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Author Topic: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario  (Read 2476 times)

Offline Joe_Nobody

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #30 on: November 28, 2012, 01:12:50 PM »
I, like others here, post this only as someone with a bit of experience. I'm not a professional in any way, shape or form.

What helped me the most was getting away from people who kept telling me I had a problem. Like it was stated above, I was very lucky and found a few friends who had similar feelings and we could talk about things openly. They weren't shocked or insulted at my experience. They weren't going to put me down for my fears, or more imporatnatly how I delt with them. All of the macho bullshit was burned out of all of us. The Alpha was a beaten beast and none of us had to worry about it. My light started shining again when I began writing and teaching. My work seemed to help people. I could take what was dark and bad and turn it into something positive for good people. That's the only way I healed.


Offline Shaunypoo

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2012, 03:01:36 PM »
I have thankfully never been in what I would consider a stressful enough situation to cause PTSD, but everyone tolerance to stress is different.  What is stressful to me may not be stressful to you and vice versa.

My only real conversation about PTSD was with my dad when I first heard about it.  He did 3 tours in Nam and then 25 years in the Navy.  He never exhibited signs of PTSD and mom said he never had any issues.  He rarely talked about going to war but had some insight into PTSD.  From my conversations with him I feel that the decompression issue is significant.  He had almost a month off from fighting before being sent home.  He said not having that stress was extremely helpful to him.  He didn't have to leave the environment that he had become familiar with but didn't have to fight anymore.

He also had a few friends when he got home that he could talk with, and while he was a pretty tough guy, he didn't really have a lot of ego, so he didn't mind looking vulnerable, even though he rarely did.  It was basically therapy.  Then he went to nursing school and submersed himself and ended up with multiple degrees. 

I understand that there is often a chemical issue accompanying PTSD, so in some instances prescriptions can help.  And you are going to find support for using St. Johns Wort, just not from me.  I work in pharmaceutical and while I realize that the majority of prescriptions are derived from natural beginnings, I have no trust in what is put out there that has no regulation.  There is also a reason for pharmacists, and since they don't oversee the drug interactions from holistic medicines, there have been no significant studies done about the cross effects from holistic medicines to prescription medicines.  I am not minimizing holistic medicine and don't want to derail the thread, just do your research first.

I am happy that with all the death my dad saw he never showed any signs of PTSD.  He very easily could have.  I don't know if he had the 55 gallon drum of stress, or just happened to deal with it effectively afterward.  I think a support system and healthy outlook along with a focus afterward is helpful.  Not sending people back all the time would probably help.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”  Robert Heinlein

"There's this new thing called Situational Awareness!"  Sterling Archer

Offline sdcharger

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2012, 03:22:18 PM »
I may have to talk to someone about it eventually, but it's just not the right time I think. I'm the type of person that doesn't really express much unless its a joke or something, so I feel the need to take it slow. It's been a year since my last deployment and I was on a secondary team this time around and we were canceled, so I felt good about that.

There is never a right time.  You may wait a year or two decades.  You may never have to go there.  But I know plenty of people who do have to go there.  Good luck and stay positive.

Offline Kartavious

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2012, 12:35:19 PM »
I'm going to weigh in here as a Psychiatric Nurse, Mental Health Professional (thank the state for giving me a title that 5 years of work made me.)  and a Former Marine.

The research on PTSD is that the Surge of Chemicals (adrenaline etc) prevents the brain from processing the memory of traumatic events correctly.  In effect this memory is "splintered"  and that is why there are such random triggers such as the light glinting off a windshield, a person standing on a corner, or a loud sound.  The splinters have that extreme response attached to it and no conclusion to the memory making it rational.

Joe_Nobodys response says it all.  The most effect treatment is being able to talk about it with no judgment.  You should be able to work through the memory (with a professional ideally) and make sense of it.  Follow it from beginning to end. A good therapist will ask questions to make you "explore your feelings" without being judgmental or shocked or grossed out.  By doing this your brain can essentially put the fragments together and put them away.

Does this mean you will be 100% symptom free and good as new? Probably not.  Will you be much more functional and trusting of what is going around you without looking like you are going to jump out of your skin? probably.

The WWII vets had the time to talk to people and process but they still had PTSD (my Grand Father was on Okinowa)

Having PTSD doesn't mean your weak nor does it mean you can't own a weapon.

Good luck.  Anyone can message me, Military or otherwise, for more help if ya'll want it.


Offline cptd

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2012, 04:51:27 PM »
I'm going to weigh in with one last piece of advice, and goes along with the last post here by Kartavious, and thank you so mucb for adding your professional opinion.

It is my advice to anyone who is currently struggling with PTSD to go find help RIGHT NOW. Work through it as best you can and to the greatest degree possible while health care is still available. Especially if you do have insurance. The only thing you really have to lose is your thirty dollar copay and your time to participate.

If you don't have access to healthcare, because you can't afford it or in a SHTF scenario, then do the best you can. Friends, comrades, and time - these things will help. But right now, in the right now - there is no reason to not get help from a psychiatrist and psychotherapist (and I'd reccommend finding both). Even if they wanted to share your mental health status with your employer or with Uncle Sam, the law prevents them from doing that. It won't impact your right to buy a gun, and it won't change any of your other rights.

Better to get help now while you can.

That's my best advice.

Offline Frugal Upstate

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2012, 05:50:21 PM »
If you don't have access to healthcare, because you can't afford it...

For those who can't afford it, don't forget about your local VA.  They have resources for PTSD--so for veterans that is a free source of help. 
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Offline Shaunypoo

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2012, 09:25:07 PM »
It is my advice to anyone who is currently struggling with PTSD to go find help RIGHT NOW. Work through it as best you can and to the greatest degree possible while health care is still available. Especially if you do have insurance. The only thing you really have to lose is your thirty dollar copay and your time to participate.

+1

Honestly, this is probably some of the best advice you are going to find anywhere on this website.  And it doesn't just apply to PTSD.  If you have a condition that is treatable, please, take steps now.  Do you think the medical infrastructure to take care of any problems you may have will be here in the future?  Whether the help you need is talking to a professional to work out your problems all the way to surgery to fix a condition you have been putting off, getting it taken care of sooner rather than later and getting healthy is probably the best prep you can do for yourself and your family.

And bravo to all those who take the time to share your experiences with PTSD.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”  Robert Heinlein

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Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2012, 02:06:21 PM »
Great thread.

I really don't think that someone can really prepare or "train" themselves mentally to deal with truly traumatic experiences. 

Either you do or you don't. It's really on the individual, and you won't know until it happens.



That being said, I completely think that people can build up their mental health to deal with common inconveniences or fears.

I remember a few years back my brother was involved in a VERY minor auto accident that I happened to be in the car for. He LOST it. Complete breakdown. I have no idea why, both parties had insurance, the cops issued him a simple "failure to yield" citation (no jail time or revokation of driving privledges), and the damage was really very minor with no physical damage of anyone to report. It bugged him for weeks to the point where he was not sleeping well and not eating properly. Eventually he returned to normal, but it was very bizarre.

That is a perfect example of something that he (or anyone) could mentally train themself to not completely flip out about.


As far as myself? My wife just gave birth two weeks ago and our daughter was concieved via c-section. I had absolutely no problem looking at my wife cut open. Not because I'm some weird freak that enjoys seeing people with their guts sticking out of their body... but because I mentally prepared for what was going to happen and when I looked at it, I knew what I was seeing, I allowed my brain to process it, and I didn't allow myself to get freaked out. I knew what the doctors were doing, I knew they had to do it to deliver our child and I also knew that if I lost it, my wife would probably lose it too. I was defintely able to prepare for that.

Now, if I came home from work and my wife was cut open in the same way and bleeding to death? I don't think that there's any amount of mental preperation that I could do to prevent myself from being stressed out for a LONG time. Maybe I could prepare myself to not panic in the moment, but something like that is one of those things that would stick with anyone for awhile.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I agree that mental preperation is a useful/productive thing. However, preventing PTSD from a truly traumatic event? I don't know if that's really possible. I guess it can't hurt to try, but if someone, say, loses their entire family in front of them in a traumatic way (or suffers any other really unexpected traumatic occurance) I could completely understand why it would linger with them for a long time.

Offline endurance

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2012, 09:10:50 AM »
I was recently talking with a friend who's wife is going through chemo and it got me to thinking about the other kinds of stressors, besides sudden, traumatic events that can just run you down.  They're both emotionally exhausted at the moment, as was I eight years ago when my (now ex) wife was going through over six months of chemo and radiation treatment.  It took a long time to recharge the batteries and just feel normal again. 

I can only imagine the psychological challenge of losing a job, losing a home, and not having the resources to provide the stable home you once took advantage.  When I was 19-20 years old I tried living a couple winters without working after saving my fire money from the forest service.  Nothing will lead to depression and misery faster.  That's an entirely different challenge than PTSD, but equally life changing.  How one handles losing the tools of the ego to feel valuable and valued in a society when no one is willing to pay them to do what they've been trained to do is definitely one of those things that goes without much consideration until you're there. 

It's worth thinking about.  My solution ended up being re-enrolling in school during the winters.  That gave me a community of others and eventually led me to a different career path.  Not always an option, but worthy of consideration if it is.
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Offline Winston Smith

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2012, 11:48:17 AM »
I'm an Iraq Vet, and although I don't have PTSD, I knew a few soldiers who killed themselves in theatre or are suffering from it now, and I was in the control group for a study by the VA in conjunction with Yale on the causes for it. 

I didn't really learn anything from the study, but from what I have heard/read the #1 predictor for whether or not a person will develop PTSD from experiencing a traumatic event is the stability and quality of their upbringing(this is especially interesting since Jack had a child psyche guy on talking about resiliency being from childhood experiences).  As some of you know, particularly in the enlisted realm a fair amount(not all) of the guys had childhoods ranging from bad to horrific, myself included.  Of the guys I know how shot themselves, one was from Alaska and I never got the impression that his parents had raised him very well, and the other was adopted and had tried to trek to his native country in S. America on foot as a teenager.  This definitely isn't the only factor, and you'll never know until a person experiences it, but it looks to me like a quality upbringing is a big step in the right direction to withstand strees.
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Offline blueyedmule

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Re: PTSD and your mental health in a SHTF scenario
« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2012, 12:30:58 PM »
My experience with PTSD is this: I finally was allowed to suffer the debilitating fear response at home, in safety, that I couldn't afford to when I was deployed. It took me well over ten years to finally get some counseling from an LCSW. I didn't realize how bad it was until I married, and my wife mirrored my behavior for me. Now, just knowing that I'm starting to have a reaction to something helps. I can short-circuit my response by simply acknowledging it's happening as soon as it starts and work on my breathing. I don't have near the problems I used to. Looking back, I was a bit of a wreck when I got out.

I find lots of help through my wife, by the practice of my Catholic faith including frequent confession, and prayer and meditation. It also helps to avoid over-caffeinating.
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