What Haunts Me.

I usually write more positive and upbeat posts, however, this is not one of them. I’ve decided to share an issue that has haunted me for a number of years. No, I’m not looking for sympathy, not my style, but I wish to create an awareness of a condition that is prevalent in the First-Responder community (I’m one of them). Of course, this problem is not just limited to First-Responders and their families, there are many in the civilian community that suffer too, and I write for you, as well.

In fact, the therapeutic benefit of puttting thoughts to paper is one of the main reasons I began to write. This poem is a bit of a hybrid, done intentionally, to relay the message of life with PTSD.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, all I ask is that your comments be respectful. I have lost six co-workers (some of the good friends) to suicide and there are many more whom I don’t know.

Morning light through window shines, but I wish for darkness to remain,

For with the light, come the demands of life, far too much

“Take your meds!” they preach. “They will help to reduce the pain.”

I swallow them down to banish the ghosts, yet never escape their clutch

What happened to the man I used to be? Full of life and no dark stain,

He’s but gone, a phantom from another time, never to return again








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Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman's childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non. Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this country boy to life in the big cities. After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

37 thoughts on “What Haunts Me.”

  1. My life has been saved on two occasions by first responders for which I’m grateful and I too was diagnosed with PTSD. That was back in 2006, but sometimes it feels like yesterday. Even now I strongly believe I saw the face of death that day and it spoke to me. One of the first things here in the UK one is supposed to do is give your name at the scene of an accident. As I was trapped inside my vehicle I forgot my name. They told me I was unconscious but I remember clearly trying to remember it but I could not. Then came the face and a voice saying–Don’t worry. I do not want your name today!
    I lost four years of my life because of that road traffic accident that I had no control over.

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  2. This is a very compelling poem, Mark. I can imagine the pain of first responders and the impact it has on their lives and families too. My oldest son suffers from PTSD. He was born with a condition that resulted in 18 big operations between the ages of 1 and 6 years old. He lives with on-going treatment but it is now under control and his life is fairly normal. One of his PTSD symptoms is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is very difficult to live with a sufferer when they are under intense stress as the symptoms become very pervasive into all of our lives. You learn to try to uplift and reduce the anxiety. Patience and understanding is everything. I also use poetry to express my feelings in this regard. It is a good emotional outlet.

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  3. Very powerful, Mark. Thank you for this post and poem we need to bring this into everyday conversation. People need to know its okay and they aren’t alone.

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  4. A powerful, penetrating poem, Mark. I see the devastating effects of PTSD around me and it’s heartbreaking. I hope, with all my heart, that solace finds you. Writing was my saving grace, too. Blessings and (((hugs))) across the miles.

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      1. Mark I think admitting who we really are is never a bad thing! It took me a couple of years blogging in general to share our story of school bullying and to admit I live with chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia. Allowing ourselves to be proud and unashamed of our true selves is a huge sign of personal development. I hope your story resonates with many other people, particularly men, who live with PTSD.

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      2. Thank you. I wasn’t sure what kind of reception this post would receive, but I decided to post it anyways, I know there are many more out there like me, and I just wanted them to know they are not alone.

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  5. Powerful words my friend, how those walls changed us all. Take some comfort in that every coworker you’ve worked along side has always felt safer knowing you were close by. Although we didn’t realize back then the cost to mental health every incident takes I could only wish that you could feel some of that security you gave us in your time of need. If you ever need me I’m a message away.

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  6. Hard to know what is the right thing to say. First responders have our gratitude for what they do. It is sad that this gratitude cannot wipe away the horror of the job. My prayers are with you, Mark.

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  7. Mark, I know you’re not looking for sympathy but I can’t help expressing it. It’s mind boggling for me to imagine the dedication a first responder gives. It’s so tragic to think of the coworkers you have lost to suicide and the many more who have passed because of issues suffered from PTSD. It’s no wonder this issue haunts you.

    I, for one, am forever grateful for our first responders and emergency personnel. There just aren’t words to express that. God bless you!

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