Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"PTSD"

If you have been following this blog for any amount of time at all now, you know that I have strong military ties. My grandfather was a Sailor in the United States Navy, My father was a United States Marine, My Uncle was a Soldier in the United States Army, M (my bf of over 1.5 yrs) is a purple heart recipient from the United States Marines & My cousin, Bubba is currently a deployed Marine. I am not proud of it but I also dated my fair share of uniform clad men.

I have since I was a small child been interested in the armed forces. I used to love hearing all the stories from the men in my family. As I got older I found myself trolling the "Military" section or "History" section of bookstores & I would flip over about 10-12 books to decide which one(s) I wanted to buy. I would spend hours flipping through the pages. Digesting all the knowledge I could.

I also found myself on various websites & talking to the different recruiters & Officer candidates on my college's campus. I am not scared to ask questions, if I am curious about something I will ask someone who knows or consult a book/website that has the answer.

I have enough books on the Marine Corps & Military in general to fill 3-4 shelves on a good sized bookcase- Most people would never guess that the female in the house is the owner of those kind of books. But I digress.

I have seen far too many of my friends, men I love(d) & now my family members get deployed to the middle east to fight in an ongoing war.

I know more stuff about the military then most. Although, I have a group of friends that can give me a run for my money (you know who you are). I digress, Again.

Anyhoddle, this past Wednesday Jan. 20th was M's 27th birthday. He has been begging asking wanting dropping hints since BEFORE Christmas, no before that even, that he wanted a PS3. Then when COD Modern Warfare 2 was released, OH MY GOD. That was it. HE HAD TO HAVE A PS3. HE HAD TO HAVE THAT GAME. HAD TO.



I read the reviews of said game, I wanted to know why HE HAD TO HAVE THIS GAME. I watched a few news stories about this game, I'm a news junkie, it's what I do. The game had gotten fairly good reviews from whom ever reviews the games. The gamers themselves, gave the game raving reviews.

However, this game's appeal was how realistic it is, how it makes you feel like you're there. That's all fine and dandy until you're back at the VA b/c a VIDEO GAME has caused your PTSD to "flair back up" or b/c you're having flash backs again, b/c of a VIDEO GAME. You're probably thinking that I am overreacting, right? WRONG.

There are recorded cases of men showing up @ the VA b/c the flashbacks were too much to handle. Or b/c their wives couldn't handle the nightmares. This is what I was hearing when I was watching the news.

So I have to admit when I decided to get him a PS3 for his bday I was nervous about the purchase of COD Modern Warfare 2. That's the only game (for the time being) that he wants. He was shot in the left shoulder while serving with the 1/8 in Iraq in November 2004. He swears that he doesn't have PTSD, b/c the VA says he's "fine".

According to Military.com PTSD is:

What does PTSD look like? The following are key symptoms among the combat veterans we care for:
• Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts and perceptions (seeing a comrade's dead body or experiencing flashbacks of the sounds of explosions and screaming)- He NO longer has this anymore as it has been many years.

• Recurrent and distressing nightmares of the traumatic event- He says he nvr had nightmares

• Intense psychological distress when exposed to cues or reminders of any aspect of the trauma- So far so good.

• Extreme physical reactivity (e.g., racing pulse, sweating, intense fear) when exposed to any cues or reminders of the trauma- Again so far so good.

• Persistent avoidance of any reminder (e.g., conversations, thoughts, activities, places, and people) of the traumatic event- HE WLL NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TALK ABOUT IRAQ TO ANYONE. PERIOD. THE. END.
• A general numbing in responsiveness; the person feels detached and estranged from others and may have little range in emotion and few strong feelings- For a while after he got out of the Marines he was very emotionally detached. He has gotten 100% better. I would know better then anyone & his personal relationships, esp. w/his parens have gotten so much closer.

• A sense of a foreshortened future; having come close to death, the person sees it as immanent- This is so opposite of him. He looks FAR IN TO THE FUTURE.
• Hypervigilance (constantly scanning the environment for danger)- He does this. Always.
• Exaggerated startle response (especially to sudden movement or loud noises)- Yes.
• Poor concentration- Sometimes yes. Sometimes No. Depends.

• Irritability/anger- Easily. OMG yes.

• Disturbances in one's ability to sleep- He has the WORST insomnia. esp when he was in FL for school. He has the weirdest sleep schedule. It has gotten better now that we live together but still not great.

Im no DR & don't claim to be, but in my UN-expert opinion he has a slight case of PTSD that I am sure has gotten better with time. As do most aliments. Is that reason not to play COD? Not necessarily. But is reason to be on edge. I am a worrier.

But I am not one to let him KNOW I am worried about it, well at first I didn't lead on that I was worried. I told our friend Andy, who was in the Air Force & has a PS3 & this damn game, about my concerns, he told me I was retarded. I kept my mouth shut. That is until M says:

"Baby, this is awesome, I feel like im in Iraq again"

I had no idea what to say to that. I still don't know what to say.

As I look around our room on out short book case I see his Purple Heart , his ribbons, a bracelet that was worn in his honor by one of his family members & a knife from Iraq.



On our entertainment center he has books from his MEU & maps from Iraq, etc... Then on EACH wall there is something from his time in the Marines. Wether it be a picture from Bootcamp, his award certificate from when he was awarded his Purple heart, His Cert. from being a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, etc...



His dress uniforms are in camo garment bags in our closet & his other uniforms are in "space saver" bags under our bed. We put them in there on the evening of Jan 5- his OFFICIAL LAST DAY in the Corps, the last day that the Marines could call him up.

We are surrounded by constant reminders of his time served. Which in itself is wonderful. I love it.

I love this man. He is a GREAT boyfriend, whom I plan on spending the rest of my life with, we have discussed OUR future, he is a great daddy to E. I am just scared that I am gong to loose HIM... that he is going to slip back to SGT. Back to who he was when he was in the corps. He is a GOOD man, a good man who is [still] slightly suffering from a serious illness that 98% of our military suffer from. PTSD.

I see it even if he REFUSES to see it. I will be damned if I let a game pull him into a hole.

This is a pic of one of the scenes from him playing the other night... LOOK how REAL that looks!



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2 comments:

BB! said...

Goose bumps are an understatement. I don't even have words...

KS...

Hell. I don't know what to say.

Ben Y. said...

Kelly,

Need to talk to you a little about your PTSD blog and COD3. You know that I am just like your b/f (husband), in that i didn't show "a" typical symptoms either. This is a very unusual physiological aliment, as it can manifest it's self in a wide variety of ways, and there is no one way to pin point the disease. You definitions of symptoms were very true and accurate, but this is one thing hardly anyone understands. When it comes down to what he can/cannot handle, its up to him not you. I play COD all the time, and the fact that I'm aware of my unique mental situation, i don't let the fact that its a game, trick my mind into the real thing. It's perfectly natural to worry about the one you care about, especially over this issue. You best recourse is to stand behind him, as you do now, and let your strength be his guiding light through any turmoil. That is what my wife did. She was the only thing that kept me from loosing my mind, she was my rock. That's the best thing you can do for him, is to be his grounding point. I don't know if he seeks help, or has sought help. But i would highly suggest it.

Until then, Semper Fi

Ben