Friday, July 22, 2016

Purple Heart For PTSD Veterans Debate Surfaces Again

For the last 34 years, over half my life, this has been my life. It is a place of my choosing since I did not go into the military. I was born into it. My Dad was a Korean War veteran and when I fell in love with a Vietnam veteran, I married into it. Felt natural to me back then since it was all I knew growing up with my uncles, all WWII veterans. What was not so familiar was the term "shell shock" older veteran used to explain what war does to some. It was known to have changed lives forever in one way or another. In our case it was the worst way for a while but after all these years, we are still together.

When I hear some say that veterans with PTSD do not deserve a Purple Heart, I can only conclude they simply do not even understand what the term actually means.

Post=After, Trauma=Wound, Stress=State of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances and Disorder=Out of order. 

In other words, things happened while your life was on the line and you got wounded to the point where your mind and body were stressed out and then everything got jumbled up.

Here's the thing though they don't tell you. After it, wounds heal and stress eases up with help and then things can be put back into some kind of order. Just like with everything else, not the same order they were in before, but differently. Just like you are not the cause of what war did to you and was out of your control, what you do afterwards is in your control.

It is a wound caused by an outside force that penetrated your skin and you can still feel the heat while your body was pushed to the limits of humanity. You can still smell the same things you had to suffer with back then, like diesel fuel. You can still hear the same sounds like machine guns, cannons and helicopters along with screams and dying breathes.

You can still remember every decision you ever made and still argue between what you knew in that millisecond of time and what you know now.

The trick is understanding that it is a wound and left untreated it spreads out to every other part of your life like and infection destroying whatever it comes into contact with until you fight back with everything your body needs to defeat it.

“Real men despise battle, but will never run from it.” ― George Washington

There should be no stigma attached to this at all and there will not be as soon as all of you understand exactly what it is and finally accept the fact that you would not have it IF YOU DID NOT PUT YOUR LIFE ON THE LINE BEING WILLING TO DIE FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

Civilians get PTSD but it is a totally different type and the only reason they know what it is, is because veterans came back and fought for all the research. Keep fighting!
I’ve treated veterans with PTSD. It’s time to make them eligible for the Purple Heart.
Washington Post
By Nathaniel P. Morris
July 22, 2016
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD afflicts up to one in five veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan in a given year, and as many as one in three veterans from earlier conflicts like Vietnam during their lifetime. As of 2013, roughly 400,000 veterans affiliated with the VA carried this diagnosis.
Over the last decade, a controversial question has surrounded the Purple Heart: do veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder deserve it?

The Pentagon currently does not award Purple Hearts to veterans suffering from PTSD. Supporters of this policy argue physical wounds have always determined eligibility for the Purple Heart. Some believe the science regarding PTSD is too primitive; indeed symptoms can be difficult to diagnose, and objective tests remain elusive. There are concerns that some veterans might attempt to fake the diagnosis.

But critics say that denying Purple Hearts to these veterans reinforces the stigmatization of mental illness—in other words, that conditions of the mind are less real than conditions of the body. As a physician who has worked with veterans suffering from PTSD, I can tell you the manifestations of this condition are very real. Symptoms can include flashbacks, paralyzing anxiety, hypervigilance, and self-harm.
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