The Other Side of Reason – In a Perfect World

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.

[In a perfect world]
            Have you wondered what it could be like when there is nothing there?
Conversations that are locked away in your mind?
When in a tranquil moment of time our reflection flickers from the candle’s warm light.
Mirrored through our touch and into the heavens above.
In a perfect world, we are not always what we promise to be.

When we wake up from our night time dreams do we wake up into ‘reality’ or do we go to sleep into a dream, which we all call reality?

An existential conundrum I am still living with.

Time may be perceived as linear, but from my perspective, the aftermath of the crash I was involved in was not. There have been many periods since the accident of progress and of decline, victories and setbacks, both major and minor. I have changed since September 18, 2013 and so have my views, but, rather than revise my earlier journal writings in light of my recovery journey, I have tried to convey the trajectory of my ideas and feelings of living with trauma and connect them to a broader forum on mental health and well-being.

As American Author, Ursula LeGuin describes, ‘it doesn't seem right or wise to revise an old text severely, as if trying to obliterate it, hiding the evidence that one had to go there to get here’. For me it is rather to let those changes of mind, and the process of change, stand as evidence of where I have come from to where I am now.

To a large extent, I believe we're the keepers of each other's stories about our experience of trauma, and the shape of these stories has unfolded in part from our own interwoven accounts.  Author, Eva Hoffman also considers these interconnections as a ‘process of where we don't only search for meanings, we are ourselves units of meaning; but we can mean something only within in the fabric of later significances’.  Trauma, however, unravels whatever meaning we've found and wove ourselves into, and so reading stories like mine is in many ways, an experience in unlearning. 

I always have this reflection about how we are living our lives, and then something happens in an instant that has consequences we live with for the rest of our lives. 

I am acutely aware of the how, because of the writing I have done over the past three years that the journey of healing will be very different for anyone who has experienced trauma. And for some, a very small percentage, will need long-term, intervention to travel this journey.

There is never a “correct” way that we should feel trauma; there is the way that we do feel trauma.

I would say that anything that is life threatening can be life changing. There are different ways in which we can change or grow, but the likelihood of growth is tremendously more impactful if we have people around who support us, encourage us and walk beside us.  It is also critical that the people who are beside us, give us the permission to feel the way we feel. 

In a perfect world, are we ever who we promise to be? 

Until next time, Cheers!

David Gibson