The Other Side of Reason – Air waves of silence

Involved in a bus accident that took the lives of six people, David Gibson has been battling through PTSD for over three years. In an effort to better understand himself and to communicate with others, he turned to writing. His first book was The Other Side of Reason: A Journal on PTSD, available now via This column continues that text.

[Lost echoes]
From my trembling lips travels the sounds of anguish.
Atop the canyon walls, a reverberation of sound is lost to the midnight sky.
There are no echoes coming back to me.  For they have been lost to the swirling winds of time.
Are these the last threads of my life wilting in the fierce rays of the sun?
Will I rise once more amidst the pain? 
I can try again.
After all, life goes on.


I cannot unravel my “last threads” of humanity by giving up hope, though I feel close to hopelessness and the threads are already “wilting.” I try and make the feeble but determined assertion “I can,” with what basic action or spiritual gesture might serve to counteract my lingering sense of despair: doing “something” that expresses hope, even if it is as minimal as wishing for morning or as negative as deciding not to silence my voice.

Hope vanishes the moment it becomes ubiquitous: “life goes on” is what we say of something so common as to be worthless. “Lost echoes” is a poem about perseverance, although, as in much of my recent poetry, there’s a vicious undertow of despair… like it has just emerged once again from a long period of depression and inner anguish.

In speaking the truth I wonder if I am only silencing the voices I so wish to help? Sometimes it feels like the airwaves of silence only reinforces the isolation that trauma and PTSD so easily invoke within people’s lives.

There is tremendous support by the public to hold onto anyone who can speak their truth about mental health issues.  This is a noble cause. But at what cost is this collective witnessing to those who live with mental health issues?

So let me try again.  For me and I truly hope for you.

So how is it with you? Are you living with depression? Coping with anxiety? Struggling with despair? Are you saying to yourself, “Enough is enough?”

Think this over. Okay, you may not be realizing the results for which you long – and you’ve waited seemingly forever. But what if all this time something incredibly positive and powerful was building way down deep inside? Just like it could be for me – well beyond your conscious awareness.

And what if it all was just about to blossom, taking you to a place you could never have imagined? And you quit, causing a deflation and demeaning of self that negated any potential for recovery.

What then?

Please believe me when I tell you that blindly hanging in there – and working hard – has paid off for me. And if you’re living with depression or coping with anxiety – or whatever – there’s just no way the same old strategy can’t produce results for you.

So for both of our sakes, we need to hang on to those threads and believe in ourselves.  Because sometimes that’s all we have for today and our tomorrows.

Until next time.