Recovering from PTSD is no easy struggle. Many veterans like me have been through so many challenges in order to find some kind of normalcy in our lives. The stress levels are astronomical, life’s challenges create obstacles and we’re socially shut from the world which makes it harder to recover. 254576_10150203486788212_2414978_n

The stress levels in the military are intense and in fact are more demanding than any regular civilian job out there. Many people vision the military as just an entity that trains to engage the enemy. Although it is our main objective, it’s not all we do. There are only a few military jobs that actually dedicate themselves to this sort of training and those are the combat MOS jobs. If you don’t know what this means, Google it! Many other jobs include Logistical Support, Personnel and Transportation. Each of these jobs has at least six dozen different jobs that support the military in some way. Think of the military as a business and how it’s structured. It all works the same way except there’s no selling involved but yet a whole lot of spending and physical labor. Our primary job is to train well in order to effectively engage the enemy if the time ever were to occur. The difference between a civilian job and the military doing the same job is how or where we do our job. We’re multi-taskers that can accomplish our daily duties and within seconds drop what we’re doing to attend to another mission such as engage the enemy. The stressors that this creates are immense and are put to the test daily to include our ability to quickly make a life threatening decision. Not only do we make life threatening decisions but we also have to carry on with our job duties and protect that mission at any cost. We basically make shit happen.

1510731_10152731795388212_2444626879815712993_nUnlike a civilian job, the military deploys. This means we can rapidly deploy at any point in time anywhere in the world. We’re not restricted to deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq but also have many other countries which carry the same risks as the two I just mentioned. Not every deployment will you engage the enemy. In fact, I’ve witnessed soldiers that even in Iraq or Afghanistan not stepped a foot outside the wire. This means they never saw actual combat. Does this mean they can’t suffer from PTSD or be threatened? No, in fact, many that I have known have been nearly hit by a mortar attack on their FOB, have witnessed their battle buddy die in front of their eyes when hit by a mortar or know someone that has which they were close to. I can’t speak on their behalf because I’ve never been in their shoes but everyone is different and suffer in separate ways.Then you have your aviation studs. Even though they didn’t actually see combat or witness someone killed, they continuously pickup casualties from the ground and air lift them to a nearby military hospital. You don’t have to be Infantry, Cavalry Scout, Sniper, Ranger or a Special Forces soldier to visually experience combat.

10953861_10152731799038212_6242680946912112010_n246769_10150203525118212_5187029_nSome people take stress and trauma differently than others. People are people which some are mentally stronger than others and make decisions faster or slower than others as well. That’s what makes us all unique in our own little ways. The same goes for our recovery process, some make it out while others remain with the struggles for a lifetime. You never forget what happened but its how you deal with those emotions that will help you overcome those struggles. This is where becoming emotionally detached or socially detached makes you or breaks you. Many can just carry on as if nothing ever happened which causes you to numb out those feelings you once had. You AVOID everything that causes reminders and always ignore that it ever happened. Then you make the decision to never have a close friend again just because you don’t want to feel that emotional attachment to anyone else such as a friend. You care less to talk about your combat experiences. It irritates the hell out of you when people ask you if you‘ve ever killed anyone. Really, why ask a veteran if they’ve ever killed another human before? You’re able to have conversations with others but after a minute or two you’re in La-La Land.

247584_10150203488258212_2554680_nIt’s normal for you to visually inspect people, always on watch, and easily startled. There’s nothing really to worry about because all of this is now a character that you have grown to be. Were you this way before? Most likely you were not. It’s your way of life now but why? You don’t notice the signs and others wouldn’t either because it’s something you’re used to doing and others are accustomed to your behavior. Only your mother would know that you’re different because she raised you different. Don’t believe me? Ask her yourself! The stress the military has put you through, the combat experiences and life’s obstacles have molded you into the character in which you are now. Your spouse or family keep begging you to change but you don’t feel there’s nothing to change. Whether or not you think you have PTSD, it’s easy to assume you need the help. It’s what you decide to do now that matters.

If you’re not sure if you have PTSD take a look at this self assessment:

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