Today I’m visiting another RJ, this one Scott. I won’t mind if you get us confused, but she might J
I’m taking this post to a slightly darker side, but a more personal one.
I’d like to talk briefly on PTSD and how I believe we’ve all come across it at some point in our lives, whether we know it or not.
In my novel Out of the Blue, Cameron Cooper is a Lieutenant with the San Francisco Fire Department, and after witnessing the death of a young boy who looks remarkably like his long-term boyfriend, suffers the effects of PTSD and almost destroys his relationship, and in-turn himself.
I recently had my father-in-law come over from Sydney for a visit and because he’d recently moved house and gone through the old stuff, he bought over some family treasures we didn’t know about. One of the things he bought over were his uncle’s WWII medals.
As myself and my husband are both ex-military, he thought we would appreciate them and would give them the respect they deserve. I wanted to know more about my husbands great uncle so I asked my FIL questions, which led to more questions, but the majority of them he couldn’t answer.
My FIL didn’t know much about his uncle that served. He remembered visiting him in a Sydney mental institution sometime during the 1950’s and 60’s and recalled being told that Uncle George ‘wasn’t quite right in the head’. Uncle George returned from active service ‘a changed man’.
Nowadays we’d call this PTSD, but back then no one had a name for it.
Uncle George lived out his days in a mental institution, never fully able to return to a normal life.
On the other side of the family, my Great Grandmother committed suicide on February 11th 1960. My father was unaware of this until I started doing some research into our family tree. My dad never knew his grandmother as he migrated to Australia from the UK when he was just a boy. I asked if he recalled his father reacting to the news around that time and although my dad remembered his father being upset and very quiet for a number of weeks, the details weren’t known. Until I went sticking my nose in.
The cause of death on the certificate reads:
Asphyxia due to coal gas poisoning. Inhaled coal gas from gas point in bed-sitting room. Killed herself whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed.
I ordered a copy of the coroners report—all the way from Birmingham, UK—and found that she’d tried to commit suicide a few times beforehand, once with a bottle of gin and ‘a lot of Anadin tablets’. Turns out the gin saved her life that time because it made her vomit all the tablets up. After the gin incident she spent a month in the local psychiatric hospital. I have no doubt my Great Grandmother suffered from depression, but back then it wasn’t a known condition that could be treated.
The same with PTSD.
I find the last paragraph of the coroner’s report to be quite—well not funny, but you know what I mean.
I have no doubts in my own mind that my mother took her own life. It could not have been accident, especially considering that she had put pillows on the floor.
I guess old Great Grandma May, wanted to go out comfortably.
What does depression have to do with PTSD? Maybe nothing, maybe everything. All I know is that they’re both a mental health issue that aren’t fully understood. I just wanted to shine a light on how mental illness, in all its forms, can affect everyone, one way or another.
Great Grandma May was 76 years old.
Great Uncle George was 63. His medals and the letter that accompanied them are attached below.
If you, or someone you know is having trouble with any type of mental illness, please seek help or contact your local helpline. Whether you believe it or not, you will be missed if you weren’t here.
Out of the Blue
When everything happens Out of the Blue…
Lt Cameron Cooper has been with the San Francisco Fire Department for fifteen years. He’s seen and dealt with a lot of horrifying situations. He’s always considered himself mentally tough, but when he attends a multi-vehicle accident and sees a dead boy with features remarkably similar to his long-time boyfriend, his mental health takes a hit.
All Jake Montgomery wants is to propose to his boyfriend on their ten-year anniversary. He’s already bought the perfect rings, but when Cameron struggles to look at him after a tragic accident, he has doubts about their future. Cam is withdrawing, and Jake doesn’t know why.
With heated arguments and cold shoulders, Cam and Jake’s life starts to fall apart. Just when Cam thinks he can overcome his issues and finally talk to Jake, memories from Jake’s past threaten to push them apart forever.
RJ Admin's Review (because she begged to do it)
I read the blurb for this and begged RJ (Scott) if I could read and review this book. I didn't put it down until the very last word, and I'll probably go back and read it again very soon. It's hard to watch a loved one cracking before your eyes and being helpless to deal with it, but this is what Jake has to deal with as his partner, Cam, pulls away from him. I felt for both men, and I wanted, begged the author (fortunately she couldn't hear me), to give these men what they needed. Great book. Would highly recommend it.
Author Bio: I started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into my thoughts, insisting on telling me their story that I started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
My initial thought was if I could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow me to concentrate on other aspects of my day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn’t shut up. They told me their entire story and I didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes I couldn’t keep up with what they were telling me and I had to keep a notebook by my bed.
Whilst I was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If I ever want to sleep again then I need to write.
I’m a wife and a mother to two boys. Even my dog is a boy.
I am surrounded by males.
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