What effects does ptsd have on your life?
After a very successful visit to Audley Court (one of Combat Stress’ residential treatment facilities), I was given the following descriptions of how stress has affected other sufferers of PTSD. These descriptions have been given by Post Vietnam Sufferers (origin unknown) but it could so easily have been me, you or a loved one you know.
PTSD is not a discriminative disorder… It effects us all (regardless of sex, creed, religious persuasion or nationality), in almost the same destabilising and destructive mind set which, if it is not stopped, treated and reversed is massively destructive to both the sufferer, their family and friends alike.
Living through trauma can have a profound effect on your life. Listed below are a number of statements that have been made by other sufferers with PTSD, describing the impact of trauma on their lives.
Relating to self:
- “I’m just not the same anymore. I don’t fit in and I don’t belong.”
- “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
- “The old me died during the incident, there’s a completely different person now.”
- “I left something behind in ??? something is missing but I don’t know what it is or how to find it.”
“You can put the location, country or conflict you were in where the ??? are”
- “I’m dead inside, I don’t feel anything anymore.”
- “I’m a failure, worthless, no good, weak and mad.”
“Oh yes… The feeling of being MAD! Sound familiar? Does to me.”
- “I’m out of control, I can’t rely on myself anymore.”
- “I feel like there’s a silent tornado going through me.”
“Except from the last 2, I can relate to all of the above at one time or another.”
Relating to others:
- “People stink, they’re just out to get you, to shaft you if they can.”
- “You just can’t trust people or let them close.”
- “I have to keep up barriers all the time.”
“Oh boy… This was me. The I’m being persecuted mode. I’m getting better now but the persecution mode nearly destroyed my life. I know what to look for now and fight the thoughts. It’s hard but can be done.”
- “My wife thinks I have no feelings, she says I’m a cold-hearted bastard but the problem is – I feel all the time, I can’t stop the feelings.”
- “I can’t get close to my kids.”
- “I have to look like I’m coping, so I keep the mask on in front of my partner. If they knew how I was feeling they’d know I was mad.”
“Not just a mask but a whole suit of armour. It was not just my partner who I wore this for… My friends (those I still had left), my family (When I spoke to them) and especially my work colleagues.”
- “I hate them for how we were treated when we got home. I’ll never forgive them.”
“I am struggling with this more now I am getting better than before. I am so angry that no one noticed that I was giving up a promising career and that my decision was so out of character.”
- Why didn’t anyone just question it?
- Why did not someone notice that I was not well and try to help?
- Why was I not given counselling like they claim that all soldiers get?
- I hate them for leaving me out to dry.
- They destroyed my life.
- “I’m on the outside looking in.”
- “I won’t let them near me because I get really pissed off and violent, so I stay away so as not to hurt them. I can’t trust myself not to hurt them.”
“Thankfully I have never been violent but I know from talking to a lot of people that this really is a major problem.”
If you feel like this please talk to someone (me if there is no-one else) and get help. It is there… you just need a helping hand to find it.”
Relating to work and social life:
- “The boss always ends up telling me what to do, I don’t take that so I tell him where to shove it and move on.”
- “I can’t concentrate and make decisions like I could before.”
- “I can’t cope with the stress like I did before.”
- “I’m frightened I’ll see something that reminds me of this time and I’ll fall apart again. I can’t go back.”
- “It’ll kill me if I have to go back to work.”
- “My wife gets really upset because I don’t want to go out. I can’t cope with people and I can’t cope with bloody small talk.”
- “I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week and I’ve done that for the last X years.”
“This is the slippery slope to total breakdown. I am now unemployed but I hope not unemployable. I am trying to cope with my problem and rebuild my life. It is hard but I am getting there.”
“I will not be beaten by this anymore”
Relating to alcohol and drug addiction:
- “If I’m not working I’m drinking and sometimes I even have to drink on the job to get through the day.”
- “I can only cope with life when I’m pissed.”
- “The dope makes my problems seem further away, not such a part of me.”
“I am lucky because I never had these problems. My addiction was work and believe me it was just as destructive to my life.”
“Whatever the addiction there is help out there. Talk to SSAFA Forces Help, Royal British Legion or Combat Stress or any other agency or charity who can help you with the specific problem you have got.”