necessary to devote to this very important topic.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD includes a variety of stress related actions that won’t go away. It interferes with your emotions and your life.
PTSD can occur after a number of traumatic events including a terrorist attack, abuse, car accidents, or even natural disasters. Most recently however, PTSD has been in the news concerning military veterans.
I want to bring this subject up because after watching the memorial service for three American patriots—three heroes—I heard the term PTSD mentioned at least a dozen times before I turned the news off.
Army Sgt 1st Class Danny Ferguson, Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, and Sgt. Timothy Owens were all murdered.
I’ll get to the important part in just a second, but first, I want to ask you a question. Would you hire a
military veteran with PTSD working for you? Would you accept a military veteran with PTSD working at your kid’s school?
My guess is that you had to stop to think about that. Some of you may have even said “no” without even thinking about it. I’m going to tell you something. If you said no… even if you had to think about it… you’re wrong, period.
The men and women that suffer from the stress they encountered while protecting YOUR life deserve praise and appreciation, not criticism. The problem is, our media likes to sensationalize anything they think is
newsworthy. They prefer to use any and every acronym that they can to “profile” people murdering our troops. And they do so incorrectly.
I’ve done a little bit of research on the subject, and even in my little research, I can tell you with certainty that PTSD alone does not make a person go on a psychopathic rage murdering people.
You don’t have to take my word for it though; here are some professionals that agree with my fact.
Toni Morris, a licensed counselor who has treated many soldiers suffering from PTSD at Fort Bragg says the reason people shoot others is a response to something, “but PTSD alone is not it.”
Dr. Harry Croft, a psychiatrist and author, stated that “there’s a misconception with PTSD that a symptom is anger and violence.” In case you’re not very good at reading between the lines, that means PTSD doesn’t trigger
Dr. Richard J. McNally, director of clinical training of psychology at Harvard University, says that he is “unaware of data showing that people with PTSD are more violent than other people.”
Dr. Martin Williams, a psychologist from California said that “people with PTSD are not violent.”
I could list counselors and psychiatrists over and over that will agree with Morris, Croft, McNally, and Williams, but I think these four do a pretty good job of explaining the facts.
I’ve got three more points that I want to make tonight. The first accounts for what PTSD victims actually do suffer and how they respond. The second will be a very short paragraph on why Ivan Lopez murdered American patriots on the very base he worked at. Finally, I want to throw out some of my own recommendations, based on thoughts and opinions from myself and others.
First things first… Why should you trust somebody who suffers from PTSD and what goes on in their mind?
Dr. Williams put it plainly when he said that people with PTSD suffer. “They themselves suffer.” Some suffer by reliving the event through memories or nightmares. Others feel fear and/or jittery. The fear they feel is because they fear danger.
Dr. Croft authored a book titled a book “I Always Sit With My Back To The Wall.” The book title says it
all. People sit with their back to the wall because they want to observe every danger that may confront them. They sit with their back to the wall because they don’t want anything to surprise them from behind.
In my personal opinion, some people with PTSD are better equipped to handle crisis events because they’re more aware of every aspect of danger than your everyday citizen. Their protection measures may seem extreme to some, but when push comes to shove, they want to save lives at all costs. Remember, many heroes have “been there and done that.” They survived and they don’t want anybody to ever go through what they
Some others with PTSD have irrational negative emotions. Feelings of guilt, shame, or serious depression haunt their everyday lives. They wake up in the middle of the night restless in their own minds. Their depression is focused towards themselves, not others.
Members of the military in every single branch are trained and conditioned to be the “tough guys.” They are the ones who “solemnly swear” to “defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies… So help me God.” They volunteer to protect you and me. That is not an oath they take lightly.
I’ve been there. I’ve made that oath. And even though I am no longer an active duty service member, I still hold that oath near to my heart… Every service member does. PERIOD!
So why did Ivan Lopez turn his gun on his fellow countrymen? Since I’m not politically correct, I’m going to say it like it is. He was a psychopath. Lopez described himself by saying he was “full of hate.” Lopez did not experience a traumatic event. He didn’t suffer any wounds in action. Even his family and friends alluded to
the idea that he had some mental issues that weren’t related to his military service.
I think Morris, Croft, McNally, and Williams do a good job of showing that sufferers of PTSD focus their suffering inwards, not towards other people.
A Medal of Honor recipient and sufferer of PTSD, Dakota Meyer, said “the media label this shooting PTSD, but if what that man did is PTSD, then I don’t have it.” He continued to say that “it’s putting a label on all veterans that veterans are psychotic or mentally stable and they’re going to shoot up places. And they’re not.”
Listen, our military members need to be respected. Our veterans need to be respected. All American patriots need to be respected. This starts with you. I’m not saying to stop listening to the media, but take their words with a grain of salt. It might sound strange to some, but just because you saw it on your television, doesn’t mean it’s true. Do your own research.
So how do we solve the issue of PTSD?
Well, start with respect. Don’t fear a person suffering from PTSD. I don’t care if they work in your office or even in your kid’s school. Give them the credit they deserve. They have been into the battle. They came back out. They have lived through more than the average person should be expected to live through.
Secondly, don’t let the “D” in PTSD scare you. Yes, it’s a disorder. Yes, it’s a condition that’s not normal.
But rather than thinking of the “D” of a disorder to be afraid of, think of the “D” as depression. These
heroes are suffering internally. They’re self-worth is less than far less than it should be, but they ARE
I can’t stress that enough. They are patriots. They are heroes.
Unfortunately, simply telling them that you value them and that you love them isn’t always enough. DO IT…but there’s got to be more.
Medication is not the answer. I think of medication like this. When the check engine light comes on in your car, medication turns off the light. It doesn’t solve the problem. If you’re out of gas and your gas light comes on, you can’t solve the problem by cutting the fuse that turns on the light. You’ll still run out of gas.
You need to refill your gas tank.
If you or anybody else needs to refill your gas tank, PTSD or not, start by opening your Bible and reading John 3:16.
Second step… keep reading.
Finally, believe what you’re reading and talk to a church pastor. Go to a church… any church… and tell the first person you see that you need to talk.
Although I don’t always agree with the guy, I will leave you with the final words of the President of these United States from the Fort Hood memorial service:
“May God continue to bless the United States of America and Patriots such as these.” -Barack Obama