Could this be PTSD?

18/12/2016

I am sorry I could not do more for your countrymen, that my best efforts were not good enough. That so many died from this awful disease that was widespread, yet I was safe. I am sorry that I was one of the last people to see the patients, rather than their friends or relatives.

I see you still, writhing in agony, and I am sorry that I could do nothing as you were transferred elsewhere, for we did not have the capability to care for your kidney failure. I see the pregnant women being led to the wards, and hear the baby’s cry as blood is taken. Your small sample of blood in my hands, your treatment dependent, in part, on my skill. Such responsibility, yet I am honoured to be entrusted with this, to be part of your journey.

The names of those affected stay with me still. I have survivor’s guilt; whilst I was protected and well, so many individuals did not stand a chance. Neonates, children, the elderly, those with multiple infections. I saw the patient details, and knew the outcome. If only there was more I could have done.

 

In 2015 I worked abroad, helping people affected by diseases such as malaria and dengue. For a long time since returning home I wished I could have done more, even though I know I tried my best and did all I could. This message is addressed to the people affected, both survivors and those who have lost friends and relatives. I feel guilty when I should not, and this letter is an attempt to assuage my guilt.

Through God’s help and the encouragement of friends, I am now able to view my experience in a positive light. Rather than only remembering horrific things, I am now able to recall the positive aspects, such as seeing people survive an awful disease thanks to the help of volunteers, and the gratitude for our work. Occasionally the more negative memories will return strongly, but the positive memories are far stronger than the negative. And now, God has taken a difficult experience to mould me and provide a testimony to encourage others.

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