Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that results from an individual’s exposure to a traumatic event and how they emotionally respond to that event. Traumatic events can dramatically alter a person’s beliefs about themselves, others and the world resulting in emotional conflicts between their old and new beliefs. A person may experience primary emotional stress like feelings of anger and fear (for example) during the event,
followed by secondary emotional stress of guilt and fear (for example) after the event if they believe they should have had control over the event or feel personally responsible for the event occurring. PTSD is complex. There are several ways of treating PTSD but most treatments centre around tapping into the emotions and re-writing the ‘script’.
PTSD is not just Defence Veteran related. Our Police, Emergency Services, and victims of violent crimes are just a few of those who may suffer from PTSD. PTSD is not a weakness; it is a psychological condition where the brain is trying to reconcile extraordinary events into something that can be processed in a meaningful way. Along with the PTSD itself, a person may also suffer from depression and anxiety, while side complications impact on family and loved ones, adding to the PTSD complexity.
Having served 12 years in the Army from 1977 – 1989, I worked with many Vietnam Veterans and have a good understanding of the difficulties they faced on their return to Australia and the impact of what is now recognised as PTSD. I also gained my ‘black sense of humour’ from these Veterans. Between 2011-2015 I worked as a Defence Social Worker at Bandiana, Victoria. Returned servicemen suffering from PTSD sought my counselling due to my military background and that ‘I got it’.
I have completed Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) training around the different treatment models for PTSD. If you or you know someone who has been diagnosed or is suspected of having PTSD regardless of the traumatic event, and feel you or they need to talk to someone who ‘gets it’, please give me a call to chat further. Video chats are available Australia wide.