by Suzanne Grosser
Maybe you’re disgusted by news stories of people manipulating the system, faking PTSD to collect benefits and sympathy. Me too. But I can’t assume that everyone claiming post traumatic stress is faking.
Are some people faking? Of course. Any time there is an opportunity to slack off from doing your fair share, some one will snatch up the chance to be lazy. Decades ago, these people had a “bad heart”. Then we developed sophisticated tests that could show if their heart was indeed healthy. Does that mean that no one really had heart disease? Of course not. Many people did have heart disease. The difference is now we can weed out the fakers. And now that we know who really does have heart disease, we can do more to help them. It’s the same with post traumatic stress disorder. I’m sure there are those who just want to collect disability and loaf their way through life. But that doesn’t mean the disease isn’t real. It means we need to find a way to weed out the fakers, so we can do more to help those who really have post traumatic stress disorder.
Could be you’ve never seen a case of PTSD and if you have never seen it, it must not be exist. If you can’t see it; it isn’t real. You know that logic doesn’t fly. A lot of things you haven’t seen do indeed exist.
But I challenge you to think again. I bet you have seen it.Have ever heard the term “damaged goods”? I bet you’ve even used it. It’s how you describe the child who has been sexually abused. The woman who has been gang-raped. Have you ever met a woman who was cold and aloof after enduring a violent relationship? You can not see their pain, but their pain is real. And you can see what it has done to them. That’s PTSD.
Think a little harder. What about “Shell shock”? Tough guys scared to death over a car backfiring. Real fear. That’s a flashback and that’s PTSD.
Do you come from a small town? Every small town in America has the local guy who was never right after the war, whether it was WW 1 or WW2 or Korea. The guy who was too quiet. Had no friends. Was just plain odd. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Remember your uncle who always drank too much and would never talk about the war? It was easier then to be that way. It was okay for a man to be silent. Okay for a man to drink too much. If they were emotionally distant from their family, well, that’s what men did. Unfortunately, a lot of kids missed having a close relationship with their Dad and the dads well, they missed out, too.
We didn’t call those problems symptoms of PTSD, even though that’s what they were.
Could be you’re afraid to admit post traumatic stress disorder is real because there’s no way we can afford to help everyone who may have it, especially with all the new combat cases emerging. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means we better do something to deal with it upfront, not let it fester. It is easier to prevent this disease than to cure it. We owe it to every soldier to make them as close to whole again as we can. They did their duty.We need to do ours.
Could be you have PTSD yourself, but you don’t want to admit it. You think that would mean you’re weak. You think you should be able to tough it out. You can get over it on your own. Yeah, I once thought that, too. Please refer to Start Healing.
So far, you’ve managed to keep all the pain inside of you. You had to close off everything and everyone outside to do it. Sure, it’s lonely. Sure, your family probably misses you. But you don’t have to ask for help. You’re tough, strong, and miserable. And the last thing you want to hear is that someone else who feels just like you do, broke down and got help. They admitted they were unable to get better on their own and they got help and they got their life back. You condemn them as lazy or weak or fakers. You say post traumatic stress disorder is not real. Otherwise, you would have to admit that you could get better, if you were willing to admit that you need help.
Could be you’ve never had a trauma that changed they way you think about yourself and the world. Lucky you. You may have suffered tragedy, but if it didn’t change your self image, your view of right and wrong, your view of how the world works, you accepted it as the way life is. Not that it didn’t hurt. But you cried or yelled or whatever you needed to do, and then you picked up your life and moved on. With PTSD, there is no life to pick up, no known self to pick it back up. You have been fortunate, but don’t deny the pain of others.
Could be you did suffer a life altering trauma and you managed to get over it. You worked through it. You suffered, but you emerged from the experience scarred perhaps, but not destroyed. Great for you. But not everyone can do that without help.
PTSD sufferers are stuck in their trauma and can not get through it alone. Perhaps yours should be the helping hand that reaches out to them. Let the strength that got your through your suffering, help someone else. They need to know how you got better.
The best thing about PTSD is that it is curable. The worst thing about is not being believed, once you summon the courage to ask for help.
PTSD is real. It takes real courage to admit you need help. But no disease can be cured, no problem can be solved unless we admit that it exists.
True post traumatic stress disorder sufferers deserve respect. It is awful to admit how awful it was. Worse, to admit that now, even though you were tough enough to survive the trauma, you can’t get over it. You can’t pull what is left of yourself together, no matter how hard you try. Not by yourself.
Anyone with the courage to ask for that help, deserves it.
And as for the fakers, this page is for you.
Are you struggling to just to get through each day?
If you have ever felt like a prisoner of your circumstances, this book is for you.
It starts with the story of Admiral James Stockdale. He spent 7 horrific years in a POW camp, yet his spirit was unbroken.
In this book you will learn the wisdom that helped him not merely survive, but triumph. You will read the stories of others who have faced and conquered overwhelming odds. You will learn to apply those lessons to your own life.
You will find your inner strength and your own Quiet Courage.
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not much is required;
so little we need
the smallest of dreams,
a mere mustard seed.
a glimpse, or a glimmer,
a flicker of light,
a promise of day
against vapid night.
Books by Suzanne Grosser