Like “GOT MILK?”, get it? Ha ha, its funny and witty right?! Wrong. Soldiers joke about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) this way, even having it on t-shirts and wearing it as if it were some type of badge of honor. It is a common theme, to joke about the things that hurt us in an attempt to lessen the blow, to try to satisfy our tough guy egos, to save face and present a strong exterior, but on the inside whether we realize it or not our rock walls are crumbling to bits. Soldiers joke about having PTSD, but when it comes down to it most are afraid of even admitting to themselves that they need help. They take solace in their brooding anger, they drink themselves into oblivion to mask their pain, they distract themselves with women or video games or anything else they can, just so they don’t have to sit alone with their own thoughts. How many have shed tears alone behind closed doors? It’s a lot more than you think, and much more than any are willing to admit.
Only pussies can’t handle war! You aren’t a real man if you cry! Stop being a bitch! Real men can handle anything! Scoop the sand out of your vagina and keep going! If you seek mental health you are WEAK! All of these are common thoughts and things actually said to soldiers, if people go to mental health they end up being ridiculed and belittled. If you go to mental health you are looked down upon, not strong enough to handle the job. Well you know what, it takes a REAL man to admit that he needs help, and it takes a REAL man to drag himself out of his drunken stupor, away from the women he’s chasing, away from the video games he’s playing, and actually go to talk to someone about what is truly bothering him. It is NOT normal to be angry all of the time. It is NOT normal to feel on edge all of the time, to get defensive when you hear someone behind you walking, ready to attack anyone that presents any type of threat. It is NOT normal to feel numb and cut off from your emotions. These are just a few examples, few of many.
It’s not about whats wrong with you, it’s about whats happened to you. It takes someone strong enough to know they can no longer handle things on their own to get help. As much as we don’t want to admit it, we have weaknesses, we aren’t made of steel. We are flesh and blood, we have hearts, we have thoughts and we have feelings. If you have, or think you might have, PTSD, take a stand. Have the courage to admit to yourself that you can’t do it alone, take back control of your life and don’t let PTSD rule over you. You are not weak, you are strong. Take a stand.