Comments: 332 • Responses: 115 • Date: 2013-12-15 17:54:06 UTCsource
ialdabaoth255 karma2013-12-15 18:39:13 UTC
How much do you know about the human brain?
To use a metaphor:
Your brain has a bunch of different parts to it - three of those parts are called the "neocortex", the "amygdala", and the "cerebellum".
Neo's a smooth operator, and always has a plan if you just give him a few damn minutes to think about it.
Amy's prone to freak-out, and tends to solve everything by either hitting it REALLY hard, or running away from it REALLY fast (aka fight-or-flight).
The cerebellum is like the driver's seat for the body. The way Amy and Neo work is, Amy sits in the driver's seat with her hands on the wheel, and Neo sits shotgun with all our maps and mission specs in his lap. With me so far?
So, when you're having a freak-out, what's basically happening is Amy has gone bugshit and is slamming on the gas, spinning the wheel and bugging the fuck out NOW, while Neo's sitting in the passenger seat shouting something about minefields and going off-mission and how bad the CO's gonna yell at us when we get back to base.
In an ideal brain, Neo's got one more stripe than Amy, and Amy respects the chain of command. What you've got in PTSD is a broken chain of command, because one time Amy followed Neo's orders and things got REALLY crazy, so now when things look like they're about to get crazy Amy doesn't trust Neo's orders anymore.
And you can't just put Neo in the driver's seat. Check out this picture:
The "prefrontal cortex" is Neo, and the "amygdala" is Amy. That weird looking tree-thing in the bottom back is the cerebellum. Neo just flat-out can't reach the cerebellum without going through Amy.
So, you're going to have to fix your brain's chain of command. You're going to have to work out some system to remind Amy to listen to Neo, BEFORE Amy decides that Neo's full of shit and she's bugging them out of there.
This will take a LOT of time and effort, but remembering that it's a chain of command issue should help.
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WILLingtonegotiate84 karma2013-12-15 18:48:24 UTC
WOW. I do not know much about the brain, but the way you explained this is purely awesome. I want you to know I sincerely appreciate the effort you put into this and the meaning you put behind it. I will use this information. Thank you.
ialdabaoth45 karma2013-12-15 18:57:13 UTC
I'm glad to help!
What you need to do now is, get yourself to a therapist who does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It's basically like kicking Amy and Neo back into Command Training exercises until they prove they can work together as a functional team again.
WILLingtonegotiate30 karma2013-12-15 19:01:53 UTC
looking into it, thank you so very much again.
r0bbitz21 karma2013-12-15 20:14:37 UTC
As someone who has once again mastered their mind after a long struggle with PTSD, I'll second that CBT and self-reprogramming techniques like NLP and human-needs psychology really do work. It takes some studying, a lot of willingness to discard old ways of thinking, and dedicated practice... but the peace of mind and incredible level self control are worth it. Thank you for your service and Godspeed on your way to health! :)
WILLingtonegotiate15 karma2013-12-15 20:26:34 UTC
thank you and I will certainly be attempting to educate myself further.
orthogonality3 karma2013-12-16 11:53:14 UTC
Probably not soon enough for you, but have you heard that a vaccine for PTSD is being tested?
It does postulate a mechanism for PTSD (ghrelin and ghrelin receptors), so possibly there's a treatment in there too.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 11:58:38 UTC
I heard about this on a podcast but have yet to look into it. I will be doing that though.
AutumnRain9218 karma2013-12-15 18:02:44 UTC
First off im sorry you are going through this :( my questions are how did you attempt suicide and how often do you cry?
WILLingtonegotiate37 karma2013-12-15 18:06:59 UTC
-swallowed a large bottle of anti-depressants while chugging Jack Daniels. Drank the whiskey too fast 1/5 in about 30 seconds, and ended up throwing up and passing out. (may have saved my life)
-Hanging in my closet, the hanger rod broke. regretted the attempt immediately.
I do not cry due to the incident directly every day but I do very frequently. However I do cry quite a lot over silly things. Songs that have an emotional tone to them, stories, movies, heartwarming moments. I never used to do this.
AutumnRain9212 karma2013-12-15 18:09:55 UTC
I really wish I could hug and comfort you :*( that's sad and I hope you have people who are there for you when you cry
WILLingtonegotiate18 karma2013-12-15 18:14:36 UTC
Most of the time I do. My wife is very supportive now, (now that I let her be). I also have friends that are a phone call away now, that will help me through when I see that dark horizon creeping in.
bozarak4 karma2013-12-15 21:03:07 UTC
What was it like between you and your wife right after you got back?
WILLingtonegotiate11 karma2013-12-15 21:13:37 UTC
it was a rollercoaster. highs and lows. due to my situation quite a lot of instability on my part. I do not know how we managed to stay together. But if you can get through the horrible parts, there is a much better life waiting for you on the other side.
bozarak3 karma2013-12-15 21:15:17 UTC
I'm sorry. I'm glad she was there for you. Good luck on everything.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 21:18:16 UTC
honestly she really was not there for me emotionally but I do not blame her.
fromyourscreentomine11 karma2013-12-15 19:54:41 UTC
I cry at strange random moments, or when I really start to dwell on Iraq. It's more of the people I miss then the experience it self but tears seem more normal these days.
WILLingtonegotiate8 karma2013-12-15 19:59:39 UTC
This exactly. Thank you for your service brother.
USMCnerd5 karma2013-12-15 20:53:27 UTC
Empty tables and chairs from les mis is such a cathartic song if you miss your friends man I cry to it all the time
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 21:00:34 UTC
haha, every bit of les mis. Big productions like that, seem to get to me. It really does.
AWholeBucketofStars3 karma2013-12-15 20:52:07 UTC
I feel you on the crying. I've never been a crier, but when things were getting bad after I got out and then while I was doing CBT, I cried all the time, even just walking down a busy public street. Like ugly cry, gettin stared at, tryin not to make a scene... Lol
It's better since I've done CBT, but I'm starting to feel like maybe I've just moved back to being numb.
Thanks for your service, I'm glad you're making it and doing better now.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 20:59:53 UTC
thank you for your service brother. message me anytime. I am well aware of that numb feeling. it is a wolf in sheeps clothing.
psychedelik_mess3 karma2013-12-16 06:02:26 UTC
My dad, also a veteran who suffers from PTSD, tried to hang himself from a metal shelf in our laundry room. Never have I been so grateful for a shelf breaking. Much love your way, friend. You are doing a wonderful thing.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 06:39:53 UTC
Gotta love flimsy shelving. I hope you and your father are doing well.
Dittybopper16 karma2013-12-15 19:44:21 UTC
My man; As a 45+ year suffer of PTSD I feel your pain brother, I know your pain and I sympathize with it. Let me tell you a few things, bare with me please. First: PTSD does not go away, ever, it can be dealt with however by seeking understanding of it (good for you so far) and taking the step to get the help you most definitely need. Second: Self medicating does not work, period. It is a self-looping trap and will make things worse for you both in the short and long term. You have already experienced that in your life, you've lost your job, you have lost your wife, your children are being buffeted by your mood swings. Stop that shit. Get clean of the never ending rounds of booze and weed, get back to your normal self and then take the next step toward healing with a clear determined mind, it is the only way. Believe it, I am telling you straight.
Without help PTSD will hang with you all of your life, I call it a Life Sentence. Now, the earlier the better, is the time to put a halt to it, or at least tamp it down to the point you feel back in charge of your life. It can be done, it takes willpower and time and understanding. The incident you witnessed, the loss of your friend and fellow GI is over, it can't get worse, it can't harm you again. Your first task after getting your mind back is to deal with it and put it in the past, move on. Yeah, easy to say huh. I know it will be difficult but you really really need to do this, go through the process, gain insight and understand how to move on – you will need a professional councilor to aid you. Your second “job” is to put together a new life and to positively act to build a rewarding existence with what remaining time you have on this earth. Get those three things knocked (no self-medicating, deal with the past, build the future) and you are on your way. I wish to hell I had known these things when I returned from war. I am available for discussions or whatever, just PM me if you feel the need or if you just want to chat.
Good luck to you brother, hang in there, it is possible to overcome, or at least deal positively with, your war experience and mistakes since.
WILLingtonegotiate10 karma2013-12-15 19:51:02 UTC
Thank you brother, for your service, as well as your fine advice. I am trying these things for sure. I do not drink or do any types of drugs. I finally do have a grasp on a future that can be mine. My hold up is the past. It is so very difficult to forget or forgive. If I can do this at some point, I honestly feel like I would be an entirely new person.
Dittybopper5 karma2013-12-15 20:24:51 UTC
just one man to another. You can deal with the past but as I said you will need a professional to aid you in doing so. You discounted the VA but in my experience they offer some of the better counseling. One major reason is that PTSD is a focus with them and they are good at it. If you don't want to deal with them I understand and say go to a civilian entity. You CAN'T do this without help and from what I am reading you want help. Go for it. Just remember this - there ain't one goddamned thing you can change about the past, it is done, cards dealt and result in. You can put it behind you though. Glad to hear you are wise to the self-medicating trap, that is progress. I am not talking about an occasional drink, I am talking about depending on it for the temporary relief it seems to bring which is false and leads to depression and a worsening condition over time.
I have been down your road, lost my family, drank for years, pissed and moaned about the war. Thank the saints I finally wised up.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 20:40:28 UTC
I actually gave the VA a really long try. I was set up with 12 appointments over a 1 year period. Each time promising me they would see me more. of those 12 appointments I saw 11 different doctors. and as you know the first appointment with a psychologist is only "tell me about your past and why you are here and your medical history" no therapy on that first visit. So out of my 12 appointments I was able to tell the same story 11 times. oh and the doctor I was able to see twice, she was only letting me know she would be leaving and that the appointment was not really needed. I kinda have said screw the VA since then.
Dittybopper3 karma2013-12-15 20:54:53 UTC
Well that sucks. Gotta go get supper ready for the fam. Be back later.
WILLingtonegotiate8 karma2013-12-15 21:01:06 UTC
haha, I am standing in my kitchen right now making a meal for my wife to wake up to and giving the kids a snack.
PurpleIsTheNewUpvote12 karma2013-12-15 19:05:40 UTC
Hey. Very sorry for what you've had to go through. Can you describe what PTSD is like on a day to day basis? Your average day from when you wake up to when you go to sleep.
WILLingtonegotiate32 karma2013-12-15 19:16:06 UTC
Well. Sleep is actually one of the most important parts to dealing with it. As of right now I have not slept in about 36 hours. It is very hard to maintain a decent sleeping habit.
Lets say I wake up on a normal school day around 6 am (if I have slept, if not I just start my day), I get my kids ready for school. This is where the PTSD already starts to kick in. I get very anxious over the kids not doing things in the morning exactly as I tell them to do. If I am a minute late in our morning prep I tend to lose my mind. I will sometimes shout at them to get ready and lose my temper when they do not hurry.
I then drop of my children, and if I do not fall asleep at that time I will start my day. Cleaning up after breakfast, maybe some laundry. Then on to the internet to check email and reddit and different news sites. MY PTSD TAKES OVER. I can tell myself to only spend 30 minutes or maybe an hour on the internet, but I then start to crave that busy feeling. Not physical work busy but mental work busy. I crave my brain being overloaded and it feels like a drug. It really just makes me feel good. I end up spending sometimes my whole day online. If I am able to get away from the computer I will start on a work project. Or get ready to pick my children up from school.
From then I will start to micromanage them. Homework, baths, snacks, dinner, teeth brushed, pajamas, get the hell in the bed. (all those steps come with major stress, especially if my children are loud or particularly obnoxious in anyway).
I will then wait for my wife to get home and talk with her about her day/night.
This is all on a perfect day. This is if things are going absolutely above and beyond great. if not. It goes like this.
6 am, find a reason why my kids can stay home from school. Do not leave my bedroom all day. Do not let my children outside all day. make them stay in my room with me and read or watch television or play games. sleep. drown myself in self loathing. feel ashamed as my wife walks into a messy house. dive deeper into depression. get angry with everyone else for my shortcomings. cry myself to sleep.
PurpleIsTheNewUpvote8 karma2013-12-15 19:22:59 UTC
Wow.. I'm so sorry. I wish I could offer more than reddit platitudes of condolence.
How often did your days go well? How often did they go to shit? Did you find that certain things trigger a shitty day? Did you find that certain things trigger a good day?
Edit - Changed tenses
WILLingtonegotiate8 karma2013-12-15 19:29:24 UTC
I would say during the bad times. 2009-2012 it was about 95% bad 5% good no in between.
Since April of this year I would say 40% bad 60% good. To me that is like the greatest thing ever. I can tell that much good is really showing in my family life. My 9 year old daughter recently told me she was proud of me, with no explanation why. I think I know why but it was awesome to hear it. Two of my children have perfect attendance so far this year. This is my biggest pride point.
as far as triggers. If I only knew what caused them. I think a clean house and all "chores" being done helps to trigger a good day, as I can spend more time challenging my brain to stay busy rather than doing boring chores and letting my mind wander.
boatcaptainjenny4 karma2013-12-16 01:27:05 UTC
download the audio book, "The War on Art", by steven pressfeild. I think he touches on some relevant issues in the book which may give your life new direction and happiness. Especially the addiction to the internet and trying to overload your brain.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:24:56 UTC
I will give it a listen thank you.
OX-in-the-box1 karma2013-12-16 08:25:09 UTC
Hey, I suffer from PTSD too and some things that I've found that help are trying to "force perspective" as far as emotions go, I imagine getting drawn into my anxiety/vigilance dominated mindset as getting too immersed in a bad video game and if I force myself to fix my perspective into reality or me sitting on my couch holding the xbox controller it helps me regulate where my thoughts are going. It's also important to understand that your brain is kind of a thought machine that produces feelings in reaction to stimulus and for us we have a conditioned panic reaction because of an extreme stimulus, so when the PTSD kicks in it helps me to change environment which is why I picked up a temporary smoking habit when things were bad, going outside for a few minutes helped me stay calm.
I totally empathize with the keeping your mind busy thing too. Besides reddit and bad vices, the things I've found that help (and backed up by research) are intellectually stimulating games, like tetris or minesweeper or chess. I've gotten really good at minesweeper in the past few months and the distraction it provides is just challenging enough to keep you busy but it's not too tiring either.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 08:28:26 UTC
I use force perspective when trying to deflate, but it usually gets answered in my brain with "shut up asshole this is a travesty." Games or anything for that matter that just keep my brain steadily moving are an awesome medicine.
ratbastid10 karma2013-12-15 18:38:32 UTC
No question, just wanted to share about a friend, an ex-Marine, who came home with severe PTSD.
This year he passed the EMS, and is now a paramedic. Turns out that having a job that intense lets him focus 100% during the day, and then he can leave that intensity at work when he goes home. He had tried some "recuperative vocational" stuff like goodwill, etc, and none of it made any difference. He's literally a new man, now that he's working in an ambulance all day.
There seems to be some research now showing that recreating the intensity of the environment that triggered the PTSD to begin with is actually very helpful. It's what your brain is now conditioned to deal with, and your brain is going to deal with that environment, even when that environment isn't what's actually going on around you. So it turns out that putting yourself in a situation that's appropriate to your neurology is actually therapeutic.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 18:45:22 UTC
I have read into this as well. And it makes total sense. This is why things like video games, or building a really intense computer helps me quite a lot. they take my full focus.
wtbnewsoul3 karma2013-12-15 21:52:06 UTC
Have you tried for example paintball to make intense situations, sure kept my mind occupied when I played.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 21:55:28 UTC
I would love to do this. I can say I am a habitual hobbyist. I find a hobby, spend tons on it, then get bored with it. Photography, woodworking, etc. I find a hobby, become obsessed and throw it away.
calgar41951 karma2013-12-16 06:08:42 UTC
This may hit a bit too close to home, but I've been involved in both airsoft and reenacting circles for quite a few years now and we see a lot of vets come out and participate, ranging from the Vietnam War all the way to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems cathartic for a lot of them, particularly those who saw combat and suffer from various levels of PTSD.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 06:40:37 UTC
I love to hangout with vets. It makes me feel normal.
soheevich7 karma2013-12-15 19:46:45 UTC
Don't know what to say. Just never back down and remember of your intimates and family. Greetings from Russia. :)
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 19:52:11 UTC
Hello my friend. I try to keep them in every thought I have throughout the day. Thank you for your kind words. Now go get a blanket and hunker down for this winter.
soheevich9 karma2013-12-15 20:21:07 UTC
Winter is a beautiful season, I think. But summer is much warmer :) I hope people in this thread will help you.
As for me, help to another ones can help me. A kitten is laying near to me, he was stray and his leg was fractured. He has no chances to live on streets at winter with broken leg (weather here is about 12 F now). Now he has some metal things in his leg to recover the leg and getting better. I hope that I will never had yours experience, but even my small problems are solving easier with my little help to that little cat :)
PS I hope my engrish is understandable. Good day to you.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 20:30:58 UTC
Your english is very understandable. And I agree with you that pets help quite a lot. I have two cats myself. it is a good thing what you are doing for that cat.
MethBear7 karma2013-12-15 18:06:42 UTC
Tough break man, no questions really. I know what you're going through, in the sense that you never got it taken care of. After my sentinel events
(Iraq 2004\2005) I just kind of put everything in a box. If I could lend some advice, I would say that you seek professional help. Trust me, it doesn't solve everything, or anything at all. But it does give you perspective on why you act certain ways and you hopefully can take yourself out of bad situations before they become a problem to you. Also, proper medication doesn't hurt. Good luck man.
WILLingtonegotiate7 karma2013-12-15 18:12:41 UTC
thank you brother.
scifiwoman6 karma2013-12-15 20:13:45 UTC
Do you think that someone could develop PTSD as a result of being in an abusive marriage?
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 20:25:54 UTC
I think there can be many many causes of PTSD. Abusive relationships are definitely one way. I can actually explain a little how they are akin to warfare.
In war, you are always on an heightened state of alert. Your brain accommodates that with certain chemical reactions. if it happens over a prolonged period of time your brain gets extremely used to accommodating this influx of chemicals. trying to balance itself out. Kind of like a scale. The heightened sense of danger adds weights to one side of the brain, while the brain attempts to add its own counterweights to the other side to keep it balanced. Well lets say you leave that warzone and your brain is no longer on such an alert, but it is still trying to compensate that one side because it has gotten so used to doing it. now you have a chemical imbalance.
An abusive relationship can keep you at that heightened sense of alertness and fear much like war.
scifiwoman6 karma2013-12-15 20:56:34 UTC
Thank you very much for your reply. I didn't want to downplay the horrors of war, I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live through that, to see your friends killed or injured. But it was a continual seige, my son and I were always walking on eggshells and home was not a safe place to be. I had to act a part all the time just to get through the day without conflict. I now suffer from depression and generalised anxiety disorder. My son suffers from anxiety and OCD to the point that it severely and negatively impacts on his life.
WILLingtonegotiate6 karma2013-12-15 21:05:34 UTC
In some ways your condition and that of your sons is much worse than mine. As my medical expense "shouldn't" come out of my own pocket, and they are paying me monthly. You must deal with this on your own and without help. I feel for you, and if you ever want to talk please message me. It helps to have someone that will just listen every now and then. i hope your battle is over.
scout-finch6 karma2013-12-15 19:28:30 UTC
I don't have any questions necessarily, I just wanted to urge you to continue getting help and to please seek out and utilize ALL available help from the government. My dad was a Marine in Vietnam and though he worked as an RN for years after coming home, he ultimately was able to retire early on 100% disability due mostly to his PTSD. He was considered "unemployable" because of his temper. The money and benefits he receives are fair and with all the therapy he's gotten he seems to be doing better. When I was a kid I was scared of him most of the time and we fought constantly. He was verbally/emotionally abusive. We get along quite well now.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 19:31:42 UTC
your last sentence helps me quite a lot. tell your father I thank him for his sacrifices and I love him.
scout-finch4 karma2013-12-15 21:17:23 UTC
Thank you as well :) This might also help you - growing up, I knew (as much as a kid can) what kind of things my dad had gone through and I knew about PTSD. As much as I "hated" him sometimes, one of the worst parts for me was feeling guilty because I knew that it wasn't always his fault. I knew he wasn't choosing to be mean to me for no reason, but that he had problems that he couldn't/had a hard time controlling. If you're having family problems, depending on how old your kids are, it would be a good idea to explain to them (and have your wife help; hopefully she'll be willing) what's going on so that they understand their dad isn't just an angry guy and that they aren't doing anything wrong. I really wish you the best.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 21:19:20 UTC
Thank you, yes one of my kids understands, the others may just be a little young.
ni-chrome5 karma2013-12-15 19:56:51 UTC
I don't want you to quit, brother. You can beat this. if you'd be willing to try it, I'd like to offer what worked for my dad and for me for one important aspect of this fight.
the brain will not maintain waking consciousness under 8 breaths per minute. when you set a sleep schedule, you use a clock near your bed with a second hand. note your breathing rate and begin dropping it as slowly and comfortably as you can by dividing breaths into quadrants of the clock. Its not easy to go from an average of 4-6 breaths per 15 seconds down to 2 per, so I began by just reducing down to 4 or 3 and declining it as I found possible. NO caffeinated -anything- 4 hours before the set sleep time. Your thoughts may increase if your conscious mind fights you on this. the same as those feeling you mention, the trick is to not be triggered to respond to them. acknowledge, rate, file and dismiss them. do not argue with them. This is hard at first but you will see some progress. Eventually you will fall asleep.
this all sounds like mystic BS but its just science and meditation and nothing like moving the mountain it took to get him (my pop) to take advice from a Vietnamese doctor about this but it changed our lives. you're not alone. your life matters to me. keep at it.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:01:42 UTC
thank you for this, I will absolutely use this tonight and see what happens. I hope tings stay positive for you as well as your father.
takesyousrsly5 karma2013-12-15 18:16:38 UTC
First off, I hope you continue on your journey to peace and happiness.
Have you tried to reconcile with your wife/show her that you are attempting to progress?
Are you still involved in the daily lives of your children/have you ever lashed out at them directly/indirectly and affected them in a way that you now regret?
WILLingtonegotiate12 karma2013-12-15 18:22:24 UTC
Thank you for the well wishes.
First, I was not clear, that night she told me that, I jumped in my truck and drove 17 hours straight to her. To convince her to give me one last chance, she did and tells me it was the best decision she ever made.
Second, I have lashed out at my children definitely. In ways I certainly regret. While I do not physically punish my children, other forms of abuse can be much worse. They receive therapy and the two that are old enough to understand, are now educated on my problems. If I shout at them unfairly or over react to something I try, now, to approach them later when they feel more comfortable and explain to them that I am sorry for how I acted and it was certainly not their fault.
My fear is that my problems will rub off on them negatively and I honestly feel it may have already done so. I regret that every day.
sparky1279115 karma2013-12-15 19:31:37 UTC
No real question here, using your AMA as therapy also I guess. Sharing my experience with you since you are brave enough to share with us. Least I could do for a service member. So thank you. Sincerely.
I have a very close friend with PTSD, Marine, served 2 tours, Iraq/Afghanistan. He drank himself homeless and has many of the issues you are sharing with us today. Eventually he got heavily involved with equine (horses) therapy. He and many of his battle buddies have had great success involving animals in their therapy. Just throwing it out there.
I myself (a firefighter) also have suffered from PTSD since the Sept 11th attacks. What helps me with my anger/anxiety, is awareness. (of course easier said than done) Awareness of the little things in life, really FEEL my body and be aware of the building stress, I cope by burning off little bits of steam at a time so as not to blow-up. It can be as simple as taking a moment to have a deep breath (or 3), getting a massage or just smiling at a sunny day. But I must burn a little off consciously everyday or i'd lose it. I also remind myself it's okay to have a bad day, it's okay to be upset, and its okay to struggle. Cheers to you my friend, all the best.
TL;DR; You're not alone brother, you're a good person, great AMA, you are helping others by sharing your struggle, myself included.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 19:34:35 UTC
I am genuinely happy for your friend. He found that "light" and it is working for him. It seems you have found your medicine as well. Sharing all these techniques with each other helps us I do believe. I always take advice I get here seriously and apply everything that I can. I think I will take you up on the massage advice. I will be advising my wife of this plan as soon as she wakes up. lol. thank you for your service.
Analyzer94 karma2013-12-15 20:51:31 UTC
Fellow FISTer from '02 on. First deployment in '04-'05 to Baghdad. I was right behind you.
Glad you're talking. I don't really like to, yet. I stayed in until 2010, which more or less delayed any onset problems I had. The last year has been a real rollercoaster. Someday I'll want to talk with guys that weren't there, I'm sure.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 20:58:43 UTC
hooah fisters lead the way. I hope you take this advice. Pursue help right now, it will get worse, fast. message me man if you ever wanna chat, or just go over your 15 subs lol.
Analyzer91 karma2013-12-16 07:28:07 UTC
I hit up the VA in Portland when things were getting bad, and they were less help than local service buddies. Just remember, folks, do like your old First Sergeant said, and lie like it's your job. If you tell the VA the truth, things might go poorly. You cannot actually receive PTSD treatment if you admit to substance abuse, for instance.
Is 15 subs a Reddit thing? I still stink at this and pretty much just cycle through pages like an idiot.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 08:00:16 UTC
15 subsequent corrections. Fister.
Mlore774 karma2013-12-15 19:53:49 UTC
I was a fister too
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 19:59:08 UTC
hooah, fisters lead the way!
TheBeautifulColumbia4 karma2013-12-15 21:19:56 UTC
I just wanted to say that my dad had PTSD since the day I was born from the Vietnam War. Although I don't always understand him, I always try to. I hope people try to understand you too.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 21:22:40 UTC
Thanks for saying this. It gives me hope that my children will one day understand my problems, and that I always wanted the best for them.
dr054n4 karma2013-12-15 18:28:32 UTC
Are you still married to your wife?
WILLingtonegotiate12 karma2013-12-15 18:29:58 UTC
I am, and we are probably the happiest we have ever been to be totally honest. At least that is my opinion.
CussesLikeASailor3 karma2013-12-15 18:54:27 UTC
This makes me happy :)
WILLingtonegotiate6 karma2013-12-15 18:56:19 UTC
me as well.
hippychickrae684 karma2013-12-15 18:06:40 UTC
Are you seeing any one for professional help? Are any of your buddies going through the same thing?
WILLingtonegotiate6 karma2013-12-15 18:12:07 UTC
I am in close contact with 3 of my battle buddies that were there with me on that day. They all have varying degrees of trauma. They help me quite a lot. AS of professional help, the VA in my experience has been awful and possibly made it worse in my experience. I decided to seek therapy through my own routes.
eoiaeoiae2 karma2013-12-15 21:00:02 UTC
Hello! Another person with debilitating PTSD here. Are those routes with trained professionals?
Recently started going to a PTSD Treatment Center in the Midwest and it has been amazing. So much more functional! Does your wife have health insurance? That (or Obamacare, whatever etc.) should cover it.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 21:12:26 UTC
my PTSD as well as my physical disabilities associated with the Army are covered through the VA. My wife is an active duty soldier so we have great health insurance. The problem is the VA, and how much they suck for me so far.
eoiaeoiae1 karma2013-12-16 01:01:20 UTC
Suck, how, if it's alright for me to ask?
PS: I got a dog to help with the PTSD, and that's also been amazing. Damned impossible to start going down the bad-thought rabbithole if there's a loving little furry dude who needs a walk, food, or might eat some stupid shit off the street (and then get real sick) if you're not paying attention. Also helps with 'snapping out' of the flashback phase. Might want to look into it! There are a lot of programs for vets and service animals.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:19:34 UTC
I say suck in my own case, i am sure some have bad better. In my case it has been appointment after appointment with a new doc everytime. They have cancelled on me the day of the appointment, they have bad me wait beyond an hour because my doc was having lunch with a friend. They have tried me on 13 different meds/doses none of which helped.
dancingbee4 karma2013-12-15 18:05:53 UTC
Hi. Thanks for doing this ama glad its a form of therapy. I'm very curious to know what are you most angry about. Do you think how you feel about the war(whatever that may be) filters in to your ptsd.
WILLingtonegotiate7 karma2013-12-15 18:10:51 UTC
I feel I am most angry over very shallow things. "why did this happen?" "I am so stupid for this to have happened" But my day to day anger stems from really trivial things. Hard to explain, but I feel like I am now always just at that tipping point, of losing my mind in an angry rage, where as it may take others a bit more to get to that point.
My feelings towards the war itself, I do not believe effect my PTSD, though I am sure they could.
steakhause1 karma2013-12-16 05:35:08 UTC
Mine tends to be any change of plans at the last minute.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:53:33 UTC
Omg yes. My wife knows this is a trigger. Please for the love of all things make plans and keep them in that order.
AjaXlol3 karma2013-12-15 18:18:30 UTC
What was the major incident that took place at your work? And are u still working there today?
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 18:26:20 UTC
I fought a superior over a comment he made. I do not work there any longer, neither does he.
darthjammer2243 karma2013-12-15 18:15:56 UTC
What advice do you have for anyone else in a similar situation? It sounds like you have learned quite a bit
WILLingtonegotiate11 karma2013-12-15 18:18:21 UTC
Honestly I have learned one very important thing about PTSD. IT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON. With that being said, I think my best advice would be, "Hang in there brother/sister, I love you, I am here for you, hang on till you can see the way out. It will come if you have the time. It gets better."
darthjammer2243 karma2013-12-15 18:23:27 UTC
Thanks im sure that will help some people out there!
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 18:27:01 UTC
I sincerely hope it does.
imtheone9893 karma2013-12-15 18:23:33 UTC
Have you read into the drug trials using mdma or ketamine as a treatment for ptsd?
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 18:28:05 UTC
I have read into them yes. However due to my situation (stay at home dad, I work from home) I am the one caring for our children and these therapies or not viable for me at this time. I hope they make huge breakthroughs though.
ellaingreen3 karma2013-12-15 20:49:25 UTC
Since I was younger, I always knew I wanted to be a therapist. It wasn't until recently I decided that working with PTSD (and more specifically, soldiers with it) was the way I could be most helpful. In what ways could communication between veterans and those who want to help them be improved?
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 20:57:04 UTC
good question, and the following is my non medical experience opinion.
From my side of things, here are a few things the therapist can do.
Listen and do not make the soldier repeat themselves. That implies you were not listening or did not care. or that you may not think they have a problem big enough for you to waste your time.
Be prompt on your appointment times. being late is unprofessional and again makes them think their are not actually important there.
ask if they have ideas that they may want to use in their treatment.
Do not use the phrases "get over it" "well that seems irrational". Both of these things came out of the mouths of VA psychologists to me. For one I know it is irrational, that is why I am telling it to you, in hoped you can help me not do it anymore. and get over it? really? if it were that easy, you would not need a job.
I would say listen, feel, and be aware of the soldier and that they may actually be able to help themselves with a little guidance.
Nikkithe8th3 karma2013-12-15 20:21:42 UTC
How would you suggest siblings and other family who are not quite as close as a spouse deal with you on a day to day. In my family we don't talk about it because my brother is opposed to it, but are there things I could be doing/saying/avoiding/broaching to better support him?
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 20:35:20 UTC
my brother does not talk to me about it unless I approach him. I do not know your brothers specific ordeal, but I can hopefully give you some advice.
Things to do:
point out the good things around you.
listen to him when he talks, and try not to interrupt.
avoid making him repeat himself.
love him unconditionally and let him know that you love him unconditionally and that you are always there with no judgement.
Do not minimize his condition, chances are he is already insecure about PTSD and making it seem like "not a big deal" may make things worse for him.
I hope these things can help. above all, treat him like you always have, love him, pick on him, and appreciate him.
Mesum3 karma2013-12-15 20:56:30 UTC
Thanks for answering these questions. I have a small question.
How is life in bedroom since PTSD? Are you still as sexually active as you were before it?
WILLingtonegotiate6 karma2013-12-15 21:03:32 UTC
absolutely not. Sex drive was seriously nil. It caused major problems. If I did want to have sex, I dealt with being unable to perform on occasion. I actually got my doc to prescribe viagra through the VA (I am 31). funny enough though, when I had my breakthrough in april, things got better, physically. It was amazing.
grainia993 karma2013-12-15 21:23:24 UTC
Thank you for writing this. I suffer from PTSD and have had a very difficult year. I have two small children and I find it very hard to interact with them at times and then feel guilty about being a bad mother. I have been doing some reading about generational PTSD. In the counseling your children have received, has this been addressed? Do your kids find the counseling helpful? When mine are older I would like to see them get some, but I am not sure about what age I should be sending them.
Again, thank you. You have described many of my issues very well.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 21:31:11 UTC
My daughter is 9. From what I gather from her Doctor, she has been told why I am the way I am, and that it is not her fault. But just like the cold, it could rub off on her a little. She has been learning ways that she may deal with her anxiety as well as my own. I have not noticed a behavioral difference in her (she is actually already a great kid), but I do think she has come to realize the problem is not her, and that I am not acting with malice or contempt towards her or her siblings.
I understand the pain you feel. You ask yourself questions like "Would they be better with a different set of parents?" "Am I jeopardizing my childrens mental health in the long run?" "will they hate me when they are older?" Those questions will linger. Use them as tools to help you fight of the urges to explode/implode. Know this. They love you more than anything on the planet. And they are very forgiving. Never ever let them go to bed, without knowing how much you love them. Those minutes/hours spent with their heads on the pillows, minds wandering are crucial. Make sure those moments are spent in happiness.
adrenal_out1 karma2013-12-16 07:44:51 UTC
I am glad you know your children love you this much. They do :) (I am 33 and my parents are still my heroes)
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 08:02:14 UTC
Let them know it, as much as you needed it from them at a young age.
adrenal_out2 karma2013-12-16 08:04:58 UTC
I am pretty sure they know... but just in case I will tell them at Christmas when I see them :)
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 08:11:38 UTC
nerve252 karma2013-12-15 23:55:51 UTC
First, thank you for starting this post. I have found some good answers on here that I wouldn't normally find at other sources. I am a fellow fister suffering from PTSD. I served active from 2004-2012 and completed 3 combat tours in Iraq. I've had my highs and lows since discharge, but my main issue is sleep. I don't have nightmares, I just can't sleep period. Maybe it is because every time I tried to sleep in Iraq, something would happen that would force me to be alert. I've had this issue for several years upon returning from my first tour in 2006. It has only worsen over the years. I tried counseling, but all that did was stir up bad memories and make it worse. I refuse to take any medication.
My question to you is…has your sleep gotten any better? If so, are there any methods you use that doesn't involve counseling or medication?
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:10:06 UTC
My sleep has not gotten better. I have tried so many exercises but just cannot get it figured out. I too have that feeling of, "mortars will be incoming at any moment, I need to get hp and do a crater analysis, may as well stay up." It is not rational thinking of course but sometimes I cannot stop it. I have this overwhelming feeling that if I sleep I will miss something.
Take care of yourself brother. Get help now, do not wait.
Burge1042 karma2013-12-15 21:30:13 UTC
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 21:38:47 UTC
I went to highschool in south georgia, but I went to middle school in a bunch of places lol. Landon middle school, Mandarin middle, a special middle school set up for foster children(basically some cubicles outside of a highschool), I also attended Murray middle school in St. Augustine and sebastian. I also went to middle school in palatka and macclenny.
As for the PTSD I think it may happen differently for a lot of people. I belive the cause of my PTSD is from one moment. One accident when I caused the death of my good friend in a combat environment. I do have the "flashback moments" where I drift off into a daydream kind of replaying the moment over and over and over. I also have the same dream over and over and over almost every night, always ending with the gunshot going off and me waking up like a maniac. My wife says my muscles in my arms and legs contract and jump during my sleep. I have never noticed it. Though she says it is violent and every single time I sleep. haha. poor girl.
cellery722 karma2013-12-15 20:10:11 UTC
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 20:20:52 UTC
I am terribly sorry to hear about your friends father. I somehow wish he could have come to the realization I did before it got to far. I think I know how he must have felt before the act. And if it helps I want to say this.
JUst before my attempts, I was crying uncontrollably. Not that my life was about to end, because I wanted that badly. But because I would no longer see my loved ones, namely my children. They were in my thoughts up until the moment I passed out. Some would say that should be enough to make you not go through with it. But when you love something so very much, and notice that your problems are rubbing off on them and making their life worse, there is sometimes nothing better than to just end it. I hope your friend finds comfort in knowing that their father was most likely thinking about them and that their hearts were absolutely filled with love and the wonderful memories of their lives together.
Army0fMe2 karma2013-12-15 18:34:12 UTC
Nice to see your functioning, brother. Are you going to group therapy at your local VA? As someone who's been fighting the same battle for the same amount of time, I can say hanging out with fellow vets has been the best thing I've been able to do for myself and my family.
If you ever need it, my inbox is open for you and any other vet dealing with issues.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 18:39:51 UTC
I have not. My wife joined the Army and we are just off post from one of my old battlebuddies that was present during the incident so that helps. My experience with the VA has been awful, sorry to say.
Thank you for the invite, My inbox is open as well.
Army0fMe3 karma2013-12-15 18:47:47 UTC
Just so long as you aren't isolating yourself or self-medicating.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 18:50:02 UTC
While I try not to isolate myself, I find myself getting cabin fever often due to our family arrangement. Definitely not self medicating, and I actually have recently stopped drinking any kinds of alcohol as well.
Army0fMe2 karma2013-12-15 18:53:09 UTC
That's outstanding! Keep fighting, brother.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 18:54:16 UTC
Thank you and you as well. I gotta say I do miss a cold beer and burger on the back porch but, ice tea keeps it a close second.
lenut2 karma2013-12-15 18:48:23 UTC
Have you considered trying marijuana a few studys were done which showed it helped and even cured it.
I personally used it for depression and cured it I had it for 11 years.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 18:51:24 UTC
I have used marijuana. I can say by far it has been the best therapy available (beyond spending time with my old battlebuddies). The problem is I am unable to use it effectively due to my family situation. I would not feel comfortable caring for my childrens well being while baked. Sucks because it works so very well.
Murica-WeThePeople2 karma2013-12-15 19:00:58 UTC
I hate to encourage drug use, but talk to your doctor, it can be done in private, I hear they have some strands of marijuana that won't even get you high or will only get you a little high.
It may help you.
Edit: news article about it.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 19:06:32 UTC
Thank you I will look into it. Though honestly I do believe getting high was what helped. It basically gave me happy thoughts and would not really let me focus on the negative.
lenut2 karma2013-12-15 19:57:42 UTC
Dam maybe try having a kid free weekend to medicate once a month.
Im glad to have not offended you tho.
Im at a point when if I feel depression creeping back in I will get some use it up and im back to normal.
If your wife is ok with you using for your condition she may support the monthly weekend.
I hope you beat this I have family with it I know its no walk in the park.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:03:22 UTC
right now, my situation would not permit it sadly. The risk would be too great. My wife has a clearance she must maintain, and I could not risk getting into trouble acquiring it. Hopefully she will get stationed in Washington or Colorado, that may make things easier lol.
lenut2 karma2013-12-15 20:39:51 UTC
She could see if she could be transferred. Best of luck tho
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:45:07 UTC
well she is a soldier, but those are two places she would like to be stationed. that takes years to do though.
SoreAchilles9112 karma2013-12-15 19:11:54 UTC
I'd like to thank you for all you have done. My question is: If you knew that you would have such a bad reaction to the events overseas, would you have changed your MOS when you originally enlisted to prevent this from happening?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 19:21:06 UTC
Well. My MOS had nothing really to do with the event. At least not in particular. A lot of other things happened over there, that I do not seem to have any harsh feelings about (the massive amount of death on march to baghdad). The accident could have literally happened to any MOS in the Army, at least any MOS that carries a weapon. If I knew somehow that something this bad would have happened, I would have never joined the Army at all, for the sake of not ruining such a beautiful family, like the one that was torn apart that day.
DirtyProjector2 karma2013-12-15 19:38:02 UTC
I don't have a question, but you might find http://danishdocumentary.com/site/freethemind/ this helpful. Just because you're feeling OK now, doesn't mean everything is OK. There is help out there, and you can truly find peace!
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 19:45:27 UTC
Thank you I will check this out, I just read a little about it and it is right up my alley. Thank you, really.
Rheine2 karma2013-12-15 20:07:43 UTC
From your answers, it seems that playing games is one thing that can get you the stimulus/mental load you crave for. So what kind of game do you play?
And anything that strangely stayed the same even after your PSTD? Maybe something that still connects you with the previous you?
Thanks for doing this and I hope things will continue to get better.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 20:11:44 UTC
Well like many veterans, I started playing world of warcraft. This game worked extremely well. TOOOOOOO well. I was addicted and had to stop.
I play mostly FPS games, BF4, the original bad company, GTA5, but also Gran Turismo.
I think my ability to be clever/quick witted. I was always very good at turning attention away from me and focusing it, humorously, on someone else around me. I still have that. Oh and a dark sense of humor, and abhorrence to my birth mother.
Rheine2 karma2013-12-16 01:09:14 UTC
Oh wow, didn't know that WoW is popular even amongst veterans. Although, yeah, it does keep you busy.
Hmm, didn't expect that you'd play FPS, because, well you know...
And glad to hear that you're still quick witted. Can be really convenient, I think.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:21:04 UTC
I think the competitiveness of fps's is what does it. They are nothing oike actual war so it doesnt really trigger anything.
wtbnewsoul2 karma2013-12-15 22:04:38 UTC
What's the difference between a freezer of dead babies and a ferrari?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 22:08:33 UTC
if it has something to do with your garage, I would say come back with some originality. maybe say freezer of dead kittens, but then reddit would turn on you.
wtbnewsoul2 karma2013-12-15 22:13:46 UTC
Well, you're kind of right.
Answer: I have a Ferrari, why would you think I had a freezer full of dead babies you sick fuck.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 22:15:10 UTC
call me an optimist.
have_u_seen_tibbers2 karma2013-12-15 20:12:03 UTC
Stay strong, just wanted to show my support. My dad is a Vietnam pow who was diagnosed kind of late in life. I know how hard it can be to be around someone who is suffering. I wish you all the best, hopefully therapy will help you improve!
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:21:27 UTC
Thank you and thank him for his service. I too hope so.
NoTimeLikeToday2 karma2013-12-15 20:14:45 UTC
I am not a veteran. But I do have PTSD. And it's not mamby pamby PTSD either. I just wanted to say, Thank You for your service, and I know how you feel. If you ever need anyone to talk to, PM me.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 20:28:04 UTC
I would think any person suffering from PTSD would suggest their PTSD is not "mamby pamby". I think certain things effect the brain differently for certain people. I have learned to never assume someone is well, if they say they are not.
Snowbark2 karma2013-12-15 20:38:32 UTC
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 20:44:17 UTC
yes, I have received monetary compensation.
If I could do it all over again, yes I would join. My wife is an active duty soldier.
I would say, make sure it is what you want to do. If it is and you can commit to it do it. You can learn a great many things while serving a greater purpose than yourself. The greatest times of my life were times in the military. The worse time was also there.
voxic112 karma2013-12-15 18:19:33 UTC
Have you tried MDMA? pdf link.
WILLingtonegotiate5 karma2013-12-15 18:25:22 UTC
I have heard of the research but no, I have not. The best and quite honestly the only illegal drug I have used is MARIJAUNA and it totally helps a tremendous amount with the symptoms of PTSD, but I have children and cannot take part in it as much as I would like.
lOguy2 karma2013-12-15 20:17:29 UTC
How about edibles?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:29:32 UTC
yeah, my problem is the illegality of it. as well as the high. the high would not allow me to be a decent parent, especially when i am already dealing with a struggle to be a good parent already. but the illegality of it coupled with my wifes clearance and the jeopardy something like that could bring to my household just is not worth it.
thatdkid2 karma2013-12-15 21:38:28 UTC
What are you like in road rage? Do you just snap or are you relatively calm ?
WILLingtonegotiate6 karma2013-12-15 21:43:22 UTC
I hate every single person driving that is not me. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. My wife trys to explain the rational points of view. "Will, they aren't doing this out of spite to you, try to consider what they may be going through." TO that I respond "BABY NOT NOW, LET ME HATE."
Streetscapetv2 karma2013-12-15 20:59:15 UTC
First off, thanks for your service. My question is one I'm sure a lot of vets get, but I just joined the Army (MOS 25 Bravo). I'm 17, and wondering if you have any advice for basic training (I am doing basic training at Fort Benning, GA.) and just adjusting to military life in general. Thanks!
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 21:11:01 UTC
out of sight out of mind. always speak loud, unless you are complaining. try your best to put home life out of mind while you are there. Trust in your Drill Sergeants they absolutely know what they are doing, and though it may not seem like it at times, they care about your well being and professional development a great deal. Cherish your time in basic and AIT, trust me you will miss it, and the friends you make there. SOUND OFF. but above all relax and learn, have a good time, but understand that what you are doing and learning is important. You will do fine.
Streetscapetv3 karma2013-12-15 21:38:23 UTC
Thank you for the advice. I am beyond excited to go, especially after just picking up my brother from Marine Boot Camp. I am just spending the next 7 months getting as much information as I can, since it seems above all that it is a mental game. I hope that you will be able to further tame the beast that is PTSD (I have seen many cases of it, sadly) and again, your advice is much appreciated.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 21:41:56 UTC
7 months huh? Well if your height weight is good then start focusing on your pushups situps and run. make sure you are able to at the very least pass. check out youtube to get the perfect form of pushup and situp and make sure you train doing them exactly like that. (Train how you fight). Also read this website http://www.armystudyguide.com/ every single day. I did not have this resource when I joined but it would have been nice. My wife joied as a lowly 1LT this past march and this website helped her a great deal. Good luck soldier.
Streetscapetv2 karma2013-12-15 22:03:24 UTC
Yeah. Ship out July 8th. I'm also working toward E-3 before I go. Afterwards, I'm going to do ROTC at University of Texas, and I'm not sure where to go from there haha. Thanks for the resources.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 22:06:10 UTC
I would say get into the medical field.
Streetscapetv2 karma2013-12-15 22:10:51 UTC
Haha you sound like my dad. It has an interest, I previously thought of doing EMS, but I enjoy film and production too much. Maybe on the side.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 22:11:41 UTC
find what you love and own it
FormerScilon2 karma2013-12-15 21:53:54 UTC
I never was in the military or a combat zone, but I am familiar with PTSD and know how hard it can be. I myself have gone through cycles of doing really well, to being paralyzed and/or self destructive. Sometimes its hard to tell, what of it is the normal stress of a relatively normal life and what part of it actually stems from the trauma... and what is triggering what.
The main way I've found that I can mitigate some of the worst elements is to turn normal life into a ritual of sorts. Being mindful of the routines of a responsible adult... sticking to the role and personality that my life and work requires... in short, I fake it 90% of the time, I'm acting more often than not...but that at least that provides me with the comfort and space I need to carve out times where I can reflect, or breakdown if I need to. I'm very familiar with the fear, guilt, shame and how difficult it is to get ones head straight after coming through impossible situations.
I am frequently asked if I ever served, and told that I have "the look"... whatever that means.
I don't really have a question.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 21:58:21 UTC
I am very familiar with your explanation. I used to tell people some ways they could deal with people that suffered from PTSD. IF you see them smiling and happy and joking, do not assume they are cured or better. Most of the time it is just an act. It is a human being trying desperately to hang on to the one thing that makes them feel like a human being. and that is being happy and normal.
I-C-U-P2 karma2013-12-15 23:33:02 UTC
What programs or initiatives should the government put in place to prevent PTSD and prevent the problem before happening?
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:05:08 UTC
I can not fathom a way to prevent it, yet. I can however say that they can do more about shaming PTSD
remjensen2 karma2013-12-15 19:40:47 UTC
Are you thinking of engaging the new MDMA prescriptions for PTSD patients?
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-15 19:46:47 UTC
I do not think it would be possible in my current living environment. I worry about some alt-therapies (related to elicit drugs) and how they could effect my family life or my wifes job.
kmets42 karma2013-12-16 00:20:48 UTC
I's sure the symptoms of PTSD vary on a case to case basis, but do movies accurately portray the symptoms of PTSD?
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:12:37 UTC
I haven't really noticed any beyond documentaries that seem to nail it.
Ryean12 karma2013-12-16 01:18:06 UTC
What do you think to Post Traumatic Growth (PTG)?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 05:24:25 UTC
I would say they go hand in hand. I have a greater appreciation of life, love and loved ones. My atheism has grown much more strong and secure since the incident which I count as a ver large personal growth and has brought me a lot of peace.
Ryean11 karma2013-12-16 07:05:36 UTC
Do you think the positive effects of PTG could ever outweigh the negative affects of PTSD?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 07:11:48 UTC
No and here is why. They do not counter one another. One does not void the other. I think you could have varying levels of both, but in the end will still have both. I know this sounds like a yes to your answer but it isn't. I am just having a hard time explaining what I think. Basically I do not think the positives have an effect on the negatives, therefore you would not weight them together. I hope you understand this.
Ryean11 karma2013-12-16 07:15:25 UTC
Very interesting answer. Thank you for the reply and your time. :)
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 07:59:12 UTC
Thank you for the question
oldspice751 karma2013-12-15 18:32:48 UTC
Were you in foster care from 10 until you joined the military? Why were you placed in foster care? How was your experience with it? You must have had a difficult childhood; do you think that also contributed a lot to your personal problems in the last few years?
Would you have remained in the military if you could?
Have you been employed since you were fired for fighting? In retail?
Thanks for your service
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 18:38:17 UTC
-I was in a state ran home until the age of 14 then was placed in a foster home, then back into state care, then a home, then state care, then before graduation with my birth mother, whom I do not have a relationship with anymore. I think many people have had much more difficult childhoods, honestly state rand childrens homes function surprisingly well. and I absolutely loved having clothes food and a warm bed. Before this event I was a very chipper person. Absolutely no depression that I know of. I was class clown for my superlative in highschool. No one would say that now.
-I had planned on making a career out of the Army (20+years).
-I build things for people from my home, I have not ben employeed by a company or other person no. But I do earn money yes.
-and thank you for saying that. have a good one.
oldspice752 karma2013-12-15 18:41:10 UTC
I'm surprised that Florida could keep you in a group home for like a 4 year stretch. Good luck.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 18:49:03 UTC
well there were multiple. Childrens Home Society, Baptist Home for Children, Youth Crisis Center etc.
oldspice753 karma2013-12-15 18:58:01 UTC
If I had to guess, your early life must have been really bad if your memories of bouncing around all kinds of state care are comparatively good, because you had a warm bed and were fed. Then maybe you found acceptance, friends and stability in the military, and that turned bad in a horrible way and left you with a very deep disappointment. You tried to move on and function but eventually exploded. And it's not surprising that you have had trouble handling your wife and kids, because maybe you never had the model.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 19:05:38 UTC
you are correct, I had very few examples of a normal family life growing up. I also very much saw the Army as stability. Though it became anything but. I would not blame the Army for what happened ( I know you did not say that), so I would not say my service ended in disappointment. I feel as though my life was disappointing. If that makes any sense. Though I see your point very clearly. and thank you for taking the time to make it. Have a good day.
30ocho1 karma2013-12-16 06:39:07 UTC
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 06:42:46 UTC
Thank you brother.
rainbowyuc1 karma2013-12-16 06:02:37 UTC
Your friendly fire incident. Did you kill your friend? How'd it happen?
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 06:32:24 UTC
I did kill my friend. The story is linked to one of my earlier ama's
flabbey1 karma2013-12-16 05:29:12 UTC
As someone who also suffers from PTSD (mine is from the Boston Bombing as well as other forms of trauma that happened in those few weeks, not from going to war), thank you for doing this. I've been going through EMDR treatment for a few months now and it's extremely exhausting but helps. I hope more people can see what it's like living with PTSD through your AMA! Thanks again!
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 05:34:53 UTC
I am happy you have been able to notice the symptoms so soon after the trauma. Many people are not equipped with that knowledge and chalk it up to being a crybaby or something easily fixed. In turn making it worse. I am sorry to hear of your experience during those weeks. It was horrible for all Americans to see this.
flabbey1 karma2013-12-16 06:19:00 UTC
Thank you, at first I was very confused-- I did not expect to develop PTSD from it. I was just an 18 year old girl at the time, and was pretty shocked when I started symptoms and was diagnosed-- I thought I was invincible. I was with all of my best friends when the bombs went off, so we all had extremely similar experiences, but since my reaction during the months afterwards was so different from theirs I decided to see a therapist, and then was diagnosed, etc. It's gotten easier in some ways but I know it's something I'll always struggle with. I'm happy to see that you're overcoming it, that's awesome.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-16 06:41:35 UTC
It can occur from a great many things. We all believe we are invincible that may be why the let down is so hard.
NationYell1 karma2013-12-16 02:32:32 UTC
Shoot! Came to this AMA too late :(
My question, if anyone else can answer it, is this; how is help from the military for handling those with PTSD than say outside of the military help for handling those with PTSD?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 05:32:05 UTC
Well I can say that I think the VA has obviously put a bunch of emphasis on PTSD and it's treatment. I have been unlucky in my dealings with it so far. I have heard people that have had awesome experiences with the VA i just have not been that fortunate.
In turn the civilian sector approaches it as more of an interest and not so much of a " must nip this problem in the bud". I think there have been some important studies done on both sides of the house. I have had no treatment on the civilian side so I do not have a personal opinion yet. But I can say soldiers reacting with one another in treatment has to be the best treatment I have encountered.
itstanktime1 karma2013-12-16 08:20:05 UTC
I dealt with it by buying a deuce and a half and restored it. You would never guess that it was so therapeutic to just play truck every once in a while.
A funny side is that if we go camping of go to sporting events it always attracts people like us and we always have a good time surrounded by like minds.
I had it really good and was in an excellent unit in Iraq, so I am sure I am not dealing with the same level of crap, but if you want to chat ever just PM me.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 08:21:52 UTC
thank you brother. Many of fond memory in the back of a deuce. was it 19k then 11b, if so that death before dismount must have been awkward
partybro691 karma2013-12-16 15:21:21 UTC
Have you ever considered MDMA as a form of treatment? I heard that was a thing
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 15:35:08 UTC
Thats a thing. No I do not handle that type of stuff very well not to mention my lifestyle would not permit it.
Spncrgmn1 karma2013-12-16 16:33:07 UTC
What's your favorite part of your life right now? And what are you most proud of?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-16 16:45:17 UTC
My favorite part would have to be the love my wife shows me daily. I am most proud of dropping 55lbs since april and being a better father these past 6 months than I have been for 9 years.
Theprofessor231 karma2013-12-16 16:45:34 UTC
Hello! I just want to say thanks for doing this AMA and a BIG thanks for your service to our country. My dad is a Vietnam vet and has PTSD. It was always very hard for me to understand why he acted the way he did or why he didn't say he loved me or was proud of me. I learned about PTSD through this short book titled "Why is Daddy Like He Is?" I got to read it when I was a teenager and finally understood why he operated the way he did. He is an alcoholic and has pretty much given up hope on living for much longer. He has, however, won a battle with the VA after over 30 years of trying and is making amends in whatever way he can, without being very emotional about it. My question is, do your kids have some sort of an understanding of your PTSD, perhaps not how you got it, but where and when? My dad never told me anything about Vietnam and I understand.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-16 16:49:43 UTC
My daughter is old enough to grasp it (9). I have explained to her what PTSD is and that I have it. I always tell them, everyday, how much I love them and love being around them. I hope that softens the blow a little (the short temper and such). They have never been physically abused but have been treated unfairly by me. I hope, everyday, they understand how much I do not want to act that way.
slavik03291 karma2013-12-15 20:31:25 UTC
Have you heard of DMT?
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:40:54 UTC
yes, Joe Rogan has enlightened me.
JSK_211 karma2013-12-15 18:35:09 UTC
No questions, just wanted to thank you for your service and hope everything gets better.
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 18:40:25 UTC
I appreciate that, and I surely hope things continue to climb towards the positive. have a good one.
GMPrincipessa1 karma2013-12-15 20:09:16 UTC
First, thank you for your service and for doing this AMA. I myself have PTSD and my boyfriend sometimes has a hard time understanding when I'm having a "moment", and sometimes this can escalate the situation... pretty severely. How have you and your wife been able to gain a mutual understanding of your condition? Basically, how were you able to get her to understand and recognize when you are having a moment because of PTSD and not just being a jerk? PTSD is incredibly difficult for all those involved, I wish you and your family the best.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 20:17:03 UTC
I am sorry to hear you and your SO are having a rough go of it at times. Sadly, I am not so much sure that she understands what it is that is happening to me, as much as she accepts it and does not account it to the "real me". I find her saying "Will, I love you, everything is going to be okay." now quite a lot. It is almost like a beacon in the darkness, telling me there is a safe spot just ahead and I just need to steer my way out of the fog that I am in at the moment. TIME. I really think it has just taken time for her to really grasp how much this takes a toll on me. We do our best now not to so much as focus on the bad moments, but to focus a lot on when things are going great. for example after a bad spell, we will immediately wash it away by not talking about it. BUT, during those great times, like cuddling on the couch, or having a great conversation over dinner we remind ourselves how lucky we are in the moment and remember those times.
GMPrincipessa1 karma2013-12-15 20:21:53 UTC
Thank you so so much. By the way since the internet helps maybe give World of Warcraft a try? Believe it or not, it has helped me greatly. Just don't get tooooo sucked in ;-) but it just gives me plenty to focus on and a way to get away from my own mind. Take care friend, and thanks again for responding.
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-15 20:36:42 UTC
I did, and I got sucked in haha. I literally had to take steps to lose my account information. My beloved 8 top level toons and very well geared. I cry now thinking about them lol. THought it helped me tremendously with my PTSD, it made my family life worse.
GMPrincipessa1 karma2013-12-15 20:47:08 UTC
Yea WoW is a game where it can be hard to maintain moderation. You blink and you've been on for 5 hours!
WILLingtonegotiate1 karma2013-12-15 20:47:38 UTC
this is true
ram1n1 karma2013-12-15 19:37:15 UTC
What do you believe are the most necessary changes needed in the government addressing PTSD and the soldiers affected by it?
Do you harbor any resentment towards the government for not doing enough/making it difficult to seek the treatment you deserve?
Thank you for your service!
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 19:43:34 UTC
The most necessary changes, I do believe would be to allow the service members more freedom to utilize all the assets the VA has in its grasp on their own and along with each other. Instead of setting up 1 appointment every 1-3 months with a therapist that cuts and pastes a script into your situation, maybe let veterans utilize that time and that money (paid to all those therapists) in some group therapy sessions or at least a psychologist supervised "townhall meeting" amongst the veterans to voice their problems with one another and give tools to each other for care.
I do harbor great resentment towards the government for their treatment of veterans yes. Throwing a meager allowance at PTSD victims every month will not fix the problem. They need to care more. It pains me to see Mr. Shinseki ruin his legacy on this piss poor handling of the VA. I believe it will haunt him.
cassmtz1 karma2013-12-15 19:09:04 UTC
Navy vet here. Be strong brother, I'm here for you in spirit.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 19:16:29 UTC
notatreehugger1 karma2013-12-15 18:37:01 UTC
good luck. all these horror stories make me so damn glad i had outstanding traffic tickets when i tried to join in February of 2007.
WILLingtonegotiate4 karma2013-12-15 18:42:00 UTC
Understand, these horror stories are not a common theme, they are the ones you hear about. I do not regret one choice I made in the Army, except 1. Joining the Army taught me a great many things. It is not for everyone of course but it helped me. Remember though there are other ways you can serve your country.
notatreehugger1 karma2013-12-15 18:48:44 UTC
knowing what i know now... i would rather drag my balls through broken glass than risk my life for this country... not to attack you, or diminish what you perceive as the right thing to do. You are dealing with trauma and PTSD because they sent you to war for new business opportunities, not for any semblance of freedom, in fact while you were fighting over there, they started eroding more and more freedoms back home.
I am sorry, and I hope you can continue to get the help you need.
WILLingtonegotiate2 karma2013-12-15 18:52:02 UTC
I respect your opinion, I hope you have a good day.
StardustV1 karma2013-12-15 22:26:12 UTC
Do you regret joining the army?
WILLingtonegotiate3 karma2013-12-15 22:27:50 UTC
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