Showing posts with label stigma of PTSD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stigma of PTSD. Show all posts

Thursday, December 30, 2021

PTSD is "invisible" because they don't want to see it

Invisible and unheard: how female veterans suffering trauma are let down by US healthcare

The Guardian
Rose Empson
December 28, 2021
Gender differences exist in trauma exposure. PTSD is twice as common in women than in men, according to a study conducted by Kathryn Magruder at the University of South Carolina.
Neither Jen Burch’s assault nor her PTSD were taken seriously. Photograph: Courtesy Jen Burch/Handout

For Felicia Merkel, the PTSD trigger is any loud sound – an overhead speaker, a slammed car door – transporting her back to the blistering heat of Afghanistan. For Liz Hensel, it is looking into her daughter’s chestnut brown eyes, their color reminding her of those of a young Afghan girl named Medina, who lost her mother and leg at the trauma hospital in Kandahar. For Jen Burch, the intrusive memory is of the man who assaulted her before she deployed.

More than a decade has passed since these three women were deployed to Afghanistan. It’s now almost four months since the US military withdrew from Kabul on 30 August. Still, specific memories consume them. Three hundred thousand female veterans served in the 19-year war, and as media coverage dwindles and the nation slowly forgets, Felicia, Liz and Jen continue to remember.

Their experiences in Afghanistan differed from those of the male soldiers with whom they served. Now, their stateside lives do too. Being a woman in war comes with its own set of distinct traumas. While congressional legislation that has recently been proposed is welcome, essential bills are still being blocked that would help repair the suffering these women have endured for years.
“If it means sharing the darkest details of my story, then I’ll keep doing this,” Jen said, “until the gendered gap in veteran healthcare is finally closed”.
read more here

It is really time for people to stop using the excuse that PTSD is "invisible" because they don't want to see it. They don't want to acknowledge something that can happen to them. They don't want to face the fact that no one with PTSD wanted it, or even saw it coming. They don't want to think about every day of their own life could stop being the way they were used to and come crashing down all around them in an instant.

It is not just military women/veterans who feel invisible. It is all of us. It is the civilians, female as well as male, who survived death only to discover they entered into a whole new reality as a survivor. It is the men and women who put their lives on the line everyday all over this country walking out the door one day and knowing, they may not come home the same way they left. It is the ministers who never even think about hearing the one more story from their flock that could push the pain put on their shoulders to the breaking point and they end up with PTSD too. It is the doctors and nurses facing death and suffering on their normal shifts, being faced with the results of people who will not accept facts or believe science to prevent the spread of the pandemic and then turn to the same people to save their lives.

It is the kids who are abused by parents, family members and strangers along with everyone else they were supposed to be able to trust. It is the woman, like me, paying the price for loving someone who did not even understand that attempted murder and stalking is not something love caused.

It is survivors of natural disasters, accidents, fires, crimes and even living with someone who has PTSD but has not even attempted to heal. It is the mental health professionals counting the number of dead patients as much as they are counting the numbers of their peers who gave up.

Want to talk about invisible? Over 15 million Americans every year join this club that does not want to grow. We're all invisible because the only people anyone is paying any attention to at all when it comes to PTSD are members of the veterans community. Don't believe me? Ask someone if they ever heard about PTSD, because if they did at all, it was about a veteran and not their next door neighbor.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Perpetuating the stigma of PTSD on veterans, is insulting

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 23, 2021

How can anyone learn something from an article that omits the most glaring fact of all? Considering that millions of people in the US are hit by PTSD every year as civilians, then add in those who end up with it from their jobs, these are the facts.
Facts about How Common PTSD Is from the National Center For PTSD
The following statistics are based on the U.S. population:
About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
About 15 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
About 8 of every 100 women (or 8%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%).
Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.

There is a nice way of putting this, but frankly, this article does not deserve it!

OK, employers have no idea how many of their own employees they have with PTSD and I doubt that fact bothers any of them considering they have probably been doing great jobs and made friends. Considering how many American have it every year, that is inescapable. 

The next thing that stands out about this article is the "expert" never mentions that police officers and firefighters also get PTSD from their jobs and that includes folks who did not serve in the military. Head smack moments of the day continue on this one. The worst thing of all is this if on Employee Benefit News but apparently, they prefer to perpetuate the stigma of PTSD on veterans, while leaving the rest of the population out of it. 

As it is, I'm tired of some people thinking that we have anything to be ashamed of by the labels they want us to live with. We're survivors and that is the only label we should ever allow on our shoulders. The only thing that limits us is people getting in the way of our the following article!

This is how employers can help support their veteran population suffering from PTSD

Employee Benefit News
By Paola Peralta
November 22, 2021

Veterans in the workplace are suffering — and employers may have the tools to help, if they know what to look for.

Of the 11-20% of veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD, only 9% of veterans surveyed by digital therapeutic service Freespira say they have fully recovered from PTSD and no longer have symptoms. But it’s not from a lack of trying: veterans listed transportation challenges and finding nearby providers with PTSD experience as the main barriers to accessing healthcare services.

And with veterans making up 7% of the American workforce, their mental health — and the overwhelming burden of it — could be a problem many employers must learn to solve, says Dr. Robert Cuyler, a licensed chief clinical officer at Freespira.

“There are a lot of veterans who are now in one way or another in first responder roles,” Dr. Cuyler says. “So if you look at police departments, fire departments and EMTs, they have an awful lot of people who have military backgrounds who may have full-fledged PTSD or subclinical PTSD from being exposed to recurrent trauma.”
read more here

Saturday, November 20, 2021

First Responders Don't Get Help To Heal, After Helping US?

"If you get shot and you have PTSD it would be covered. But if you watch your best friend get shot, it's not." Ashley Wilson

That was the part that got me. Why is this still going on?

New legislation proposed to help provide mental health services to first responders struggling with PTSD

Kaitlyn Ross
November 16, 2021

Under Georgia law there's not a way for a first responder to get help for PTSD unless they're also physically injured.

There's a new push to help first responders struggling with Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

From firefighters to police officers to dispatchers, currently, none of them are eligible for a worker's compensation claim to deal with a psychological injury unless they first have a physical injury to heal.

In an 11Alive exclusive, a metro Atlanta officer is leading the charge on a new proposed bill just filed that could change that. Ashley Wilson joined the police force at 24.

"I was excited. I was going to go out there and make a difference," she said.

She says she soon realized the cost of making that difference.

"I had absolutely no idea about the horrible things that people can do to each other. And unfortunately, I found out real quick," she said.

Wilson says the learning curve is steep for everyone all first responders, as soon as they answer their first call.

She knows a firefighter who was recently let go after admitting to his chain of command that he was struggling with the mental toll of the job.
"To me, I was just taken back that he was reaching out for help and he got fired," she said.
read more here
What does this tell everyone else with PTSD? It sends the wrong message because if they don't want to take care of the responders, showing up to the events that cause PTSD in the rest of us, then they don't care about us either! 

The fact is, not all survivors get PTSD but everyone with PTSD IS A SURVIVOR of what caused it and responders came to help us survive. It is time for all of us to help them heal!

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Self-Compassion can go a long way to healing PTSD

On the flip side, there are facts to destroy the assumptions about PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 28, 2020

While leprosy had been reported within the Bible, there are scientific proofs of it and what cures it, as much as there is news it has not been "cured" all the way.
The first known written mention of leprosy is dated 600 B.C., but skeletal evidence of leprosy has been found dating back to 2000 B.C. Throughout history, those with leprosy have often been ostracized by their communities and families.
Ancient people thought it was a judgement from God, instead of an infection. Most assume it has been cured and no one has it anymore...but that is not the truth.
That may be a bit surprising — leprosy seems to be a disease of the past. Indeed, in 2006, the World Health Organization issued a report on "elimination of leprosy as a public health problem," stating that the number of cases had dropped by 90 percent since 1985.

But more than a decade later, leprosy persists. According to a report in The Lancet: Infectious Diseases, some 200,000 new cases, including 25,000 in children, are reported each year. About half of these new cases are in India.
What it took was for someone to think about the facts behind leprosy, to attempt to treat it for what it was, and help the patient heal. How many others thought the healer was wrong to go against what they presumed to be true...that God sent it to the person?

It took until 1873 for a scientist to find the germ that caused it, instead of the sin many blamed. Those with it, got treated, healed and lived a better quality of life.

There are a lot of presumptions on all kinds of things. On the flip side, there are facts to destroy the assumptions.

The stigma of PTSD is allowed to live on because too many believe things that are simply not true. Those assumptions infect those who are suffering instead of helping them to become healed. Too many believe there is no hope for them, and they give up. At least that is what we have been led to believe, but the truth is, many more find healing because they know the facts. They understand what PTSD is, what caused it, the different types of it, as well as, the different levels of it.

They also know that to heal it, how they think about themselves and treat themselves is vital in living a better quality of life, if not entirely cured.

Self‐Compassion, Trauma and Post‐traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review

Sarah‐Jane Winders Orlagh Murphy Kathy Looney Gary O'Reilly
First published: 27 January 2020

Self‐compassion has emerged as an important construct in the mental health literature. Although conceptual links between self‐compassion and trauma are apparent, a review has not been completed to examine whether this association is supported by empirical research findings. To systematically summarise knowledge on the association between trauma and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and self‐compassion. Searches were conducted in PsycINFO, PubMed, Ovid Medline, Web of Science, Embase and PILOTS databases and papers reporting a direct analysis on the relationship between these constructs were identified. The search yielded 35 studies meeting inclusion criteria.

Despite considerable heterogeneity in study design, sample, measurement and trauma type, there was consistent evidence to suggest that increased self‐compassion is associated with less PTSD symptomatology and some evidence to suggest that reduced fear of self‐compassion is associated with less PTSD symptomatology. There was tentative evidence to suggest that interventions based, in part or whole, on a self‐compassion model potentially reduce PTSD symptoms. While findings are positive for the association between increased self‐compassion and reduced PTSD symptoms, the precise mechanism of these protective effects is unknown. Prospective and longitudinal studies would be beneficial in clarifying this. The review also highlighted the variability in what is and should be referred to as trauma exposure, indicating the need for further research to clarify the concept.
read it here
Courage and Combat PTSD
393 views•Oct 21, 2012
Kathie Costos DiCesare
252 subscribers
There are many things that keep getting missed when we talk about Combat and PTSD. This is to clear up the biggest one of all. What is courage and how does it link to being "mentally tough" so that you can push past what you were told about "resiliency" training. Chaplain Kathie "Costos" DiCesare of Wounded Times Blog tries to explain this in interview done by Union Squared Studios.

"That's one of the parts most of you forget about. PTSD didn't happen to you because you are "mentally weak" but because your courage and compassion made you care enough to act. That is not weakness. That, that comes from strength of character."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lifeline Ukraine trying to break stigma of PTSD in veterans

Removing the Stigma: Ukraine Launches Suicide Prevention Hotline for Veterans

Atlantic Council

According to the World Health Organization, Ukraine currently ranks eighth internationally in terms of suicide rates among the population. It is one of a staggering six post-Soviet countries to feature in the global top ten (Lithuania is in first position followed by Russia in second place, Belarus in fifth, Kazakhstan in seventh, and Latvia in ninth). This hints at a vast mental health crisis across the whole of the former USSR, making initiatives like Lifeline Ukraine even more urgent.
Ukrainian veterans take part in the March of Defenders of Ukraine as part of Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 24, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenk
Autumn 2019 will see the official launch of Lifeline Ukraine, the country’s first professional suicide prevention and mental health support hotline. Recruitment of counselors has focused on Ukraine’s pool of approximately 400,000 combat veterans from the country’s undeclared but ongoing war with Russia. After completing training with international specialists in veteran mental health issues, they will begin working around the clock at the Lifeline Ukraine offices in Kyiv’s Podil district.

The launch of Lifeline Ukraine cannot come too soon. Mental health problems among former military personnel are a major social issue, and one that the country remains ill equipped to address. Prior to the Russian invasion of 2014, post-Soviet Ukraine had no experience of dealing with the trauma of military conflict, or of providing support for those left damaged by war. This was just one of the many ways in which Ukraine was completely unprepared for the onset of Russian aggression. Understandably, the country initially focused attention on defending itself against the immediate military threat, but the accompanying mental health challenges created by the conflict have since made themselves abundantly apparent.

There are no exact figures available for the number of suicides among Ukrainian military personnel and veterans, but experts believe at least 900 have taken their own lives since the start of hostilities five-and-a-half years ago.
read it here

Monday, September 9, 2019

Who put the stigma on PTSD? Ignorant jerks!

Stupid stigma of PTSD is missing link

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 9, 2019

When I first began to research PTSD, it was for very selfish reasons. I was falling in love with a Vietnam veteran. The more I learned about PTSD, the more I loved him. Simple as that.

That was 37 years ago, and we are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this month. Anyone who still suggests that having PTSD is something to be ashamed of, remind them there is no shame in being a survivor.

Researchers in Colorado found that most veterans did not seek help for PTSD because of the stigma attached to it.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A new study released by the Colorado Health Institute last week focused on veterans and suicide, and why the rate in Colorado is higher than the nation's. The study found that nearly seven out of 10 veterans in Colorado who did not receive the mental health care they needed reported stigma-related reasons as a barrier. That's nearly double the percentage compared to non-veterans.

Who put the stigma there? Who gave it such great power that it can prevent veterans from asking for help?

The thing is, what works would work a lot better, if what failed was no longer allowed to get in the way.

While the Veterans Crisis Line has helped reduce the number of veterans completing suicide, it is an example of how bad it actually is for veterans.
Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 3.9 million calls and initiated the dispatch of emergency services to callers in crisis more than 119,000 times. The Veterans Crisis Line anonymous online chat service, added in 2009, has engaged in nearly 467,000 chats. In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text messaging service to provide another way for Veterans to connect with confidential, round-the-clock support and since then has responded to nearly 123,000 texts.
If the VA Crisis Line was not there, the numbers we are seeing would be even higher. A lot of the programs the VA has work great, but the majority of veterans in this country do not use the VA for anything. Again, there is a stigma attached to that too. (see below) 

We know that suicide awareness does not work. 

Letting veterans know they are killing themselves makes no sense at all. If the goal is to educate the civilian community, again, it makes no sense since the number of civilians committing suicide has also increased. It seems to only benefit those doing the events to raise money and gain fame. How? Because according to the VA, the known number of veterans committing suicide has remained between 20 and 22 since 1999...when no one was making citizens aware it was happening and there were over 5 million more veterans alive at the time.

This stuff also gets in the way.

While we are trying to #breakthesilence to prevent suicide, it seems that some have embraced it.
Silent Watch Raises Awareness For Veteran Suicide

They want people to stand in silence for 15 minute shifts. Silence contributed to the end of those who lost hope.

With the VA Crisis Line being reached by almost 4 millions calls, now members of congress are pushing for a three digit number.
Advocates Hope For A 'Turning Point' In Suicide Prevention With 988 Crisis Hotline Number "Samaritans has one of three call centers in Massachusetts that receive calls from the national hotline, which can currently be accessed by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Samaritans also receives calls and texts from its own local hotline number, 1-877-870-HOPE (4673)."

Will it help? Maybe but as long as the stigma is there, it will not help as many as it could.

There needs to be a massive effort addressing the stigma itself, because if they actually understand what PTSD is, then the stigma dies...but they stay alive.

Most veterans do not understand that PTSD is not self-inflicted. It hit them! The only way to get PTSD is surviving something traumatic. The term itself means "after wound" and just a bonus reminder, trauma is Greek for wound.

As survivors, they already beat death once. More than likely they did not accomplish that on their own. They had help fighting that enemy and need help to fight this enemy too!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Seth Moulton trying to make a difference on PTSD...because he has it

Seth Moulton discloses PTSD, unveils military mental health proposal


“Just because other presidents haven’t talked about this openly doesn’t mean that presidents haven’t dealt with these issues in the past,” Moulton said.
Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton said he hopes opening up about his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder would help ease the stigma that veterans and nonveterans feel when confronting mental illness. | Scott Eisen/Getty Images
The Democratic presidential candidate sought treatment after his combat deployments during the Iraq War.

Rep. Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran who is running for president, will introduce a plan Tuesday evening to expand military mental health services and will disclose that he sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after his combat deployments during the Iraq War.

“I had some particular experiences or regrets from the war that I just thought about every day, and occasionally I’d have bad dreams or wake up in a cold sweat,” the Massachusetts Democrat told POLITICO in an interview ahead of a Tuesday night event in Massachusetts that will begin a Veterans Mental Health Tour in early-primary states. “But because these experiences weren’t debilitating — I didn’t feel suicidal or completely withdrawn, and I was doing fine in school — it took me a while to appreciate that I was dealing with post-traumatic stress and I was dealing with an experience that a lot of other veterans have.”

Moulton arrived home in 2008 and sought counseling in 2009, trying a few therapists before finding one he connected with and met with weekly.

“I got to the point where these experiences weren’t haunting me every day,” he said. “They’ll always be there and there will always be regrets that I have, but I got to a point where I could deal with them and manage them. It’s been a few years now since I’ve woken up in a cold sweat in bed from a bad dream or felt so withdrawn from my friends or whatever that I would just go home and go to bed because I miss being overseas with the Marines.”
Some politicians below the presidential level have been able to openly discuss mental health treatment and still win their elections. Former Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota told voters before winning his first term in 2010 that he had been taking antidepressants. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said he had PTSD after serving in Iraq.
read more here

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Ignorant Fire Chief insulted firefighter asking for help with PTSD

Fire Chief made joke about PTSD to firefighter?

Why is this still happening when someone with the authority should have invested time in understanding what PTSD is considering the men and women under him face the causes of it on a daily basis?

Advocates have spent decades to educate everyone on what PTSD is, why they have it and what they can do to heal. We spent all these years to do that so that the stigma is proven stupid and so are jerks like this who feel it is OK to make a joke about a firefighter finding the courage to #BreakTheSilence and ask for help.

Any kind of idea what kind of message this sends to the people they rescue who end up with PTSD as survivors too?

At least the other firefighters made sure their "brother" got the help he asked for and the want to make sure the Chief is held accountable~

Firefighters call for Marion Fire Chief to step down after disconcerting comments

The Indy Channel News
By: Nicole Griffin
Mar 22, 2019

"He said, 'ha, we'll tell your family how good of a guy you were,'" Captain Lamb recalled. He said the chief then made a joke, referencing the death of another firefighter.
MARION —Firefighters at the Marion Fire Department said they are stunned about comments the fire chief reportedly made to a firefighter who confided in him about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms he was having. They are now asking the city's mayor to demote the fire chief, or for him to step down.
"It's probably the least common thing for someone to talk about it, to be honest with you," Captain Jordan Lamb, Marion Fire Department, and local union president, said.

Captain Lamb has been a part of the Marion Fire Department for 12 years. Day after day, he responds to difficult calls. He said every firefighter and EMT handles the emotions differently.

"I just try to keep it in and let it pass. Kids are the worse - especially since I have kids," Captain Lamb said. "I can see anything, but you put a kid out there it's going to affect me."

The department recently went through mandatory suicide awareness training. One firefighter came forward to the chief expressing his feelings of PTSD. It was the chief's response that has firefighters upset.
read more here

Monday, January 21, 2019

Get the stigma of PTSD out of your way

Putting the PTSD stigma behind you

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 21, 2019

Apparently you got the wrong message about PTSD.

Is there something wrong with being a survivor

Isn't that supposed to mean that you lived through something? 

That is supposed to mean that you were stronger than whatever it was that tried to kill you. Right?

Someone gave you the twisted thought that having PTSD meant you were weak instead of strong.

Did you know that PTSD has more to do with strength than weakness?

PTSD hits you after you survived something. It hits the emotional part of your brain, and that is where your soul lives.

The stronger you feel good stuff in life, the stronger you feel pain. That is why other people can walk away from the same thing changed in other ways.

No one survives something and remains unchanged by it. Some react differently, including becoming real jerks about anyone who felt it more than they did.

Maybe they are jealous because you could feel love more deeply, happiness more joyfully or marvel at something as simple as a sunrise? 

OK, now for the getting rid of the stigma part of PTSD.

It is OK to grieve. It is OK to feel sad. It is OK to have a million thoughts run through your head

It is NOT OK to give up on the life that survived the thing that started PTSD.

It is NOT OK to allow someone else to put roadblocks in your way when you are trying to heal.

It is NOT OK to spend your days regretting something simply because you do not understand it.

It is NOT OK to settle for fools defining you by PTSD when they refuse to learn what has been available online for decades.

It is NOT OK to let them talk about something they do not understand while you remain silent instead of educating them.

It is NOT OK to only look at what is "wrong" in your life, when you could be seeing what IS STRONG within you.

Stop giving power back to the thing that already lost. YOU WON and it is time to #TakeBackYourLife from PTSD.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Getting rid of the stigma of PTSD is like melting black ice

Getting rid of the stigma of PTSD is like melting black ice.

PTSD Patrol Sunday Morning Empowerment Zone
Kathie Costos
January 13, 2019

Black ice looks like a puddle but it makes the driving conditions dangerous. The stigma attached to PTSD is like black ice in your life. Facts can melt it so you can heal it! #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife
Read it here and watch the video of my office back in order again.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Combat PTSD Wounded Times 4 Million Mark

Why be afraid of PTSD?

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 7, 2019

In less than 3,000 page views, this site will hit 4 million~

That proves a few things to me. One is that people do care about the truth and the other, is that, no matter how alone I feel doing this work, I am not alone.

That gives me courage to stick by my beliefs. It fuels hope that someone out there has been helped by what I do. Had any of this been about money, I would have quit a long time ago.

It is, as it always has been, since my first site in 1993. It is about making sure I do whatever I can to end the suffering in silence.

So why the hell are so many still suffering because they are more afraid to ask for help than they are what PTSD is doing to destroy their lives?

Why are so many who put their lives on the line for others, taking their own lives instead of taking control over the next second and starting to heal?

If you have any ideas about what else I can do, please let me know because I am so tired of trying to get through to people. It is more than annoying to outdone by others who have no clue what they are talking about, but since for them, it is all about them, making money and getting famous, they achieved what they wanted to do.

I am not saying anything different than I did back in 2008 when I posted this.

Why be afraid if you are not alone
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 25, 2008

Cpl. Brent Phillips
Wounded marine helps other vets get benefits
Bert SassSpecial Projects Producer12 NewsFeb. 24, 2008 09:47 PM
War Stories: Corporal Brent Phillips

Nearly five years after he was wounded, it has taken Phillips a long time to adjust to civilian life. He says he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which affects many combat veterans.

Phillips tells about flashbacks

Phillips is determined to manage his PTSD and not let it control his life. He says, "I pretty much deal with it by telling my parents about it...both sheriff's officers (in California). Both of them have been in different firefights." Phillips also finds his wife and three small children help relieve the tension. He also is taking a proactive role in helping vets, like himself, get the VA benefits they deserve. He organized a recent information meeting to help vets learn about benefits and get VA appointments. Some Valley veterans with PTSD attend regular meetings that were started by case manager Patricia Tuli at the Carl T. Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix. Tuli works with many veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

dealings with POWs surprised Phillips

Phillips describes firefight

go here for the rest

From the University of Virginia

Mental Health Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Statistics related to PTSD
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

Nearly 7.7 million Americans have PTSD at any given time.

About 30 percent of men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that often follows a terrifying physical or emotional event - causing the person who survived the event to have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories, or flashbacks, of the ordeal. Persons with PTSD often feel chronically, emotionally numb.

PTSD was first brought to public attention by war veterans and was once referred to as "shell shock" or "battle fatigue." The likelihood of developing PTSD depends on the severity and duration of the event, as well as the person's nearness to it.

What triggers PTSD to develop?
The event(s) that triggers PTSD may be:

something that occurred in the person's life.
something that occurred in the life of someone close to him or her.
something the person witnessed.
Examples include:

serious accidents (such as car or train wrecks)
natural disasters (such as floods or earthquakes)
man-made tragedies (such as bombings, a plane crash)
violent personal attacks (such as a mugging, rape, torture, being held captive, or kidnapping)
military combat
abuse in childhood

If PTSD wound becomes part of you, why would you be afraid to talk about it? You're not alone suffering from it. Your family is not alone coping with it. All you have to do is look over the last few years of news reports to know how large the world's population has been wounded by trauma.

Thirty years ago, it was America's secret. It was trapped in whispers and silence. Hidden under shame with the thought this wound was a character defect of those who suffered from it. They would look at others who lived through the exact same event appearing to be untouched. The thought of being weaker than others caused them to suffer in secret. It was not a well kept secret because others could see the changes in them.

Families began to keep the secret as well. They would find excuses why a combat veteran would not go to family functions. They would find excuses to provide bosses when they could not go to work because of yet another night of terrifying nightmares.

I found myself making excuse as well. Even though I knew what PTSD was from the beginning, it was hard to protect my husband from judgmental attitudes that PTSD meant Jack was crazy. Working in offices, and most of the time surrounded by men, it was hard to hear them talk about normal life. They would talk about taking their wives to movies. I would tell them I wasn't interested in going to movies, when the truth was, I loved to go to them. I couldn't tell them my husband couldn't tolerate them anymore. He couldn't handle being in a crowd, in the dark and feeling vulnerable especially if he had a flashback, feeling as if the enemy was right behind his seat.

They would complain their wife stole the covers at night or how she would stick her cold feet on their warm leg. I couldn't do anything more than laugh while I wanted to cry. My husband and I never spent an entire night in the same bed during our 23 years of marriage. I doubt we ever will.

The church I attended back home in Massachusetts, the same one I attended since birth, where everyone knew me, hardly knew what my husband looked like. Some wondered if we were still married.

I would go shopping by myself because he couldn't stand the malls and hated to be in crowds.

The list goes on of how what we found to be normal for us, was abnormal to the rest of the world. Years later it was easier to talk about it because I had come into contact with so many others going through the same things. Once someone spoke of it, or I indicated something about it, then the communication opened up. It was never racking every time I did because I wondered what they were thinking about me and especially about Jack.

To this day, knowing what I know, knowing the stories of others, knowing that we are not alone with this, I still feel the need to protect him. I don't even use my married name when I write. Often I wonder why I would still feel this need of protecting him considering to me there is no reason the stigma lives on and that there is no shame in being human, no shame in being wounded by tragedy and trauma and there is nothing about him to be ashamed of. To me, he is an amazing man, filled with kindness and gentleness as well as strength. His character lives on beneath the dark days of flashbacks and drained days following nightmares. Still in my mind I know the attitude of too many in this country and around the world. It is one of the reasons I work so hard to provide information and stories of others going through all of this. Sooner or later there will be no more stigma to overcome.

There are some people who can speak openly about the ravages of PTSD on their lives. I admire them greatly. It's very hard to have all of this going on in your life and be able to talk about it. It takes a lot of courage to be able to look at your life and see the need to open up about it. Jack can't. I walk a very thin line on what I feel free to speak out about and what remains in the shadow of the work I do.

When I did the video Coming Out Of The Dark, the song by Gloria Estefan was perfect.


Why be afraid if I'm not alone?
Though life is never easy, the rest is unknown
Up to now, for me, it's been hands against stone
Spent each and ev'ry moment
Searching for what to believe

Coming out of the dark
I finally see the light now
And it's shining on me
Coming out of the dark
I know the love that saved me
You're sharing with me

Starting again is part of the plan
And I'll be so much stronger holding your hand
Step by step, I'll make it through; I know I can
It may not make it easier
But I have felt you near all the way

Forever and ever, I stand on the rock of your love
Forever and ever, I'll stand on the rock
Forever and ever, I stand on the rock of your love
Love is all it takes, no matter what we face

Why is it that we still feel the need to be ashamed and afraid? What is there to be afraid of? The thoughts of others who would not have those ignorant thoughts if we all spoke out about it? The more people talk about being human, surviving a traumatic event, overcoming it and still stand, the weaker the stigma will become. It takes a greatness of character to survive the carnage of combat, the violence of police work, the tragedy of a firefighter and emergency responder, the terror of crime and the wrath of nature. Yet we look at the survivors as damaged instead of wounded.

When we look at the veterans who have committed suicide, we fail to see how they not only carried on when their lives were in danger, as well as their military brothers and sisters, they acted with bravery and courage. It was not until they were no longer in danger from the human enemy, but when they were back home with the enemy in their mind that they felt they could no longer go on. When they commit suicide while deployed, they don't do it while the fight is going on, but in the quiet of their barracks or the silence of the night.

Family Thinks PTSD Drove Veteran to Suicide

Dylan Darling

Redding Record Searchlight

Feb 24, 2008

February 24, 2008 - During Michael Sherriff's nine-month tour in the battlefields of Iraq, his mother worried that one day a pair of Army officers in full dress would come to her door with terrible news.

"You're just on edge every single minute," Jennifer Cass said.

She didn't dream her son would become a victim of the war the way he did -- not on a faraway battlefield like she feared, but like a growing number of veterans -- by his own hand once he made it home.

Of 807,694 veterans diagnosed with depression and treated at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility nationwide between 1999 and 2004, 1,683 committed suicide, according to a study released in October 2007 by the University of Michigan Depression Center.

After her son safely returned stateside in April 2004, Cass dealt with a new set of worries. She said she began experiencing stress and anxiety as her Mikey had an increasingly difficult time adjusting to civilian life.

Information, sharing and caring will erode the stigma and replace it with hope. Hope that they will be able to speak of what is happening inside of them and be embraced instead of embarrassed. Hope that once they say they need help, the help they need to heal will be there waiting for them. Hope that as soon as they know the trauma was too strong for them, they will be supported by those who care about them. Hope that life can regain a quality of what it once was. Hope that compassion will rap arms around them instead of point fingers at them.

So why be afraid if you're not alone? 7.7 million Americans are in the same company of wounded. We are not the only nation with PTSD. Every nation has a population of people wounded by it as long as they have humans in it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Getting over PTSD?

You can get over it...when you overcome it

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 12, 2018

When you are depressed, feeling as if there is no hope, someone will eventually become frustrated because they do not know what to say. Sooner or later, the words "Get over it!" pop out of their mouths. 

While you may have been offended by those words, as if you are supposed to just forget and move on, there is power in that message when you think about it. You can get over it by overcoming it and making peace with it.
Back in 2012, there was a fundraiser out at the Orlando Nam Knights and MOH Sammy Davis Jr. was there. I know Sammy and his wife Dixie. I was talking to them about the PSA Sammy had done with some other Medal of Honor Recipients trying to get the troops and veterans to seek help for PTSD.

I asked Sammy if he wanted to add to what he said, and he agreed. This is the message he and Dixie wanted to give.

Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on May 8, 2012
Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.

Why stay down there with the pain? Why surrender your power and remain trapped by what "it" is doing to you?

The only reason you have PTSD is because you are a survivor of something horrible. No shame in being a survivor! So, no shame in you unless you choose to have it control what you do now.

The next time someone tells you to "get over it" tell them that is exactly what you are doing by working to overcome it!