Wednesday, May 28, 2008


For many years I known this Painting is susposed to represent the Creation of Adam, yet to me I see Something totally different. I see it as a metaphor about Relationships, that at times they are fragile, so fragile that people can barely touch,barely connect. I also see the crack behind their hands, and I see that as HOPE, because even though things are fractured, cracking at the foundation, they are still able to reach, with the Hope of touch and connection.
{{ UPDATE:: Originally This Post was published on November 18,2007, it was to help families as Thanksgiving and Vacations and Leaves approached. PTSD Stats have been difficult at Best to locate. This Week in the News it has finally been revealed that PTSD has risen sharply, the VA is claiming that 40,000 are battling the Disorder. from Iraq alone. How accurate this is, is questionable. in 2006 it was revealed that almost 100,000 are on Disablility due to the disorder, and new stats reveal a 50% rise since 2005/2006.Hopefully the new numbers are more accurately assessing the victims suffering this from Afganistan, Iraq and first Gulf War. }}

Background of PTSD:
This Anxiety Disorder needs so much more study and serious examination and people who are willing to explore how to help those ill with it as well as their families. It is not a mood disorder, or an underlying personality disorder. The Government and the Military are funding HUGE studies right now trying to prove that it is a pre-existing condition and that it needs mood disorder or schizophrenic medications. This is a huge disservice to those suffering with it. It is also indeed a longterm disorder, not a short term or merely a temporary condition. It is an Epidemic of Crisis Proportions right now and not even being statistically monitored properly by the VA , and the National Guard that have returned home with it are only receiving healthcare for 2 years upon discharge, after that they have no Care for mental, neurological, or physical deficits or damage caused by their service to Our Country in a War Zone.

In 2006 Over 100,000 VET Disability Claims had been filed for PTSD, even though thousands went through the assessment process, many are still awaiting only limited care. the VA lacks caregivers and Trained Professionals to treat and care for the suffering. Yet they are willing to spend 38 Million to Study it and prove it is a Mood Disorder, that means VETS are being denied care so that the Govt and the Military have an opportunity to Inaccurately "prove" it is a Mood Disorder and Pre-Existing Condition. Meanwhile in 2005 alone more than ( Please do see the two previous posts on Suicide below) 6500 VETS committed Suicide, I can not help but wonder HOW MANY had PTSD, how many needed desperately to get Care and Treatment ? How Many had been told that they were not Ill ? How Many even died waiting for an Assessment or care ? ) PTSD is Not a "Mood Disorder or a pre-Existing Condition" , it is a Anxiety Disorder that is Triggered by Stress or Trauma.It is also to be evaluated with exposure to IED Explosions in Iraq, whether some of those that are suffering symptoms are also suffering brain trauma and neurological damage.

The other issue is that People with these symptoms or that have had head trauma as well, should be treated as though they have Neurological Damage and should not be returning to service, and should not be carrying firearms. And many of the VETS are being reordered to the Front or Battlezones without proper care or even a proper assessment. Many that have PTSD and attempt to return to normal Homelife or Previous Work are struggling , and many can not work due to concentration problems, yet they are sent back to the Front ? This may indeed have much to do with the Huge VET Suicide Rates.

If you take someone for care , be sure to look for Mental Health Professionals that specialize in Anxiety Disorders. I am not a Doctor, I am a nurse, I am merely trying to provide Public Health Information in a time of a National Healthcare Crisis.But please use this blog as a stepping stone to do more research and pursue better data. I also have to say some of this research is from being research done as a nurse, and some is learned from Downtown Cleveland Homeless VETS with PTSD. For those families living with it, please do email me if you notice symptoms I have missed. Thank you.
(1) Depression & Withdrawal :
Many people will say that the person appears withdrawn, or even barely connected, or say that their eyes were dead and there as a flat effect or even an absence of emotion.

(2) Jitters/nerves/ shakiness/nervous tics:
People have noticed that there may be tics, or shaky hands or extremities, the tic may be the eyes, or head region or their entire body. Some that have had head trauma- it is unclear which is causing the uncontrolled movement.

(3) Substance Abuse/Reckless Behavior:
Many that are showing any of the symptoms on here, and especially who are not receiving treatment or care may start to pursue self medication or anesthesia, especially ones that are having sleep difficulties. All manner of drugs may be pursued to dull senses and memories, and toleration will exceed old norms. It is not just that Drugs or Alcohol are being used as an Escape. I also include in this category, Reckless behavior ( there are enough Single Car accidents here, involving trees and Alcohol, that I have been curious if this issue has been examined). Be proactive, remove excess alcohol and hide keys if needed.And the same goes for guns in home.

(4) Nightmares and Flashbacks ( Effected Sleep Patterns):
Both of these occur, and sometimes simultaneously, which means also that for some people, especially if they are sleep deprived and have been for long periods it effects reality and distorts events and perceptions.

(5) Relationship Problems:
After many monthes from home, with others that may suffer or suffering, they are unable to relate to ordinary life and also feel "Alien".( What is needed is more support groups for those that have returned to encourage that they support each other and know that they are not alone, and that their feelings are "normal" and shared.)

(6) Anxiety Attacks:
Random and also ones that seem perdictable, The random ones cause more frustation and discomfort for all. There were Propananol studies ongoing, and Inderal to study the effects that these drugs had on lowering heart rate and adrenalin reactions to events( they had good effect, yet I can find no current VA studies on these drugs). but be sure to have the persons' heart rate and EKG done, as well as BP, as many are returning with High BP.

(7) Inability to pay attention( Job performance effected):
Concentration is alter, even on minor tasks, so driving and other more major tasks should be monitored with care.

(8) Mood Swings:
This runs the gamut, if you are concerned, start logging and track so that you can try to look for triggers or events or try to find things that provide comfort and stabilty. You might not. You also may have to let the VET find for himself what brings comfort, it maybe just sitting on a bench on the porch, and be sure to always offer to be there, alot of this is letting the person knowing that they are cared for, they are used to being hated and scrutinized, but you need to observe quietly and try not to ask too many questions, but just be available to talk, and be a good Listener, and be willing to listen and know that it might be hard to hear- but they need you to be willing.

*** Also upon return or Holidays, be sure to check WHAT they want- they may want lots of rest and peace and quiet, not a ton of visitors and Parties, they may not feel up to it. ( Fatigue is a part of the mood changes).

(9) Memory Problems ( Short term)
There are many different kind of problems with memory, short term to long term, Short Term tends to be more common, do not be surprised if they can not remember holidays and day to day celebrations. Be patient.

This list is some of what you may see and what you can do to help. If you see more than one of these start documenting and logging ( you don't have to tell them ). And talk to another friend or family member and try to come up with a plan to help this person and start planning to get them supportive professional help that I mentioned above. I know the VA Assessment Wait is 6 months or longer, I recommend that you get them care, even if you have to take them to sliding scale Mental Health Clinic, and with that you are letting them know that you care, and YOU would never make them wait. You can always keep receipts and Bill the Federal Government later. And especially if they exhibit any of the Suicide symptoms below, get help right away, do not wait.

Tomorrow at this Blog: Support for the PTSD Families and Caregivers.

*{ Music in the title: Natlie Merchant "What's the Matter Here"}*

You can email me with comments or concerns or leave comments below


enigma4ever said...

One of the jobs here that I was pursuing, was a job working with PTSD, but I was not What they were looking for , I was too much of a nurse, and didn't have enough letters after my name- and the PTSD studies here are changing "FOCUS", so I am glad that I did not get the this point...but that being said I am still doing much research on this and pursuing an advanced degree working with if you have questions or concerns or need more research, please do email me at

enigma4ever said...

I meant to say there are also some other really excellent posts up about this issue, start with Spadoman as he shares his own poignant tale with PTSD as a Vietnam Vet, and also see posts that I mention below in the Suicide posts, after I have done the entire series, I will post the entire series together, as well as links, and so please send me more, I am creating a new blog on PTSD as well....


Gryphen said...

Good for you for shedding some light on a disorder that very few people understand. Actually even those of us who deal with it everyday don't really understand it.

It can express itself in a variety of ways as you have pointed out, and it takes a delicate touch to discover the pathway to reaching the person damaged by PTSD.

I primarily work with children and I can say that even after years of being in a safe and predictable environment they can still exhibit very disruptive behaviors that seem to be a direct side effect of whatever terrible incident, or incidents, caused the damage to their psyches.

There is no magic pill or therapy that can cure this extremely complex disorder, and what works well with one person suffering from it will surely fail with the next person suffering from it.

And now thanks to George Bush we have a military busting at the seems with possible cases of PTSD. And the very last thing I would place in the hands of somebody suffering from this disorder is a weapon.

Just some food for thought.

enigma4ever said...

thanks...what great insight you have...and yes, I am glad that you are working with kids , with your patience and your understanding of this disorder....Kids and Teens are as misunderstood as VETS on this...sadly....and Bush, Criminal that he is, had created a National Crisis with this epidemic....
thank you again for all the work that you do....

Christopher said...

The Bush administration doesn't care about Vets. They're dispensable -- like used sneakers.

Of course, Bush has no military experience. When he used his daddy's influence to avoid Vietnam, and hide in the TX Nat'l Guard, he checked the box that said he didn't want to be sent abroad.

But none of that mattered because Little Boots promptly went AWOL for 18 months of booze and drugs and partying.

enigma4ever said...

I know..I know..very very sad..

DivaJood said...

Shit, I have PTSD just from living - I can't imagine what the Vets have to go through.

Ingrid said...

E, you might want to post this very informative blog for those with combat related ptsd;

this author started to look into ptsd and it mushroomed into her writing this great book; ptsd, winning the war within.
Her blog is great..


enigma4ever said...

I will add to the blogroll- thank you so much for this...( I research it all the time- I will have to get the book you named...thank you )

yeah...I think we ALL have it to some degree from the Bush years....and the VETS...they deserve much better care....much...

Ingrid said...

E, I did not know you were especially interested in ptsd. I'll have to email you privately about some of the things I've been trying to pursue in that area. Thanks for posting about this. And I am not even American. These guys (AND women) deserve the attention..

enigma4ever said...

I have been studying PTSD since 2005, I lived in Downtown Cleveland at that time - surrounded by Homeless VETS ( yes Iraqi..) so I started doing Pet therapy with them...( it was accidental- but I did it from the summer of 2005 on til winter 2007)...I then started studying and researching it..there are different posts on it over the 3 years....I am trying to get a job working with them..and also go back to school- to get a counseling degree to specialize in PTSD....yes, it is my thing..( well that and taking care of Homeless people..esp VETS...)

Utah Savage said...

I've had PTSD almost all my life. I isolate so as to avoid anything that might be a stressor. I also have bipolar disorder, so it's sometimes hard to know which is which. The most painful part of living with PTSD is the giving up on "normal" relationships. I have never been fully able to trust. I have a bottom line about child abuse and have recently discovered that a lifelong female friend had allowed her "lover" to abuse her daughter over fifteen years. It is not forgivable for me unless she can acknowledge her participation and enabling and calling that love is a misnomer. That is not love. It may be sexual addiction, it may be alcoholism, it may be rationalization, but it is not love. She would call me and say, "But I love you." And all I can say is, "I hope you get some therapy. But I don't know what that means. You love me. Love yourself first. I'm too angry to say I love you."

enigma4ever said...

I am sorry...sorry that you have had to live with PTSD...and but I am also really amazed that you have identifed Triggers and that you are able to see that it might indeed be complicated and overlapping with Bipolar are brave to face that ....I hope you know that....The way you have clarity about Love and what you need to do to protect yourself and who you are ....and that you know that your anger is self protection and wisdom...even if it is uncomfortable...but that is precious- because it took years for you to heal to get to THIS place...Love is a fragile thing..and for those that have suffered is indeed even more fragile...and trust is also rare...but that you love yourself to protect yourself.....that is something Utah..and shows how strong and intuitive and insightful you indeed are...Healing is done in increments and over may have come further than you think....namaste...