True Life: I Have PTSD

During this episode of True Life veterans were introduced to the viewer, all of which were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They were shown in different stages of the illness and recovery process, all facing their own individual problems. One was attempting to self medicate with alcohol because his recommended medicine wasn’t helping. He was however looking to start a program to help people like him and in his own way, using it to help move on from what he’s experienced. Another was forced into a situation in which he may have to leave his support system to find a job. Although he had attempted suicide previously, he was doing much better but putting him in a new environment without the people that helped change his negative mindset could result in a relapse.

All those that were suffering from this disease, although recovering in different ways, were suffering from similar, if not the same, symptoms. They were very depressed, traumatized, angry, scared, and in some cases volatile. They have very low tolerance for their anger and tend to lash out unexpectedly.

I believe the types of narrative this story conveys are both Quest and Choas. This is because in a Choas narrative they feel that socially their condition isn’t really accepted. Also they feel as though this is an illness they will always face and may not get better although they are hopeful. This is why I also see it as a Quest narrative. They think that they can learn from this experience and in the case of the veteran who wanted to start a program to help others with PSTD, they can help others. Some of the veterans took responsibility for their illness and were ready to accept that part of recovery. But not everyone can be ready for that. I think that personal experiences and what societal norms are set in place where a person is from shape how one can recover or adapt to life with such an illness. PSTD isn’t really the individual’s fault, it is more something that is just a side effect.

These narratives are very helpful in determining the right path for recovery for a patient. I think that through learning how a person wants to explain their story it can show helpful clues as to how one should treat that individual. If they feel they aren’t on a quest journey and there isn’t hope for them, perhaps this would change the chosen health care plan for that individual. They may need more one on one counseling or a stronger form of medication. When reading about Paternal Post Partum Depression, I felt that I couldn’t really buy into the idea. However, after reading a personal experience, I was able to see a fully painted picture of how it happened and how the father felt. It justified the illness in a way, and showed me the hope that he had and that he wanted to find peace in his illness, not be held back by it.

2 thoughts on “True Life: I Have PTSD

  1. I find PTSD to be an incredibly unfortunate disorder. So much so that I don’t entirely consider it a disorder, but really an unfortunate side-effect of peoples’ experiences, and it isn’t something that can be attributed to the fault of the sufferers. I read a few entries in a blog about a PTSD sufferer and a few of his entries and experiences are similar to what you described in the True Life episode. The man in the blog did resort to drugs and alcohol as a method of dealing with his disorder. However, he describes how he went to Alcoholic’s Anonymous to deal with his issues. In it, he talks about how AA and the 12 steps helped, though he also described how they did not, which I found interesting. He talks about people that may have betrayed him there and used the trust that the 12 steps program instills to harm and take advantage of him, which I find incredibly heart-breaking considering he is already suffering from PTSD. I believe that through culture he developed a feeling of shame for his alcoholism and thus sought AA in an effort to help. He does describe that medication and talking with a psychologist has helped him cope with his issues. He also has links to others suffering from PTSD in an effort to help them. I think this narrative is incredibly helpful, as not only is it a healthy outlet to let him describe his experiences and get them off of his chest, but it is also helpful for others as well.

  2. An Army veteran of the Gulf War, Scott Lee grapples with posttraumatic stress disorder and re-assimilation into civilian life. His illness experience has been affected by his repeated re-filings for benefits with the Veteran’s Affairs office, a nineteen year struggle culminating after ten petitions where he was finally awarded 80% service compensation due to his condition. Lee devised his blog, “PTSD: A Soldier’s Perspective,” in order to facilitate recovery through the medium of writing, which for him represents an opportunity for self-reflection, as echoed by his sentiment that he is “able to divert my anxieties into creative projects” (Lee, 2012). Lee’s illness experience was positively influenced by his talent for writing (presumably due to his education) and his ability to mobilize social support, which enabled him to connect himself with others with whom he felt comfortable sharing his illness narrative. Through endeavors such as his attendance of The Military Experience and Arts Symposium and Eastern Kentucky University’s Veterans Education and Transition Supports, he was able to find community with returning soldiers afflicted by PTSD. In the latter organization, students compiled a published anthology of writings documenting their combat experiences and transition from military to civilian life. This veteran’s collective replicated the ‘unit cohesion’ dynamic of the armed forces and promoted solidarity among former warriors, including Lee, who “felt an immediate affinity” with the group and “gravitated towards others similarly affected by war” (Lee, 2012). In this respect, the EKU VETS program supplied a forum for Lee to disclose his narrative whilst generating social identity with other PTSD sufferers. Lee describes writing as a cathartic, healing experience: “It gives word to the disjointed in me, to examine and expound with context and content”.
    He describes the physiological symptoms of PTSD and triggering events in his blog, portraying the disorder as an altering of “the landscape of the mind”, a perpetual activation of the fight-or-flight response (Lee, 2012). Many of the symptoms he explicates mirror those in the True Life episode and his blog conveys elements of the Chaos narrative, in that the condition is chronic, disabling, and results in social alienation. Moreover, his narrative seems disjointed and fragmented; this disorganized sequence may emerge due to unpredictable and unstructured nature of PTSD itself. His discovery of coping mechanisms such as meditation and breathing exercises, however, have elicited a positive impact on his illness experience by giving him a sense of empowerment. In comparison, it seems that in the True Life episode, cultural pressure and social milieu may have negatively influenced one individual’s illness experience by precipitating his self-medication with alcohol. In another case, economic forces precluded another sufferer’s recovery because he had to abandon his social network and the support they provided for occupational reasons. In this instance, family had served as a social buffer, monitoring his suicidal ideation and preventing relapse, thus moderating his PTSD.

    Reference

    Lee, Scott. (2012, July 22). Powerful Healing Journeys Through Arts and The Military Experience [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://ptsdasoldiersperspective.blogspot.com/

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