Monday, September 12, 2011

Third deployment tip of the suicide spear?

Dr. Jobes said, "the third deployment is the tipping point after which things begin to fall apart" and this makes a lot of sense. For over thirty years researchers discovered that one out of three exposed to trauma develop some level of PTSD. Sending them back into combat for a third time wipes out the chance of walking away.

Living in Florida we get a lot of thunderstorms. These are pretty powerful storms with a lot of lightening. Imagine having to take your dog out during one of them and then imagine seeing a lightening bolt strike the ground near you. A fear would come over you every time you walked out the door growing stronger with each and every other close call. You manage to relax as long as there isn't a thunderstorm overhead but the next time, every nerve in your body is on edge.

When they deploy into combat, that have that feeling of dread. They live on the edge for the entire time they are deployed. When they get to go back home, they believe they can pick up where they left off, relaxing out of danger.

Some come home with juvenile case of PTSD. Symptoms are mild at that point and leaves them with the impression they will just "get over it" and everything will be fine as they battle the nightmares, block out the flashbacks and numb their jumping nerves. But PTSD manages to grow up fast as life happens and other events feed it. It grows stronger and they have to fight harder to stop it. Somedays they win. Most days they lose especially with the news coming they will be sent back again. The second time heading home they wonder more about how they managed to survive. The juvenile PTSD they came home with the last time has grown up to be a six foot teenage bully hell bent on causing as much havoc as possible. This level of PTSD begins to use guilt against them making them believe they have become evil. By the third time sent back PTSD has grown into an adult taking over the whole neighborhood of the "man/woman" while gaining strength from every event that happens that trip back.

State's high suicide rate traumatizes
By Melinda Moore and Julie Cerel
Posted: 12:00am on Sep 11, 2011
All summer long, we've seen tragic stories strewn across the headlines and news broadcasts of anguished Kentuckians dying by their own hands.

There was the young politician, the parishioner outside the Catholic Church, and the elderly gentleman who refused help as he drove his car into the Kentucky River.

Each of these stories represents a tragic and often preventable form of death: suicide.

Sept. 10 of every year has been declared World Suicide Prevention Day, but for those of us who research and take care of suicidal individuals it is an issue that we think about every day.

Dr. David Jobes, a clinical psychologist and suicide expert who recently spoke at a Veterans Affairs conference in Louisville, said "the third deployment is the tipping point after which things begin to fall apart." Clinical psychologist and suicide expert Thomas Joiner, who also spoke in Louisville, proffers a theory that explains why individuals who feel like a burden to their loved ones and lack a sense of belonging to their community are especially vulnerable. This tendency is compounded when those who witness injury routinely and have developed fearlessness toward violence and harm may be at even higher risk for suicide.

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