Veterans with PTSD often suffer in silence.
Veterans have experienced immense trauma and suffering during their time in service. Unfortunately, many of them continue to suffer even after they return home. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very real condition that affects a significant number of Veterans who are struggling to cope with the psychological wounds of war. Despite the prevalence of PTSD among Veterans, many of them remain silent about the struggles they face daily. In this blog post, we will explore how PTSD affects Veterans and why many of them suffer in silence.
Stuck in the dream or night terror not knowing which part involves you sleeping, or you are waking up, not always having someone beside you to help or understand what you are going through. The Trauma stays in your memories like the sound of familiar voices that you would never forget so you run towards the voices thinking that you will get help, only to find that the voices you hear are your own telling you that it is over, no more violence no more pain, at least until you try to sleep again.
Many veterans who suffer from PTSD feel isolated and alone in their pain. They feel like they are different from everyone else and that no one can understand the trauma they've gone through. They may think they have to cope with their suffering in silence, believing that no one else can truly comprehend the pain and anguish they feel. This feeling of isolation can be particularly intense for those who have experienced violence during their service or in their childhoods. For example, veterans who were raised in a home with a violent drunk father may never fully escape the pain of that experience and find it difficult to relate to other people who haven't had similar experiences.
Many veterans with PTSD may struggle with trusting people, especially authority figures due to the traumatic experiences they endured during their time in service. For example, they may have experienced violence, war, and other forms of trauma that can lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, and mistrust. This mistrust of authority figures can be further exacerbated by the increased risk of homelessness that many veterans face upon returning home. The lack of stable housing can create a feeling of powerlessness which can contribute to a lack of trust in others. Furthermore, veterans may have difficulty accessing resources due to a lack of awareness or understanding of the services available to them. Ultimately, these factors can create a sense of isolation and make it difficult for veterans to feel safe and secure in trusting people.
Cold sweats waking up feeling like you have just stepped out of the shower, embarrassed by the overpowering scent of sweat sitting on the edge of the bed wondering why you are awake, surely, I just went to bed a few minutes ago... only to realize it is the same night and yet again, another flashback has taken hold. Fear is something that lingers within the shadows of veterans who have experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The fear that their mind has created or re-lived due to a traumatic event is something they must constantly confront throughout their lives. Fear can manifest itself in different forms including flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance behaviour and even hyper-arousal such as anger and anxiety. It may be hard for veterans to make sense of why they experience these feelings and emotions when they try to go about their daily lives. They often feel scared or anxious in situations that remind them of their trauma, creating a sense of fear that can linger for months or years afterwards.
For many veterans, the trauma of war, violence, and homelessness can be difficult to cope with. Some may turn to alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medicating to numb their pain or to escape reality. This is often done out of desperation or to feel normal again. Unfortunately, the effects of alcohol and drugs can only do so much and can lead to more problems down the line such as addiction and further physical and mental health issues. Veterans need to seek help from professionals to help them deal with PTSD healthily and productively.
When a veteran is suffering from PTSD, they may be more likely to consider suicide to end their pain. Factors such as trauma, violence, homelessness, and depression can lead them to become more desperate and isolated. Without the support and help of friends and family, many veterans feel like they have no other option. We need to reach out and provide support for veterans who are struggling with PTSD, so they know they are not alone in their suffering. When you are sitting in the car with the engine running facing the water with the half-empty bottle in your hand or sitting on the sidewalk with the bottle of pills ready to be taken, or in the house with the rope around your neck thinking nobody cares. If you see any of this stop and talk, ask if you can help or just simply hand over a hot coffee and some food and say, God Bless.
Veterans struggling with PTSD are not alone in their struggles. Resources exist to help Veterans cope with trauma, violence, and homelessness. It is important to find someone to talk to, whether it be another Veteran, a friend, or a counsellor. There are also Veterans' hospitals available that offer specialized care for those who have experienced combat and other traumas. By reaching out and seeking help, Veterans can begin to address the underlying issues associated with PTSD and make strides towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.