“PTSD is a reaction by normal people, to an abnormal situation – and there is nothing normal about war. “
This is the phrase we on the Military HelpLine use over and over to help soldiers, family members and other veterans understand the emotions they may be experiencing. We know that family and community awareness can be a life giving safety net.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of PTSD is a major step forward in battling the stigma and the effects.
Some of the PTSD symptoms of avoidance and numbing are:
Loss of interest in activities and life in general
Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
Sense of a limited future
PTSD is treatable; a person is not broken for life because of it. Soldiers, veterans and family members are given coping skills and learn to be aware of potential triggers.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder, it is important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is confronted, the easier it is to overcome.
It is only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. However if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, the symptoms of PTSD will only get worse. We work hard to normalize the emotions of PTSD. The idea is to give one the tools to cope and the techniques to survive.
Soldiers are fond of saying, “I got your back.” It gives them a sense of safety, loyalty and strength. The Military HelpLine has your back. Many of our volunteers have served in military service. I was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. When I get callers with military background, I can honestly say “I got your back.” I have walked in those boots, I have shouldered that rifle, I have lived that life.
That experience in my life has paid dividends. Now I get to help those who ask for and need the understanding, the empathy and the support. As part of the Military HelpLine, I am honored to be a part of the solution for PTSD.
By making the community, family members and veterans aware of the signs and symptoms, we can help to end the stigma and begin the healing.
- David D.
(Editor’s note: While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms, as listed below.)
Re-experiencing the traumatic event
* Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
* Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
* Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
* Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
* Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
PTSD symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing
* Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
* Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
* Loss of interest in activities and life in general
* Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
* Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
PTSD symptoms of increased arousal
* Difficulty falling or staying asleep
* Irritability or outbursts of anger
* Difficulty concentrating
* Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
* Feeling jumpy and easily startled
The Military Helpline is staffed 24/7 and is a free, confidential service. (888) 457-4838 (888) HLP-4-VET