This Veterans Day is the first of my life where I have a very clear appreciation for exactly how the great men and women of our military are willing to risk way more than simply life and death…all in the interest of protecting our country and our way of life.
When we grow up in this country, many of us wrongly learn that PTSD is a disorder specific to those in the military who witness great atrocities in war. This disorder then becomes stigmatized, with the majority of citizens believing it only affects one specific group of people who are unfairly thought of as “incapable of adjusting quickly back to a normal life.”
It took my own experience of 2.5 years of being wrongly diagnosed, to learn that PTSD is very much a disorder that can and often does affect anyone unrelated to the military. PTSD is NOT a “mental illness exclusive to those who go to war.”
Instead, it is a condition caused by many different forms of life’s accumulated and neglected traumas, or a singular intense traumatic experience. This trauma could be related to anything life throws at us, such as: sexual assault, living with an alcoholic parent, surviving a major natural disaster, loss of a child, family member, or close friend. The effect of these traumas is that they begin to shut down our cognitive functioning, making it feel near impossible to get through an average day.
What we see with folks in the military who have major PTSD from intense experiences is different from the side effects the rest of us feel going through life’s various challenges, only in the appearance and intensity of those side effects.
Why then do we stigmatize our veterans who have been affected by war? Those of us who have served are human beings with raw emotions just like the rest of us. They CHOSE to protect our country, knowing full well that side effects from major PTSD are possible. Instead of stigmatizing them, we should teach our kids from a young age how similar to everyone else they are, and how because they chose to protect our country with great risk, their healthcare and treatment upon return should be of utmost importance. The good news is, we now know the natural treatments that cleanse the CNS of those traumas and allow us to heal from traumas at all levels.
Thank you to those who serve and have served. Along with #weareallalittlecazy’s Global Mental Health Alliance, I am in awe of your bravery and will ensure we do all we can to fight for programs to help you heal and to change the misunderstandings that exist in our society.
Thanks to those in my family who have served: Louis Kussin, Benjamin Levine and Nathan Jacobs.