The Never-Ending Loop

Writing helps my mood, and it does so in a way that nothing else comes close. Well, there is one other thing that boosts my outlook on everything, but that is so obvious I don’t want to bring it into the algorithm. With writing, my fingers begin. I guess that happens with the other thing too… Oh. Writing. Yeah. With writing, even if there is no thought behind the fingers tapping. My mind focuses, things become clear, and before I even take a swig of coffee I have a mood enhancer.

Holy shit. No wonder I like writing so much. I just realized that … Uh, nevermind.

For the past months, I re-posted the PTSD items that came my way on Facebook. I did so because we as a society need to take a strong look at it. Let me set things straight. I do not have PTSD myself. My goal has been to raise the awareness level of it in those I interact with – my friends and brethren. I wish the way to fix this insidious disorder was as easy as fixing my mood by, uh, writing.

I will tell you that the Veteran’s Administration has come a long way in the treatment of mental health. I know this to be true. It’s a fact of which I have first-hand knowledge. Thirty-five years ago mental health would have listened carefully, then patted you on the ass and said, “Go get ’em, Buddy.” and then they sent you out the door.

Today the VA lives in the Twenty-First Century. They have systematically pulled themselves up out of the mire and now work diligently to help those that need their support and expertise. How do I know this? Because I have regular appointments with a VA counselor. Yes I know I said I don’t have PTSD.

Here’s the scoop. All patients of VA counselors don’t have to have PTSD, just like all people that suffer from PTSD are not, and don’t have to be veterans. Extreme trauma can happen in civilian life too, there happens to be more veterans. But that isn’t new to anyone. Is it? Perhaps you had to think about it. I mean, could that be one of the reasons awareness needs raising?

You know, I’ve seen people laugh at someone who has PTSD. What kind of shit is that? People who actually laugh at someone who has a disorder kicked off by trauma. Yet, we have people who behave in such a moronically small way that they either do not believe in PTSD or think most of the people with it fake the symptoms. I wonder, how many of these sceptics belong to that portion of society that has not contributed much?

PTSD does not come about by simply stubbing ones toe, not even by tearing the toenail off. While those things may be a little traumatic, that’s not near traumatic enough for the diagnosis. What we’re talking about here is much worse. So much so that the word trauma doesn’t quite fit. What we ordinarily think of as trauma is too tame.

If you recall from the movie, Patton, when Lieutenant General Patton addresses his speech about how a soldier is to know what to do in battle, and he tells them about sticking their hand in a bunch of goo that moments before was their best friends face, they will know what to do. That’s the magnitude of what we’re talking, albeit on the lower end of the scale. They get more horrific than that.

How many of you have lined up soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines and had them walk a line while searching for body parts to put on ice in order to reattach them?

The people who suffer from this disorder are people who lived through seeing their friends and loved ones slaughtered in the most savage and graphic ways. What these people lived through was not like watching Game of Thrones from the recliner. This had texture to it with smells, tactile touch, and even tasting the air with its gunpowder propellant riding high in it, all the dust carrying drops of blood with the smell of shit, piss, and vomit infused into the air.

Pretty yucky, isn’t it?

So just because you may think you can handle a little bit of stress, and because of that, you would be impervious to the effects of PTSD, you are wrong. You haven’t a clue. You may look down on the ones that suffer from the disorder because you think they are wimps for succumbing to a little stress. If that is what you think, then you need to stop living in your fantasy world. The people who suffer from PTSD have lived through, and still live in, the worst of hells. What they witnessed still lives on in their mind, playing on a never-ending loop, and is so horrendous that they find it next to impossible to talk about it.

Personally, I think Robert Heinlein had it on point in his book Starship Troopers. In it, nobody becomes a citizen until they served society for two years. They didn’t have to serve in the infantry necessarily. In the book, as in the world we live in, there were a whole bunch more things that needed doing – entry levels at the police, state, and federal governments. Let us not forget sanitation, workers to keep all of our infrastructure going and repaired. There are all those little things that society needs to have in order to thrive. They could serve the society in the way best suited to them. Then only after the two years they were then eligible to become voting citizens.

Anyway, the point is the people who become citizens must demonstrate a willingness to serve, and actually care about, our society.

Perhaps voting citizenry would favor the kind of development more likely to understand the unique problems associated with PTSD. I believe it would rocket to the forefront of research. PTSD is truly there, and it needs addressing. The VA has made a start, a great start, but there is much more needed to treat those who lived instead of being destroyed. But now, that life continually haunts them and in many cases the very memory of living kills them.

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