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Disagreeing with a post-PTSD

Disagreeing with a post- PTSD

After my blog yesterday I received quite a few name calling responses from people who don’t agree with me.  This is such a shame because it immediately puts people into their chosen corners.   Many, who are reluctant to take a position because they are tired of personal attacks that they might receive.   You see, it doesn’t matter what side of any debate you take there are always some on the other side who are just as sure that you are wrong that they are quick to jump on you and usually it begins not with a cogent opinion or argument but instead, “You are an idiot” or something similar.  This is a tip that I believe will allow for more of an intelligent discussion rather then a missile lob from one side followed by n equal and opposite lob from the other.

This is one of the reasons that I have had to read each post submitted before I enter it.  I don’t care what anyone says about themselves, or any of their own personal experiences but I do not want to have anyone attack what anyone else says about themselves.  I know personally that it is immensely hard to bare your soul only to hear feedback from someone saying something derogatory, or worse, something they think is amusing but is mean spirited.  I love hearing supportive comments which, I feel, encourages additional opening up.  PTSD sufferers may have been in the closet for a long time and a lame comment to them at the wrong time does nothing but drive them back into hiding.  I know that some of these people thing that what they say is humorous but honestly most are just not that funny.

I’ve gotten so far down the road with my own admissions that, though I’m not happy to hear the derogative things, I’m not crushed by them.  I simply wish people would try and say their point of view without the name calling.  Your experiences are different then mine and mine different than yours.  Because you don’t or won’t understand doesn’t mean that either of our experiences are wrong.  I’m telling my truths at this sight.  These posts are mine alone and they are intended to help others open up and let the light shine in.  They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant.  When you are ready please come and share yourself with others www.beyondptsd.org is our web site.  There are lots of things to read and comment on. This could be an easy way for you to get started on your own path to healing.  PTSD is a formidable enemy and we are here to support you any way that we can.  If there is something that you feel could be beneficial to everyone please share it.  I truly believe that we as a group holds some of the keys to solving the PTSD puzzle.

Hate, Hate, Hate PTSD

Hate, Hate, Hate
I sometimes look at things and try to break it down into its simplest parts so as to understand it better. This is like a binary code where everything is a series of yes, no or “0” or “1” numbers. So, everything becomes a series of opposites. Love/ Hate, War/ Peace, Acceptance/ Bigotry, Science/ Religion, and so forth. Unfortunately, emotions are hard to calculate since they are influenced by the beholder. Having PTSD or Moral Injuries, further clouds the water since judgement is influenced by our own experiences.
After many years of trying to self-analyze myself, I’ve come to know myself better which may be the only positive that has come out of my PTSD experience. (I would recommend it to others too since it allows growth). When I do something that seems to be out of character for me, I still write it down and try to figure out why? This continues even up to today, and I attempt to understand not only what I’m feeling but why I’m feeling it? I think more people should do this instead of jumping to a side and staying there even when in their hearts they know they are wrong. My saying is, it is never too late to do the right thing.
The mass murder in Orlando, Florida is an example of my thought process. I tried to figure out exactly what I was feeling about it and why others have come to diametrically opposite conclusions from my own. Just as in other mass shootings I see basically the same two sides starting to enlist their teams. One side wants to blame it on too many guns, the other on not enough guns. Obviously both sides cannot be right. Whenever something like this occurs, I try to look to the logical conclusions if both sides had their way. Therefore, one side would have no guns and the other would have everyone carrying multiple guns. This is absurd to think about because it couldn’t possible happen. Our Constitution allows people to bear arms with a regulated militia so we couldn’t take guns away since the Constitution grants them. Hunters, target practice people, even those who chose to defend themselves have a voice in this and their side has some compelling arguments. The opposite side look at their personal situations and their fear that left unregulated life becomes more perilous. Their side must be attended to, as well. 
The question then is, “Can we not agree on someplace that we can come together where each side has to give and take a bit? There are some questions that can not have a definitive answer. Does asking for a slight change in the existing law immediately mean that those asking for some relief want to get rid of the 2nd Amendment? Is there not some sensible mid-ground that isn’t so politically charged?
The second part of my thinking was the obvious choice of the shooter to choose a gay bar to do his killings. I hope that this was not a purposeful choice but there have to be many more straight bars than gay bars so this might have been his target. I’m using some deductive reasoning on this issue since I am no surer about of the answer than the next guy. 
What is it about LBGT that gets straight people so upset? I certainly don’t get it. None of them have ever hurt me. Since they’ve been legally allowed to be married I haven’t felt that my marriage has been harmed. I don’t see where Heterosexuals have a lock on a happy marriage since the divorce rate is over 50%. LGBT people seem to be what would be referred to as “Normal” to me.
I know there is a Religious argument in here and I’ve said many times in this blog I am not a very religious person. Apparently, there is a passage in the Bible that condemns Homosexuality. Again, what the passage or verse is I couldn’t tell you, but there is also a passage in the Bible that says that God made man in his own image. Nowhere in the Bible, I’d be willing to bet, does it say that someone else created the homosexuals. Does this not mean that God made homosexuals too? Since the New Testament talks more about love than retribution. Does this not seem incongruous for those who claim to be religious, that we should not love someone just because they are different? Does God not want us to love one another? Instead in some alternate Universe he wishes us to kill others that we don’t care about? Nowhere in my wildest imagination can I see a World where someone’s God would want anyone to enter a nightclub and kill 49 homosexuals.
These are 2 of the issues I’ve been thinking about. Now about my PTSD. Because of my disaffection for War and killing, I am so saddened by this mass murder and every mass murder inclusively. Muhammed Ali said it clearly when he refused to go and fight in Vietnam. He said something like, “I refuse to go to some foreign land and kill dark skinned people just because my Country orders it”. Honestly, looking back on it I wish I could have mustered up the courage to have resisted the draft too.
I am against hate and violence and have attempted to always look for a possible peaceful solution instead of the opposite. I hate candidates who are constantly playing on the frailties of people to stir them up with rhetoric that is so divisive. “Build a wall, Ban all Muslims, Too many immigrants, Women are Pigs”. I just am against Hate. Are we not the UNITED States of America? Doesn’t the Constitution say ALL MEN are created equal? The Statue of Liberty proclaims, “Give us your Tired and poor and huddled masses yearning to be free”. Is this just a saying or do we believe it? Do these solid rocks on which have created this wonderful Country only apply to the certain ones that someone decides are deserving? Or is it like George Orwell said, “All men are created equal it’s just that some are more equal than others.”
I received a post from an old High School pal who said, “I’m 75 years old and I only want to sit back and let the young people figure it out and frankly you should too”. I’m sorry for his position, I’m really saddened by it. I refuse to allow things to happen around me that I disagree with and choose to sit it out and let others make the choices for me. Our voices must be heard. Being silent is sometimes a tacit agreement. Whoever said that we “should never speak about Religion or Politics” was not speaking to me. I know I’ll be criticized for talking Politics at this site and “what does this have to do with PTSD?” My answer is that this current situation, where everything is divisive, stirs up my PTSD. I don’t want to hate everyone who disagrees with me. I don’t want everything to be Hate, Hate, Hate. We should be able to disagree and still be friends.

PTSD Randomness of War

Randomness of War- PTSD

One of the things that I became acutely aware of while in Vietnam was the randomness of War.  There was a story that I heard in the first week after my arrival that made me aware of this fact.  I arrived in Vietnam at the tail end of the Tet offensive.  My entry station was Saigon and while signing in and getting ready for assignment I could hear gun fire still sounding off in several parts of the city.

According to the story I heard, there was someone killed in the compound one early evening after I arrived.  The story went on to say that one new arrival was sitting at a table in his room writing a letter home to someone.  An apparent random bullet entered not only the compound but also into his window and in its dying flight, struck the soldier in the back and still had enough force remaining to go through his body and lodged itself into his heart which killed him.  I don’t know if this was a true story or one that was being told to frighten us or make us more aware of dangers all around.

If this story was true, then it is a good example of the day to day angst that each of us were experiencing.  I tell people who ask, “What was it like to go through your tour?” I answer that during that year, I always knew how many days I had been in Vietnam and how many days I had remaining before I could return home.  There was always a list posted somewhere in our camp congratulating “short timers”, those who had less than a month remaining until departure.  This was good news for those who were leaving Vietnam.  For those with longer term requirements remaining, it was a constant reminder of the length of sentence still to endure.

I wonder how many outsiders realize that PTSD isn’t necessarily caused by one traumatic incident?  It can be gotten this way, but it can also be gotten by long term exposure to horrific situations, too.  One thing I strongly feel is that everyone has some level of PTSD tolerance which is tested throughout his year in Country.  Randomness is constantly shocking all who were in the same situation as I was in.  Of course, what your duty assignment was became a definite factor in your PTSD exposure, with some assignments offering more shocks to the system than others.  For example, if your MOS was as a file clerk you probably witnessed fewer atrocities then say a Ranger sloshing though rice patties.

I suppose that one of the things that I often think about was the story of the hiker that went out for a hike and somehow got himself lodged between two boulders and couldn’t dislodge his arm and eventually had to take a knife and cut his own arm off.  The point in my bringing this up   was that this hiker did not wake that fateful morning and think to himself, “I’m cutting off my arm today”.  No, he was as shocked by the situation as much as it was for those who read about it the next day.  These traumatic events just happen and for most, they simply think that those things happen to other people not to them.  I believe that this is one of the reasons that the military drafts and enlists teenagers.  Teenagers think they are invincible, and that nothing can happen to them.  Remember some 44,000 young men and women died in that senseless War.  That also doesn’t include the thousands more who were injured, maimed, and mangled only to return to a much different life then they had planned before entering the military.

It’s true that the Afghanistan and Iraq War has only killed under 5,000 United States forces but isn’t that alone a terrible thing to say?  ONLY 5,000,  as if this is somehow a good number.  Each of these military personnel had parents, or siblings, or friends and loved ones who will be changed forever.

I remember as a young boy, my next-door neighbor had a nephew visit.  We lived in a row home and this boy was there for only a few days, but I really liked him.  Though I was much younger, he impressed me, and I still can remember him jumping over my neighbor’s porch railing onto the sidewalk below.   It was the only time that I ever saw him and several years later my neighbor told me that he had been killed in the Korean War.  There was a song by Bette Midler called “Hello In There”, and there is a line in the song that says, “We lost Davy in the Korean War.  I don’t know what for.  Don’t matter anymore”.  The nephews name was also Dave and every time I hear this song, I think of this athletic teenager who never got to live his life, or to teach his son how to jump over the railing.    I don’t know what for, don’t matter anymore.

Letter from Follower PTSD

This is a letter from a follower. He suggested a technique that he received from his grandfather who also suffered from PTSD. I have never done anything like this ,myself but I;m for whatever works and so in that spirit I am sharing this with you. If you chose to try it and it works be sure to get back to us. Below is the letter.

“When I first realized I had a problem I tried talking to my parents. I didn’t
want to seem weak to my wife. My father is a Korean War Vet. His advice was to go seek help from a counselor. That didn’t work for me personally. I still had anger issues and nightmares. I started researching mental illnesses.  I thought I was going crazy. I found articles on Vets that suffered shell shock from WWII.

My Grandfather was in WWII so I spent the day with him talking about his war and mine. I learned from him the way to treat myself. He told me he suffered from PTSD too. He gave me encouraging ideas to calm my soul. For my nightmares he told me to take control of my dreams. Become an active participant and change the situation to my liking. I couldn’t believe someone could do that, but you can. I did it. I began small. I learned, or taught myself to do it. I changed the monsters into something else, so to speak. Changed a horrible scene into an open restaurant having dinner with my battle buddies.

I know this sounds stupid, or impossible. I can’t say anyone else has done this. I don’t know. But what I do know is this changed my attitude while I was awake. Yes, the triggers outside in the city still affected me. But I’ve learned over time to settle my mind down. We learn from training to stay calm in battle. This also goes for civilian life as well. Train for calm. I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you.  It’s like the list of things to go over for an addict, or alcoholics. You just do it day by day. It’s easier said than done. Find that something that makes you happy or calm and go there in your mind. This is one man’s opinion. It’s helped me for 20 years now.
Please keep my name anonymous.  Thank you. “

Start writing or type /

That was the letter.

Eddie Routh

Eddie Ray Routh-PTSD

Does the name Eddie Ray Routh ring a bell? No, I thought not. But what if I say Chris Kyle?  Most all of us might recognize Chris as the American Sniper, the “Devil of Ramadi” the hero Clint Eastwood immortalized in his film, “The Sniper” .

Who is Eddie Ray Routh of this same story? Give up? He is the poor soul who was so tormented with his PTSD that he felt convinced enough that he had to murder Chris Kyle at that fateful gun range. He was the period at the end of the American Sniper’s life.

My fear today is that there are going to be many others like Eddie Ray Routh wandering the Country after they return home from their tours of duty. These poor GIs may have nowhere to go to ease their PTSD feelings that they have planted in themselves after leaving Afghanistan and Iraq. I hope that some, if not all, will find their way to the Military PTSD Forum to find a healthier outlet for their feelings instead of violence.  Posting is free and every day there are more here who either can sympathize or provide some needed support.

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