A Silent Killer

June 22, 2015

ptsd

Serious topic here. Scary topic. PTSD—post traumatic stress disorder. We all hear about it on the news. The statistics are scary. One in three will experience it upon returning home from active duty, but less than 40% will seek help. Military personal take their own lives by the hundreds each year because of the illness. It’s very real and I’ve encountered it myself.

My brother’s best friend fought it for a couple years. I remember him before he left to serve our country. He was a good kid. Kind of goofy and had an easy smile. He always had good grades and treated people with respect. When he came home, he was no longer that goofy, smiling kid. Instead he was a very quiet, stoic man who jumped at fireworks and dogs barking. He married the first girl who would have him, but ended up divorcing her less than a year later because he would fly into uncontrollable rages caused by PTSD and the resulting lack of sleep.

He did go to rehab. I watched him struggle. I watched my brother struggle to support him though he didn’t understand at all what the problem was. We walked on eggshells for years. He’d come out of rehab and for a few months be fine, then he’d go back again. He’s remarried now and has a baby girl. They’ve found some normal in their life. But to this day that goofy, fun kid is gone. He watches the world with wary eyes and has to fight every moment of every day to control his anxiety, anger, and pain.

How many people could live with this every day without help? Why do they have to? What happens if we don’t help them? We lose them, of course. And I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about PTSD is that it only shows up in combat vets. Not true. Anyone who’s had a very traumatic experience in their life can have PTSD. Though combat is certainly among some of the worst events people can experience in their life.

“Have you spoken to a therapist?”

Kade frowned and blinked in confusion for a few moments. “About?”

“You’ve seen a lot of active combat. That changes a person. PTSD is a pretty big problem and often goes undiagnosed for years.” I looked away, feeling my heart give a warning ache again as it did any time I thought of anything related to Nathan.

“I don’t have PTSD.”

“You didn’t watch friends blown up, see children with their heads shot off, or watch militia gang rape girls too young to be considered women?”

Kade sighed. “How is any of that relevant to the job? Yes, I’ve seen some of the worst of humanity. But I’m here and still kicking.”

I flinched then shoved the papers back across the table. “Thank you for coming in, Kade. I think Will can help you find something that is a better fit for you than PHI.”

Ollie is hurt by Kade because he feels like he’s saying that Nathan just wasn’t strong enough. That’s why he died. Of course that’s not what Kade is saying. But Ollie is so traumatized by the death of his older brother that everything relates back to Nathan. And putting Kade, who survived, in Nathan’s role at PHI feels like betrayal to Ollie.

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Have you been touched by PTSD? Someone in your life maybe? Or yourself? Have you reached out to them just to offer some peace? An ear to listen? What more can we do to help them? Stories are pain are okay. Stories of recovery even better.

ModelCitizenFS

Booklist:

Model Citizen (DSP)

Hidden Gem (DSP)

Evolution (DSPP)

On the Right Track (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Harmony Ink) Sam Kadence

Inheritance (Lissa Kasey)

Reclamation (Lissa Kasey)

2 Responses to “A Silent Killer”

  1. Angela says:

    Thanks for sharing the story of your brothers best friend.
    I have no personal experience to share but i think it is good to share as many stories to raise awareness.

  2. H.B. says:

    Thanks for sharing this story with us. My sister had a friend who also served our country. She would always try to keep in touch while he was away and when he was on leave she would make sure to hang out with him. Talking was something she made sure he did.

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