PTSD is brutal
Those of us who suffer from it often morphs into another person just to deal with the demons in our head. Some hide by purposely not disclosing anything about the incident(s) or events, even to spouses or significant others. Some lie when asked. I usually do. When people ask me about my childhood I answer with what they expect to hear ~ “it was good” when in reality it was a nightmare full of horrors. Many of us compartmentalize by locking the trauma behind a closed door. For many men and women who’ve been through war, the battles continue long after the guns go silent. Sadly, their pain is often compounded by a VA system that is rife with problems and at best, difficult to navigate. Often the wait time is 60 days if not longer. A person who served our country in war should not return home only to do battle with the government agency that is supposed to be their lifeline. Many have a revolving door of therapists which in my opinion prevents the formation of that important bond, the continuity which is an integral component in the healing process. I’ve spoken to veterans that have had to “prove” to the VA that their brains are somehow hardwired differently now after returning from war. Why? Who knows why some engage in battle and return unscathed by the sound of gunfire, bombs, and smell of death while others are profoundly affected.
I’ve blogged in the past about the constant almost year-round gunfire in the Western Mountains of Maine. Coupled with the firecrackers/fireworks from late spring to November, someone could go bonkers, especially a war veteran who is triggered by the unexpected sound of gunfire. In my July 4, 2016, post called Caution! Major Whine Around The Corner… I ranted how the never-ending firecrackers and sound of gunshots disrupt our lives to the point where I’ve decided to list my house next spring. Shortly after I posted that I had a chance conversation with a man I know slightly from living down the road. He used to wave at me and The Germs whenever we walked by. We were at the dump of all places and I was still ranting about the incessant noise that emanates from our mountains. I learned he was a Vietnam veteran and suffers from PTSD. He told me he’d tried everything but because the gunshots and firecrackers are on any given day, there’s no way to avoid them. Knowing the noise was worse in the warmer months I asked if turning on the AC worked but he didn’t have one. We don’t really need them because of being in the mountains and the ones I’d brought with me when I moved didn’t fit my windows as I have casements. I did, however, buy one that would fit just to block the noise out. The next day we took one of our older ones down (he doesn’t have casement windows) and offered it to him. He was reluctant but after I explained it was just sitting there and really would help, he accepted it. For a military veteran, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be subjected to unexpected random noise like that. I read where many veterans with PTSD place signs in their yards:
I’m not sure there’s a specific scientific reason, empirical evidence that can answer that question. And honestly, why should they have to prove themselves? PTSD has been accepted as a valid and legitimate medical diagnosis. Yet every day many veterans fight not only the demons in their head but the inane bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration, a government branch that was created to help our returning heroes, not treat them as second-class citizens. They gave their all; is this really the best America has to offer in return?
For more information about PTSD and veterans, please visit these sights: