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PTSD: The Painting

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posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 05:34 PM
Way back in high school, I got into acrylic painting. I did a few paintings kind of Bob Ross style and the teachers immediately bought them. Then they had a collage professor, come in and teach a 6 week class, or try to anyways to us kids. (it was an alternative center/preg teen high school) I gave her a lot of crap because what she was trying to tell me to do did not seem like art to me at all at the time. She wanted an abstract painting, and I wanted to paint scenes and details. We actually verbally fought to the point where she almost quit doing the class. At this point, I would like to say to that art teacher, I am sorry, wherever you are.I got more out of you than I realized until much later.
She made me do an abstract painting, and that made me mad, but I gave her what she wanted, I gave her more than what she was expecting, and when she looked at it, her eyes lit up and she almost gasped. When she asked me what it was, I told her, which I cannot tell you, what it was.
She took my painting so she could apparently use it in her classes in collage. I was a messed up kid back then, with long hair,a leather jacket, and it was the end of the 80's. I was honored but did not understand why she liked it so much.
I was rough. I had been kicked out of every Jr High in the city I was growing up in. I was sent into a children's home/treatment center for "behavioral" therapy at the age of 12, and at the time I needed it. It did a lot of good.
After a year and a half, I was put back into the public school system, and within 6 months I was kicked out again. I remember my 4th grade counselor telling my mom they didn't know what to do with me, I was a 40 year old in a 9 year old's body.
Back then they didn't know what was wrong with me, I was an angry child. Worse than most. Luckily, by the age of 15 I learned to control myself a lot better. I had a problem with authority though, and any time I was told what to do, or felt threatened in any way, I would strike out with such a violent verbal assault that well, like I said,I was kicked out of several schools,. That is where my P.T.S.D. manifested itself. It/I attacked the teachers if I felt I was unjustly treated or wronged in some way.If all was well around me, and the environment was safe, I was good as well, but if I felt threatened, I was like something else. Back then, I did not understand it like I do now.

Life goes on, and I did very well for a while. I had always suffered from depression, and never knew why, but it was no big deal, when you live with it always, you do get used to it. I got married, had kids, all was great with the world, sort of. I won't lie, living with me was hard on my now x-wife, I am sure. I had always had a snap temper, and mood swings, but nothing to terrible. As life wandered on I had to quit my job, and become an at home dad due to 3 kids and the x making more than me. The day to day stress of being an at home father who is normally working started to take it's toll and my P.T.S.D. came back slowly at first, and then with a vengeance. Eventually I had to seek out a psychiatrist and was diagnosed after dealing with it on my own for years, with PTSD. It is a funny thing, PTSD, if you don't know you have it. You walk around in a state of anxiety that electrifies the air. Every noise, every movement, every flicker of a light bulb, your mind catches it. Someone sneaks up behind you and yells "BOO!!" and you almost drop dead from a heart attack. An over exaggerated response because you were already on alert, waiting for something....but you don't know what, or even realize you are expecting it.

It is like a ghost in the mind that haunts, only it is more powerful. It is something that has shocked you to your core at some point in your life,and it left trauma. It left a symbol, a psychic imprint so deep that nothing seems to fix it.

It is like driving a bulldozer directly though the middle of your brain. The trauma changes the brain chemistry, rewires it and information from that point on is stored differently than a "normal" person.
You cannot erase the past.

When I divorced, I had a breakdown. I ended up placing myself in the hospital for my own safety. My PTSD which was already ruling my life came back at me with such a vengeance that I almost didn't make it through.
My body after weeks of complete mental collapse began to shut down.It was adrenalin rush that never stopped.
Although I was diagnosed some years before with PTSD, the nature of my illness kept me from getting help. I was agoraphobic and had a hard time even taking out the trash, let alone make it in to see a shrink.
When I finally broke down, I knew I was dead without help. I could feel my mind changing, the dark thoughts that would intrude upon me, the impending doom, the paranoia that something is wrong but not knowing what. The wanting to die, even though I did not want to die, the thought kept pushing me.I knew it was PTSD coming for me.

I got help, and although I am a survivor, it will never totally go away.

I see so much on TV now about PTSD, and it saddens me. All of these soldiers coming home with PTSD. They will have to live with something that words cannot describe properly, something so dark and shocking that no matter what happened, it struck them to the core and changed them forever. And they will be misunderstood.

The frustration with telling someone what PTSD is like ,is crazy in itself. You can explain until you are blue in the face about how you feel like you are going to die at any moment, even though, you don't know why you should feel that way. People don't understand what it is do you show it to them??? How do you get people to feel it???? How can I get it across to you???.....Here is what PTSD is as defined by me, a person who lives it. It is all there in symbolism. Every aspect of the mental disorder.
Perhaps only I see it for what it is.....
If I never do another painting in my entire life, at least I can say I tried to do SOMETHING for PTSD survivors, even if it is only a view into how PTSD works.

But now maybe you will too understand a little bit better. PTSD is a terrible disorder and the people who suffer from it are trapped within their own Armageddon. But there is hope and help, if I can do it, anyone can.

edit on 23-1-2012 by Darkblade71 because: speaking serious typonese

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 06:08 PM
I too suffer from this horrible affliction, and let me tell you, I would not wish it upon anybody! Also when you try to explain it to someone who does not have PTSD. or know much about it, you feel even worse because you feel like an outcast and out of place. It sounds like a made up affliction to them. They act like they sypathize with you, but they will never know how dark your world is. It really is a scary affliction. S&Fs

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 06:12 PM
reply to post by Darkblade71

did you create this painting?

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 06:40 PM
Love this painting! What is the white figure in the foreground to the left?

This is like an expressionist version of a John Martin. Great job!!!

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 07:27 PM
reply to post by ooYODAoo

Yes, I am just finishing it now.

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 07:34 PM
reply to post by Big Raging Loner


This is a close up on the lower left.

This is my first painting in somewhere around 18 years.
I originally made a thread in the metaphysical about a strange symbol I noticed in my painting, but at that point I didn't realize what I had painted.
If anyone is interested.
Kind of a bizarre eerie thing.
edit on 23-1-2012 by Darkblade71 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 07:43 PM
reply to post by Darkblade71

What a Beautiful healing experience you have created for yourself, and many others I'm sure.

Bright Blessings,


posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 08:58 PM
reply to post by Darkblade71

This is a close up on the lower left.

That by itself is a beautiful painting, I like it as well or better than the whole. Did you check out Vincent? It is my personal belief that beauty is often created from pain. You have suffered, but you would not be the man you are, were it not so. Keep painting and please let us see them.

posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 09:30 PM
reply to post by Iamschist

Yes I did actually

Crows in the Rye I believe was the name? Or something along those lines.
I actually ended up looking at many of his paintings after.
It was very spooky on some level.
I almost feel guilty for never looking before.

posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 01:02 AM
reply to post by Darkblade71

My bad, it was wheat field with crows.

I'm terrible with names.

posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 01:38 AM
I love the painting. It has depth to it.

I have PTSD also. I was just reading some research about it:

You might find this interesting>
Hippocampal Volume and Resilience in Posttramatic Stress Disorder

The hippocampus region in the brain is very interesting and if you have an MRI, it is the Hippocampal that will tell you a lot. If a child is traumatised, the hippacampal does not develop and the 'normal' size is decreased.
The research is promising and I am going to be trialing a course of meds to see if the hippacampal area will 'increase' thus helping me to recover.

I wrote a thread about it years back on here. There is a lot of people who are living with this disease... prior to finding out that, I felt like I was on an island.
not anymore though.

recovery is possible.

posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:04 AM
reply to post by Darkblade71

I am a marine vet who served in operation enduring freedom. i have PTSD. my brothers have PTSD from the time we spent in that enviroment after seeing 911 happen just weeks before. i like your post alot because it does help describe how it is not word able but your art is amazing!!! thankyou. i hope to keep up with your posts in the future

posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:11 AM
reply to post by Thurisaz

I just read your thread about an hour ago

Very cool.

I did the meds and therapy. It works when you really want to get better. Luckily for me, I do not have it as bad as some. I know people who have to take lots of heavy doses of anti-psychotics just to function with their ptsd.
I am fortunate.

posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 02:24 AM
reply to post by usmc0621

Thank you for the compliment

And your service.
Ya'll kicked some serious butt!

posted on Jan, 25 2012 @ 10:59 AM
Here is a larger image of it.

After a few days of looking at this painting, I have determined that in has to be on a very very large wall in order to get it's total effect, which just isn't possible ATM.

This would look awesome on a 20 foot wall I think.

posted on Jan, 30 2012 @ 03:50 PM
reply to post by Darkblade71

I just caught this. The upper sky on the right is juicy and complexly fascinating to me. I could lose myself in that part.

Realist painter myself. But all good paintings have their abstract elements solid, like composition, design, shape, values, etc.


posted on Jan, 30 2012 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by JustSlowlyBackAway

Is that good? LOL

When you say abstracts are solid....can you explain to me what you mean?

The upper right is purely subconscious ummm...gosh I don't know. Especially where the volcano erupts.
Might sounds weird, but it was like at that point I was not in control of my brush anymore. I was gone, and the brush was moving on its own. Like being in "The Zone" when I used to throw darts.
Totally new experience to me.

edit on 30-1-2012 by Darkblade71 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 30 2012 @ 09:28 PM
reply to post by Darkblade71

Yeah, it's good. I like that part a lot.

It's the best when you get into that 'zone.' It's almost like automatic painting, but it's not. You just tap into your right brain and let things flow, but retain control.

All paintings have abstract components, and the success is often hinging on how well those 'hidden' aspects are executed. Think principles and elements of design. Abstracts must address these, but good realist work must too. It's not enough to just make it look like the thing you are painting.

I think there are some exciting passages in this work.

posted on Jan, 30 2012 @ 10:13 PM
reply to post by JustSlowlyBackAway

Well, the right brain really liked the abstract thought.
I hope I can keep doing that. It seems fun and productive!

posted on Feb, 16 2012 @ 04:51 AM
Thanks for your story and the art. Your painting is alive, the colors move too. Maybe art is a very strong form of therapy? I often wonder this seeing some of the greats like VanGogh and especially people like Francis Bacon.

Keep up the good work and feel free to share

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