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General Guide on Combat PTSD!Shortchanging Vets Please be advised, at the bottom of this page are very diverse topics that deal specifically with combat PTSD. This includes information helpful for both past and present military personnel!
THE ETIOLOGY OF COMBAT-RELATED POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERS
By Jim Goodwin, Psy.D.
"My marriage is falling apart. We just don't talk any more. Hell, I guess we've never really talked about anything, ever. I spend most of my time at home alone in the basement. She's upstairs and I'm downstairs. Sure we'll talk about the groceries and who will get gas for the car, but that's about it. She's tried to tell me she cares for me, but I get real uncomfortable talking about things like that, and I get up and leave. Sometimes I get real angry over the smallest thing. I used to hit her when this would happen, the kids aren't sure what to do either when I get angry, but lately I just punch out a hole in the wall, or leave and go for a long drive. Sometimes I spend more time on the road just driving aimlessly than I do at home.
"I really don't have any friends and I'm pretty particular about who I want as a friend. The world is pretty much dog eat dog, and no one seems to care much for anyone else. As far as I'm concerned, I'm really not a part of this messed up society. What I'd really like to do is have a home in the mountains, somewhere far away from everyone. Sometimes I get so angry with the way things are being run, I think about placing a few blocks of C-4 (military explosive) under some of the sons-of-bitches. A couple of times a year, I get into fights at bars. I usually pick the biggest guy. I don't know why. I usually get creamed. There are times when I drive real crazily, screaming and yelling at other drivers.
One of the main actions, on your part, for review of by the Veterans Administration rep is to write a Stressor Letter: in many cases this no longer necessary BUT by writing things down will help to refresh events in your own mind. There are three parts to this letter 1) Life before military service, 2) Life experience during combat (OR other trauma) that produced the trauma AND Life after the trauma! I have posted my two personal Stressor Letters so you can see my Life History! To learn about the guidelines in the determination of a claim and what disability level you are at can be found under this PTSD section.
"I usually feel depressed. I've felt this way for years. There have been times I've been so depressed that I won't even leave the basement. I'll usually start drinking pretty heavily around these times. I've also thought about committing suicide when I've been depressed. I've got an old .38 that I stuck back from Nam. A couple of times I've sat with it loaded, once I even had the barrel in my mouth and the hammer pulled back. I couldn't do it. I see Smitty back in Nam with his brains smeared all over the bunker. Hell, I fought too hard then to make it back to the World [U.S.]: I can't waste it now. How come I survived and he didn't? There has to be some reason.
"Sometimes, my head starts to replay some of my experiences in Nam. Regardless of what I'd like to think about, it comes creeping in. It's so hard to push back out again. It's old friends, their faces, the ambush, the screams, their faces [tears]…You know, every time I hear a chopper [helicopter] or see a clear unobstructed green tree line, a chill goes down my back; I remember. When I go hiking now, I avoid green areas. I usually stay above timber line. When I walk down the street, I get real uncomfortable with people behind me that I can't see. When I sit, I always try to find a chair with something big and solid directly behind me. I feel most comfortable in the corner of a room, with walls on both sides of me. Loud noises irritate me and sudden movement or noise will make me jump.
"Night is hardest for me. I go to sleep long after my wife has gone to bed. It seems like hours before I finally drop off. I think of so many of my Nam experiences at night. Sometimes my wife awakens me with a wild look in her eye. I'm all sweaty and tense. Sometimes I grab for her neck before I realize where I am. Sometimes I remember the dream; sometimes it's Nam, Afghanistan or Iraq, other times it's just people after me, and I can't run any more.
"I don't know, this has been going on for so long; it seems to be getting gradually worse. My wife is talking about leaving. I guess it's no big deal. But I'm lonely. I really don't have anyone else. Why am I the only one like this? What the hell is wrong with me?"
If this is you, as it was for me, please read how "Shell Shock" became Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. If you have these above reactions and carry any of the combat metals like CIB, Purple Heart, Bronze Star with (V-device) Device or higher; You should read the following information. There is now support for the "Non Combat (Combat Support) MOS's that is covered on the listed page.
If you are concerned about having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PLEASE contact your nearest Vet center, go to "Sick Call", or talk to your Chaplain for directions for help.
Included within this page is a general overview of types of treatments and medications used to treat PTSD. NOT all treatments are best for me nor would they be right for you, but the answer (In General) is that PTSD will NEVER go away they can only treat it and educate you of its effects so we can handle it better.
I have been asked by friends, many times, about veterans or friends that lost someone during the Vietnam war, I have found the following site very helpful. This is a site that list those personnel that lost their lives and is listed or searched by date or name.
If you would like to look up someone please visit The Virtual Wall
If you suspect that you have PTSD, gathering all the information you can about the related symptoms is good preparation. Here is a useful site with a great deal of information for you!
Signs of Depression
Site by PTSD Support Services, Woodland Park CO: |