Preventing Suicides Starts With Your Own
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
December 9, 2016
Preventing suicides is not up to anyone but you. It starts when you save your own life and that is within your own power.
Somehow, you got a lot of ideas about PTSD that are simply not true. The term itself has become an issue some folks want to go after, as if the term is more deadly than what it actually means. After over three decades of this advocacy, I can assure you the term is perfect to explain what is going on with you and why you have it.
Post, means after something happened. Trauma is actually Greek for "wound" and it means it happened to you. It was not brought on by you. Stress is what came after "it" happened and your body-mind-spirit are under attack. Disorder, that's another word you need to change your thoughts on. Things were "in order" before "it" happened. Then they get out of order because your sense of normalcy ended, propelling you into a strange new reality.
But, what happens when something gets out of order? Think of a mess you have with papers all over your desk, or too many things on your computer desktop. You can't find anything you need. You forget about things that mattered to you at one point because they are buried within all the other stuff. Once you decide to tackle the mess, it is frustrating, until it is all rearranged to the make sense again. You get rid of stuff you don't really need and put what you do need in a place where it is all easier to find. In other words, you put things back in order again, but just not in the same order. The same applies to you when you put in the work and you don't have to live like you are in a mess.
Military and veteran suicides are higher now after all these years and there is a reason for it. The power you have over PTSD has been removed from your thoughts by well-meaning folks without working on getting to the "well" part. Talking about veterans committing suicide, with all the stunts to raise awareness has helped no one. Telling you that training you to be resilient, ended up sending the message that you were too weak to take it, instead of reminding you that being resilient did not make you impervious. The definition of that word needs to be focused on because it means, "not capable of being affected or disturbed." Resilience means, "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change."
The second after "it" happened, and you got up, carried on, proved that you were resilient simply because "it" did not defeat you, nor did it leave you as a victim. You became a survivor.
Ok, so, now you may understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Add in that it was actually the strength of your emotional core that allowed you to do what you did in combat for the sake of those you were with. It is that same part of you that makes you suffer so much afterwards. Nothing weak or selfish within you or you would not have risked your life for others. Had you been weak or selfish, you would not have done any of it.
So, why did you serve? Why were you willing to die? Safe bet is was for the others you were with. Nothing selfish in that at all and certainly nothing weakness would have allowed you to do.
Maybe now you've decided that you were all wrong on what you thought about having PTSD. Maybe now you'll consider that you had to train to become a soldier. That training came with many hardships and so does training to live as a veteran. Proper training in the military saved lives. Proper training after it will save lives as well because as you gain knowledge, you can teach others to heal as well.
If you have asked for help but did not get the right help, fight for it. If you turned to a veterans charity that seemed more interested in themselves, expose them. If you turned to groups on Facebook and they helped, pass it on, just as if you discover they were a lot of hot air, expose them to warn other veterans about them.
As for the VA, that is actually the best place for you to go to heal. Keep in mind, yet again, you have a responsibility there as well. While OEF and OIF veterans get their first five years out of the military as "free care" you cannot just show up and expect to be seen that day. If you show up after being home for five years, you have to get in line the same as everyone else. Paying for it until you have a "service connected disability rating" is another matter. Unless you cannot pay and fall under category 7 or 8 veteran status, you, or your insurance, will be billed. Once your claim is approved, you will get most of the money back. And no, that is not a new thing. It happened in the other decades as well.
What if you can't be seen or afford to pay? Do you give up? Hell no! You get help to file your claim properly. Go to the DAV or the VFW for free help with that. The Service Officers train every year and know how to fill out the paperwork as much as they can tell you what you are entitled to. As for getting help while your waiting, there are over 400,000 veterans charities in this country, all claiming to be helping veterans. Make them prove it. There are also places in your own state helping civilians make ends meet. Look them up and get help from them for now.
The thing is, there is so much out there to help you but if you don't think you deserve it, you won't look for it. You sure as hell won't fight for it if you are willing to settle for "no" for an answer. You know what you are going through. You know why you are going through it. You just need help getting from this point to where you are living a better quality of life.
Find other veterans and join them in this last battle after war because this enemy can be defeated!