War veterans and PTSD

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BrokenWings
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/1/2012 12:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been dealing with PTSD myself as a result from a rape in 2006... so I have a bit of experience when it comes to PTSD and anxiety / panic type things.

I have a friend of mine who just returned from Iraq in December, and has been struggling with PTSD and other unfortunate events (his father passed just recently, and his father was really the only person who "really understood him", aside from myself).

What I'm wondering is... while I understand PTSD from my own point of view, I don't understand it from a combat veteran's point of view, and I was wondering if anyone knows of any forums like this for veterans or families / friends of veterans who want help / want to help? I was searching but haven't really found anything yet. I'm still encouraging my friend to seek professional help of course, but I'd like to be more informed of the things that military veterans go through with PTSD so I can be of more help / support for my friend. I know how difficult it is when the "outside world" can't really comprehend what PTSD or other stress / anxiety / panic disorders can do to a person, and how alone you can feel at times. I think that possibly getting to communicate with other veterans may be able to help me understand more how I can be of more help to my friend. I at least have you all here, *big hugs to everyone*, my friend really isn't the forum type of person so I'm pretty much all he has at the moment. Any ideas?

*hugs*

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/1/2012 8:08 AM (GMT -7)   
First of all I admire you for being such a good friend and for wanting to learn more about PTSD in war veterans.  I do hope your friend will take advantage of the VA medical benefits and seek out help.
 
 
Also I am going to alert a good friend of mine who is a member of HW and has experience with PTSD as a vet. I am sure he will pop in to give you a bit of advice.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
 
 
 
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination."

Post Edited (stkitt) : 3/1/2012 7:11:19 AM (GMT-7)


opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4895
   Posted 3/1/2012 2:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Brokenwings-

Here is a link to the VA PTSD site.

www.ptsd.va.gov/

Please read through it yourself and urge your friend to look at it also and please urge him to make an appointment with his local VA medical center.

I thought I had a handle on my PTSD from the Gulf War, but in reality I had just pushed it back a bit. Some things in my life the last couple years or so triggered mine full bore. It took a lot of pushing from my friends and family to get me to realize what was happening and to take the first step to get help at the VA.
They are very good at helping with this and have many different programs available to meet each individual's needs. Even if transportation is an issue the local VA chapters have free transportation to the Medical centers.

I hope you are able to get him to take the first step. Remind him there is no shame or signs of weakness for getting help.

Take care,
Bill devil
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/1/2012 2:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much Bill.  You are the best.
 
Gentle Hugs,
Kitt

BrokenWings
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/3/2012 12:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Ty Kitt and Bill!

Like I'd mentioned in some other posts, I have about a good 5 1/2 years experience with PTSD (non-military)... so I know a lot of the signs and symptoms and I've been helping him with those and ease him into having the VA center help him too. I know there's been many who have dealt with it longer, but I got a few under my belt too =P

Like, I'd noticed he started REALLY distancing himself from everyone and everything around him, and I'd said to him "Hun I understand what you're going through right now, but please don't make the same mistake I did and get into that routine... once you get sucked into distancing yourself from everyone adn everything around you... the longer you let it go the harder it is to get back out there. I'm here for you, and I care about you, I just don't want to see you suffer and get into as dark of a place as I did before". It took a few days, but he's reaching out, and I'm glad.

Also Bill, although I've never been a soldier (/salute), I did the same thing. After I was raped, I did go see a therapist for a few months (thought I was losing my mind) but stopped going because I thought I felt better. I'd just actually pushed it back myself... then one day it was just like "BAM". I'm glad you're taking steps to get better yourself!!

Ty both so much and take care yourselves!! *hugs*

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4895
   Posted 3/3/2012 4:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Brokenwings-

I am so happy he has someone like you to help. So sorry to hear of your own PTSD. My SIL went through that, terrible thing to endure.

I think what happened to us , thinking we are ok, happens quite often. We don't realize it's more of a life time of maintenance of some sort to keep us on track.
Mine triggered from watching something about the Gulf War I was a part of and this was right after 2 good friends were hit on their motorcycle and I was first on scene. Very bad accident. You never know what can set it off I suppose.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/3/2012 11:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Brokenwings,
 
I too have PTSD but I also have GAD and major depressive disorder so it is sometimes hard for me to know what is causing my issues.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently the therapy of choice and it helps you change the thought patterns that keep you from overcoming your anxiety.
 
Your friend is fortunate to have you in his life and with your own experience of dealing with PTSD you understand how he is feeling.  The toughest think about dealing with PTSD is even though you know the cause and the event may have happened years ago most friends and family don't understand why you can't just get over the event and move on so we often keep our feelings bottled up inside.
 
I wish you and your friend peace and please do keep talking with us here in the forum.
 
Gentle Hugs,
Kitt 
 
 
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination."

Serenitee
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 447
   Posted 3/4/2012 6:07 AM (GMT -7)   
BrokenWings,
     I am sorry for everything U have been thru as well as Ur friend. As the others have said, "he is lucky to have U there & be so supportive. How l long was Ur friend over there & is he out of the service now (if U don't mind me asking)? I don't know if Ur friend received initial help from the VA when he got back...Such as: Therapist that specializes in PTSD, Support Groups that they offer, & or Medication? I am not a doctor, but I would first recommend that he seek all the services provided from the VA.
     
     I too, suffer from ptsd (but mine is not related to serving in the Military). However, my husband (23-years of marriage, 7-kids, 3-grandkids) served in the Military. He was in the Iraq War...The first invasion in 2003 & was there when it started. He was shot, lost his teeth, injured other parts of his body, & then suffered a heart attack before they could life flight him out. He went there as one man & came back another. He left 210-pounds & came back 135-pounds + no teeth :(
His PTSD was noticed by myself & our 7-kids right away. One of my daughters & I took an 8-week support group classes. This was for immediate family members & spouse or girlfriend (as we only had females in this particular group). I read anything that had any information on PTSD.
 
     I'm sure everyone deals with it in their own way. Keeping it locked up inside of themselves & doesn't want to share the deep personal issues that comes with combat. Or being completely comfortable to open up & freely talk to someone. I think having a Mental Health provider from the VA & regular scheduled appt's can be good for certain people. In my husbands case, he did try the group support setting. He didn't even stay for the whole mtg...Listening to the others talk just was too much of a trigger for him that he will not attend them again.
 
     I'm so sorry I rambled on. I wish U & Ur friend the best in Ur recovery process.
 
Ur Healingwell Friend,
Serenity
   
     

BrokenWings
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/5/2012 10:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Ty all again for the responses!

Serenity, (1st, sorry your hubby was injured so badly *hugs*)my friend was over there for 4 years, minus a few very small breaks here and there. He's only been back on US soil since December I think? So this is all quite fresh and new to him.

I think what's hardest for me in helping him, is that I see him starting to struggle with small things (not that I don't still, but really small things) and how he has tendancies to just totally shut down if I ask a question that happens to be sensitive for him. Like one night we were talking on the phone and he mentioned his neck injury, and I asked "What happened?". He went from being all laughing and happy talking to totally silent for a few moments, and said "I'm sorry I can't talk about it... I gotta go for a bit" and he started panicking. I wanted to try to keep him on the phone and talk through the panic with him (not pushing the sensitive issue of course), but he just couldn't do it and hung up the phone.

I know totally shutting down and not working your way through those attacks or shutting yourself off totally when something is touchy to talk about isn't a good habit to get into, but I understand as well that sometimes it's just too painful at that moment and you need to ease your way into talking about the things that bother you. It's hard to just sit back sometimes, especially if it's someone you care about, but ugh it's tough.... but again I do at least understand.

I'm really hoping he will try to find a therapist / see someone at the VA about it more regularly. He has visited, has been diagnosed and is on medication for it... but I am not certain he's at the point yet where he's accepted therapy is going to be very beneficial. I'm keeping an eye on him though and making sure I'm being gentle with him and not trying to push too much, but also relating my own experiences with therapy and how much it helped, and how much MORE it would have helped if I'd have stayed in therapy instead of taking my break thinking I was ok again before I really was.

Ty all so much again, it helps to know we're not alone and there ARE people who understand! It's a shame anyone on this form has the "troubles" (for a lack of better words) that we do, but at least here is a healthy supportive community of people to be around! *hugs and blessings for all*

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/6/2012 12:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Broken Wings,
 
What an awesome and caring friend you are.  I wish I had you in my life  :-) .
 
Post traumatic stress disorder is an illness. Thank you for caring enough about someone with PTSD to want to help him get treatment.  Now, because of PTSD,  he is going   over and over the traumatic events in his  mind. Reliving the horror  is what is making him sick. This is the poison that is eating away at him. It takes a great deal of courage for someone with PTSD to talk about their trauma. 
 
Remind him of the good times before his trauma and PTSD.  Try to find some fun things to do together.  Laugh together. Laughter is healing, so is your love.
 
Gentle Hugs,
Kitt
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."~ Vivian Greene

Traceylee
New Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/8/2012 8:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello -
 
We'll this is my first chat room, I am little nervous, this PTSD thing is a war in itself.  My husband has been in the military for the last 31 years, only active full-time since 9/11 and now he is home and his selfesteem has vanished.  He is going to the VA but personally they are not doing enough, he has depression, his immune system is shot, a rash over his entire body, and has been sober from alcohol since May 2011.  That was up until today, he has fallen off the wagon and is really pissed off at himself.  I tell him everyone is not perfect, people fall off and then get back on.  I just wish I knew what to say to him to feel worthy of himself.  He's done five tours and was in the special forces so you can imagine what he has seen.  My question if anyone can help me, is medication, he takes wellbutrin and trazadone and it's not working, the professionals at the VA are not listening to me and he's a very private and quite person so he doesn't say anything, if he could just get a good night sleep without the night sweats and feel refreshed he'd feel better.  Does anyone know if clozepam is better than trazadone?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Post Edited (Traceylee) : 5/8/2012 8:43:35 PM (GMT-6)


Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 15680
   Posted 5/8/2012 9:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome.

First off let me say thank-you to your husband and his service to our country...and thank-you to you as his partner and supporter...that is not easy either.

I would urge you to get a private psychiatrist for your husband if at all possible. If you are unsatisfied with the VA help that he is receiving, then it would be well worth your money and time to invest in this for him.

A psychiatrist would know how to treat all the aspects of your husband's disorder from the mental, to the physical, and would know which medications would best be suited for him.

I hope that you will find the answers that you need soon. Pllease post with us anytime (either one of you!) We are here to help and support!

Scaredy Cat
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"It is when we are most lost that we sometimes find our truest friends"

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

bronco59
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 5/9/2012 9:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I see from reading here that several are dealing with PTSD on this forum. I am a Veteran from the Vietnam era. I was sent there twice and was also aboard a Navy destroyer that caught fire and almost sank. I don't think I can offer much advice on PTSD because although I had a very difficult re-adjusting when I got home I never though of it as PTSD. I'm not even sure if they recognized it back then, don't remember hearing about it. I can tell you from my own experience that being away for 4 years and the experiences do make you come back a different person even if you didn't see combat first hand. I did see combat but for me I think my problem was different and this could be part of what others are going through as well. When I went into the military I was prepared in my mind for a major change in my life. I didn't know what to expect but I knew my world as I knew it was going to change. It was like a culture shock when I returned to the States. First of all Vietnam veterans were not welcomed home the way veterans are today. The real problem was when I got home I guess I expected everything to be the same as I left it. Nothing was the same, not my family, not my friends, not the town I lived in. I guess I wasn't very prepared for the reality that awaited me. I had a hard time adjusting back to civilian life. So if you add that to combat related issues it becomes multi layered. I was preparing to go back to California and start a new life, had a going away party and was packed when my father had a major heart attack so I put my plans on hold to stay home and help my Mom who still had 4 daughters at home. I had to get a job as it was several months before my Dad was up and around then he had 2 more heart attacks and ended up with open heart surgery, so long story short I stayed long enough to start a life back here again.
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