Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Suicide Awareness, I'm Glad They're Gone

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 5, 2017

This is something I struggled with all day. Every time I put one of these articles up, I lose readers. Frankly, if this article hurts someone's feelings, that makes me feel as if all this anguish was well spent. Considering the folks seeking instant gratification using a slogan and bending the ear of any reporter looking for an easy feel good story are posting selfies all over Facebook, I just don't have time for their pain. I'd rather spend my time on veterans getting out of pain.

Gee, I wonder how many people just read the headline and got offended? After all, it is always about them. Isn't it? It sure as hell isn't about the veterans they talk about while guessing at how many commit suicide everyday.

The most stunning thing of all is when in 2012 when the famous suicide number of "22 a day" was plastered on every website, these aware folks didn't notice the other number of "21" referring to the limited data from just 21 states and not the rest of the country. They didn't read the report or they would have seen the fact that it was 20 a day back in 1999.

But in 2016 when the VA did a larger report with yet again "20 a day" these yahoos didn't read that one either or change the slogan they had grown so fond of using. WTF! Yes, dear reader we know the difference and frankly, I'll be glad to see even more of them go off on their merry way. After all, there are walks to take and pushups to do along with interviews to get their pictures in the paper instead of having to take selfies for Facebook!

Ok, that's out of my system. Well, kind of. The Big Lie is that too many facts keep getting buried, so I made sure this was not covered over and put it all out there.

Today I read three articles that set me off. I know, usually there are many more of them and if you follow on Google+ you're used to it. Don't worry, I promise at the end of this, you'll feel better knowing how you actually can make a difference in helping a veteran stay alive. After all, they already know how to die. It's time to help them figure out how to stay alive after surviving combat.

Secondary PTSD is one thing they probably cannot even pronounce and wouldn't recognize it if it dropped and gave them 20...excuse me...22.

West Hants family struggles with father’s PTSD
Derek Miller left the military in late 2015 after serving as an air and naval flight steward, having begun his career in the army.

While he wasn’t in combat, his unit assisted people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haitian earthquake, which left at least 100,000 people dead.

He witnessed people and animals starving to death and also had to transport the bodies of dead service members home, which caused his PTSD.

His wife, Sheri, described Derek’s experiences as “a lot of suffering.”

Back home in West Hants, Derek’s PTSD manifests itself with irritability and repeated angry outbursts directed at both Myra and Sheri, but he has never been physically violent.

For years, Myra did not understand why her father was so often angry, and only learned a month ago that he was struggling with PTSD stemming from his military service.

As a result of her father’s outbursts, she too has also developed anxiety and recently attempted suicide by making a noose to hang herself. Luckily, Myra’s friend managed to stop her from killing herself by calling 911. (please click the link and read the rest of this)
If you live with PTSD in your house, you know all this first hand. You know how it destroys someone you love as much as it eats you away in tiny little bites. If you know what it is enough, you know as much as they need help, you do too. That we, families, are also left behind and forgotten about leaves a bitter taste of betrayal to read our pain being turned into a slogan masquerading as care when they didn't even care enough to read the damn report in the first place.

Here is another story about the wife of a Vietnam veteran left behind...

Bernetta Hutchinson woke up in the Forest Springs neighborhood home she shared with her husband Terry. Wandering sleepily out to the living room, she found a note on the table. It began, “Bernetta, I am sorry. Call the VA.”As she finished the short note, she went to their grown daughter’s bedroom, fell to her knees and prayed she was misinterpreting the suicide note; that somehow her husband was still alive.And then, Hutchinson said, God guided her out the door and 50 yards into the redwood forest behind their home where she found her husband of 29 years, 7 months seated against a tree with his head bowed.The 67-year-old Vietnam Veteran had shot and killed himself with a Glock handgun, becoming another casualty of the United States’ ongoing inability to heal its warriors after they return from the battlefield.
The paragraph after this has my name on it and that was because I contacted the reporter on another story he did about firefighters doing 22 pushups. You know, like I always do when I suspect the reporter actually gave a damn but didn't have the facts. He listened and it mattered. A rare thing these days.

Here is another article I read earlier today and yes, another great job of telling a story that actually does matter.

From shell-shock to PTSD, a century of invisible war trauma
MaryCatherine McDonald (Old Dominion U), Marisa Brandt and Robyn Bluhm (Michigan State)

April 04, 2017

Electric treatments were prescribed in psychoneurotic cases post-WWI. Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine
(Photo: Custom)

In the wake of World War I, some veterans returned wounded, but not with obvious physical injuries. Instead, their symptoms were similar to those that had previously been associated with hysterical women – most commonly amnesia, or some kind of paralysis or inability to communicate with no clear physical cause. The Conversation

English physician Charles Myers, who wrote the first paper on “shell-shock” in 1915, theorized that these symptoms actually did stem from a physical injury. He posited that repetitive exposure to concussive blasts caused brain trauma that resulted in this strange grouping of symptoms. But once put to the test, his hypothesis didn’t hold up. There were plenty of veterans who had not been exposed to the concussive blasts of trench warfare, for example, who were still experiencing the symptoms of shell-shock. (And certainly not all veterans who had seen this kind of battle returned with symptoms.)

We now know that what these combat veterans were facing was likely what today we call post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. We are now better able to recognize it, and treatments have certainly advanced, but we still don’t have a full understanding of just what PTSD is.

The medical community and society at large are accustomed to looking for the most simple cause and cure for any given ailment. This results in a system where symptoms are discovered and cataloged and then matched with therapies that will alleviate them. Though this method works in many cases, for the past 100 years, PTSD has been resisting.

We are three scholars in the humanities who have individually studied PTSD – the framework through which people conceptualize it, the ways researchers investigate it, the therapies the medical community devises for it. Through our research, each of us has seen how the medical model alone fails to adequately account for the ever-changing nature of PTSD.

What’s been missing is a cohesive explanation of trauma that allows us to explain the various ways its symptoms have manifested over time and can differ in different people.
read more here

Yes, you read that right too. A hundred years ago. But then again, that isn't the end of this story. See, there are too many talking about what is wrong instead of what is right. This article may make you feel better knowing what a difference you can make. After all, I know doing this type of work, quietly, that you never read about, makes my day. Can't think of a better thing to do than help a veteran heal.

Veteran deaths account for 18% of U.S. suicides

Let’s Promote Hope members are trying to bring awareness to the enormity of the problem with suicide to small communities around Kansas. They believe part of the solution lies within the communities and neighborhoods where the veterans are living.“America won’t fix itself, and you can’t fix it from the top down,” he said. “You have to fix the small things first.”Simple acts like a smile to a neighbor, a conversation over the fence, even the old two-finger farmer’s wave can promote an environment of friendliness and caring, which in turn helps people not feel isolated and alone and give them hope. Lynch said he and his group definitely do not have all the answers and a lot is simply his opinion.“But we are trying,” he said. “Let’s make each other laugh, let’s make sure when they do something right they understand what they did right. Let’s get together as communities again, let’s start celebrating what we have.”Neighbor looking after neighbor is the crux of building strong communities. Lynch thinks back to his time in the military where the mantra was “if you want to survive, you have to take care of the person to you left and your right. It is never about you.”While many of the philosophies about suicide carry over from the civilian to the military populations, Lynch said there could be additional factors affecting veterans.“When someone takes their own life, they have lost hope. Ultimately, the pressures of the world have gotten the better of them and they lose hope; that is why we dedicate this to Let’s Promote Hope,” he said. 
Please read the rest of that article too. That is what Point Man International has been doing since 1984! Pretty sure that stuff works since I invested my life in doing it.

This video shows one of the most powerful stunts of all...and it is called giving hope their life doesn't have to suck.

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