PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Posted on May 6, 2010


If after reading this Post, you want to add something related to your experience with PTSD Please write it in the comment section. I will add it to the Post but leave your name off. I can delete the comment. Spouses and family members are welcomed to do this. I will use no names.

This is the first of many segments that I will have on PTSD. I was going to wait while I took my time to write about my PTSD. Instead I am going to start out about PTSD as it is effecting one of my best friends.

Remember that a very big part of PTSD is the feeling of being in control. Once you start to lose that feeling everything starts to unwind. The problems snowballs and the smallest problem appears as a huge mountain. You start allowing someone or something to get you mad. So now not only are you mad at them but you are also mad at yourself because you allowed them to get you mad and that puts them in control. Then you do something stupid. Maybe it is starting to cuss a lot or you do something.  Then you take it out on someone ( a spouse maybe ) and that makes you even more angry at yourself. It just keeps going.

Case in point.

John served in Vietnam. He received four Purple Hearts with the last one sending him back to the states. The Army changes his duty position from an infantryman to a mechanic. John had no problem with that. John is married to his high school sweetheart. They adopt a son. John retires from the Army and returns home. He gets a second job at a VA hospital. As John starts to reach age 60 he starts to have problem with his PTSD. He threatens his boss and after seeing a Shrink, John is medically retired. John starts to retreat from his friends and only his wife and son are close. When his son graduates from high school and without warning he moves out and of John’s house and into the house of another couple the same age as his parents. John’s wife Darlene comes down with a disease and passes away. John starts to feel abandonment.

John starts to panic. He meets another woman and soon they are married. She (Mary) has been married and she has three children. John’s son (Larry) nows has nothing to do with John. Mary’s youngest (Sherry) becomes very close to John and when she has a child John accepts it as his own grandchild. Mary had a house that she was renting to Sherry and her husband. Sherry and her husband destroyed the house and moved in with her father. John feels abandonment again.

This may be the last straw for John. His PTSD has gone full-blown. He talks about getting a gun and a carry and conceal license. He carries a hatchet around with him telling anyone who will listen that if anyone messes with him he’ll do the same to them that he did to the Viet Cong. Cut their heads off. John had never cut anyones head off but in his mind he has.

Reasoning with someone who has PTSD is very difficult. I can hear the anger in John’s voice as he answers my questions. John refuses to go for help. He acknowledges that he is losing control but in his mind he can handle the situation. I’m afraid the he will end up dead or in prison. All I can do is call him everyday and try to calm him down. John feels like his life is over. Until we can get him turned around (if we can) we can only pray.

Six months ago John was loving life. He was looking forward to doing some travelling with his wife. Now one minute everything is alright and the next minute everyone wants to kill him. I wish I could get him to go to see a shrink and get some counselling. The chances of that are slim. It is not easy to admit that you have a problem and need help. Once again that means that you have to give up control.