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Soup of the Day
Dispatches from the Frontline: PTSD
March 28, 2012
Posted by Sarah
Dispatches from the Frontline: PTSD
Michael Yon

Sergeant Godsmack vs. Nazar

28 March 2012

 PTSD is a serious problem.  Suicides by veterans happen many times per day, every day.  At best, PTSD can degrade the quality of life of veterans and their families.  At worst, unmanaged, the human toll is incalculable.

Other problems with “military PTSD:”

1) PTSD for profit: Disability payments.  Profiteers learn the symptoms, mimic, and then get paid, often for life.  Most symptoms are self-reported, in response to interview questions by military or Veterans Administration (VA) professionals.  Chaplains also serve as a resource.  The PTSD mockingbirds, the fakes, often sing to chaplains, to establish a precedent for later favorable diagnosis.

2) Dueling Scar PTSD: Long before the recent wars, many people “suffered” from PTSD as if it were a dueling scar. “PTSD” was evidence that they had “been there.”  Rambo had “PTSD,” and wannabes needed it, too.
Dueling scars were fashionable early in the last century in places like Germany and Austria.  Many were real, the result of genuine duels, or academic duels.  The cult of the scar was so compelling that a market emerged for anti-cosmetic surgery to create them.  Stuffing scars with horsehair made them even more disfiguring.  Dueling scars were supposed to be seen. Everybody knows that chicks dig scars.

A psychologist at a VA facility who treats PTSD reviewed this dispatch and commented, “You can also see this in VA hospitals where some veterans seemingly embrace the PTSD diagnosis (legitimate or self-diagnosed…) like being part of an elite club. There is overlap with the service compensation seekers but there is an identity factor independent of secondary gain that seems to drive certain individuals.”

3) PTSD as justification/excuse/alibi: “Yes, your honor, I beat my wife. And I wrecked my car with a bottle of whiskey in my gut. I have PTSD.” “What did you do in the Army?” “I was a cook.” “Were you in combat?” “The sirens from the rocket attacks still ring in my head.”

4) PTSD as Negative Brand: Nobody wants this. True case: a war correspondent wrote that two generals needed to be fired. In order to squelch bad press, or to make sense of unpleasant assertions, many people said (accused, really) that the writer had “PTSD.”  They said that he had “been in war zones for too long,” and that he was “crazy.”  (But then both generals were fired). The false branding was a handy tool to discredit an unwelcome messenger. Unfortunately, there is a persistent negative bias against soldiers, or anyone, really, who has PTSD.  This is the scar that chicks do not dig.

Veterans with authentic PTSD know about shunning. Those with legitimate diagnoses often display opposite behavior from the Dueling Scar crowd: they try to conceal their honorable wounds. Their symptoms are not what they wish to flaunt, but what many times they cannot hide.  Their memories are not what they want to remember, but what they cannot forget.

Read the full dispatch at MichaelYon-Online.com.

Related:  Dispatches from the FrontlineFriend of the ShowMichael Yon Bookmark and Share
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