Reflection--Photographer unknown

He over-eats because he’s nervous.

She over-sleeps because she’s sad.

He hits because he doesn’t know another way to show he doesn’t understand.

Her stomach hurts when there’s a test

His when a certain uncle comes.

She ‘checks out’ when her parents fight

or students raise a hand.

He cries with every little scratch.

She’s stoic with a shattered arm.

Their eyes glaze over at the sight of checkered shirts

Or painted nails

A hairdo

A certain aftershave

Or lip balm.

He can’t sit still.

She won’t stop day dreaming.

He mopes. She cries. He pouts. She flies

Off the handle

If someone meets her eyes.

He wets the bed.

She carves red lines into her thigh.

He fights because he’s scared.

She spits because she’s feeling trapped


flirts because it is the only way she knows

to interact.

They’re judged

For all

Of the above

When in fact

Their behaviors speak a loud broadcast

Of unabated stress

And lives

That turned


To survive.




For The Daily Post

6 thoughts on “Symptomatology

  1. This is excellent, Na’ama. It resonated with me as a trauma therapist. The young and the adult alike utilize such tools to cope, or try to. And then there are the drinking and the drugs, all trying to make the pain go away. I taught a classroom of high school seniors today about trauma and dissociation. I will be going back, and I would love to share this with them. ❤Shielagh


  2. Thank you for this, Na’ama. It’s straight to the bone. When you can make me cry with so few words, you’ve done your job as a writer, a therapist, an authentic person.
    Much love and gratitude — meredith


  3. Your understanding of those that you try to help is evident in you writing. Understanding leads to the ability to love them for who you know they are not what they show they are. Thank you for your understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

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