Monday, July 4, 2016

PTSD: Taking the Mystery Out of IT

PTSD and Demystifying IT
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 4th 2016

Independence Day is the day we honor all the generations of men and women putting their lives on the line as Patriots to obtain freedom and all those who came afterwards to retain it.

The price paid is usually measured within the count of war deaths.  Sometimes when thought more deeply about all that is involved the number of all those who fought for this country are counted.  Sometimes when even more respectful thought is applied the wounded are counted but then there are those whose wounds are never accounted for.

There is a reason for that. As hard as researchers try to figure out how many carry the wounds borne by battle, there are far too many left out of the total. Many of the wounded never forget the price they paid while no one ever sees the cost embedded within their minds.

No generation came home without paying a price.  No wound is new and that is the most depressing thing of all. For all the years of research into what has been called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since the 70's, it has actually been studied in WWI.

While the military has been attempting to counter the stigma of PTSD and reduce the number of suicides for a decade, the result has proven to be a failed attempt. While every member of the military has been trained in "prevention" that clearly has not worked on those with multiple deployments. What has been the most overlooked aspect of all is that it did not even work for those who never deployed.
Gen. Robert Neller said he is also troubled by the spike in suicides for Marines who’ve never deployed. That number has jumped from 36 percent of the service’s suicides in 2013 to 66 percent in 2015. During the first four months of this year, that number is up to 73 percent. Sixteen Marines who never deployed have taken their own lives in 2016.
The stigma is alive but far too many are no longer alive because the root of PTSD remains a mystery to them. To feel ashamed of feeling when it is that very aspect within a person compelling them to be willing to die for the sake of someone else is astonishing. One would have to have a very strong emotional core to be even thinking of doing that for a living.

We need to demystify IT to take away the power it has and restore power to the veterans over the next part of life, healing.
P Post is listed "to bring to public notice by or as by a poster or bill" but is also defined as 'a prefix, meaning “behind,” “after,” “later,” “subsequent to,” “posterior to,” occurring originally in loanwords from Latin ( postscript)'
You were a certain way before IT happened to you. The second IT happened, you were a victim of it. The next second, you were a survivor of IT. IT attacked you and changed you. Here is the thing you do not hear often enough. You can change again.
T Trauma is defined as "an agent, force, or mechanism that causes trauma" and is Greek for "wound" so, it hit you not started from within you.
Yet again, we see another example of the simplicity within the complexity of PTSD. IT caused a wound within your skin striking at the part of your brain where feelings are fueled by your past and doing battle with your future.

As with all wounds, it heals treated properly. The sooner the wound is treated, the less of a scar it leaves behind.  Much like a wound on your body, an infection can spread out destroying tissue. Once treated, a scar is often left behind but treated soon after IT happened, it is hard to notice it was ever there.

S Stress is defined as "a state resulting from a stress; one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium "
The stress you feel should actually be less than when IT happened in the first place. Too often you can push the pain to the back of your mind but IT is still there.Flashbacks are caused by stuff that awakens the memory you thought was gone. Things you see, smell, feel and the often overlooked, anniversary date, can bring IT back as if was happening all over again.
D Disorder is defined as "to destroy the order or regular arrangement of; disarrange" and "to derange the physical or mental health or functions of."
Having the disorder of PTSD is not a sign of weakness and is not as bad as it may sound.  When something is out of order, it means at one time it was in order, all where it was supposed to be. It also means it can be put back into place again. Nothing about PTSD is hopeless and no one is destined to remain as you are this second.

The way you think and how you feel has been disrupted but the origins of who you were, your foundation, is all still there. IT just keeps getting in the way of feeling anything good because what was bad about IT was allowed to gain strength.

Strength is yet one more aspect of PTSD that is not talked about enough.  It is because your emotional core is so strong you felt IT all more than others. Maybe you survived IT once and just had memories left behind. Maybe you survived more times when you were hit again and those times built onto what the original IT did. Sooner or later you felt too much of IT and not enough of dealing with IT so IT got embedded within you.

As with everything, what something means to you is all too often based on what you think it means instead of what it actually means.