by: Eric M. Kussin

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30 May 2018

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Questioning Why We Stigmatize Servicemen/Women With PTSD

Apologies for the graphic images, but please go w me on this.

 

We just passed Memorial Day, where we honored those we’ve lost serving our country. We’ve also lost far too many to MH complications once they’ve come back from service. That’s not news. Estimates are close to 22 vets we lose to suicide EVERY day.  Likely more when you consider homelessness & all the complications that come w that predicament.

 

Bc my diagnosis was PTSD, I have a soft place in my 💚 for servicemen/women & how they’re treated by society.  Although We’re All A Little “Crazy” focuses on MH from all angles, as does The #SameHere Movement, I’m personally committed to helping change the narrative w respect to how we as a society unfairly talk abt vets returning w PTSD: as “misfits,” “damaged,” and even “incapable of assimilating back.” These are all terms I’ve heard others use in casual convo, not knowing how my condition & symptoms closely mirrored those they were discussing.

 

The pic on the right is of my ankle from abt a month & 1/2 ago after I twisted it playing basketball on a freak play (Chamique Holdsclaw was there to see & make fun of me). Turns out (only took me a month to go to a doc ;)), I tore ligaments right off the bone.

 

Now, seriously ask urself this question: if you saw me limping on an ankle like that after a one-time, “major” twist like what I just described…would you think any differently of my injury if instead I’d “tweaked” my ankle five-six minor times over a few yrs, & ended up having one semi-bad twist, that landed me w the same tear that happened in the pic above? That question is rhetorical. Whether one major event, or a collection of smaller ones, if my ankle looked like that, & you saw me limping, you’d offer the same support.

 

Why then do we treat our military who come back from service, so differently just bc they’ve seen one-two MAJOR catastrophes in front of them that “shocked” their system than we do everyday folks who experience smaller cumulative traumas that ultimately put them in the same spot functionally as those servicemen/women? It’s not right & it’s time we change perspective. Trauma hits us all – same continuum, just diff places on it. We are the same!

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