Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was searching, like I often do, for any new information on PTSD. If you’ve read any of my older posts you know that deal with PTSD. But, although my time in the Army contributed to my current state, there were other contributors as well. Traumatic experiences for me, and many, started in childhood.
Now, on to my point. In my web search I came across a message board on one of the hundreds of PTSD sites that have sprung up lately. One of the first posts was a very long and venomous post from an Iraq war veteran. It is apparently his belief that ptsd only exists in military members that have been in a combat zone and have seen people die. By looking at the comments, he was not alone in his beliefs. Other apparent veterans had commented with their approval of his post. Let me be clear, that this was not a friendly, this is how I feel post. This was a “anybody that wasn’t in the Gulf region and claims to have PTSD is worthless and a liar” post.
I tried to comment on the thread, but it had been closed to any further comments. So, I’ll put my opinion here.
First, yes, war is horrible and it’s unfair that anyone should be sent to a foreign country and come back changed. Never to be the same.
Now, on to my point. I have diagnosed with PTSD three or so years ago. I was in the Army, but not in a declared combat zone. So, why do I have ptsd then, if I wasn’t in a war? Because wars do not just happen on foreign grounds. Wars are taking place in violent and abusive homes everyday. Is it hard to watch a friend get killed in combat? I can only imagine. Is it hard to know when the next beating will come and from where and why? That I can attest to. Yes, it is hard. Is it hard to watch you mother be abused in various ways and be too small to help? Yep, it sucks. Is it hard to be sent out on an unknown stateside mission in the early morning hours only to find yourself knee deep in a swamp picking up body parts for the next week. Yep, I was there, not fun.
So, if you are a veteran that was in a foreign war, I thank you for your service and I’m truly sorry that you have seen the things you’ve seen and that you came home changed. But, before you jump onto some type of PTSD pedestal and accuse others of being fakers or human trash, you may want to educate yourself on more than what you read in a VA pamphlet or what your battle buddy said he heard from this other guy that went to the VA. Do some online searching for statistics on PTSD and who can be diagnosed with it.