PTSD Awareness Month

July 1, 2013

Well it has come and gone, did you miss it?  PTSD Awareness Month occurred in June and I’m thinking many never even paid attention to it.  That is because, for most, it doesn’t affect their lives.  This is the sad part of it, and a lot of it stems from the fact that there isn’t the accompanying lost limb or scar to remind people of how terrible PTSD is.  People we pass every day could be suffering from PTSD and we wouldn’t know it.

The Department of Defense estimates that 7.7 million Americans are affected with PTSD but they also claim that 2/3 of PTSD cases go unreported for fear of losing employment or promotions or simply not wanting to admit a potential weakness.  This is what people refer to as the stigma associated with PTSD.

Being a sufferer myself I can freely say that, for me, one of the worst parts was the loss of feeling.  I once described it to my wife as saying I had lost my “feeling compass”.  Things that should have made me happy or angry or sad were bottled up somehow in a place where I couldn’t get at them.  Then, conversely, sometimes these same feelings would come spewing out over things that normally wouldn’t bother me at all.

I have recently experienced this several times.  Not so much the angry part but recently I have been working as a volunteer helping of PTSD and as I was speaking I suddenly began to tear up.  It is a bit embarrassing since I’ve spoken many times in public before and not ever experienced this.  If it had happened once I could perhaps explain it away but it has happened on three separate occasions and it is always when I am speaking on behalf of Veterans suffering from PTSD.

As I’ve said often enough in this blog I believe that writing things down and airing things out is beneficial to me and I believe the same thing would be true for others as well.  Since this tearing up thing is a relatively new happening for me, I wanted to share it.

I wish the sadness was a universal feeling thing and that June would have given us all a collective chance to show how moved we all are for the service that these PTSD sufferers have given.  However, I think that I might have to cry for all until more seek the help they not only need but have earned for their service.