Purple Tinged Skin Discolouration

Purple Tinged Skin Discolouration

PTSD UK supporter Mel, has written this incredibly powerful poem ‘Purple Tinged Skin Discolouration’ – many people feel that there would be less stigma, or more understanding if PTSD was a physical condition that people could see. This is the Overall First Place prize winner in our PTSD UK Art Competition too. 

It’s painful to touch, tender to feel,

The slightest of things makes your mind reel

Cartwheels and somersaults, Salchows and spins,

Dizzying and distracting, but only now it begins…


A memory, a taste, a smell out of place,

You’re trapped out of now and cannot escape,

Locked in a cinema of reruns that you hate,

Strapped into the chair, you just have to wait.


No popcorn, no drink, no overpriced food,

Just revisiting the feelings that lower your mood,

Over and over the pain comes again,

Public embarrassment or the loss of a friend.


No horror required, but sometimes it helps

The dealer is dealing and now you’ve been dealt,

You don’t feel like playing, but it’s already begun,

The ante is suffering and the pot is glum.


With the movie still playing, and the cards in your hand,

You realise your life is not going as planned,

The next film is starting, it must be getting late,

You look at your cards – they’re Aces and Eights.


It’s getting too much, you want it to stop,

I don’t want to see this one, you’re handed the pot,

Weighed down by your winnings, you have not a choice,

Synapses are firing, overloading your voice.


You know what is coming, so why are you so shy?

Your body starts shaking, you stifle a cry,

Mind in full turmoil, your eyes start to glisten,

You open your heart, but no one will listen.


Words are like weapons when wielded by savages,

Committed to memory and all of time’s ravages,

Carving your soul with wounds festering and deep,

You opened your heart, now the scars start to weep.


You’re flirting with madness, becoming a loon,

Dancing with echoes to your memory’s tune,

All of your senses burning with such clarity,

With each perfect recall, you’re forgetting your sanity.


Waltzing in circles around the ballroom of your mind,

In this great place even love you won’t find,

Nor the comfort of the sweetest of dalliances,

Just the heartbreak and loss of broken alliances.


A constant replay of things that have ended,

And futile attempts of your sacrifices to mend it,

For a moment you see it, the face of your enemy,

It’s blank and uncaring and it fills you with envy.


You’re pushed through a door marked with regrets,

You’ve been here before, it’s as good as it gets,

A cellar of whining, gets worse with age,

You’re a mining canary, in your guilted cage.


A song for release, beautiful to the ear,

Keeps you enslaved to your greatest of fears,

The harder that you struggle to break free,

The closer you become to more misery.


The stronger your mind, the greater the pain,

Shovelling the coal for your thought train,

Out of control, yet on only one track,

It has to go further, before you can get back.


Exhausted and broken, stretched wafer thin,

You finally return to where you came in,

If only your mind could show trauma like skin,

People could see it, discoloured with a purple tinge…


By Mel Tebbutt-Bushell

Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash


You’ll find up-to-date news, research and information here along with some great tips to ease your PTSD in our blog.

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