What Does PTSD Look Like?

January 31, 2007

This is part 2 in my PTSD Series. I hope that everyone finds it informative and will be able to use the information to help themselves if suffering from this disorder, or can use the information to help a loved one or accquaintance.

The first thing that people need to understand about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is that it’s NOT a mental illness. Instead, PTSD is the normal human reaction to an extreme stressor or series of stressors that occurs in a person’s life. It’s vital both for the person suffering from PTSD, as well as the people in their lives to understand and recognize the signs of PTSD. If family members, friends and employers can recognize these signs and be able to give them the support, understanding, acceptance and the help that they need, then this person is much more likely to overcome the effects of PTSD and be able to return to a normal and functional life.

So, what exactly does PTSD look like? What can the person suffering from this sometimes debilitating disorder and those closest to them watch for? Many of these signs and symptoms will of course be very familiar, others not so familiar. We’ll address some of few specific ways that PTSD can have negative implications on a person’s life.

Symptoms of PTSD

Cynicism or distrust of authority figures
Anger, sudden outbursts of rage
Isolation and Avoidance
Insomnia or sleep disturbances
Inability to concentrate
Psychological or emotional numbing
Memory impairment
Emotional constriction
Hypersensitivity to perceived injustices
Loss of interest in work and other activities
Problems with intimate relationships
Hyper-alertness and hyper-arousal
Avoidance of activities that might remind them of the traumatic event
Emotional distancing from loved ones
Suicidal feelings and thoughts
Flashbacks to the traumatic event or intrusive thoughts about the incident
Self-deceiving and self-punishing behaviors
Unrealistic fantasies of retaliation or destruction
Suddenly taking part in high risk behaviors, employment and activities

(Taken from the book “Down Range: To Iraq and Back” by Bridget C. Cantrell, PhD & Chuck Dean)

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More New Features

January 31, 2007

Anthony and I have several ideas that we’re working on, for different stories.  We’ll keep you updated as things develop.  So, stay tuned for some new stuff……

 [Update] As you’ve noticed, one of the new features will be articles on the various ways that our troops our helping to Rebuild Iraq.  I hope these articles will be enlightening and informational to everyone and help them to see from a broader perspective, what’s taking place in Iraq.  Terri

New features…

January 30, 2007

Very soon A Soldier’s Mind will begin conducting interviews with Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors.  These interviews will be conducted with the troops downrange, allowing us to hear directly from them what is going on and how they feel.  I hope to be conducted the first interview within the next few weeks.  Stick around for more details.

Troops Tired of Hearing “I support the troops but not the war” Speak Out

January 30, 2007

Matt over at Blackfive posted about a link to a video that was shown on NBC, under the thread “Support The Troops? Then Support Us All The Way!” about how people saying that they “support the troops, but not the war” affects them and their morale. This video says it all, right from the mouths of the troops themselves. I’ve said all along that I don’t understand how someone thinks by saying this that they’re showing support for the troops. It’s obvious that the troops themselves feel the same way. I’ll include the link to the video here as well.
QandO and NBC

I fully agree with what these soldiers are saying. It’s not enough to just say “I Support The Troops” or to put a magnet on the bumper of your car that says “Support The Troops”. We need to SHOW these men and women that we’re behind them 100%, with our ACTIONS, not just our words. I can imagine how demoralizing it is to these men and women, to take a break from the fight, turn on the television to watch some news for that “little piece of home” and to see something splashed across the television screen about the war protest in Washington DC over the weekend. How seeing something like that would make them feel that America has forgotten them and doesn’t give a damn about them and the job they’re doing. In their position, I’d probably feel the same way.

My challenge to everyone, those who support the war and even those say that they support the troops but not the war, is this:
Get involved in one of the many troop support organizations out there, which you can find at America Supports You. Write to the troops and show them your support. Send them care packages. Visit the wounded troops at Walter Reed, Brooke Army Medical Center, Bethesda and VA hospitals across the country. When you see a soldier, go up to him or her, shake their hand and tell them Thank You for your sacrifices. REALLY show them that you care, by your actions, not just your words. That’s my challenge to EACH and EVERY one of you.  In other words, let’s put our money where our mouth is!

New State Of The Art Rehabilitation Center Opens At Fort Sam Houston, Tx.

January 29, 2007

This is fantastic news for our Wounded Warriors, many whom, until now recouperated from their injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington DC, far away from family and loved ones.  The opening of this state of the art rehabilitation center allows those who live far away from Washington DC the chance to be closer to home and makes it easier for their families and friends to be there with them during their recouperation.  What’s amazing is that this facility was built solely from the private donations to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.  Actor Denzel Washington is said to have made a sizeable donation to the cause. 

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Jan. 29, 2007 - Thanks to the generosity of
600,000 Americans, wounded warriors now have a $50 million
state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation facility.

The Center for the Intrepid, designed for servicemembers wounded in
operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, opened here today along
with two new Fisher Houses during a ceremony that included speeches from
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace and Deputy
Secretary of Defense Gordon England. R. James Nicholson, secretary of
the Department of Veterans Affairs also spoke at the ceremony.

The Fisher Houses are built on or near military facilities to allow the families of the Wounded Warriors to be present as their loved one recouperates from their injuries and serves as a home away from home for them. Two new Fisher Houses were built at Fort Sam Houston as well, bringing the total on that installation to four.

Both the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Fisher House Foundation,
which makes the Fisher Houses possible, are members of the Defense
Department’s America Supports You program. The program works to highlight
ways in which Americans support U.S. troops, veterans and their families.

The environment comprises a dome with a 4-meter platform and screen,
simulating everything from a city sidewalk to a day on the lake so
patients can improve their gait and balancing skills. The unit is one of nine
in the world, and it is the only one in the United States.

I think it’s fantastic and is a testament to the fact that America DOES in fact support our Wounded Warriors.

You can read the entire article here
Defense Link

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; What Is It?

January 28, 2007

[Note] This is the first in what will be a weekly series about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the symptoms, it’s affect on our troops and their families, innovations and reasearch into this disorder and what can be done to help a person recover from it’s effects.

What exactly is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that often develops after a traumatic or terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Many types of traumatic events can cause or trigger PTSD reactions, such as violent personal assaults, natural or human caused disasters, accidents or military combat. The person who experiences PTSD may have been a person who was harmed in some manner, the harm may have occurred to a loved one, or they may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to a loved one or a stranger. PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to military veterans who had participated in combat, however, PTSD can occur in anyone as a result of traumatic events such as muggings, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held hostage, child abuse, domestic violence, automobile accidents, train accidents, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or tornados.

Not everyone experiencing a traumatic event will develop the symptoms of PTSD. Some may experience only mild symptoms, while others will experience severe symptoms. The symptoms of PTSD generally begin to manifest themselves within approximately 3 months of the traumatic event, though in some cases, the symptoms don’t begin to appear until years afterwards. The course that PTSD takes, varies from person to person. Some people will recover from the symptoms within a few months, while others will have symptoms that are of a much longer duration, possibly even lasting their entire lifetime, if left untreated. In some people, if not treated, the condition can become chronic.

PTSD affects people in all spectrums, not bounded by race, sex or age. In the United States today, approximately 7.7 million adults are affected by the symptoms of PTSD. PTSD however, can occur at any age, even childhood. Women are more likely than men to suffer from PTSD and there has been some research suggesting that PTSD can run in families. PTSD is very real and it’s symptoms can be so devastating, that it can affect the quality of life of the person suffering from it, as well as their family and friends.

Next week, I’ll detail the common signs and symptoms of PTSD.

As If Our Troops Don’t Have Enough To Worry About

January 27, 2007

ABC News is reporting that the Pentagon will soon be releasing evidence that Iran is and has been providing deadly weapons to insurgents in Iraq. This comes the day before Anti-War Protestors joined by several congressional figures and celebrities, including the infamous Hanoi Jane held an anti-war rally in Washington DC.

ABC News has learned the weapons include efps, explosively formed pentrators that can cut through the strongest armor.

This information comes as Washington is ratcheting up the pressure against the Middle East nation.

An official told ABC News that the administration is aggressively pursuing a “capture or kill” policy toward Iranians aiding the Iraqi insurgency.

“It makes sense that if somebody is trying to harm our troops or stop us from achieving our goal or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them,” Bush said.

So not only do our troops have to worry about the Iranians bringing deadly weapons into Iraq and arming the insurgents, but they also have to worry about whether they’re going to get the much needed support in order to complete their job in Iraq. To me, this sends a clear message not only to our troops but to the insurgency in Iraq. From where I’m sitting that message is, if we don’t follow through with the plans to reinforce the troops in Iraq and stop the insurgents, that the US is not going to keep their promises and that instead we’re going to cut and run. I know that’s NOT what the majority of the troops want. What they want is to be able to do their jobs the way they’re supposed to do their jobs, finish the job they were given and come home. It’s a shame that the desire for power that these people have is allowed to supersede the desire to do what’s right……. finish what we started.

Self Introduction

January 27, 2007

Since I’ve already posted a few articles and haven’t introduced myself, I figure that I’d better do that.    Some of you already know me from my posts on a couple blogs.  My name is Terri, and I live in the Fort Hood, Texas area.  I work on Fort Hood as a Victim Advocate and have been involved in various military support efforts since 2000.   I’m the girlfriend of a currently deployed 1st Cav Soldier and the mother of a Texas National Guard Soldier.   My passion is doing everything I can to support our troops and letting them know how much the job they do and the sacrifices they make, is appreciated.  I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and am open to story ideas.  Because of my work as a Victim Advocate, I see a lot of situations directly caused by the effects of PTSD as it affects our troops.  So, I’m going to be starting a weekly series of articles on PTSD, what it is, innovations in treatment both in the military sector and outside the scope of the military and places where our troops can turn to for help.  This is a very real problem due to the traumatic things our troops and civilian contractors in the war zone are experiencing and it’s something that needs to continue to be addressed.

A small request…

January 27, 2007

Dear Mother Nature,

I would like to start the letter by thanking you for all the wonderful weather you have blessed us with in the past three years I’ve lived in Colorado. The comfortable summers, beautiful falls, the previously mild winters, and warm springs are all wonderfull. However, I feel I have offended you in some way and would like to appologize. I have taken for granted how great this state can be, and I did not mean to hurt your feelings.

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Bloggers Speak Out

January 26, 2007

If you’re online and want to hear what our Mil Bloggers think, go to Blog Talk Radio and listen to what CJ from and Uncle Jimbo from Blackfive have to say.

 [Update] Well CJ was interviewed and did a fine job.  Uncle Jimbo was rather tardy and didn’t show until the very last 5 minutes.  I’m sure CJ isn’t going to let him live that one down! 

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