I can’t stress enough how seeking professional help is important to recovery. I have personal experience with this and I have recovered. I am still very easily startled but I can live with that.
When I was diagnosed with PTSD I only told my husband and kids. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be held on the same level as soldiers because they have earned that protecting our country. I still, to an extent, feel this way.
I’m sorry you had to witness that, I personally know how hard it is to see a live one die in a horrific way so I can understand exactly why it’s effected you so deeply. I think the idea comes from veterans tending to suffer from the more extreme side effects of PTSD, so people with more mild symptoms or even differing subsets (PTSD can actually present in various forms) tend to get over looked or brushed aside because people have this extreme idea of what the disease is “supposed” to look like. In reality anybody from any walk of life can experience it. Like you said trauma is in the eye of the beholder. what one finds traumatic varies from person to person. There’s no need to thank me! And sadly I do suffer from PTSD, it was brought upon before my service even. I thought I had it under control but serving has only exasperated my symptoms unfortunately and I am currently under evaluation to be chaptered out. It’s a horrible disease to live with, and I truly feel for anyone that suffers from it. Working in the medical field of the military has helped me though, it’s taught me how to identify it, some tips and tricks to help with it, things like that. However, I am still mentally unfit to continue serving and that’s okay. I tried my best, did a little bit of time and can move onto something bigger and better!
Unfortunately there is a stigma Amongst people who don’t understand the disorder. Even worse is that people with no medical back ground are so quick to act like they’re suddenly psychiatrist or subject matter experts when it comes to PTSD. I could disprove their logic in a matter of minutes. My PTSD stems from a combination of childhood abuse and a home invasion that resulted in me shooting and killing both the intruder and a friend of my by accident. Both incidents occurred long before I entered the military. So even though my second situation is extremely similar to a combat scenario, it was not one that was military related. Hell, as stated in my initial comment, I know guys here in the army that have never once seen combat, and some of them have never seen anything traumatic at all. Not everyone in the military experiences wild, traumatic shit, the same way that some civilians do experience crazy traumatic shit. So that whole only vets can experience True PTSD is absolutely absurd
There doesn’t necessarily need to be a blatantly traumatic event. PTSD can occur when someone lives with a very high level of stress for a significant period of time. Then when the stress ends and a bit of time elapses , seemingly out of the blue, a breakdown occurs. It doesn’t happen to everyone but when it happens it’s difficult to connect the dots. Once you see a professional who is trained to spot this you can see the connection for yourself. This can lead to healing. If you don’t get professional help, you can suffer for years and not understand the reason why. I’m making it sound a bit more simplistic than it is. There’s something to do with your body being on high alert for too long a period of time. Then when the danger has passed your body tells itself that it’s in a safe enough place to finally release all of that stress. Bam! You’re blindsided with a brain that is scared, jumpy, easily startled and you don’t know how to fix yourself. All those times when you HAD to be strong in order to survive are now kind of being “allowed” to let that fear show.