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10 Years Untreated

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by NSVet, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. NSVet

    NSVet New Member

    Hi everyone, I am new here. In 2007 I was deployed to Afghanistan with the Canadian Army when I was 19 years old. I sought mental health help 7 or 8 years ago but deflected talking about my deployment and swore up and down that it didn't bother me. I told them I had anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping and everytime they tried to connect it to my deployment I said I had been like this for years before, which wasn't entirely true. I was worried about losing my job in the army. I went for a few months and then stopped going.

    I was involved in combat operations but not exposed to anything I considered overly traumatic. Nothing that made me freeze up or break down. I never saw a friend blown up beside me or anything like that.

    I was mortered, shot at and rocketed but I felt like I handled it very well. I was expecting shit like that to happen and mentally prepared for it.

    Here are some other incidents during my tour.

    I once had to dispose of personal equipment that belonged to two soldiers who were killed at a nearby FOB and blood/tiny bits of flesh were still present.

    A guy who I knew was killed in an IED blast that I could see from a little over a kilometer away but I only heard the blast, saw the cloud of smoke and heard the radio chatter. I didn't find out until the next day that I knew one of the men killed. He wasn't a close friend, but I knew him well enough to say hi whenever I bumped into him. We did a couple courses together. I think about those moments often. It bothers me that it bothers me because although I saw it and heard it, I wasn't right there in the thick of it like guys on scene were. I feel almost guilty that this incident bugs me when other guys had a much worse experience with the same incident.

    I also witnessed another IED strike that injured two of our soldiers. That one was right next to me.

    We had three different vehicle accident incidents. Two roll overs, one where we had to medevac two soldiers and a vehicle fire in which I was inside the AFV and had a bit of smoke inhalation.

    We were ambushed on one of our last convoys and to escape we drove through a known UXO field which in laymans terms is basically a minefield.

    Like I said, even though I was only 19, I felt like I prepared myself mentally for this stuff. I knew I was going to war.

    What I have found bothering me for the last 10 years isn't even so much thinking about those incidents. I will never be able to forget them, but what stays with me is the constant stress. Being constantly on guard. I spent my whole tour outside the wire always looking for the enemy. Everytime we went on the road I wondered if this was the one where we get hit with an IED. I have friends who have had much worse experiences than I did. They witnessed IED attacks where fellow soldiers lost lives and limbs. They themselves were blown up in suicide bomber attacks and injured.

    I don't feel like I have the right to claim I have PTSD compared to those guys. I know that is probably stupid but that's how I feel. Looking at what I just wrote, part of me thinks it is no wonder I am struggling. Any normal civilian would think that was absolutely insane but the fact that I know guys who had what I would consider far worse experiences keeps me from wanting to be open about this.

    I believe I have PTSD 100% I am releasing from the army very shortly and during my discharge medical I was more honest than I had neen previously and I was given a referral to an operational stress injury (OSI) clinic in my city.

    I find it really hard to talk to someone in person about my feelings. It makes me uncomfortable and I try to avoid it.
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  3. BlueOrange

    BlueOrange Not alone in my head

    Well done, coming here and talking about it. That can be really difficult and scary.

    People think that PTSD is like a cut, but it's more like a bacterial infection.

    Trauma is like a cut. It opens you up, and it hurts, and it can be bad for you. Some cuts get infected: bacteria get inside you and multiply. PTSD is like a bacterial infection - it gets into you and grows. The size of a cut is not a great way of assessing bacterial infection. The drama of the trauma is not a great way of assessing PTSD.

    Talking about your feelings is like opening up the cut and washing it out. It can hurt like hell. It's not the best thing to do if you're in danger of bleeding out and you need to stay mobile. But if an infection is brewing, you either do it, or you just keep getting worse.
    Buttercup, RCD_VET, pixel and 6 others like this.
  4. Stickler

    Stickler I'm a VIP

    Never thought about the mess suicide bombers leave behind before. :wtf::facepalm:
    PTSD is partly down to genetic vulnerability. So it's genetic vulnerability meets traumatic experience. You got shot at enough to set off PTSD.
    You now need coping strategies to handle what your brain is doing.
    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy Is good stuff.
    Ronin likes this.
  5. Deadman

    Deadman Well-Known Member

    Believe it or not that is a pretty common feeling among combat vets. I felt like 'PTSD fraud' for years. Its odd that PTSD can make you think that you aren't worthy of having PTSD but there it is.
    Buttercup, RCD_VET, dulcia and 5 others like this.
  6. Walter C

    Walter C New Member

    Whether you know it or not, or want to admit it or not when our brains are traumatized the brain chemistry, and operation changes. Hyper-vigilance, anger, nightmares, etc. are par for the course.
    Do not feel ashamed or think that you are the only one who feels like this. It is a normal response, and it can also be minimized with counseling, and learning skills like CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). That is training your mind to not dwell on the subject and how to react when you feel it coming on.
    Please do not be like me and try to take this beast on by yourself. I tried and it knocked the spit out of my mouth. Once i got to a professional PTSD counselor i made huge strides quickly.
    You will be alright my friend as long as you seek professional help.
    RCD_VET, jade53, Deadman and 2 others like this.
  7. jade53

    jade53 Active Member Donated

    I wonder if the not me, no way I've got a problem handling the trauma and stress I went through compared to those that have PTSD isn't a good indicator.
    RCD_VET, BlueOrange and leehalf like this.
  8. LuckiLee

    LuckiLee I'm a VIP

    You feared for your life and others around you. That'll do it.
    Very glad you're here. You are my Vet 20 years ago. All I can tell you is get the help you need and deserve. Don't let PTSD ruin your life. It can destroy your relationships with the people you love. Seek treatment, research medications, go to your VFW, call your battle buddies,...
    If and when you're ready for a relationship find someone who will take the time to educate herself on PTSD too. You'll have to work extremely hard to make it last.
    We have a sister site mycombat.ptsd , lots of great information for you there. All veterans form Vietnam to Afghanistan. Read up on what they use for medications as doctors will want to throw meds at you.
    I've gone on long enough and I'm sure we'll chat again soon. Again, glad you're here now go get some sleep
    Buttercup likes this.
  9. LuckiLee

    LuckiLee I'm a VIP

    This made me laugh. Thanks!!
  10. Deadman

    Deadman Well-Known Member

    @NSVet are you still here? Let us know if you are still around. Is my worry warranted?
    leehalf likes this.
  11. LuckiLee

    LuckiLee I'm a VIP

    You hoo. @NSVet..... You there? Hope you're okay!!!
  12. BlueOrange

    BlueOrange Not alone in my head

    It's this uncertainty that really put me off becoming a therapist myself. If they get much better, they leave and you might never find out. If they get much worse, they leave and you might never find out.

    In this case, it's pretty clear that we were so incredibly awesome that a full cure was achieved in record time ;)
    tlc, leehalf and ladee like this.
  13. NSVet1

    NSVet1 Guest

    NSVet here. Sorry everyone, just really busy!

    Veterans Affairs is currently in the process of getting me the help I need although it's a slow process
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