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~A

Post Traumatic Stress

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Trincomalee, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Trincomalee

    Trincomalee Senior Member

    I 'm on the committee of a charity that works with post traumatic stress (PTSD) . We have published a book that explains how it feels and what people can do about it .
    The book , "THE SKY BEFORE THE STORM" , has been distributed to every GP's surgery in Northern Ireland and the feedback has been very positive .

    This book is available online to download for free .

    I became involved with this work because I was very aware of my father's experiences throughout his life (he had been a Japanese POW) . And now , a lot of people are looking at the "trans - generational" effects of trauma .

    Interestingly , my closest friend at university was the daughter of concentration camp survivors . Years later we realised that this similar background was part of our friendship .

    Would members on this forum like to have the details and the link ?
    I welcome your opinions .
    Linden
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Sounds interesting.
    Post away Linden.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  3. Trincomalee

    Trincomalee Senior Member

    I 'm on the committee of a charity that works with post traumatic stress . We have published a book that explains how it feels and what people can do about it . The book , "Sky Before The Storm" , has been distributed to every GP's surgery in Northern Ireland and the feedback has been very positive .

    This book is available online to download for free .

    I became involved with this work because I was very aware of my father's experiences throughout his life (he had been a Japanese POW) . And now , a lot of people are looking at the "trans - generational" effects of trauma .

    Interestingly , my closest friend at university was the daughter of concentration camp survivors . Years later we realised that this similar background was part of our friendship .

    Would members like to have the details and the link on this forum ?
    I welcome your opinions .
    Linden

    PTSD

    "THE SKY BEFORE THE STORM" (pdf) WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT TRAUMA

    Wider Circle Trauma Support Group - Home

    There are pictures with each page so if the feelings become too intense you can rest by looking at the pictures .

    There are two possible downloads .

    1 One is the version used in Northern Ireland . The paintings have been especially chosen so that there are no images that could remind the reader of the Troubles .
    http://widercircle.org/publications/SkyBefore_no%20images.pdf

    2 The second version allows you to select your own pictures ; images that won't disturb you
    http://widercircle.org/publications/Sky%20Before_with%20images.pdf
     
  4. debra

    debra Member

    I work in nursing, and I have listened to many men and women who were involved in The War and are now outwardly talking and feeling what they saw and experienced. Two people I think of often, Olga, from Norway,..she kept repeating to me: "Why could they now stop him? Why?" A gentleman who fought on Omaha Beach who described vivid images to me of his experiences. Why I am romanticized by The War, I really can't say, but these folks are still living it in the present. Truly a paradox.
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Having seen the effects of battle exhaustion first hand, and knowing that it is caused by a prolonged period of violent battle and even harsher conditions. I wonder where todays cases come from?
    sapper
     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Mr. Guy, it doesn't have to be prolonged, although that is what is usually associated with. It can be caused by a brief incident, such as a automobile wreck or other traumatic event.
     
  7. Trincomalee

    Trincomalee Senior Member

    I think it is clearer if it is described as "a shock" .
    Any shock can produce the symptoms of PTSD .
    "The Sky Before The Storm" suggests that this is a medical condition , not a mental problem . Shock alters the body's chemical balance and when this imbalance persists the chemicals can cause emotional changes .

    Linden
     
  8. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I don't mean to be rude. But many thousands of men experienced continuous battle conditions, in some of the most horrifying circumstances without succumbing to this shock.
    That is why I have difficulty in coming to terms with this today. That begs the question. Are we becoming a Nation of Softies.
    Best Regards to you for your work.
    Sapper
     
  9. Cpl Rootes

    Cpl Rootes Senior Member

    I don't mean to be rude. But many thousands of men experienced continuous battle conditions, in some of the most horrifying circumstances without succumbing to this shock.
    That is why I have difficulty in coming to terms with this today. That begs the question. Are we becoming a Nation of Softies.
    Best Regards to you for your work.
    Sapper


    Maybe more and more cases are being reported today then perhaps were when you were fighting Sapper. Did you have any direct contact with PTSD sufferers during your service?

    The 'Nation of Softies' is a compelling argument, but the Falklands had loads of PTSD sufferers, many of whom had fought previously or been to NI etc
     
  10. Trincomalee

    Trincomalee Senior Member

    HI Sapper

    I became involved with the subject because my father had it . He never received any help or treatment , but he had PTSD . In the early years of his marriage he would awake screaming with a flashback nightmare . Whilst he was dying the flashbacks returned . He had them intemittently throughout his life and on his 80th birthday , asked me if they would ever go away .
    Both of my parents knew that if they had asked for medical help he would probably have been locked away , so everyone lived with it . My father didn't want the experience to define the rest of his life .

    Not every war veteran has PTSD but many do .
    In the UK , the first treatment for veterans was with the Royal Navy , after the Falklands War .The wives started to ask for help because the husbands and fathers who returned were unrecognisable ; often they had become loners or they were now aggressive .
    In the States it was documented after the Vietnam war .

    After the two world wars there wasn't any help available - the only response was to lock people away . The wives and families accepted that they just had to live with whatever behaviour happened within the family - they understood it was because of "the war" .

    Most people still don't want to talk - there's a lot of shame because people feel it is a sign of weakness and mental problems . I don't think that very many people realise that it is a medical problem . I live in Northern Ireland and the medical profession started to predict that the problems would begin to manifest once the Troubles came to an end . People can hold themselves together and keep the lid on it all as long as the war is still on . Afterwards , it is more difficult to keep such a tight rein .

    I know what you mean about becoming a nation of "softies" . Most people still wouldn't want to ask for help , but there is just a little less of a stigma .

    I offered to put the connection to "The Sky Before the Storm" on the website because I thought it might help people identify whether they do have PTSD . My charity is often contacted by people who have read the book , to say that it explains to them what they are feeling , and knowing what it is is a great weight off their shoulders . This book doesn't help everyone , but it has helped some .

    When the shocks go on for years it probably becomes impossible to remember what a "normal" body chemistry felt like . But the continuing nightmares and flashbacks are now known as PTSD .

    If you have looked at the book I would really appreciate the feedback .

    Regards,
    Linden
     
  11. debra

    debra Member

    I don't mean to be rude. But many thousands of men experienced continuous battle conditions, in some of the most horrifying circumstances without succumbing to this shock.
    That is why I have difficulty in coming to terms with this today. That begs the question. Are we becoming a Nation of Softies.
    Best Regards to you for your work.
    Sapper


    "Shock"..."PTSD"....I think one has the choice now to get help or to just put up with the illness. My dad never received help for PTSD even though he was a POW (WW2), neither did my uncle, who went into Arnhem........did they have it? Dunno..nobody talked about it.

    The men who fought in Vietnam over here, had it, and many decided to turn to drugs and alcohol to combat the illness. How many men from WW2 did the same thing, dunno.

    ED is a not-talked-about-disease. Does it exist? Yep.
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Purely anecdotal, I admit, but my experiences with veterans has made me think that ones who talk about what happened, at least with family and close friends, tend to do so much better psychologically than those who say nothing.

    What do y'all think or have read to this affect?
     
  13. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I just feel we are overdoing this thingy. Its like an encouragement to be a Weakling? True battle exhaustion is quite another thing, and the results are plain to see and DREADFUL. I am not convinced that what is claimed to be shock... in some cases.. is the real thing.
    Though I do applaud you kind folks who have their heart in the right place.
    Sapper
     
  14. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    It was a bloody great big explosion, and tipped one man over the edge, he went crazy...Running around with his commando knife trying to stab his mates.


    Now, That's an extremely interesting 'aside', Sapper! Dr (Lord) Moran, in his WW1 based " The Anatomy of Courage " seems to make much of the High Explosive shells of that era, and the sometime effect of having one explode 'over ones head' could have ~ despite no physical injury being sustained.

    In short; It appears to have been one of the most notable, 'single' causes of blokes loosing it. Probably why they coined the phrase " Shell Shock " ? Only, in my own, extremely limited experience, I'm not sure ~ as I type from the hip ~ that this ties in so well with " PTSD ", as spoken of and recognised today :unsure:

    Bugger. Now the shame is that any ensuing discussion here is liable to become lost and buried under the search term of " Mortar " ! Shame. Something I'm always interested in a discussion about; Shell Shock / PTSD.


    Many thanks for the other contributions too, peeps. I'd never really given mortars that much thought before. Seems I may well have underestimated them!
     
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    As another aside. There is train of thought amongst some veterans, that the PTSD is being used as an excuse by some people.... A harsh claim? Maybe...

    But when I think of how few genuine shell shock/battle exhaustion cases we had. (2) And being almost continuously in action, and sometimes in the most appalling conditions. The Vets find it difficult to come to terms with what "appears " to be rather a large number of exhaustion cases. Where there is no comparison with what the conditions of battle, or, with the conditions that we went into Battle.

    To see so many cases of PTSD when men have not seen anything like the WW2 fighting....Rather makes the Vets wonder.

    What do you think friends. Am I being very harsh? or is there an element of truth in this posting? I await your verdict with a great deal of interest...
    Sapper
     
  16. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    :unsure: Hmm. I was rather afraid this might happen. I.e; Not a great deal. Now, even if it does move, it'll be buried. What ever.

    Sapper; Ever read Dr Moran's book? There's the stated findings of a qualified medic who saw what sounds like enough to form an opinion round. He was involved, in his capacity, in both WWs. I seem to recall he felt there were different factors to be taken into account in both.

    I wouldn't personally know about the more 'modern' theatres of conflict. (Not that I'd " personally " ~ in that sense, ye understand? ~ Know anything about any military action. I've never been in the military). But, my point is that I haven't read anything pertaining to this subject from a more modern perspective. Near as I can get is to say that, in my own opinion, Chrissie Walkin did an admirable job of portraying " PTSD " to the mass audience of " The Deer Hunter ", within the constraints of cinematographic presentation. I can base that opinion on personal experience.

    I have - and have yet to read - the book " Free Fall ". That appears to cover the subject of " PTSD " from a personal and more up to date perspective. I'm looking foreward to that one.

    Then, of course, there's the small point that I actually have Chronic PTSD. That diagnosis having been upheld, for fifteen years and more, by every shrink ye governments could throw at me. And they threw the best they had, believe me ;) To a man and a woman though, they all came back with the same answer. " Write Off! ".

    So, we may see that the medical profession ~ even those well and truly accustomed to warfare and what it involves ~ have constantly agreed with Dr Moran and his century since offered proposition that certain factors can conspire to drive some men 'over the edge'.

    You ~ if I'm reading ye correctly? ~ appear to question, if not the existance of any such 'condition', then perhaps the validity of a good many alleged cases? Obviously, ye'll correct me if I have that wrong.

    Then we have the very question of nomenclature; " Shell Shock ". " Battle Exhaustion ". " PTSD ". As touched on, above; I actually find myself wondering if these titles may not be as interchangable as some seem to think. I.e. that there may actually be quite different conditions, with equelly different causes and symptoms.

    I'd venture to suggest Moran deals with " Shell Shock ". Quite literally. He seemed to recognise it as often being caused by a shell. Simple as that. And I wouldn't say that I can even particularly see my own symptoms as matching too well with those he describes as a result of this 'Shell Shock' either.

    " Battle Exhaustion " ? Sounds somewhat counter to the suddenness of SS, doesn't it? Something more cumulative and pervasive? I'm not familiar with the term, or its symptoms. Can't really say much more on it. Only that it, by definition, sounds to need a bout of prolonged combat to bring it about, surely?

    " PTSD "? I'd suggest that can be brought on quite as suddenly as SS. Only it needn't involve shells or, necasserily, a " shock ". And, probably in common with all three; I'd suggest that by no means all the people exposed to a given situation will respond by developement of the accepted symptoms.

    But, here's the cruncher ~ for me: I often wonder how so very many men can have gone through the experiences of WW's and other such situations, yet come through them without a higher incidence of PTSD ..... Then I think of the so often heard, if whispered, tales of those they came home to; " He never spoke about it. " " He wasn't the same man any more. " " He had nightmares. " Classic symptoms of PTSD.

    Finally; I get the impression that one of the most practicle defences against the onset of PTSD is to 'talk about it'. To get off ones chest what one has been through. Get it out in the open. Right out of ye system, before it has time to mutate and start tearing ye apart.

    Dare I venture to suggest then that a forum such as this is probably the last place to seek veterens who recognise PTSD? Nor the various Associations and meetings of old comrades. Because the blokes who succumbed will be the ones who've never turned up. Who don't speak of their own experiences. The poor souls so often to be caught sitting silently in their armchairs, staring into middle distance .....

    :poppy:



    * Even just writing this post has really, Really taken it out of me. I feel like my head's in a vice now. Another symptom.
     
  17. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Let me say right away Steve, that there is no way I would question the genuine cases...If you got that feeling? Then please accept my most sincere apologies mate. I would never hurt anyone...

    Let me tell you about a very close friend. He had seen the most severe battles including what was known as "The bloodiest square mile in Normandy" He was fine until at last, on a night crossing over the Escaut canal, he succumbed, But it was a real horror...A Dante's inferno or worse.

    Real Battle Exhaustion is the very worst of wounds...The man that suffers is similar to a man that has suffered a stroke. He is a different character. And of course he will be aware that under fire he could not operate. "Bless Him" we all have our breaking points. I am fortunate in being far too pig headed to succumb!
    Cheers
    Sapper
     
  18. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Never once crossed my mind that you were questioning my condition, Sapper. Some of what I came out with, above, was from inside. Almost like talking to myself in terms I'd understand.

    Now; Your mate on the Escaut Canal? " He succumbed. " Bingo! Absolutely perfect example of exactly what Moran takes a rather long time to drive home to us.

    Taking it ye haven't read the book (And I couldn't blame ye! :lol:) The basic thrust is that men will enter battle with so much courage in their account. This they then spend as required. His notion is simply that some events may 'cost' some more. Even more than they cost others. And so it is that, one day, a bloke might need to top up and get the dreaded " Insufficient Funds ".

    That's what Moran would've said of ye poor friend there. He'd paid out all he had.

    What a terrible price :(
     
  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It was Steve. A courageous man..But we all have that point where we succumb. Its what the creator. Who ever he is? gave us.... You cannot buck it, its "Built In"
    Sapper
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I've moved the PTSD stuff on the Mortars thread to here.
    Hope that's OK.

    ~A
     

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