A Selfish Army General

When I was four years old living in Russia I was molested, it caused me to have bad relationships with people still to this day. I do not interact well with others. One night, while I was sleeping, my father woke me up, put a hammer in my hands and told me to hit him as hard as I could. I had dreams and flashbacks of that moment for years on. My father almost killed my sister and me when we were taking a trip up to the lake. He was drunk, of course, and we were on his motorcycle when he almost drove off a cliff. I was abused by my father until I was six years old before I was put in an orphanage. Now, I am diagnosed with PTSD.

When I was ten I was adopted and my parents saw how angry I was. I fought in school, with my parents and siblings and made bad decisions. When I was sixteen, my parents had enough of my actions, so they took me to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety and a mood disorder which I am currently being medicated for.

When people hear about PTSD they automatically think of people at war, but what they aren’t aware of is that a lot of other people have it. A lot of people start out experiencing PTSD as a child, which could carry on for years without treatment. “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder which is caused from experiencing one or more traumatic events.” Most common events are combat exposure, rape, child abuse, sexual molestation, physical attack and being threatened with a weapon. Other events include fire, natural disaster, mugging or robbery, car accident, kidnapping and terrorist attacks. “It is also caused by a mix of other things such as inherited mental health risks, inherited aspects of your personality, and the way your brain regulates chemicals and hormones.”

“People with PTSD experience symptoms such as avoidance, anger and relationship problems.” They have difficulties taking care of themselves and adjusting because symptoms can completely shake up your life. People have intense memories where they have dreams and flashbacks, or reliving the event for minutes at a time. “They have a high risk of getting depression, eating disorders, suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, and suicidal tendencies.”

Avoidance symptoms include not talking to anyone, always being on guard, avoiding situations that remind you of that event, trouble concentrating and feeling emotionally numb. It is best to get treatment right away, as symptoms appear within three months, to prevent long term PTSD, but as a child you may not notice it. “Anxiety symptoms include irritability and anger, guilt and shame, self-destructive behavior such as drinking or taking drugs, and trouble sleeping.” You may also have trouble getting your life together and may be suicidal. If symptoms last more than a month you should get help right away.

Having a mental illness can be genetically transferred. Both my mom and dad, who are now deceased, had depression, so I had a higher risk of getting it. It’s like alcoholism; my dad was an alcoholic and one of my coping skills was drinking. I drank a lot; my emotions turned into actions and I was more violent when I drank. Once, at a party, I got mad for no reason so I went over to a table where three girls and some guys were sitting. I slapped one girl, punched one and pushed another into the table with her chair. When I was asked to leave, I told them I would see them in school on Monday. I had no clue why I did that, I just knew I was angry. People don’t understand how serious PTSD can be and it annoys me when people are apathetic about it.

An army general wants to change PTSD to PTSI, post-traumatic stress inury because he doesn’t think it’s a disorder. First Lutenant, Paul Rieckoff said, “We believe that PTSD is a wound you suffer in combat, like a bullet wound, and if you don’t take care of it and treat it, it becomes a problem.” Men in the war won’t get help because they don’t understand the definition and don’t think it applies to them. The problem is that they don’t want to seem weak because, one: they are men and two: they are in the military. Some don’t even believe PTSD is real and won’t get the proper treatment they need. The general thinks that if the American Psychiatric Association changes the name the men would be more likely to get help. The chairman of the psychiatrist’s committee replied, “There is no useful purpose of changing the name.”

They are all selfish because PTSD does not only apply to military personnel. Many others have it and changing the name won’t do anything. Men will still act “tough” and won’t admit that they are mentally ill. It’s the same diagnosis and treatment process, so they should suck it up and get help. Although, I do see where they are coming from. When my psychiatrist wanted to put me on medication I was convinced I was fine and wasn’t mentally ill. I wouldn’t get help for a few years because I didn’t want to seem weak. The psychiatrist said that admitting you have a problem is a sign of maturity and strength. Even though I still didn’t want to be treated, I did it to make my family happy.

The point is: why does it matter what the definition of the mental illness is? It’s unnecessary to change the name because they think it will help the military where most likely, they still won’t get treatment. I don’t know what it’s like to be in the military, but I assume it’s terrifying. The men should admit they have a problem, get treatment and live a happier, healthy life they deserve. I want to become a social worker, in the field of mental health, to help people with illnesses such as PTSD get their life back on track.

Works Cited Page
-http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/definition/con-20022540
-http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/military-july-dec11-stress_11-04/
– Graduate Study in Psychology. American Psychological Association (2013) REF BF77.G73
-The Dictionary of Psychology. Raymond J. Corsini (1999) REF BF31.C72
– International Handbook on Social Work Education. (1995) REF HV11.I565

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