PTSD: Real or imagined?

What I seem to find lately, is that there is some debate over whether or not PTSD is real and to tell you the truth it shocks me that some people choose to believe that it is a fake illness. In today’s post, we are going to look at just this subject and discuss what the symptoms are and what everyone should know about it.  Now let me make something very clear and that is that PTSD is REAL!  How do I know this you may ask? No, I am not a doctor, but I have felt it and dealt with PTSD.  Because I have suffered from it more than once in my life, both while on active duty in the military and as a Sherriff’s Deputy.  Believe me when I say that it is very, very real and when SHTF hits, you will see it over and over again in people around you and being able to recognize it and knowing what steps you can take to minimize its effects, will be important to the survival of your group.

You can not walk through the fires of hell and not be touched by the flames!

First let’s start by explaining what PTSD stands for which is “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”.  While it has gone by many names over the years such as “Shell Shock” and “Battle Fatigue”, it is a horrifying disabling disease that can rob a person of their happiness, pleasure and even their security in life.  Let me also say that it can come from other Traumatic Stress and not just from being exposed to war. People who are exposed to traumatic ordeals such as such as a car accident where a spouse or loved one dies, rescue workers and law enforcement officers who are exposed to things that most people can’t even imagine going through, are also susceptible to PTSD.  It’s just that because of the unique cruelty and horror of war that so many soldiers suffer with it.  To pretend it doesn’t exist would be a terrible mistake and could cost others their lives, if not properly dealt with!  Fortunately for some like myself, and many others, I have managed to control it.  It has taken a very long time and a great deal of effort, but it does happen.  Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.  Some people see things that they just can’t get out of their head no matter how hard they try.  Not everyone recovers and some even take their own life out of desperation and guilt.  I have seen people who have never been the same person that they once were because of it.  Someone once described it as coming face to face with your worst nightmare, and realizing that monsters really do exist, then trying to just turn over and pretend that they didn’t.  It just doesn’t work that way, once you have seen and felt something; you can’t just un-see it!  I have seen grown men and women, brave men and women break down and cry like a baby because of it and I can assure you I thought no less of them for it.  When SHTF hits, this fantasy world that so many people live in will be shattered and sadly many of their minds will be shattered as well.  I enjoyed walking and running as a child, but now I catch myself hesitating anytime I think about doing it because of things I have seen and experienced.   I find I can no longer relax when I do go for a walk, because I am always scanning the tree lines and buildings for possible ambush points or traps.  I do not fear the enemy, I fear not being prepared for them.  This is just something that I have had to learn to deal with and I am still learning every day.  It is a continual work in progress.  Let me also add that I have never received a single dime for having it or for treatment.  I’s not something you feel proud of and I certainly never used it to get any job.  It is what it is and as always I will continue to fight my own demons in my own way.

The following is an excerpt from WebMD.com on PTSD: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder

Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into three main categories, including:

Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.

Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.

Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.

After SHTF hits, you will need to be on the lookout for these symptoms in yourself, as well as others in your group and community.

OK, so what can you do to help yourself or someone else with PTSD?  Well the very first step is to recognize it exists and resolve to work at getting through it.  Trust me; anyone suffering from it, is going to need help getting through it.  One of the very best things you can do is to try to understand and be there for them.  Help them to cope better with the event that triggered the disorder and see things in a way that will allow them to function as normally as possible.  This is one reason why service dogs are such a huge help to people with PTSD.  They provide a level of security and friendship that is greatly needed, while someone struggles to overcome their illness.  Unless you have been there, then you will never truly understand what it is like and once you have been there, you will feel it’s effects for the rest of your life, in one form or the other.  Now to all of those knuckle heads out there that don’t think it is real, let me say this:  “Until you have walked through the fires of hell in combat or some other way, then you have no idea what you are talking about and you need to stand aside for those with the brass balls that have!” I stand with and support everyone that is or has suffered from PTSD and for what it is worth, yes, I do understand.  If there is anything that I can say or do to help, or if you just need to correspond with someone who has been through it, please send me an email and let me know.  I am always here for my brothers and sisters in arms!  Have faith and be strong.  Until next time, keep on prepping!

-The Sargent-

The Sgt.

Prepper, Patriot, and Proud U.S. ARMY Veteran.

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4 Responses

  1. SkySoldier says:

    Anyone saying that PTSD is a fake illness should spend time in a active forward outpost for a full tour of DUTY.

  2. Talk to others that have been there and done that or similar. Exercise/play. talk to others that have been there done that. exercise play work. Repeat and in 3 months you will be working and functioning very well. That is part of The EisenHower Med center treatment protocol in Augusta Ga. Same MD has been there for 6 or 7 years running that program and it is very sucessful. Stay away from antidepressants, anxiety drugs or drugs for sleep. They get in the way of healing and the people at EisenHower take Everyone off ALL meds so they can get to the real work of Healing.. Worked for me as combat medic in Vietnam after 19 months in country.. You function,find joy and have a family and still, years later, sometimes you cry or get angry. Cannot erase what you did or survived, but you can LIVE with it,learn from it and still have a great life.

  3. angie says:

    I was a registered nurse and worked thru the SARS outbreak in Ontario, Canada.Worked in the full blown ICU /ventilator unit ,all patients on my unit ended up dying.For 6 months+ was in a bubble suit etc.A year after it was all done and over,I turned my head and suddenly I was looking thru a plastic shield,helmet.I realized right away this was a flash back and knew …never underestimate the human mind.Just the fear initially of not knowing what we were dealing with,the seclusion of not seeing friends,family,the constant dread did I get exposed took its toll.I was a hardened ICU nurse and was surprised that this was happening to me.It would happen every once in awhile ,no reason,no trigger,lasted up to 5 years .Believe me it is real. Can only imagine what someone who was in a combat role maybe dealing with.

  4. PTSD is certainly real and affects many for years and years afterward. It is hard to successfully treat too.