Some things about Petawawa access, community resources (continued) and related to the corporal story, and present waitlist for families in Petawawa for help (first Star Article)
Addiction treatment is probably easier to access vs. trauma treatment, at least in the past, I've noticed that. 4-6 month wait for inpatient vs. many years re: trauma treatment-- at the civilian level, no private or specialized health care plan. Some good programs e.g. Rideauwood and they can do referrals and provide counselling while waiting, etc. AA/NA something to do, try out while on a waitlist. If there's addiction co-occuring with PTSD, or anxiety, depression, it's worthwhile to start attending to that, then when there's access to trauma help, could lessen the chaos a little more, to make it easier, and be more receptive to learning and practicing new skills. What's not good is to get over-used to constant crisis, and melt into a denial numb, while things continue to escalate, and especially if things continue to escalate to becoming more dangerous-- and that can be common (e.g. experience of battered women [or men]
I don't find that everyday people, lay people have much understanding re: PTSD, but it's good to try to keep up a support network, people to even try to enjoy some non-traumatized time with, distraction, healthy activities, etc.-- can go a long way. But I don't really find that there are many people who are safe, trustworthy to talk about harder stuff (some listeners are overly-dramatic, and I don't find that to be helpful; or judging, and using their own frame of reference, but not understanding the particulars of the challenges of coping with PTSD, vs. coping with hard situations but not impaired by PTSD-- so, you get 'pop psychology' which some might work for non-PTSD-- just change your attitude about things. . . I think the attitude might have to change from within, one's attitude towards one's own suffering and to learn to be compassionate that way, empathy, vs. self-loathing, shame-based, overly sensitive to external labels, or attitudes of others who don't understand. I also believe that a lot of others don’t like to admit encountering situations that may be beyond their immediate comprehension (so there can be a tendency to over-compensate, block out, put others on ignore-- because certainly feels better, ego-protecting-- it can become easier to just disregard and I think that can be a fairly common experience of PTSD-survivors among others, and it can feel alienating, lead to more isolation even, to get control over those wounds-- things hurt more when already down, over-stressed, impatient).
Normal is trying to chase away any uncomfortable feeling, and that's a survival technique, has a functional purpose and can be for a while (can't afford to fall apart in the face of immediate danger). . . [. . .but till it all comes crashing in
but not necessarily does that happen to all people, many variables which mitigate who's more at risk for PTSD vs. not: exposures, proximity to events, prior traumas, duration/prolonged stress, etc.). Normal to PTSD, is numbing by habit, but it can also become more problematic, because the tension can escalate anxiety and exasperate symptoms, and be much worse then feeling it through, letting it pass (but in a bad state, it's hard to grasp that it can pass, but that can be learned through more evidence and experience of things passing, and it being okay-- and building tolerance for what doesn't feel tolerable at the moment). It's trial, and error, and a learning process. Self-loathing maybe be more common generally in this culture too
and when pushed to the limits and beyond. . . loud awakenings, not wanted usually (and it sucks to lose power over it, like what PTSD barrage of symptoms can do).
I think of this guy with the addictions, the former corporal and he seems to be struggling a lot-- there seems to be an attachment to preferring to be and feel invincible (and part of that has been needed, confidence, re: walking into where there's crisis, and threats to safety of self/others), and that can cause more stress, vs. self-respect, acceptance, trust in oneself, keep faith, etc. . . . it can be hard challenge to make that leap, but if working on PTSD and the challenges of abstinence from addiction, that can be learnt and can get beyond that impasse and a lot more recovery then can start to happen. It can be a hard fall from feeling the high of “invincible” and then to “invisible” even. The corporal could have been a great soldier at his time, ‘first in, last out’ (I used to be fearless, I liked that time
). Reality is that no-one is truly invincible, sometimes it’s a matter of luck, to not have the experience of ‘wings clipped’ and falling hard to the ground. It felt good to not have to feel any pain . . ., it’s a hard loss, when the system breaks and pain comes flooding in, when not wanted and when no-longer so easily containable. PTSD itself, feels like a constant fear of ambush, by the symptoms presenting alone. Try to get things done and bam, get hit with it. . . Frustrating and having to clear the fallout. It’s different training requirement, not operating on external situations, securing scene, containment, apply training, but coming back to operate on internal situations which is entirely new and hard to be objective without some training for that (and even a bit of outside guidance, to help with the training), internal landscape.
There's a John Prine song, "Sam Stone", I've discovered it seems to resonate a bit with some of the Viet Nam Vets, in a way, like some blues, validates suffering, a person who's isolated themselves, and addictions to chase away the pain, puts some honour to those who've lost comrades due to PTSD/addictions and brings a sense of presence to that suffering, numbness, soul struggle/faith, etc.
(Might not like the accompanying picture. . . I have a feeling it might reflect some feelings of some left behind, hidden-injury sufferers. It's haunting, disturbing. Can hear in Prine's intro to the song, re: a visit to the Washington Memorial [the VN one also misses a few, e.g. one‘s who flew into Cambodia, not sure if that ever got resolved, but I personally know that it hurts a few]):
There are some choices, but not all can see that or have the faith (or enough left) to rise to the challenge and the endurance it calls upon re: recovery and to take the leap despite stigma or shame to seek help when it‘s become problematic. I think it calls upon a newer courage (and not commonly acknowledged, or understood, and still always uphill re: stigma, etc.) for that particular challenge. Sadly, there have been a few who've lost faith (even temporarily, but enough for it to be fatal and taking an unhealthy path to cope) and it's also an old story, years long. PTSD stats I think are similar re: percentages, Civilian general population and Military (?) around 8%, mitigating factors, as I’ve mentioned some previously re: duration, exposure, proximity, pre-conditions (prior traumas) etc. (more from the links in previous post).
Another version of the song here-- comments show that it does resonate with Vietnam Veterans, families, survivors:
(I thought it was Johnny Cash at first, the low voice). There’s another video tribute, using a Dylan song (Eddie Brickel cover), “Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall”, some honour to the experiences in general, validating (makes me cry sometimes, and some images are reminders for me) but also affirming. The metaphor of a “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, reminds me about acceptance of PTSD. Dedicated to the families and ISAF survivors of the Afghanistan war, with a nod to all NATO partners.
I can’t handle ‘over-sentimentality’, but I find these songs resonate with me, a level of real, that for me, feels translate-able to PTSD-experience (metaphorically even) but not over-dramatic (as is the habit of media at times, everyone has learnt to sensationalize, over-dramatize), distortive in that way. I feel there is a ‘middle ground’, not to abandon, and disregard real challenges and struggles (and the urge to sweep it under the rug) and to be active and pro-active to help support, have those options available. Temptations in people can go to extremes of avoidance, denial, shame of problem challenges (stigma) to being overly dramatic about things. The middle ground I think is a mature stance, and responsible. These fallen soldiers, and one’s with ‘invisible injuries’ are our brothers and sisters, CF family, I also see it in the context of the larger ‘human family’ and I feel compelled to stand with them (at least in spirit). So I’m compelled to try to myth-bust, challenge stigma, misunderstanding and would wish to express dignity to the experience, and respect for others who are affected (not achieve-able alone, but if there can be a ripple of some helpful understanding that can help others). I think a lot of positive things have happened within CF, and that’s really good to see. But there can be problems, re: resource shortages re: qualified and competent professionals re: PTSD and families. . . There’s been some positive changes, past 10 years re: ‘the system of support resources“, but still some challenges which preparation ahead of time can help mitigate escalation into deeper troubles.