Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat.
I was deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002 with 2nd Ranger Battalion and to Iraq in 2003 with the 82nd Airborne Division. I was diagnosed with PTSD upon returning home from my second combat deployment. We live in a very patriotic country for the most part with the exclusive of some random knuckle heads. Countless times I’ve been approached by a stranger and told thank you for your service. I always respond back with thank you I really appreciate it I was just trying to do my part.
I want to address the negative stigma attached to being a combat veteran with PTSD. I recall one particular incident at a previous employer. I became really upset with the way upper management was handling a particular work related situation. I voiced my concern about this to a co-worker and her response was not what I expected to hear. She said if you decide to go crazy let me know so I can call in sick that day.
What? Did she really just say that? Her mind automatically went to he is a crazy combat veteran with PTSD. She assumed that my PTSD would send me over the edge into some sort of a psychotic episode and I would come into work with a gun and start shooting up my place of employment. Why even say something like that? It really upset me to the point I had to leave work for a while to collect my thoughts.
After I stopped being mad about what she said I realized that people are just uneducated about what PTSD is. They don’t understand it. They assume that a combat veteran with PTSD is crazy. How do we educate people about this? How do we stop this negative mindset?
What are your thoughts about the negative stigma of combat veterans with PTSD? Do you have any helpful suggestions to break the stereotypes? Maybe you have a story you want to share.