Army ROTC cadets on a field training exercise

Army ROTC cadets on a field training exercise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy with PTSD to just not leave the house.  It’s safer at home.  Things are mostly under my control at home, at least it feels that way.  But, just because it’s easy doesn’t make it healthy.  From what I’ve studied, PTSD may be a more permanent thing depending on a few circumstances.  That being said, you and I may have to suck it up and learn to deal with it.  That may sound harsh, but it is what it is.  And there is a way to deal.

Military members may be familiar with the abbreviation, FTX.  It stands for field training exercise.  It’s when a military unit will go to the field to practice and train on those skills that they need to survive and do their job in the woods, desert, etc.

My version of an FTX now is to go out when I don’t want to.  Take a trip when I don’t want to.  Go into those areas that tend to create PTSD symptoms when I don’t want to.  Let me make a note that I always do these trips with a safe out.  I don’t force myself into situations with no escape.

My wife travels extensively for work and I occasionally travel with her.  These are good opportunities for a PTSD FTX for me.  They are times when I can practice my various coping techniques.  I can also practice recognizing those times when I need to remove myself from a situation or take spot treatment medication.   For example, being in an unfamiliar place can create PTSD symptoms.  I.e. confusion, trouble with concentration, forgetting what hotel room I’m in, etc.  My FTX’s don’t necessarily fix these symptoms, but they give me an opportunity to practice those things I’ve learned to cope or compensate for the affects of PTSD.

Things like recognizing when my brain and body are headed into alert mode, using tools to remember what hotel room I’m in, exposing myself to small crowds in a controlled way, etc.  Doing these things don’t do away with PTSD.  They simply help me train to live in a new way.  With enough practice I am learning to recognize the onset of PTSD symptoms and then have the ability to respond in a timely manner.


3 comments on “Take a PTSD FTX

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