Blog # 3.
Personal Revolution – Stigma

This is just one of the obstacles to healing the effects of Post – Traumatic Stress. This obstacle can shame people into believing that they are to blame for what they are experiencing. It can also cause them to feel weak or broken in the eyes of others. The stigma associated with PTS keeps people from seeking out the help they need. This obstacle is an unnecessary challenge for those who struggle with PTS. There are already enough challenges for PTS victims. They certainly don’t need something so avoidable. I believe that stigma is contributing to the helplessness that PTS victims are struggling with. The post trauma experience is an external source of stress which becomes internalized. This is too much for anybody to handle well.
Stigma is denying people the freedom to face PTS and to work through it effectively.
After all, freedom is a core benefit we all value. One primary example of freedom is choice. We should all have the freedom to choose basic things for ourselves. We all have the right to seek happiness and live according to our desires. We should be free to choose where we want to live, who we live with, and to do whatever we want with the time of our lives. The right to relative peace of mind should be ours to choose. Those who are struggling with the effects of PTS are NOT free to choose. We are the ones who need to understand this fact and we are the ones who need to ‘get over’ the idea that the victims of PTS need our understanding and support.
For those brave men and women who have fought for the freedom of others, this right should certainly apply to them. They deserve to be free and able to heal this and enjoy the life they fought to defend. We should not be an obstacle to their healing. We should honor their right to wellness.
However, many people face incredible challenges with freedom and rights. The traumatic experience of war and the resulting stress gets in their way. There is something very wrong when the defenders of freedom lose that right for themselves. This is an example of injustice. Emotional trauma from combat experience can lead to a loss of their personal freedom. We owe them every bit of understanding and support that they deserve.
Stigma is interfering with that understanding and support.
Post – traumatic stress is a form of imprisonment. It is inconsiderate of who you are and what you have accomplished in your life and in your military career. It is a form of internalized oppression. Healing it will require measures that may seem irrelevant to you for now. This is because so much of what you’re going through may not seem to make sense. Once you can understand it for yourself, then you will see how complex it is and realize that you are not to blame for being affected by it. You will also recognize that there is a reason for hope. This can be changed. I can’t help but wonder why young people, who were recently invincible, are suddenly so unsure of themselves. It makes no sense for young people to lose confidence. What can cause these young people to forget who they are? What has this kind of power? There must be something else going on here. We need a new approach to get to the bottom of this problem. Maybe we need to consider other contributing factors which may be creating this kind of internal chaos. For young professionals to become hopeless and suicidal does not make sense to me in today’s world. It’s time to take back the attitude of invincibility. We should become more understanding of what combat veterans have endured, and stop expecting them to simply ‘get over it.’
Stigma is just one of the covert contributing factors which are keeping people bound to suffering. This is the one factor which is unnecessary and avoidable.
If we can eliminate this one factor, then the victims of PTS can find the freedom to tackle the others. We must neutralize that which is avoidable in order to effectively face the things that are unavoidable.
R. Murphy – ProCalm

Rick Murphy