To say that with treatment we can get better seems to suggest that we can be cured. This is not the case, we can improve our standard of living by learning coping skills, become educated about our triggers, learn to identify and express our emotions. PTSD rewires the brains neurological landscape, it is as if we have been given a new brain with the same memories and no one told us of the switch. With this new brain we have been given hijacked neuropathways telling us that our survival is in jeopardy. Without the education, social and coping skills training, values identification, relaxation techniques, counseling and therapy, this debilitating and overwhelming mental illness will defeat us every time (Cercone, 305-307).
I dealt with PTSD by self medicating for 14 years until my anger, suffering, fear and unmet needs became overwhelming. It can take years for the problems to accumulate to the point of self-destruction. My realization of this began when a man stabbed me in the face because I had offended him numerous times and when he had an opportunity he acted on it. It took someone trying to take my life to realize that I was mentally ill and that I needed help. My behavior, attitude and cognitive processes had digressed to the point of self hatred and feelings of unworthiness.
I kept thinking of killing myself for 15 years or so, driving off the road, instigating fights, fingering my gun and imaging the relief I would feel if I just pulled the trigger. I could not do it myself, so I sought out people and situations that endangered my existence. How do I kill myself without me doing it? I thank God that I persevered through it and I am well enough today that I may help someone else like me, which was Gods plan all along.
If you know of a veteran or someone you may think is suffering from PTSD, help them get help. In the military we are trained to keep going, to never give in to the enemy. The returning veteran needs our help in reintegrating into society. They need our support and assistance to transition from a life or death struggle in combat to a new beginning in society. We will never be the same as we were before we went to war. But with your help and support we can redirect the negative outcomes from PTSD and become productive to society.
DO NOT WAIT FOR YEARS TO GO BY TO SEEK HELP, IF YOU DO YOU COULD LOSE THEM OR YOURSELF TO THIS ILLNESS.