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PTSD Part 1: Why Would You Want To Know About This Disorder?

I love to learn, so when this workshop came up on my list of possibilities and a group of friends were going to attend I went along for the connection opportunity. At the same time, I have found myself asking several questions nearly every day and truly wanting answers.

Dr. Jonathan Shay is a psychiatrist who specializes in treating the psychic wounds of war. He is also the author of two books, “Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character” and “Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming,” which examine the experiences of combat veterans through the lens of classical texts. He lives and works in the Boston area. The US Army Chaplains presented this program to other chaplains and medical personnel.

The Questions:

  • What is it that I need to do to heal myself of mildly elevated glucose numbers?
  • The second question, is in the face of so much distrust and deception why are voters disregarding all the evidence and fixating on their old “blankies” for making decisions?
  • And there is a third personal question of why two particular candidates, in my sphere, produce more anger in me than when I discovered I was talking to a child molester.

This workshop about wounds of the mind began answering my questions. There was a great deal to think about in this information for me.

Why would I think my readers would want to know about this information? There are thousands of men and woman and families who are inflicted with this syndrome and just as after every war every community will be coping and a part of the healing process for these individuals. We all want to support our troops. I think one will read here that I believe this involves more than just our warriors, but nearly everyone. I hope you will feel free to jump into the conversation and share your thoughts and ideas.

Definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
It is a moral psychological injury to the whole person = physiological, psychological, social and cultural wound and it can kill you if it is not treated quickly and with knowledge.

Quick recognition and response is vitally important in a leg wound and Medics race to control “hemorrhage” and “infection” to prevent death and limit the disability. In PTSD, the healer must first identify the wound and then race to keep “vigilance” and “withdrawal” (shutting down of all emotions) from killing the victim and to limit the disability and promote healing.

It is a wound which is a severing of the entire individual’s ability to trust, attach, love and causes a deregulation (loss of control) of their ability to use their emotions – it is a Betrayal.

What is a complex moral injury? It is where the following three factors come together and it can happen to anyone:

  • Betrayal of what’s right in the culture you are attached to, especially for your survival
  • Betrayal by someone in a position of legitimate authority
  • Occurring in a high stakes situation (war is one of the highest stakes situations known)

PTSD can be a simple wounding or a complex wounding both effect the entire human system and the whole community/environment.

Complications: Sleep deprivation, withdrawal, drug and alcohol abuse, and can lead to violence and self, social and environmental disruption and destruction.

Part 2: Who gets it? Posted tomorrow

Please help me with my integration of these ideas – Please feel free to make comments.

3 Responses to “PTSD Part 1: Why Would You Want To Know About This Disorder?”

  1. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – I found you through Blogging Without A Blog. Do you mean you discovered you were talking to a child molester at the presentation? I would have felt uncomfortable with that too.

    I’ve suffered from PTSD since an incident that happened almost 16 years ago. It’s a lot better now, but it never goes away completely.

    The complications seem to vary from person to person – but sleep deprivation was certainly a big problem for me. There’s also lots of additional ones people can get, including agrophobia, panic attacks and flashbacks.

    Flashbacks are really hard to describe. I couldn’t imagine them before I had them. But they seem so real when they’re happening. And I guess it’s dangerous, because they can happen anywhere. I don’t get those anymore but I hated having them.

    I heard that if folk get help quickly – they’re more likely to have a full recovery – I think it’s before 6 months.

    I’m glad you brought up PTSD, because it’s something a lot of folk still don’t understand. And it would make it easier for the sufferers and their families if they did.

    It stopped me from working for a long long time and I didn’t get support from my family because they didn’t understand it.

  2. Patricia Says:

    Cath Lawson,
    I was so pleased to read your comments on my writing topic. I was so moved by the workshops and learning that I am writing about it in 5 parts. I was so impressed with what the US Military was learning about this illness and their healing work, even though their funding was cut by this administration. They just feel that veterans deserve better treatment and recovery and so do I.

    I was not talking to a child molester at this conference, but at another conference, but I wanted to convey my feeling of distress.

    I have a child with an anxiety disorder in combination with Celiac Disease and yes those sleepless nights and flashbacks are so difficult to cope with and scary as a parent to endure and learn from. She is now 24 years old and in graduate school in part to all the learning I have done from counseling workshops with Viet Nam Vets and this illness.

    I have seen your writing on Barbara’s wonderful site and on Liz’s site and have so enjoyed your comments. I am rather new to this genre and then have been having computer and apple (as in the fruit) overload problems so I will link over and check out your site on my new computer today!
    Again thank you for sharing and commenting.
    I get a number of comments on my email address for privacy reasons and people have so appreciated your comments this morning – at least 3 have commented on your comments and have been very grateful. Thank you from me for them.

  3. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – It’s wonderful that you were able to help your daughter through this. Flashbacks must be terrifying for a child to deal with.

    I’m glad you’re sharing this knowledge with others too. I know it may sound odd but sometimes I think folk take more notice when they’re learning from someone who hasn’t had PTSD.

    Also, I find it very reassuring that someone like you understands and that you’re taking the time to share with others.

    Thank you. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Grilled Frog On Toast Anyone?