A friend of mine very kindly shared one of my posts regarding PTSD. I clicked on it to write a thank you comment and saw this:
“Dealing with trauma, wounded soldiers is the job she joined up for, it is and has never been a 9 to 5 job, it is something you have to cope with. I suspect it was losing her home and fiancè that probably aggravated the problem. When I arrived home from the Gulf War I suffered the same symptoms but it is something you have to cope with. I was put on psychotropic medication, but suffered worse symptoms whilst on those. Nobody diagnosed me with PTSD, just got to dust yourself down and carry on!”
The person who wrote this was in the RAF and no doubt had subordinates below him. Sadly if this is his mentally how on earth could any of his troops feel able to bravely go to him and admit they were not managing. I’m afraid people like this are still around, managing, safeguarding and in charge of their troops welfare.
To anyone looking at me physically I probably look ok. That is someone who doesn’t know what turmoil is going on inside. Unless you arrive at the point where someone sufferring actually breaks down due to the pressure, you have to find the strength to go and admit there is something wrong. How would you feel able to go to this chap?!
I am fully aware I joined up as a medic and that at some point I would no doubt have to go to war and treat casualties. However, absolutely no amount of training can prepare you for the atrocity witnessed. I think to some degree you can prepare for the visible wounds you may see. It is everything that goes along with that which no amount of experience can set you up for. If the question is asked as to ‘What do you think affects you more in a trauma case?’ anyone who hasn’t experienced a trauma situation in the NHS or on operations would say ‘the sight and degree of it’. Until you have been exposed to it you will not be aware of the awful smell of blood, the dirt on the ground and carried in the wounds, smell of damaged, rotten or burned flesh, the strong stench of feet and more. All these are unique smells and all triggered a sensory reaction at the time and still now in certain circumstances.
Do you know sometimes I feel like I want to crack fully in order for ‘the system’ and the small minded people may stand up and take notice. Although to be fair they haven’t noticed all the other veterens out on the street, or in prison cells or in ‘hospital’. It is probably due to the mentality of people like the chap who made this comment that some have found themselves suddenly broken..
I know most of you can remember the ropes in school gyms we used to have to climb. Well dealing with PTSD is a little like climbing a gym rope, you get so far and then your hands and feet slip and your edging back down to the bottom. Some days you can find the strength to keep a strong tight grip, and if your lucky you have the strength of others to help you keep a hold. However, if no support is there you can only hold on for so long under your own steam….
We need to stop this mentally and help people sufferring with PTSD and any other mental health illness. I will continue to speak out. I know it is already reaching others and we are able to talk to each other. Comments like that stated above only encourage me to speak out further and I am now on a mission.