Bellemaria Surviving PTSD and Major Depressive Disorders
Mental Health Disorders and PTSD
I have seen and read so many articles about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and want to put into words my own experiences and tell you that it is NOT something that will fix itself or get better with time.
I'm in my mid-fifties, still young enough to remember people whispering about someone that has a "brain" problem, that they are crazy. It was something that was only whispered about and not something that could or would be brought up in a conversation except in the most private and confidential circumstances, and even rarely then. Recent years, recent wars that have happened in the world, have caused a "brain" malfunction to be talked about, to be blamed for actions that people do. Most topics are about service people that have come back from active duty and commit a crime, usually serious, and the crime gets blamed on a flash-back from the war. I have listened to a lot of people say that this is a sad occurrence, and those that say that it was just an excuse being used to justify their actions. PTSD is REAL, and it can be helped.
My father was in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He was a muleskinner on the Burma Trail....very dangerous. When the young men he served with were recruited, they were told it was a very dangerous mission, and that they prefer the volunteers to be single men without families since it was NOT likely they would come back. I'm here to tell you that a lot of them did come back. They were fighting the Japanese, they could not use guns as it would bring attention to them and what they were doing. How did they defend themselves? Yes, they killed the enemy with their hands. Murders happen all the time in the U.S. Hardly a day goes by when some kind of killing isn't the headlines in the news. The service people that did the killing in the wars are NOT criminals, at least before they went. The things that they saw and did, for survival, aren't often talked about at the Sunday dinner table. When my father came back from the War, they placed him in a hospital on the ocean in Pismo Beach, California. Mental health. No drugs, no one on one talking, just peace. When I was a child, eight years old, my father came home drunk one evening. In the dark hallway of our house my mother was walking towards him. He thought she was Japanese, one of the bad guys. He attacked her and was shouting "I'll Kill YOU". He beat her black and blue before she got away from him. Her worst memory of the incident was hearing me on the phone calling the sheriff's office, telling them that "my daddy was killing my mommy." Quite a thing to hear your child saying about what's happening to you.
I could go on and on about the things that happened, but I think you get an idea. He had mental flashbacks that caused violence, things that weren't in him before he went, but he wanted to serve his county. What about us though? What about us that were subjected to the pain and torture that that twisted mind had lived with? I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I take strong anti-depressants that help me function to the best of my abilities. I work, I have friends, but I always worry.....what do they think of me? They have no way of knowing how I grew up, that I could never take friends home because I didn't know if he would be my dad, or some survivor from the war. My brother, who got it worse than I did, didn't do as well as I have. He turned to drugs, he was involved in crime, for years he was an angry young man that had NO example of how a man was really supposed to be since he never had an example to follow. It has been thirty-three years since my father died, of colon cancer, and to this day if I bring him up to my brother, all he can do is cry and say he was a bad man.
If you have mental health issues, seek help. Tell your friends, talk about it with someone. If your head swims, if you get shortness of breath, if you feel like you are having a heart attack but know in your mind that you really aren't....see a doctor. it took three different doctors for me before I found one that really helped. I would love to talk to anyone about this issue, answer questions, to tell you....It's OKAY to not be okay.