October 14, 2008

When PTSD is an Excuse and Ignorance Not

I was tooling around the internet and checking for some inspiration to write a post, oh boy did I ever find one. This piece I found was on a blog that I never would have thought would allow such lowbrow lack of insight and wholly judgmental holier than thou attitude perpetuated against our soldiers and veterans who have PTSD.

Just because we have a shortage of mental health workers to help our returning soldiers and veterans does not mean we should let just anybody in the doors to help. More damage can be done than good, even if they mean well. Especially if they have the kind of mental prowess and short sightedness such as this "counselor" who wrote this piece that I read.

I try not to wail on people because of who I used to be, but this guy goes on and on...well I will let you read his treatise of ignorance if you want to, but first here are some of his astounding mental feats of "I know I'm right because I said so"
I see the effects of PTSD on a regular basis and have dealt with it’s effects on people suffering from it for quite a few years. I strongly advocate for, is better health care for our returning Soldiers, whether they have physical injuries that can change their lives, or whether they’re suffering from TBI or PTSD.
No, nothing out of order here, even looks as though he might be on a roll to advocate actually, but keep going on,
Something that I’ve been seeing lately that really alarms me however, is Soldiers suffering from PTSD, committing crimes and then using their mental disorder as an excuse to not be held accountable for the crimes they commit. Unfortunately, that’s occurring more and more and it frightens me that they would be allowed to do so.
Ouch, believe it or not this is his next sentence. I do not see where we "let" or "allow" these crimes be done. Seems to me that the lack of mental health care might be contributing to this, but I doubt that's what he meant. Read on
The one thing that I want to stress here, is that just because someone is suffering from PTSD, doesn’t mean that they don’t know the difference between right and wrong and it doesn’t mean that they don’t have control over their behavior. If we allow them to use that as a crutch and an excuse their behavior, then honestly, I don’t see them bettering themselves. Instead, we’re inviting them to stay stuck in that behavior and never taking personal responsibility for their actions. We’re telling them that it’s okay for them to break the law or do bad things, because they have a mental disorder. That’s just not acceptable. When we allow it to become acceptable, then we’re opening the door for thousands of Americans from Soldiers to a crime victim, to do whatever they please and to use the excuse that they’re suffering from PTSD.
Well, I cannot read this anymore, so if you want to see what this guy who calls himself a counselor says, the link is here.

If you would rather skip his bull shit and get straight to my comment to his article then go to the first comment here, it is kind of long just letting you know, but it goes by real fast.

9 comments:

  1. Just because you work around people who have PTSD does not mean you understand the nature of PTSD, this shows by the ignorance of your words and insensitivity to the plight of the walking wounded. Obviously you place yourself in a position of moral superiority over the “less fortunate ones” then yourself.

    Now to further the argument of your complete ignorance on an understanding of PTSD, let me point to your sentence, “The one thing that I want to stress here, is that just because someone is suffering from PTSD, doesn’t mean that they don’t know the difference between right and wrong and it doesn’t mean that they don’t have control over their behavior.” I follow your logic and I agree with your summary on whether PTSD survivors understand between right and wrong. I counter that in a moment of being triggered from a PTSD stressor, choice becomes overridden by a survival defensive mechanism that takes over the body and engages a fight or flight response.

    More ignorance abounds in your comment, “So let’s empower them to get better, instead of helping them to continue to wallow in a pit of self pity and use their PTSD as an excuse for everything they do and everything that happens to them.” So that’s what you see when you look at the veterans you are supposed to be helping? This supposes to say that if we wanted to, we could turn off this thing if we just wanted to, that we should be led to see the futility of our holding onto the emotional pain.

    I also agree that we should take responsibility for our actions; we should never excuse someone for committing a crime that has PTSD. Without taking responsibility for our actions we will never be able to begin to cope with life and begin to heal; we would remain stuck in the past and possibly commit suicide.

    You drew an analogy to the PTSD sufferer and the addict. According to the first step of a 12 step program, an addict has to admit they were powerless over drugs and that their lives had become unmanageable. The first step in recovery for an addict is to admit that you have a problem with drugs that they have power over you that you cannot control yourself when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Through this acceptance of responsibility we can, with help become whole again. Once it was thought that if the alcoholic would just say no then they could get better if they wanted to, it was this thinking that uncontrollable drinking was a matter of moral fortitude that you, sir, use today in your argument. You say you are a counselor? How is it that this is lost on you then?

    Let me draw an analogy for you, being a police officer I assume you had to draw your weapon on occasion, was it something that you thought about doing and then made a conscious choice to draw your weapon? Probably most of the time. But I dare say that, once you did so without even thinking and it possibly saved lives. No? Never heard another officer discuss this? This would be the same thing that happens in combat where training takes over, where thinking will get you or your buddies killed. No, this is not PTSD, not at all. PTSD is where the stressful situations of today’s reality get confused with the horrors of reactionary histories of the past and come crashing together where training, trauma and the fight or flight mechanisms intercedes on rational thinking.

    Veterans and soldiers should be held accountable for their actions. Do you think that putting someone with PTSD in a prison would be a good idea? The veteran you talked about who was sentenced for 12 years will probably get out of prison, do you think that he will be the better for it? Or rehabilitated? I think that his PTSD will be worse, because prison itself can cause or exasperbate PTSD. I do not know what to do with our soldiers who fought for us that commit crimes, but neither do I think we should throw away the people who fought for our freedom when they become of no more use to us.

    Seriously, you have got to be adding to your observations to fit your argument when you say, “I’ve seen counselors provide letters for Soldiers stating that they suffered from PTSD and would not be held accountable for their actions.” This is complete bullshit to think that a counselor, who is not a therapist, would write a letter stating that someone cannot be held accountable for their actions. A counselor would not be qualified to write such a letter for one and if they did then their license should be taken away. You say you saw this? Then you should have reported it, professional ethics would compel you to do so. A master’s level therapist could diagnose PTSD, but only a Phd psychologist or a psychiatrist could write a letter of this magnitude and should only be done in a competency hearing. Holes way through your arguments, quit exaggerating on facts to bolster your arguments.

    Do yourself and the soldiers that you help a favor, and consider yourself fortunate that you were not so effected by your service as a police officer and quit looking down on them as less than you because they were impacted in such a way. Look beyond your differences and try and see them for who they really are, mentally wounded, and in need of your care and compassion not your judgment.

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  2. Letters behind his name doesn't change the fact that he is a jerk!

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  3. Aya, well said. Big ass jerk! I was so fired up when I wrote this, it was a good thing that they were not in front of me during that time.

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  4. As a Veteran Military Police Officer with war related trauma and the wife to an active duty Soldier, who is in a full fledged PSTD mental health facility as I type this, it is because of narrow minded inconsiderate " holier than thou" jackasses like you that caused my husband to have a break down at home during the line of duty!!! He has voiced his concerns many times to "professionals" like yourself, over the past 8 years and no one gave a crap until he said he had thoughts of harming others, not me and our children of course. We have idiots with degrees like you to thank for him having to be pulled away from his children that see him as a hero and see the things he sacrificed and that they are lucky to get to have even known him!!! HOW DARE YOU!!!

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  5. the problem is...too many of our military DO use ptsd as a crutch. and people who see it that way aren't trying to disprove ptsd, say that they understand it, or say it doesn't exist. i actually agree with the guy. i'm sick of hearing about it when the same ones moaning aren't trying to do anything to get better.

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    1. It's really cool to have all this judgment from people who don't understand or have an education or compassion. It's great to hear from someone without a mental wound to tell me how to think, feel and behave. Thanks so much for your stupendous assessment and judgement. When you see a veteran limping with a serious leg wound we don't say to him, "why didn't you get out of the way of that bullet?" or ask, "are you really limping or just trying to get attention?" Cause every mentally wounded veteran needs your judgement and apathy.

      It's extremely rude and disrespectful to confront a severely wounded veteran with an obvious disability. But you think it's okay to confront people without obvious disabilities. I bet you wouldn't confront me in person, you big internet badass.

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    2. It's really cool to have all this judgment from people who don't understand or have an education or compassion. It's great to hear from someone without a mental wound to tell me how to think, feel and behave. Thanks so much for your stupendous assessment and judgement. When you see a veteran limping with a serious leg wound we don't say to him, "why didn't you get out of the way of that bullet?" or ask, "are you really limping or just trying to get attention?" Cause every mentally wounded veteran needs your judgement and apathy.

      It's extremely rude and disrespectful to confront a severely wounded veteran with an obvious disability. But you think it's okay to confront people without obvious disabilities. I bet you wouldn't confront me in person, you big internet badass.

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  6. I agree with the counselor. If you have PTSD, you can get treatment and deal with that as a veteran. Most veterans with PTSD do not become violent toward others. If you blame the PTSD for your behavior, you will never empower yourself to change that. My mother went through mental health treatment for severe depression with psychosis. She had not control over her hallucinations - but she took responsibility for facing into her mental illness and that empowered her to make life giving choices for herself and those she impacted upon. If a veteran with PTSD commits a violent crime and PTSD is a factor, the Judge should use leniency in sentencing him -- but he still should be sentenced, because that veteran needs to take responsibility for his disability and for his actions just as my mother did and others who have mental health disorders.

    I am sure my comment will anger most of you. There are many people in our country who suffer from mental health disorders. You claim the therapist is a jerk and is insensitive to veterans with PTSD. But I wonder how sensitive you are to all of these other people who struggle with mental health issues and who take responsibility for good self care so they don't aggress at other people. You anger me, because I saw what my mother went through. You think you are the only ones who have experienced trauma? My mother was raped by her father from the age of 5 until my father married her at age 27. And she was physically beaten by my grandfather along with the rape. She became impregnated by my grandfather, and had an abortion. She was a cradle Catholic, and lived with horrendous guilt -- stopped going to Mass -- until a kind priest counseled her and helped her to forgive herself and make healthy choices in her life. And the reason she finally broke down with the psychosis, was because my father finally pushed her over the edge due to his alzheimers. So don't give me any lip service about how veterans are more privileged than other people when it comes to PTSD -- because you are not. Veterans need to be held to the same accountability as any other U.S. citizen who has suffered trauma and PTSD. And I don't care if you are offended. What I am stating is the truth, and you need to deal with that truth.

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    1. You can have your clouded opinion, I am not here for you. No one said veterans are privileged or have a corner on trauma. You confuse your anger from you and your mother's fucked up life, and are misplacing it here by twisting my words to advance your agenda, whatever that is.

      I am responsible for my wreckage and if you actually read anything else here you would know. But, I bet you are only here to bitch to veterans about how bad you and your mom had it like it is some kind of fucking competition.

      Go find a blog or FB page to commiserate, because I have no compassion for those who attack veterans for sharing their stories. Where the fuck do see where I said vets are privileged and should not be responsible for our actions? Cause you made that shit up. Now, fuck off and go troll elsewhere.

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