There’s a common misconception that PTSD is only for combat Vets. Many people would try to shame and belittle Vets out of pursuing a PTSD claim if they haven’t been in combat. I’m just going to call bullshit on all that. We don’t do that with ANY OTHER disability, so why should we single out PTSD and why should any Vet be shamed out of getting the benefits they deserve? Not only that, but you don’t even have to have been in the military to get PTSD.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is defined as: “a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.”
No one should be talked out of applying for disabilities they rightly qualify for–regardless of how they came by them. Let’s call it like it is. The military is about war and supporting war efforts. It’s about combating terrorism– anywhere in the world, it happens to be. There are many dangerous jobs in the military and jobs that will expose you to death and severe injury. Many jobs will expose you to the horrors of terrorism and criminality, whether you ever deploy or not.
In the modern era through advancements in technology, we fight a war not only on the ground but from thousands of miles away. Not only that, but terrorist activity is not only confined to one region of the world–or warfare as we traditionally define it. If you happen to be in intelligence, for example, it is highly likely that you will witness things you will never be able to forget. While also seeing a side of humanity that will likely alter the way you view the world and the way you live your life.
Further, it’s not only war, or supporting war efforts, that can lead to PTSD. In the military, we also help by providing support during, and in the aftermath of, natural disasters. The devastation brought about by natural disasters can be horrific.
Consider this startling observation in a recent article released on military.com, “In a report last week related to the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal year 2019, lawmakers on the House Armed Service Committee said that last year nearly four times as many military personnel died in training accidents as were killed in combat.”
There are many ways to be exposed to events that would leave one with PTSD while in the service. Many of the symptoms of PTSD also show up in ways we don’t necessarily recognize, also. It’s not just night terrors and violent outbursts. It can be depression, anxiety, difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, impulsive behavior, no longer connecting with friends and family, etc. If you’ve struggled with any of these symptoms, please consider speaking with an actual professional. If it turns out you do have PTSD--do not let fear or shame keep you from pursuing the help and benefits you deserve.