Content Warning: This post discusses PTSD and will difficult for many people to read.
My boyfriend is a good man. The type of guy who prides himself on being generous, a good provider, an outstanding father, and a great friend.
When we got together, I became that insufferable person who annoyed my friends constantly with comments about how ‘perfect’ he was. He organised surprise dates, he wanted exactly the same things out of life I did; a large family, an undramatic relationship, travel, loyalty and an unbreakable bond to be envied by others.
He was energetic, funny, unafraid of intimacy and an out of this world lover. In short, I’d found the one, my soulmate.
Tziporah Malkah reveals her struggle with PTSD. Post continues after video.
And then one fateful afternoon. A text I sent him went unanswered. Strange. He wasn’t the type to leave me on ‘Read.’ And I became an anxious mess, sensing deeply that something was wrong. And it was only when our housemate arrived home that evening from work pale-faced that my concerns were realised.
In all but a few seconds, a text-and-driver had collided with my boyfriend’s car on his way home from work. Injuring his strong capable body, and ending his father’s life. And that moment was the moment everything changed.
In the weeks that followed, my boyfriend was understandably vacant and pained. I held his hand for countless hours at the hospital and drove him and his grieving family across the state. I tried to be the understanding girlfriend whilst he, his family and friends drowned their sorrows in alcohol.
And be his soft place to fall when he needed it. But after a few months, my understanding turned to confusion. My boyfriend hadn’t resurfaced yet. I was living with usurper, someone who had taken over his body but lacking his personality and zest for life.
Then, one morning, I had had enough. He had once again decided to blow off plans we’d made for a date together, to drink himself into a stupor with his mates. And I spoke up for myself. Telling him that I needed him, and that it wasn’t OK. I can remember it so vividly, the bile that he spat at me. ‘How dare you speak to me like that, you’re an ungrateful c*#t!’ And the verbal attack that proceeded is by far one of the most traumatic moments of my life.
I was called almost every unspeakable name in the book and had empty beer bottles lobbed at walls behind my head. And at the end he demanded I apologise. His eyes black with rage, I complied.
To make it all the more terrible, I was pregnant with our first child.
It’s been 18 months now, and I have just gotten used to the new person he is day to day. And we have since received a formal diagnosis. PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Seems simple and self-explanatory enough.