'PTSD Patrick' by Inge Schlaile
PTSD Therapy and PoetryWelcome to my Website.
This is a showcase for my poetry, which was initially prompted by my experiences in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, but which has expanded to include a much wider range of subjects.
In May 2010 I was diagnosed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and this site was originally intended to provide an outlet for me, but also to offer encouragement to others suffering from PTSD. You can read my PTSD poems and an account of how they came to be written here.
I now write about whatever takes my fancy - the natural world, foreign travel, art - and you can see my latest work by looking in the Birds, Beasts and Bavaria page.
You'll also find links to video of me reading some of these poems in the text, for example.
Some very good people have said some very nice things about my poems. Here's a sample:
“Working in places like Baghdad takes its toll. Patrick has found an elegant way of coping: he has turned it into poetry.”
John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor
"I recommend Patrick Howse’s poetry to anyone wanting to understand a side of conflict reporting which is not often talked about outside journalistic circles, and rarely within."
James Rodgers, author Reporting Conflict, London Metropolitan University
“His poems are extremely vivid, beautifully written and very moving.”
Gabriel Gatehouse, former BBC Baghdad Correspondent
"Patrick’s poetry is at times gentle and moving, yet also stark and harrowing. Through it we get a glimpse of what it means when the journalist needs a flak jacket to go to work. Even more important, we get a sense of the story that can’t be told on air."
Sandi Krawchenco Altner, novelist, author of ‘Ravenscraig’
Read articles about my poems by the following writers:
by John Simpson
The last time I worked with Patrick Howse, we were standing in a street outside the heavily overstocked and stinking city mortuary in Baghdad, and my mouth was so dry with fear that I was having trouble getting my words out as I talked to camera.
Patrick was the producer.
Given that it was likely that someone would turn up and kill us at any moment, he was very restrained. It must have been agonising.
This kind of work in places like Baghdad takes its toll. Patrick has found an elegant way of coping with the pressures and strains: he has turned it into poetry and prose.
I've found writing a pretty effective therapy myself, but it doesn't always work. I can't rid myself of the memory of an Iraqi man who described to me how he sold almost everything he had in the world to pay a ransom for his kidnapped brother; when he went to pick him up and bring him home, he found only his body, mutilated for some sadist's enjoyment.
Writing hasn't much helped me with that one; sometimes when I wake up in the night it's my brother who's lying there, tortured to death - only I don't have a brother.
Patrick must get a lot of people telling him how glamorous his life is. It's not. It's highly pressurised, it can often be terrifying, and it takes a big toll on your personal life. And even when you're far away from a place like Baghdad, Baghdad comes to you.