PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Earlier this week, whilst engaging with the artificial intelligent enemy within a virtual war zone on a Playstation game that goes by the title of ‘Battlefield 1’, I was briefly taken down a memory lane. It wasn’t the incredibly detailed graphics that caught my attention, although I was blown away by the visuals, It was in actual fact, the extremely accurate audio of bullets whizzing and cracking over my head during this realistic computerised battle that brought back memories.
I am extremely fortunate to not suffer from PTSD, nonetheless, it was this computer game that initiated my thought process for this week’s blog. Although I had this brief journey down a memory lane, I couldn’t help but wonder what effect this kind of game could have on a veteran who does suffer from PTSD. There was only one way to find the answer to my question and that was to ask the veterans themselves.
On Facebook and Twitter, I asked veterans if computer games had ever affected their PTSD?
After conducting some research and a voting poll on Twitter, I came to a loose conclusion that computer games only affect approximately 25% of veterans with PTSD.
Albeit, I received a private message from a fellow veteran who also suffers from PTSD and it suddenly became clear to me that my own knowledge of post-traumatic stress disorder was not sufficient enough to help other former soldiers. Therefore, in order to improve our understanding of PTSD, I would like to share this message with you.
“I would like to stay anonymous for the obvious reason that I am still a serving soldier. With regards to your question about video games and how they affect people’s PTSD, as I am sure that you are fully aware, everyone reacts differently to different triggers.
Some may find video games are their trigger and it may have no impact on others. From my personal experience, I find that noisy areas or screaming children are what makes me reflect on an incident that occurred in Afghanistan where a badly burnt baby was brought into our compound. This trigger is very hard to control due to being a parent to two young children myself. In my personal experience with patients, I have seen the “triggers” that are usually more real life things like loud noises, screaming, seeing blood, crowded areas and confrontation. The human body is usually pretty good at knowing what is real and what is not”
“I thought that I would be fine but unfortunately my wife had to pick up the pieces. When my wife told me that I wasn’t the person that she had once fallen in love with, I realised that something was wrong. I didn’t and still don’t feel like I can talk to an agency or doctor about this as I am very career driven. Thankfully, I have a very supportive wife who I am able to talk too. I don’t want this to affect my career as I am currently in a high-profile job on a regular basis.
The problem is a lot bigger than we think and I have seen PTSD affect many people in different ways. Some have unfortunately taken their own life and others have ruined their marriages and their careers. Most suffering veterans would rather go through with a divorce, rather than admit they have a problem. I have recently buried a close friend and colleague because he didn’t feel he could talk to someone and unfortunately for him, his boss was his RMO which suddenly makes it even more difficult” – Anonymous Serving Soldier
It is obvious that post-traumatic stress disorder is quite an issue within our veteran community and I believe it has always been something that needs to be discussed openly. There are many veterans out there who are evidently struggling to cope with PTSD due to the stigma attached to it. It appears to me, that the men and woman of our armed forces are too afraid to talk about it because they have concerns regarding the stigma of the four letter tag and how it will affect their reputation, careers and dignity.
Having said this, during an open discussion on the ‘Soldier to Civi’ Facebook page this week, I discovered that there are potentially certain individuals who are either misplacing PTSD, misunderstanding the disorder and self-diagnosing.
Here is an anonymous veteran’s controversial yet thought-provoking opinion on this week’s subject matter.
In my opinion, the veteran’s mind may unexpectedly start to process events from previous traumatic experiences at any time during their life. This might not necessarily be post-traumatic stress disorder, nonetheless, it is still important to process the said traumatic events in order to proceed with life and it is essential that you do not do this alone. I fear that if you try to overcome this alone, then PTSD or not, it has the potential to develop into further mental health issues.
So if in doubt, reach out. The best thing you can do is talk about it and in particular, talk to someone who has an understanding of what you have experienced. In this case, I recommend that veterans should talk to other veterans.
To that end, I would like to invite you to the ‘Soldier to Civi – Chat Room’,
where veterans support veterans.
Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s blog. I have personally gained a clearer understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder and what some veterans are actually going through. I hope you have found this read insightful.
Pop back next week for another ‘Soldier to Civi’ blog.
Enjoy your weekend and take care of each other.