May 11, 2017

ptsdShell Shock, battle fatigue, Post Traumatic Stress, it is has had many names over the years; but the symptoms remain the same.

We all know PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; but how exactly is stress-induced depression and adjusting to civilian life after military combat service a “Disorder”?

PTSD.NE.GOV defines PTSD as this:

“What is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life.”

Eating too much is a disorder. Masturbating all the time is a disorder. OCD is a disorder.

20 years ago, you never heard of “PTSD”. We all knew it as “Shell Shock”or “Battle Fatigue”. It still remains that it is the same thing. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, a messed-up state of mind is still a messed-up state of mind. Headaches, Night terrors, aches, decreased appetite, uncontrollable outbursts of rage, memory loss; all induced by being in the most stressful situation possible. Combat.

This is not a disorder in my opinion. Disorders can be cured. The memory of taking another person’s life, holding your buddy in your arms as he bleeds out onto the foreign sand, seeing the corpse of a little girl tied up in the courtyard and stoned to death for Islamic Honor killing; these are things that aren’t “Cured”.

Bolemia and Anorexia are disorders. Very serious ones, and I am not belittling them in anyway. However, you can get over the inner mental hurdles and start eating or stop shoving a finger down your throat. I can only imagine how hard these “Disorders” are for those that have them and my prayers go out to them.

Let me tell you a short story,

Those that have it know that it never goes away. When I was on the ambulance as a Paramedic, I had the privilege of transporting a WWII 82nd Airborne Veteran. The Gentleman was very nice and it just happened that I was having “one of those days”. The man looked at me and simply asked, “When did you get home son?” I looked at him, shocked, “How did you know sir?” His reply was one of the most eye opening and gut wrenching in history, “You have the look. The look that only those who served have. I still have that look.” My heart sank. I paused only for a moment, “Does it get any better?” The man shook his head no. “You just learn to live with it son.” I wiped the tear from my cheek as my patient now became my care giver and held my hand.

Post-Traumatic Stress, drop the Disorder. PTS drop the D!

These Stressors never go away. Those that are afflicted with it, either learn to deal with it, force it into submission with drugs and alcohol or sadly give into it. 22 Veterans on average commit suicide every day. With lack of help from the V.A., too many of my Brothers and Sisters are opting for suicide as their only means of escaping the pain that lies within.

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