Thousand Yard Stare, Thousand Days to Heal

Scared child

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The thousand yard stare, in combat

The hand to hand fight, in combat

The day to day fear in combat

Papa, Mama, daughter, civilians in combat

The enemy in Nederland (Holland), 

bursts in searching  for Papa

Do not let your eyes to Papa’s hiding place

Stare straight ahead — /Thousand yard stare

The enemy in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

Bow low. Now.

Or be struck lower still.

Some never get up again.

Family imprisoned one by one,

First Papa.

Next Mama and Children.

Then all boys shipped and marched to other concentration camps


Papa (my grandfather) never came back.

Women's and Children's Japanese Concentration Camp, Indonesia, WWII

Terror? Yes.

Hope now?  Yes.

Come “home” no one listens. They have their own war-pain. How can any of us ever tell the story of what it is to fear all the time?  Thousand yard stare, hypervigilance and PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which took 40 years to have a name.  The old name?– Worry a visitor who never left — intense, constant Worry.

Me? I caught Papa’s Worry; I caught this hope. I hear now: Be fully prepared, without fear.

Be fully prepared, without fear.

How do you maintain your peace? Tell me.

I had a thirty-eight year anniversary yesterday of maintaining peace and hope. Post here and tell me your guess of what this anniversary is….all guesses okay (I think…). Join me in your recovery journey away from Worry, PTSD, fear, loss. I’ll walk that journey with you.

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2 Responses to “ “Thousand Yard Stare, Thousand Days to Heal”

  1. Nancy Benich says:

    The thousand yard stare – a stare that goes on and on. What does it feel like to be hypervigilant; always watching, checking over your shoulder, making sure the coast is clear? I experienced what may have been considered a “mild form” of PTSD after being beaten down mentally and emotionally by a church congregation about 13 years ago. I remember entering the local grocery store a month or so after I had stopped attending the church and hoping I would not see anyone from that congregation. One day I left my purse in the grocery cart and walked a few feet to choose some vegetables. All of a sudden I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I sprang around in fear, looking startled as a pleasant woman said, “Oh, I’m sorry to have frightened you, dear. I just wanted to warn you to keep an eye on your purse.” I was shocked at my over-reaction to this simple gesture. I could feel tears well up in my eyes which I quickly wiped away. I thanked the woman and pushed my cart further down the aisle. I breathed deeply and had to intentionally calm myself. I remained nervous whenever I went shopping locally for a couple of years. I could not drive by the church for fear I would begin to cry or hyperventilate. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that “nice Chritian people” could have inflicted this dreaded fear inside me.

  2. Janneke says:

    Nancy, I too am so helped by words like hyper-vigilance, and surprised when it hits. I am glad that I was present before when you shared about this church experience, I listened with intent, because I know too what its like when someone shares about their “faith” or belief, and instead shares harm. I too have been glad (AFTER!) when I realize I was actually felt safe, but felt scared. We are more often safe, than scared, but it takes a long time to truly relax again. Looking forward to seeing your here or around soon

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