Many service members including their loved ones have a misconception of what constitutes as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. P.T.S.D. is broken down into a few different types. The conditions range from short-term to long-term, and even to a delay in when the symptoms show up. For any service member or loved one that may be wondering this is a little informal informative piece. I will try to speak plainly, and I hope this helps someone.
A common misconception among service members is that you have had to experience something serious like being blown up or almost killed to have P.T.S.D. symptoms. This is not true necessarily. The truth is that not everyone who gets blown up or almost dies due to combat experiences P.T.S.D. symptoms. Now many do but it all depends on the way their minds handle trauma, and all of our minds handle trauma differently.
Along with this common misconception service members believe that not having experienced anything of that magnitude disqualifies them from claiming P.T.S.D. as a disability with the VA. This is false, and there are families who have loved ones who have been in combat in supporting roles that have P.T.S.D. but because of pride or denial they have not gotten help or don’t think they need help.
Let me explain: imagine being in a combat supportive position where your duty is something on base, and you never see the other side of the wire. Now everyday the enemy is launching mortar rounds into the base, and there are days when the rounds hit close to you. Then one day you hear a mortar round killed someone. So the fear of death sets in, and you realize that you’re in combat, and you can actually die. Then everyday you hear the same alarm, and the alarm is followed by a mortar explosion.
So you come home, and loud noises, especially explosions, are unsettling. Depression sets in, and you begin to avoid people, places or things. You also stop doing things you once enjoyed. There is a strong possibility that that person is expressing P.T.S.D. symptoms but because they never left the wire they don’t understand how they could have ever been traumatized. I understand why that person would feel that way but we all handle trauma differently, and P.T.S.D. deprives you of life. You should try to get a professional opinion.
A little side note: in saying this I want to point out that members of infantry units who have been in combat have experienced trauma. There are many ways that someone can be traumatized. You may not think that you have been traumatized. So I’ll give you a little self test. Before you went to combat were you diagnosed with any mental health disorder? If no, after combat do you now struggle with depression or some other mental disorder, why is that? There’s a connection there, and I hope you can see it. Combat is traumatizing period, and there are ways for us to live healthy lives with it. Just my belief but I believe we owe it to ourselves, and especially to our loved ones to get help.
P.T.S.D. is a monster that slips into our thoughts through trauma. The Monster wants to deprive its recipient of life, and often it talks them into taking it voluntarily. We don’t have to lose any more men or women to suicide. In my next post I want to talk about little ways I stay proactive in my fight against the P.T.S.D. Monster. I honestly don’t have it all figure out but I’m choosing to fight