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Monday, October 15 2018 @ 11:13 am PDT

"Damaged Goods"

The PTSD DiariesI'd wanted to write a post on this issue before I'd even heard about this episode of "Dr. Phil" but now find it absolutely imperative to speak out.

Dr. Phil: Veterans With PTSD Are "Damaged Goods," "Monsters"

Yes, there have been veterans who have gone off the deep end, and the people who live with them need some special consideration. But this characterization is irresponsible, doing irreparable damage to those who struggle with PTSD and to their families. Also, as the article I linked discusses, there are plenty of civilians with PTSD, and the percentages of the total population between military and civilian are not radically different.

I've been blindsided by the stigma a few times. I've talked to people who I assumed would have an accurate understanding of the issues, and at times I've been very candid in order to help them understand better. On occasion, though, I've discovered that my candor has turned into fodder for the stigma. Even as I write this, I'm considering who may read it, and spinning the story accordingly.

But the bottom line is that while the Dr. Phil broadcast might help a very small percentage of those who are already into deep water, it does terrible harm to the majority of veterans and civilians with PTSD. If we believe we'll be seen as "damaged" or "monsters," we'll try to swallow the pain, which is how many got here in the first place. We're strong but we need an outlet. At the point when we break, we need to see hope rather than fear in the eyes of our loved ones. Well-chosen professional help is good, but I believe that ultimately we need to see that our revelations don't damage the way people see us. Unfortunately the world seems to be kinder to almost all disorders except PTSD. People are afraid. I suspect some of it has to do with the sheep/sheepdog analogy, i.e. when the sheep see the sheepdog is wounded, their concern is more for themselves. They don't understand how many sheepdogs live with the wounds, never harming anyone.

Yes, things just got tougher for everyone with PTSD. I ask everyone to take a few minutes to write to the Dr. Phil show to share their concern:

Dr. Phil Show
5482 Wilshire Boulevard #1902
Los Angeles, CA 90036

We have to be courageous. We have to dig deep and protect our brothers and sisters who do not yet have the strength to speak up. The life of someone who hides their pain too well might be depending upon it.


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