Post Traumatic Stress

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

  1. Rav4

    Rav4 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

    I’m sure that there were many cases of PTFD in previous wars ,but it was not recognized much like shell shock wasn’t recognized in WW1. I don’t think we are becoming a nation of softies, as much as we are being led by a bunch of clueless politicians. It's taken me all these years to realize that an army is only as good as it's political masters.
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    In defence of Sapper

    Not, of course that Brian is not more than capable of defending himself, but too many people so far seem to be astonished or even shocked that Brian will not admit to having suffered from the effects of PTS.

    One factor that seems to have been overlooked in this lengthy thread is the syndrome that nature seems to have provided us with that says " Remember the good times- forget the bad times"

    Take me, for example.

    I served for about four and a half years, mainly overseas.

    I had literally hundreds of experiences during that period including many, that if detailed in depth, were literally life threatening, but examine the disgusting amount of stories I have told on this site alone and this, I hope, does not come across.

    Not because I am a modest soul, which I am not, but simply because I firmly believe that a person's body and the brain in particular, has a mechanism that shuts out the less palatable things that have happened to us in order that we can live with ourselves.

    Does that make sense ?

    Think about it and then stop Brian bashing just because you don't understand him.

    Ron
     
  3. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    When I joined the Fire Service in the early sixties I served with many ex- sevicemen who had been through the 2nd WW. We spent many a nightwatch 'swinging the lamp' and I was as facinated by their stories then as I am facinated now. The question of PTS was never raised and as far as I'm aware none ever suffered any problems. PTS does seem to be bandied about as if it is almost obligotory to have it if you have suffered stress in some way and some of these men went through some very scary times. I don't know how tough Sapper is but I do see and agree with his point. I know many people who have nightmares, flashbacks etc. as a result of their childhoods or working lives. I wouldn't mind betting that most of the nation would be diagnosed with PTS if the facility to test them were available.
     
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Let me put one or two things right ! I am as sympathetic as anyone to those that suffer all the ailments that war and action can bring. I had many Veteran friends that had horrific injuries.

    One old mate loved swimming, but only had one arm and one and half legs.

    So I used to tie a rope round him, and tow him in a rowing boat round the bay. (he floundered about like a large log! )

    The same mate that challenged me (after A few drinks)! that he could salute better with his false arm, that I could with me good one. We were in the seafront toilet ! He promptly swung his false arm to the salute position, when the hand came out of its socket sailed in the air and dropped in the PEE tray.....YUK.....

    Has it occurred to folks here that PTS depends on what type of man you are. I do not claim to be brave..... FAR FROM IT.....

    What I do say is; it depends on the genes handed down to you. If anything, I think I am an extrovert. A happy go lucky 85 year old. Chat to anyone... hopefully without bring intrusive.... It is that attitude that enables me to overcome the enormous difficulty of being severely disabled..... I take it all in my stride. I refuse to be beaten at any time, or by anything. That is why I; despite all my life threatening injuries have outlived my much fitter Vet mates..Though I do miss them, and the chat on the phone. Now stop and think what sort of world would we have, if every Vet that saw action would suffer PTS?
    Sapper
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Ron mate, hope you are well. Us handsome and Virile ones have to stick together "
    sapper :)
     
  6. Zeppman

    Zeppman Member

    I don't ever recall my Father suffering PTS during my lifetime, I'm 45. I do recall once when I was about 19 a couple of mates going on and on at him and asking him if he'd ever killed any Germans. He seemed to get upset but whatever it was he suppressed it and walked away. He only admitted to me he'd killed someone close up 6 months before he died. The only other thing I remember was when I was young he told me not to drink beer as it made him fat, I asked him why he had drank so much and he said to try and forget his war experiences. He used to tell me about the prison camps he was in but I don't know how much he didn't tell me. His weight gain seems to have been temporary so I guess he cut back on the ale in the end! He had a good sense of humour and was a musician and found peace through that.
     
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Life itself is a battle. To go the right way, to marry, provide for wife and children. Overcome illnesses that will surely come along, accompanied with family tragedies..
    It all comes under the heading of "Life"

    For it is surely the greatest privilege to have been given, the chance of a life on this gem of a place floating in space. It is when you grow old, that you realise just what a wondrous thing to have lived , loved, and sorrowed, on this place of wonder.
    What is more... I am no Bible puncher ! So why should we get PTS?
    sapper
     
  8. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    So why should we get PTS?
    sapper

    there is no clear answer as to why two people experience the same event, and one suffers the effects for many years and the other doesn't. Even the toughest of the tough can be haunted by past events

    the brain is like a tape recorder - some people can erase the tape, others can store it - and some cannot control when its replayed, these are the PTSD sufferers

    memory is triggered by our senses. Smell is a big trigger (burning toast, roast pork), sounds can be similar to an experience can bring someones thoughts back to the event, watching a similar event on TV etc etc

    I cared for a highly decorated Infantry Corporal who can remember bayoneting an enemy soldier when taking a gun nest single handed. He saved many lives that day - but he is troubled by the recollection of the sound his bayonet made as it entered the lads body so any similar sound he encounters now brings him right back to that moment 7 years ago. Its an impression that will never leave him.

    The tough put on a brave face, the wimp cries openly, the religious pray - but they are all equally at risk of suffering, but no one can safely predict exactly who will suffer and when the symptoms will emerge

    I knew I had one too many symptoms when I found myself crying in the middle of a shop for no apparent reason, but I'd managed for years to cope with other symptoms and kept them to myself. this was one too many. I will always remember my fathers tears as he watched a newsreel on the release of British POWs from a german camp

    :poppy:

    YouTube - Combat Stress - The Enemy Within Appeal TV Ad
     
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  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I have never suffered any of those symptons. Nor do I think a great many did. AS to tears? You are joking mate. This idea that if you saw a trauma you would suffer PTS.

    Its just not like that. With respect mates !
    Sapper
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I have read all of this thread in the last hour or so and I am astonished at some of the comments from allegedly better educated people - one of whom has walked away as he cannot bring us up to his level - tough beans old chum - we are you might find - all different and are not in your cookie cutter mode...

    Now I have spent a few hours with Brian - also a few hours with Ron and Gerry along with many other veterans of WW2 over the years - was wounded badly enough to spend a few months in various hospitals - but happily not sufficiently suffering PTS or anything else that I was able to tend to my even more badly wounded gunner on the battlefield when it was still in an uproar - and along with Sapper - have never lost a night sleep - vacant dreams etc and so as Ron states quite well - we just got on with it - no matter what kind of upbringing we had prior to war service.

    I would agree with sapper that we are softer than -notwithstanding the present day traumas - we should be at this time and apparently compensation mad - to the extent that the pendulam is swinging back to normalcy(sic) in that some jobsworth had decreed he cannot issue a disabled car park badge to an applicant " in case he gets better " - the applicant has recently returned from Afghanistan minus a leg - but with typical army humour the applicant claims that when his leg get better - he will then pay the 800GBPs fines he has accumulated - now who is suffering these diseases - the returned soldier or the car park badge issuer ?

    We know these mental and other diseases exist - but individually we cannot do much about them and thus we leave this problem with the experts of which this thread seems to have a fair amount !
    Cheers
     
  11. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    We know these mental and other diseases exist - but individually we cannot do much about them and thus we leave this problem with the experts of which this thread seems to have a fair amount !
    Cheers

    Did you just call people with PTSD diseased? I think one thing that you folks are missing is how many people shared your experience or similar experiences. I am sure that when you are in your peer group (octogenarians) there are very few that did not serve or were otherwise effected by WW2.
     
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Former jughead -
    well no I didn't call anyone diseased - I merely referred to the fact that we are aware of both mental and diseases of which we can do little - possibly I might have used the term "conditions" but I didn't ....so sue me...

    and yes we are also aware that others rather than our declining little group of veterans on this forum took part in WW2 as we all saw many of them - and we also saw many of them being killed and maimed but not too many go down with what you call PSTD as we "just got on with it" - or as some would have it - "a stiff upper lip" which has often been derided by some who don't have that capacity !

    As I factually recall - your Gen. Patton didn't quite understand that illness either when he slapped the two GI's in Sicily during WW2 for being cowards - and was consequently fired - but then that will now upset Slipdigit as erroneous Anti-American - heigh ho...can't win tonight !
    Cheers
     
  13. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    The overiding impression that one comes away with after reading this thread is the great divide that exists between "Veterans" & "Non-Veterans".

    No surprise there......... really !

    To be considered a Veteran on this and similar forums one has to have reached an age of at least 85, working on the premise that the member had reached the age of 20 by the time the war ended in 1945.

    Whether it is acceptable or not, "we" who were born in the 20's have had a different upbringing to "you" who were to follow in later years.

    We were brought up to understand that nobody owed us anything and that if we wanted something we had better work hard to achieve it.

    We were taught that if we wanted to buy something we had to save up the money in order to purchase the object of our desires.

    We were also, and this is where the point of my posting should become evident, taught the benefits of, as one veteran put it, "getting on with it" whatever we were asked to do even if this included putting ourselves into life threatening situations .

    I understand completely that PTS has become an accepted key word whenever the subject of injuries or indeed any subject to do with warfare and I would not gainsay the defence of the use of this phrase to describe post battle conditions.

    What I fail to understand is why the "Non-Veterans" on this and other forums insist that veterans who were wounded or subjected to lengthy battle conditions automatically suffered from PTS.

    Between vets & non-vets there will always be a "difference"

    Vive le difference !!!!
     
  14. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    Ron,
    You couldn't be more wrong. I'm not a veteran, at least not by your definition. I'm 63, a mere youngster I know but all of the values you talk about I also hold dear as do many of my peers. That a handfull of people on a minority forum such as this say all wartime vets suffer PTS is not representative of a huge number of people. There is no 'great devide' at all. Many agree completely with the view of Sapper that PTS is all too easily accepted for lifes ills, often for the compensation it brings. I served with many ex-servicemen and none as far as I know had so much as a thought for the war most of the time let alone PTS. It is not only war time ex-servicemen who 'Have to get on with it'. In the world I was raised in that was also our philosophy, it had to be. In the little world of this forum what a few say should not be taken as gospel. That you were fortunate or unfortunate enough depending on your point of view to be born at a certain point in history doesn't make you different it just makes you 85! I can assure you that had I been born with any sort of silver spoon, metaphoric or otherwise I would have flogged it to get something to eat! No Ron, don't believe all you read!!!!!
     
  15. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    I have never suffered any of those symptons. Nor do I think a great many did. AS to tears? You are joking mate. This idea that if you saw a trauma you would suffer PTS.

    Its just not like that. With respect mates !
    Sapper

    Im not saying that because my father shed a tear ment that he had PTSD - its the fact that he rarely spoke of his time in POW camp, that indicates that he would have been more vulnerable to suffering PTSD

    If you watch the advert that I clipped onto my reply youd see the statistics

    180,000 troops deployed over the past 9 years to Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimated 40,000 will require medical intervention at some point. An estimated 9,000 are expected to suffer from some form of post traumatic stress in one form or another. That is a relatively small percentage of deployed troops, but the signs and symptoms will not come to the surface for many years. The majority of WW2 vets who experienced PTSD would have surfaced in the late 1950's to early 1970's

    The Falklands was in 1982, 28 years ago. There have been more falklands vets committed suicide that there were casualties due to the conflict. Now ASK yourself why!

    We, medically speaking, are in a better place to pre-empt the problems and recognise the warning signs now to be able to act and treat appropriately. The Americans have recognised it as a major issue since Viet'nam -its taken UKplc a lot longer to put the adequate support in place, much to the detriment of vets from Northern Ireland, Dhofar, Aden, Radfan, Sierra Leone, The Falklands, Gulf 1 & 2, Afghanistan, The various deployments to the Balkans to name but a few

    Sapper, you are indeed fortunate (as I have said before) that you do not suffer any flashbackes etc from your experiences - BUT just because you dont personally believe in the issue doesnt mean that it doesnt exist
     
  16. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Tom and Ron are absolutely on the button. We never had time to suffer PTS. So in many ways it is a new phenomena.... I have no doubt that there are sufferers But I was not one of them.

    There is also the view that the present soldier is weighed down with so much equipment that he is disadvantaged. If we were out where speed was required we left our helmets behind. Just denims and beret.

    bullet proof vests were not heard of. But let me return to the PTS thingy! Why are folk so insistent that we had to suffer from it? I have slept surrounded by dead with their boot toes sticking out the ground.... (On top of "Hillman") by the way. if any one wants to query.... Where that was...
    Sapper

    PS when they were buried, it was not realized that there was only a shallow depth of earth on top the bunkers...
     
  17. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    Tom and Ron are absolutely on the button. We never had time to suffer PTS. So in many ways it is a new phenomena.... I have no doubt that there are sufferers But I was not one of them.

    There is also the view that the present soldier is weighed down with so much equipment that he is disadvantaged. If we were out where speed was required we left our helmets behind. Just denims and beret.

    bullet proof vests were not heard of. But let me return to the PTS thingy! Why are folk so insistent that we had to suffer from it? I have slept surrounded by dead with their boot toes sticking out the ground.... (On top of "Hillman") by the way. if any one wants to query.... Where that was...
    Sapper

    PS when they were buried, it was not realized that there was only a shallow depth of earth on top the bunkers...

    You are, yet again, missing the point - PTS as you insist on calling it is experienced POST the event, not during. we are talking about a small percentage of personnel who deployed, in all conflicts. Ive highlighted that this 'phenomenon' is not new, its just had different labels throughout its existance

    Whats carrying euipment got to do with it - todays soldiers have the same drills - patrol kit is carried, and upon close contact you strip down to skeleton fighting order (leave what you dont need behind, and return to it later)

    If you want to compare notes on dead bodies - lets go, but this is not the place for some of the barbaric gruesome discoveries that I and my colleagues have experienced. The nazi 'sub-human' classification system was very much in evidence in the Balkans I can assure you ( if you need fully enlightened - PM me). To recall what my colleagues went through with the 6 RMP's killed in Iraq would chill you. Ive lost counts of the number of times we've loaded ambi's full with coffins for repatriation, clearing up a sight after an explosion to pick up a glove only to find the owners hand still inside

    All front line services (military, police, fire, ambulance service) experience trauma - a small percentage of them will not be able to psychologically deal with it, whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not - IT EXISTS
     
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  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    The overiding impression that one comes away with after reading this thread is the great divide that exists between "Veterans" & "Non-Veterans".

    So the other veterans of later wars that have spoken here for the existence and effects of PTSD are somehow not real 'veterans' Ron?

    Are the personal experiences of people that went to war and risked their lives after WW2 somehow less valid than those that fought from 39-45?
    Is incoming fire from Vietnamese, Iraqi or Afghani Machine guns & mortars somehow less deadly or frightening than that from German or Japanese?

    I also can't see where anyone says that PTSD is automatic, but I can see others that have served in several periods being fully aware of the existence of event generated mental trauma, and lucidly explaining possible reasons for it's expression in modern times among a group of veterans that did not have that almost universal 'common experience' prop to the psyche that the WW2 chaps had.

    I wonder how many never turned up to the post ww2 reunions, remembrances & veterans associations? The statistics presented here imply a great many.
    Those with damaged minds do not apparently attend after the event to wave the flag, they seem likely to remain invisible if there is no structure to pick them up.

    The WW2 veterans on this site are perhaps more likely to be the cheery & talkative types by the very fact of their presence here, those that came through without mental scars and are happy to chat? It seems quite a leap to me to imply that this is the universal view of WW2 veterans.
    Even the hundreds of times people have written on these forums that 'Dad never mentioned the war', 'never wanted his medals', or even 'had persistent nightmares' might imply that the picture is far from so universally cosy.

    ~A
     
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  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  20. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Hi Adam

    In all honesty, I didn't think I would have to defend my position against one of the exalted on this forum, but needs must when the devil drives :)

    You will forgive me for quoting your entire comment here, but I was once accused of "cherry picking" from someone's response to a posting I had made, hence I now quote your full article:

    So the other veterans of later wars that have spoken here for the existence and effects of PTSD are somehow not real 'veterans' Ron?

    Are the personal experiences of people that went to war and risked their lives after WW2 somehow less valid than those that fought from 39-45?
    Is incoming fire from Vietnamese, Iraqi or Afghani Machine guns & mortars somehow less deadly or frightening than that from German or Japanese?

    I also can't see where anyone says that PTSD is automatic, but I can see others that have served in several periods being fully aware of the existence of event generated mental trauma, and lucidly explaining possible reasons for it's expression in modern times among a group of veterans that did not have that almost universal 'common experience' prop to the psyche that the WW2 chaps had.

    I wonder how many never turned up to the post ww2 reunions, remembrances & veterans associations? The statistics presented here imply a great many.
    Those with damaged minds do not apparently attend after the event to wave the flag, they seem likely to remain invisible if there is no structure to pick them up.

    The WW2 veterans on this site are perhaps more likely to be the cheery & talkative types by the very fact of their presence here, those that came through without mental scars and are happy to chat? It seems quite a leap to me to imply that this is the universal view of WW2 veterans.
    Even the hundreds of times people have written on these forums that 'Dad never mentioned the war', 'never wanted his medals', or even 'had persistent nightmares' might imply that the picture is far from so universally cosy.

    ~A



    You say "So the other veterans of later wars that have spoken here for the existence and effects of PTSD are somehow not real 'veterans' Ron?"

    That's a little cheeky Adam! .............. where or how did I ever imply that ?

    Purely for the record and speaking, I know, on behalf of all the veterans on this forum, I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for all who have served and continue to serve this country and I regret to say that I deeply resent your unfounded implication .

    It was not until I started posting on WW2 Forums that I first noticed the use of the phrase "Veterans", until then I had always considered myself an Ex-Serviceman :(

    I did think, however, that on this forum the use of the title "Veteran" only applied to those who had seen active service between the beginning of WW2 in 1939 and the end of war in 1945.

    Has this specification been changed ?

    You also seem to be making the point that because the Veterans (using the previously accepted categorisation) on this forum are the "happy talky types" who won't admit to the PTS syndrome, you therefore can't accept this as a true state of affairs, as we are not representative of our peers.

    As I said at the end of my previous posting.

    Between vets & non-vets there will always be a "difference"

    Vive le difference !!!!


    Why can't we just leave it like that ?

    Best regards

    Ron
     

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