
in the lodge with me. There was a large central sweat lodge ceremony 
taking place simultaneously with ours in Canada. The master sweat 
was being conducted my Yellowhawk's son who was the Grand Chief 
of the Canadian Sioux Nation. They were communicating telepathically. 
They sang chants and played drums. Then Yellowhawk told me it was 
time for my part in the ceremony. He told me this was very powerful 
medicine and I was to not open my eyes. He was chanting and I 
could hear him moving about but I kept my eyes closed. 
I felt a literal shock in my spine that forced me sit 
up straight. I was then told to open my eyes. 
Yellowhawk said that he, the Grand Chief 
and the elders had seen all of my actions 
and experiences in the Vietnam War. 
They I was a great man and they then invited 
me to be adopted into the Sioux Nation. I accepted. 
They gave me the Sioux name of Wambali Iskma which in 
English means "Eagles Wing". I did actually feel many freedoms
 from my PTSD for months following the ceremony. I am very grateful 
and honored by everyone involved who felt I was worthy of 
such a great honor. I will never forget it. Thank you.

Prayer of a Vietnam Veteran

Dear Jesus and my Heavenly Father above
Creator of all things and source of all love

There are lots of things I want and need to say
But for right now please just get me through today


David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Through Tender Mercy

I have been reading this text all my life
Didn't apply it to the life I had known
Now that I have developed all this strife
I can now apply it to a need of my own

Luke 1:78-79
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

David Rose

One Doctor's Diagnosis

I'm not stressed because I have PTSD,
I have PTSD because I'm stressed.

David Rose
Inspired by Dr. Burress

Friday, May 30, 2014

Removing All External Stress

I've seen all kinds of doctors for this PTSD thing
In anticipation of the healing they could bring
I have a doctor to prescribe my med
I have doctors who get into my head

I have a doctor for one on ones
I have a doctor for a group he runs
I may have more doctors but I forget
I even have a doctor I haven't met yet

I sincerely appreciate all they do for me
Each one is as helpful as they can be
Maybe my meds will start to plateau
Maybe the counseling will do it, I don't know

As I study all of this to hopefully find a cure
There is one thing I have learned for sure
Before I can get out of this big mess
I need to remove all external stress

I don't really have a choice in the matter
This is nothing about which to smatter
40% of PTSD Vets take their own lives
Just a very small number survives

I was killed fourth-five years ago
I'm just dying real slow
I've never seriously considered taking my own life
But I can understand how other people do with all this strife

I still have a strong sense to survive
My family needs me alive
To establish a somewhat positive outlook
I need to reduce stress by hook or crook

I've considered a life like the "Jeremiah Johnson" movie
Living in the mountains sounds pretty groovy
Even that movie "Castaway" sounds healing
Yes maybe extreme, but nonetheless appealing

The bottom line is simply this
I may never again experience true bliss
But I think I could manage my PTSD with better success
If I could just eliminate all of this external stress

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

Poem From a PTSD Vet

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic

The Three P's of PTSD Life

Depression is living life in the Past
Peace is living life in the Present
Anxiety is living life in the Prospective

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic
Inspired by Dr. Jackson

Through the Holy Spirit

I keep hearing that this PTSD is here to stay
My only hope is to try to cope in some way

These memories are embedded in my brain
Sometimes they make me feel insane

Medication hasn't helped me yet
They could be more of a threat

I've had private one on one sessions
From multiple professions

I've had therapy in a Vietnam War group
That just brings up a lot of old poop

I wish my mother was still alive
She could tell me how to thrive

She was a counselor too
But from a Christian point of view

She kept a journal just before she died
It wasn't much but she really tried

She had written only a few pages
That little bit truly engages

She said, "Develop a mindset of constant prayer.
With the Holy Spirit be aware."

Even though she didn't write much
My heart she did touch

Luke 4:18 says, "With the Spirit be infused
To set at liberty them that are bruised"

Through the Holy Spirit we can heal
And survive any challenging ordeal

David Rose - Vietnam Veteran - Combat Medic