Does Your Loved One Have PTSD?


My husband deployed to Iraq in 2006 and 2007 and again to Afghanistan in 2011. In 2013, he was diagnosed with PTSD and TBI. I was pretty sure about the TBI, but I had no idea he had PTSD. I met him after Iraq, so I wasn’t aware of how much he had changed. He hid so much from me and did his best to function normally. It only got worse. Even after he was properly diagnosed and he started going to multiple therapy sessions, I still didn’t know much because he wouldn’t talk to me. He was in trouble and our marriage was in trouble. The past few months though, he has really been trying and he finally started to open up to me about some things. He has improved, partly by his own doing and partly because he is opening up, allowing me to help him. This has greatly improved our relationship. He has found friends and other people to talk to about his experiences. He can’t talk to me because I don’t understand what he has seen or been through and I can’t pretend I can. He needs to talk to vets in his position and has actually found that group therapy is the most helpful for him.

The United States Senate has designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the issue. Along with this, the National Center for PTSD has designated the month of June as PTSD Awareness Month.

PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder, is a result from exposure to a single or multiple traumatic events. These can range from assault, abuse, natural disasters, and combat. Most people associate PTSD with the military and combat. There are more symptoms out there than most people realize, but the common ones include intrusive memories, dissociation or avoidance, depression, panic attacks, aggression, and addictions.

Bringing awareness to PTSD in relation to combat, is so important because of the numbers of veterans who have it. According to a study done by the VA, the Institute of Medicine, and the US Surgeon General, at least 20% of the 2.7 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, have PTSD. Most believe the number to actually be a lot higher, but many go undiagnosed. Many refuse to seek treatment because of stigmas in their command, while others are not aware they have it.

Awareness needs to be made about PTSD so vets, their families, and the general public understand what it is and what they are dealing with. The rates of PTSD for the recent wars are higher than any previous war. Our vets need to understand that they are not alone and they can get help. They don’t have to deal with it alone. I wonder what would have become of my husband if he hadn’t been diagnosed. I don’t think it would have been a good outcome. We know too many good people dealing with PTSD, some are fighting it, while others are giving in and letting it take over. Veteran suicide is at 22 a day. Our veterans deserve better. PTSD is an illness and we need to make everyone aware of how serious it is and work on healing our heroes.

Kara P.Thank you Kara for sharing your personal story with us!  Kara can be found at Ramblings of a Marine Wife

2 Comments

  1. My heart goes out to all the OEF and OIF families however, PTSD awareness must begin with facts and not the assumptions floating around the internet.

    22 a day on suicides is false. Most states report that veterans are committing suicide double the civilian population rate with over 70% of them over the age of 50. For the OIF-OEF veterans their rate is actually triple their peer rate. For female veterans it is 12 times their civilian peer rate. This is after decades of efforts that failed while what worked was forgotten about.

    As for the higher rates of PTSD, that is also false. WWI had very high psychiatric evacuations. By WWII the numbers had gone up 300%. With Korea, the numbers were reduced to 3% due to clinicians being embedded with the troops and pulled anyone in crisis out of the field, treated them and when they were ready, they were put back into combat.

    The rate for Vietnam veterans was 1 out of 3 yet few were diagnosed there. That was with the 12 month deployments so that they were being sent back home before they really understood they were in crisis. By 1978 they had 500,000 Vietnam veteran with PTSD and the number was expected to rise over the following 10 years however, as we’ve seen, the numbers are still going up for their generation as well as the others.

    Most of that is due to their efforts spawning all the research that was done within the last 40 years. This was all done before the internet and social media, so easy to just dismiss what we knew and when we knew it.

    The media doesn’t cover older veterans. Your generation doesn’t want to learn from us either even though we’ve been doing all of it a lot longer. In my case, it has been over 30 years but friends have been married longer. As bad as it is for your generation, mine is proof that we have not even seen the worst of this and unless we change and stop talking about things like suicide awareness. The veterans community already knows about suicides but what too many don’t know is that they can heal and live better lives. They believe they are stuck the way they are instead of being able to change again. They don’t even know the basics.

    As for the general public we need to remember they are not supposed to understand. Veterans are only about 7% of the population but civilians benefit from what Vietnam veterans fought so hard for with treatments for their own PTSD mental health needs including crisis intervention. Veterans and families fit perfectly with other veterans.

    So yes, my loved one does have PTSD.

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