Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sometimes known as shell shock or combat stress, occurs after you experience severe trauma or a life-threatening event. It’s normal for your mind and body to be in shock after such an event, but normal responses become symptoms of Combat PTSD when your nervous system gets “stuck.”
That’s a great textbook definition, but what does all of that REALLY mean? Whether you have deployed or not, we all have “experienced” some sort of trauma just being on active duty alone!
Symptoms of PTSD affect all veterans in one way or another! Doesn’t even matter what branch, we are all brothers and sisters, and we are ALL veterans! I have been out of the Marines since 1996, and I have floated along in this giant fishbowl with tons of unanswered questions for the last 25 yrs! I almost had to be “forced” to initiate some sort of treatment plan to even “truly acknowledge” something was “weird” with me.
It was not until 3 years ago that I finally “realized” there are literally hundreds of thousands of veterans out there with similar experiences. They have all experienced some of the exact same things!! Some of the stories I have heard are so similar to mine, it actually makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck!! Literally, take the story, copy and paste!
Symptoms of Combat PTSD
So, let’s just dive into what this thing TRULY looks like! We can talk “signs and symptoms” all day long, but let’s chat how these hidden gems filter into our daily lives.
Trouble concentrating- Who has seventeen thousand thoughts running through your brain all day? Who has eight projects going on at work or at home, and you “slightly touch” each one periodically, so you do not feel that you are not doing anything at all?
Irritability and anger- The old “flight or fight” effect. Ever have those days when you have wanted to “snap” and “lose your brain”? Ever see someone in the grocery store or in the mall acting like a clown? Don’t you just want to give them a quick “tune up”?
Hypervigilance- This thing kicked my butt for years!!I thought I was the only one that always has to have an “escape route” planned when I walked into a restaurant. Does your eye have to see the “EXIT” sign? I thought I was the only one that got a little “nervous” around large groups of people?
Increased startle response– Ever hear a weird noise, or pick up a familiar smell? Do you get excited when you heard a chopper, ambulance, or fire truck? I get it, not hardly! Those noises “startle” us. What happens when you go to the airport and you grab a sniff of that fuel? What about good ole diesel fuel, or someone burning something that you “know” is just not wood?
Loss of any interests and simple pleasures– This is a sign of PTSD that often goes unnoticed by others. If you had to answer one question on a questionnaire and the question was, “Do you generally think of yourself as a happy and outgoing person”? How would you answer that? Do you intentionally avoid some people, places, and things? Lots of our fellow vets like to grocery shop at “different” times. Many don’t have the drive to pick up a special hobby. Some don’t even get super excited to see family members!
Keep in mind, there are several other lists of “mannerisms” and signs of PTSD that help define us as “veterans with PTSD”. Furthermore, do not think for a second that you have to experience ALL of the symptoms of combat PTSD. One or two symptoms of PTSD can get you a diagnosis with the Department of Veterans Affairs, (VA) or any licensed private doctor. The VA has finally recognized that PTSD is a VERY serious threat to the livelihood of millions of us veterans.
The VA has several options for treatment of veterans with PTSD. They include: Initial testing, diagnosis, and treatment plans. Also, another option is 1 on 1 coaching with a social worker or doctor. (I absolutely love my social worker and doctor)! There are all kinds of zoom calls that you can jump on that include anger management, stress management, and “addiction” things. For me, personally, the word “addiction” is so negative! I like to use the word “coping mechanism”. I learned that at the VA as well. Some VA centers actually have “certain wartime” groups, because of “similar triggers”. It is hard for Desert Storm veterans to “truly understand” what REALLY happened in Vietnam, and vice versa.
I’m Ready. Where do I go from here?
Now that we might have a little bit better of an understanding about the symptoms of combat PTSD, now what? Maybe it is time to see if you qualify for VA disability benefits? Do not get overwhelmed! Do not look at this as the giant elephant on the table! We have all had to eat the elephant one bite at a time! For me, personally, I could not wait, I knew I had to get going! I was confident that I qualified for benefits and I got started right here at CombatCraig.com as my resource!!
You can find all of the information you need here to get started!! Watch some videos, read some comments, get yourself “somewhat acclimated” to totally new “VA language”. I wouldn’t change my experience for the world!! Remember, these are YOUR symptoms of combat PTSD and it will be YOUR CLAIM!!! No one can do it for you. You have to make a commitment to get “educated and vested” because you don’t want your claim denied as regularly happens with the VA!
Once you start to get the groove on some of the VA language from the videos, and you “feel” like you understand some comments in the videos, it’s probably time to take it up a notch!! When you are “all in” and you have a little “touch” of confidence, but you want the real nitty gritty, you know, guidance and demystification of the process, I would recommend checking out Combat Craig’s boot camp!
And talking about “taking your symptoms of combat PTSD claim to the next level”?! Combat Craig’s boot camp is like getting the “inside track” to maximizing your VA benefits! Some of these benefits can include free primary care visits, access to specialty clinics, (such as hearing doctors, foot doctors, etc.). Not to mention, you might even get access to a few extra bucks in your wallet every month!!
Jump in vets!
Link to PTSD disability eligibility information at the VA. Click here.