ptsd

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir – Book Review by Jerry Liu

In this video YouTube MGTOW Vlogger Jerry Liu discusses Michael Anthony’s memoir Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir.

[Jerry’s bio from YouTube: I studied philosophy, politics, and economics in college at University of Pennsylvania. I’ve always been intellectually curious. This channel explores the immigrant experience, sex/gender issues, evolutionary biology/psychology, relationships, parenting, politics, culture and history. Basically, I’m here to explore society and learn from people.

As a Chinese-American who attended 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade in Chinese public school, I’ve had some hilarious and some not-so-hilarious experiences. I also had some interesting friends in college and post-college, causing me to access many unconventional ideas about relationships and life. I stumbled on MGTOW by accident when an aspiring PUA acquaintance told me about it. As an artist, I have always prioritized personal growth, so I was living like a MGTOW without even knowing it. MGTOW has its merits, and I want to be a channel that lives happily as a MGTOW.]

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

Civilianized, ptsd

C-Span BOOKTV – Interview with Michael Anthony, Author of Civilianized

Army veteran Michael Anthony explains the reward culture in the U.S. Military, and the struggle veteran soldiers have after returning home.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

ptsd, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Uncategorized

Alternative Therapies for Veterans with PTSD

There are more than fifty thousand veterans in the United States today. A significant portion of which have experienced, in one way or another, a sort of unforgettable and traumatic event during their tour of duty. When these incidents create frequent and negative emotional personal responses, coupled with physical injury and other physical or psychological illnesses, a person is most likely experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur to anyone who has experienced a life-threatening event like military combat, terrorist attacks, child abuse, serious automobile accidents, sexual assault, rape, hurricanes, earthquakes, or kidnapping. In veterans, PTSD usually stems from events during combat or military duty. Symptoms of PTSD may surface right away while there are cases where symptoms only manifest after years.

Symptoms of PTSD in Veterans

Once soldiers and military personnel have retired or ended their service tours and they try to live a normal civilian life, PTSD symptoms can surface. Why this occurs is not known. But the symptoms and its emergence may vary depending on how the trauma’s impact to the veteran, how much control the veteran felt for the event, how close he/she was to the event and to the persons affected.

PTSD is usually diagnosed when the symptoms last for more than four weeks and the symptoms have remarkably affected the veteran’s life and work.

The four types of PTSD symptoms are: 1) Re-experiencing the event, 2) Avoiding memory triggers, 3) Hyper-arousal, and 4) Feeling guilt and numb.

How Is PTSD Treated?

The primary mode of treatment for PTSD is a combination of medications and counseling. The latter can be any form of any of the following evidence-based psychotherapies: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These techniques are even endorsed by the United States Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.

The first line of pharmacologic treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder typically involves the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs like Sertraline (Zoloft), Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Paroxetine (Paxil). The neurotransmitter serotonin is essential in how our body’s moods are regulated. SSRIs functions in a way that serotonins cannot be absorbed by our brain cells and therefore manages the anxiety and negative moods experienced by patients with PTSD. Current scientific evidence base strongly support these drugs. However, there can be exceptions for their prescription if the patient is experiencing other conditions like bipolar disorder.

In some cases, veterans seek other forms of treatment in conjunction to their current treatment regimens. Psychiatrists also recommend veterans to participate in complementary and alternative forms of treatment for PTSD.

Alternative Therapies for PTSD

Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into the skin layers of meridian points in the body. This process aims to restore balance and energy flow, giving the person a profound sense of calm. Veterans with PTSD who seek this form of treatment often report a decrease in nightmares and when it is coupled with psychotherapy, the results can be remarkable. In Oriental medicine, acupuncture is also used to treat other bodily illnesses, anxiety and stress disorders. Most Veterans Affairs offices in the country offer it as one the different alternative therapies available for veterans.

You can check this link if your local Veterans Affairs office has a resident acupuncturist in their roster: http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/ptsd_flsh.asp

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a form of a physiological control technique. With the use of an electronic instrument attached to the patient, the patient can alter his/her reactions when the instrument indicates abnormal internal responses. In veterans with PTSD, biofeedback can be applied to control symptoms like sudden anger, being jittery, or having flashbacks.

Relaxation Techniques

Hyperarousal is the state of always being jittery and excessively vigilant for signs of danger. This is a common symptom among veterans with PTSD and can lead to sleeping disorders, panic attacks, and anger issues. When veterans’ exhibit these symptoms are observed, therapists often teach and recommend doing relaxation techniques.

A simple relaxation exercise can involve alternate clenching one’s right fist, releasing it, and doing the same step with his/her left fist. Progressive muscle relaxation can be done in as little as five to ten minutes or whenever patients feel like they are feeling particularly jumpy.

Yoga

Veterans with PTSD often exhibit issues with their body’s fight-or-flight reactions, often making them feel stressed out. By doing yoga, their bodies are retrained to adapt to these traumatic memories by facing them down and incorporating deep breathing techniques and calming posture instead of the usual flighty reactions. Several studies done by the United States Department of Defense also supports the long-held belief that yoga helps improve the health conditions of PTSD-diagnosed veterans.

Most yoga classes can be done in a group setting or you can ask for a one on one session with an instructor. As little as two months of weekly classes can do wonders for your body and state of mind.

Equine Therapy

A recent alternative form of therapy for veterans with PTSD is the use of horses. Veterans undergoing equine therapy are made to care for a horse. Horses are animals that, when taught and trained properly, are receptive to social cues.

A horse’s ability to bond to a human trainer and sense their moods is helpful when dealing with anyone with PTSD. Veterans in equine therapy are found to have decreased stress levels. They are also found to be more compliant with this alternative form of treatment perhaps because horse-riding can be an enjoyable sport.

Equine therapy is also offered in about 30 Veteran Affairs centers in the country.

PTSD Coach App

Another alternative form of PTSD treatment for veterans is the PTSD Coach. This is a smartphone app that veterans can download for free. The app allows veterans to be aware of the onset PTSD symptoms, gives steps to cope with stress and provides links to PTSD help lines.

Integrating technology in this alternative treatment method is a step carving out a safe and nonjudgmental place for veterans who are experiencing PTSD symptoms but are too afraid or confused to seek help.

Mindfulness and Meditation

The practice of mindfulness is useful to veterans with PTSD since this allows them to focus on the now and learn to deal with situations that affect them in the present moment. PTSD patients are often plagued with flashbacks of traumatic events that can be crippling to them. Mindfulness is a tool against these experiences.

Mindfulness-based treatment plans are offered in PTSD clinics and Veterans Affairs centers all over the country. These therapy sessions include group or one-on-one sharing sessions, stretching and meditation exercises.

Massage Therapy

The use of touch and physical manipulation as a form of alternative treatment has been common in many cultures all over the world. This therapy centers on the belief that health is restored by the manual manipulation of bones, muscles and tissues. For veterans with PTSD, this form of treatment can be beneficial since it allows the patients to relax and loosen their minds.

Massage therapy can be used in conjunction with other conventional forms of treating PTSD. Other forms of massage therapy like Rolfing and chiropractice. It should be noted that these treatment modalities should not be used with patients with a history of physical abuse or those with heightened senses.

Family Therapy

Family therapy can often be done in conjunction with any form cognitive behavioral therapy that a person with PTSD commits to. Counseling in this form allows the patient and his/her family to communicate with each other and learn more about how PTSD is treated. The burden of treatment for PTSD should not only fall towards the person experiencing it, but it should also be shared with you and your family for it to be successfully treated.

The important part about family therapy is to improve a family’s relationship dynamics.

Energy Therapy

Energy therapy is a relatively newer form of complementary and alternative therapy for PTSD. One of the most prominent forms of energy therapy is called Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.

This treatment option is a variation of acupuncture since the patient touches the acupuncture points or energy meridians in one’s body to stimulate them. Energy therapy can be learned through a practiced instructor and, later on, the patient can perform the techniques himself.

Image Rehearsal Therapy

Image rehearsal therapy is used for managing nightmares in patients with PTSD. It is a form of guided imagery where patients are taught to picture a series of scenes or a picture from their traumatic experiences and use this to cope with it over a period of time. When veterans are taught to consciously picture these images in their minds, their nightly terrors will not be as disturbing in effect.

There are other forms of alternative therapies used by different cultures in the world. The ones enumerated here are those most effective for PTSD. If you wish to explore them, you can visit www.holisticonline.com

Implications

At this time, there is insufficient proof of the effectiveness of complementary and alternative therapies for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans. However, initial findings of alternative therapies are encouraging. Therefore, they are best used in addition to conventional treatments for PTSD patients or as a stepping stone for patients who decline to get medical treatment for PTSD.

Where to Get Help

Talking to a therapist is not easy nor is taking medications whose side effects you cannot be sure of. But if you are experiencing any of PTSD symptoms, it’s no good keeping your feelings repressing them either. There are a lot of options for now out there. You can seek for help online, just visit www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return from war and how he defeated his PTSD. Civilianized is a must read for any veteran, or anyone who knows a veteran, who has returned from war and suffered through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

Blogishness, military, ptsd, Uncategorized, Writing

Can Stress Make Us More Creative? Writing, Art, And Combat Veterans…

I was recently watching this Ted Talk titled How Frustration Can Make Us More Creativeand the talk is basically about exactly what the title describes: How frustration, those hair-pulling moments, can actually lead us to some of our greatest moments of creativity.

This got me thinking about combat veterans and why I’m seeing so many of them turn to the arts after the war.

Who doesn’t know about Edgar Allan Poe? He is famous around the world for his powerful poems and short stories, but not everyone knows that he was a member of the US Military before he became a great novelist (there’s even a funny story of him showing up naked to formation). Just like him, a lot of veterans are successfully letting go of their dark and traumatic pasts and venturing into self-expression through different art media.

[pullquote]”Sometimes, we need to go through those hurricanes and rainstorms, to see and appreciate the sun.”[/pullquote] The mid-1900s was really a dark period in history as this is when numerous wars took place. Members of the military had to be in the battlefield for many weeks, months, or even years. Aside from having no means of keeping in touch with their families, veterans were exposed to a hostile environments, without any avenue for peace and quiet. This intimidating and disturbing experience took a toll on most of them, even after the war. Unfortunately, a lot of veterans who served during the war(s) were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, which could result to trauma, apathy, or depression.

Stress is a negative emotion and people have associated it with trauma, apathy, or depression. Because of what happened in the past, people somewhat expect veterans to be demotivated and a lot less outgoing. However, with the right mindset and tons of encouragement from family members, friends, and other concerned citizens, some veterans were able to overcome this stage in their life with the help of arts.

Psychologists have proven the power of visual, written, or performing arts as an effective therapy for people with PTSD. A traumatic experience could overwhelm a person; thus, he may distance himself away from people and completely avoid interaction. People with PTSD are usually scared to vent their feelings and emotions, worrying that any form of reminder of the experience they have been though could be unbearable. With the help of different types of art such as writing, painting, playing instruments, or performing in theaters, veterans now have a channel to let go of their suppressed emotions, fears, anxiety, and loneliness. Any of these mediums give a veteran a sense of entitlement and a spark of positivity, something that they have been deprived of during the war period.

Today, there are many non-profit organizations that serve as avenues for veterans to explore their creative side. These organizations provide support and training for veterans and help them smoothly transition from military to civilian life. They also pay honor and recognition to the invaluable contribution of our veterans with programs and activities that campaign and promote the overall well-being of U.S. veterans and their families.

Groups like Warrior Writers and Words After War encourage veterans to utilize creative writing as a means of communication and self-expression. Other groups such as the United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance (USVAA) and the United States Veterans Art Program (USVAP) offer a holistic approach and a more comprehensive artistic media such as music, theater, photography, and film. Despite the differences in each group’s method or type of approach, their goal and mission is one and the same — to help veterans let go of their traumatic past and realize that there is life after war, and it is beautiful.

I think this is why beauty can come out of some of the ugliest of places. Sometimes, we need to go through those hurricanes and rainstorms, to see and appreciate the sun. There is nothing uglier than war and it’s why so many combat veterans are flocking to the arts. The storms have filled them with creativity inside and they need a release. It’s also why I think so many therapies that help veterans with PTSD include the arts. There’s a certain pent-up-ness that veterans need to get out and if they keep it inside too long, it leads to mental constipation. Art gives them that release from the frustration.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return from war and how he defeated his PTSD. Civilianized is a must read for any veteran, or anyone who knows a veteran, who has returned from war and suffered through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

ptsd, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

How Stoic Philosophy Can Help Veterans With PTSD

Philosophy Sign Stoic PTSD

We all have a natural tendency to respond to various situations in different ways. Of course, that’s what makes us human. The flight or fight response is one of the body’s natural responses that occurs when triggered by a specific situation. When a person becomes scared or feels threatened, the body’s normal function amplify, helping the body prepare itself to face danger.

This phenomenon occurs rarely, so most people don’t feel ‘flight or fight’ on a regular basis. What if someone did happen to respond to most situations this way—if their body couldn’t ‘shut off’ its natural flight or fight response?

‘Flight, Fight or Learn to Cope?’

“Stoicism, in the modern world, can essentially help people cope with pain or hardships (emotional and physical trauma) by helping people accept the inevitable, or what has happened, without reacting in a way that’s ruled by their emotions.”

People with PTSD may feel constantly fearful or stressed even if they’re not in danger. This mental condition develops following a traumatic experience, whether the experience involved direct physical harm or a threat of physical harm. In most cases, people who develop this debilitating condition were directly involved with the traumatic experience. Some also develop the condition after experiencing several, smaller traumatic incidents.

The scary thing is that PTSD can develop in anyone who has suffered through traumatic experiences. Many people recognize this condition as something that veterans and the currently enlisted suffer through, but it also affects many civilians who have lived through extremely emotionally and physically distressing situations.

Post traumatic stress disorder is traditionally treated and managed through various types of therapy and medications. In recent times, both doctors and patients have discovered and utilized alternatives to help alleviate many serious symptoms of this debilitating condition. An unconventional, yet familiar way to treat PTSD involves changing one’s way of thinking, usually through affiliating oneself with a new religion or life philosophy.

Stoicism and Learning To Cope

Stoicism is an ancient Greek school of philosophy, originally founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium. Stoic philosophy originally taught that ‘virtue (the highest good) is primarily based on knowledge and the wise harmoniously live with divine Reason that rules nature.’ Those under Stoic philosophy ‘also remain indifferent to the variations of fortune, pleasure and pain.’

Stoicism, in the modern world, can essentially help people cope with pain or hardships (emotional and physical trauma) by helping people accept the inevitable, or what has happened, without reacting in a way that’s ruled by their emotions. The idea is that whatever happens has happened by means of forces they can’t control, and so it has no real bearing on their character.

In this way, stoicism acts as a ‘practical guide for life.’ While it helps teach people how to deftly approach situations, it also encourages people to become more mentally tough. The lessons people can learn from stoic philosophy makes it a natural philosophy for veterans and the currently enlisted to cope with their traumatic experiences.

How Does Stoicism Help Veterans Cope With PTSD?

“Traumatic experiences distort how people coexist with nature and society, making people act unnaturally, far away from how their true character would actually act.”

As mentioned, stoic philosophy has the potential to help veterans learn to cope with post traumatic stress disorder. The main way that veterans can utilize this life philosophy is learning how to flourish as a human being. According to Stoicism, the main goal of life is to flourish: to live in continued excellence, to live happily, to live with a peace of mind, to live as a strong character and to live with enthusiasm for life.

People with post traumatic stress disorder have had their cognitive functions inhibited to a point that prevents them from adopting healthier behavioral patterns. This, naturally, inhibits their ability to truly enjoy and flourish in life. PTSD forces a person to develop a type of ‘traumatic functioning,’ which puts them in a situation where they feel as if they’re stuck in a mode that prevents them from being ‘normal.’

While people don’t stay in one mode forever, many do switch between the various modes of traumatic functioning. Stoicism can help people break away from the cycle, helping them flourish as human beings again.

Character, according to stoicism, is our ability to tell apart good from evil and act upon our interpretation. How people weave themselves through nature determines their character, based on how they act on the inside. Stoicism also teaches that external elements don’t help people flourish, but it’s how people use those elements to build character if they choose.

According to stoicism, people can become harmonious once again with nature, as long as they can return to their true character. Traumatic experiences distort how people coexist with nature and society, making people act unnaturally, far away from how their true character would actually act. Stoicism helps people return to their true character by teaching them how to keep their character harmonious with nature.

Learning to Cope with Stoicism

Stoicism may help people with PTSD learn that ‘whatever occurs has happened by means of forces they can’t control, and so it has no real bearing on their character.’ For those involved in traumatic experiences related to war, stoicism can help them eventually accept the inevitability of what likely happened during their time in service and, eventually, learn how to cope.

For more information about stoicism and veterans, read this blog post: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/29/1397640/-Stoicism-for-Trauma-Survivors-Part-1

Picture: Flickr/dakine kane

 

ptsd, Self Improvement / Healthy Living, Uncategorized

10 Alternative Therapies for Veterans with PTSD

PTSD is a serious condition that affects many of the veterans and soldiers coming back from war zones. Although there may be no physical signs of trauma, the condition manifests itself through mental or psychological symptoms that could negatively affect the quality of life of soldiers and veterans when they finally come home.

PTSD Causes & Symptoms

 Generally speaking, PTSD is experienced by anyone who goes through a trauma, which encompasses anything shocking or scary happening to you. PTSD makes one believe as though their life and the life of others are in danger, even during safe situations. The condition causes intense fear and the feeling of helplessness, which may cause sufferers to react in an extreme way. Veterans make up a large percentage of those who suffer from PTSD although the condition is not exclusive to their class.

Alternative Therapies for PTSD 

 Cognitive Therapy

 Cognitive therapy is a type of talk therapy wherein sufferers are given the chance to talk about their experiences in order to gain better understanding of the trauma and what they’re going through. It focuses on the negative thinking that keeps a person stuck in PTSD with the intent to solve that negative way of looking at things eventually.

 Exposure Therapy

 Exposure therapy is often used together with cognitive therapy. This is a process wherein you’ll be taught how to safely face situations considered to be frightening or dangerous. It involves the use of virtual reality programs that let you enter a situation where trauma took place with the intention of promoting a different set of emotions or results.

EMDR

 EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desentization and Reprocessing. It focuses on eye movements and guiding such movements so that you can reprocess the memories that cause trauma. This is often used together with exposure therapy and cognitive therapy.

Brief Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

 Under this therapy technique, you get to learn how to process and properly deal with any emotional conflicts cased by PTSD. The psychotherapy identifies the factors that trigger symptoms of PTSD and how you can identify and hopefully deal with them before they get worse.

Acupuncture

 Acupuncture can be tricky considering that it involves pushing needles into the body. Once a veteran successfully goes through the procedure however, he’ll find that the process itself is nothing to worry about. Acupuncture stems from traditional Asian culture, which works by targeting specific stress spots in the body and releasing miniscule currents that will help an individual relax.

 Meditation

 It may seem awkward at first to see a veteran doing meditation, but studies show that the technique actually helps a lot in calming PTSD sufferers. The method itself is known for quieting the mind, helping individuals relax, and essentially give them a sense of peace that flourishes from within.

Group Therapy

 Group therapy is also another useful technique used to help veterans with PTSD. As the name suggests, it involves talking to people who are undergoing or have undergone the same process as you. By being in the company of people who understand, those with PTSD can express themselves in the best way possible and essentially swap stories and methods that will lead them to a path of healing.

 Pet Therapy

 Perhaps the best alternative therapy for PTSD-sufferers today is pets or dogs specially trained to meet the needs of veterans. These dogs are specially tuned to detect any tremors or shift in the emotion of their human charges and immediately go to their side to offer comfort. In some instances, the dog may even wake up their charge who t is having a bad dream. So far, this is the most effective and highly rewarding alternative therapy for veterans with PTSD.

Video Games

 A little unorthodox, studies show that video games also work as alternative treatments for PTSD. Specifically, the game Tetris is being used by doctors to study and gain results as to the positive effects of video games in hindering the symptoms of PTSD. Studies show that there’s an incredibly 70% decrease in the symptoms as the game stops the involuntary flashbacks those with PTSD have.

Family Therapy

 Family therapy works much like cognitive therapy, but it requires the involvement of every person in a family. This is important since the bursts of anger and other behavioral issues a person may have during PTSD can affect everyone in the family; hence, the therapy makes it possible for the veteran to express himself and at the same time, teach every family member to understand the situation of their loved one. More importantly, family therapy teaches them on the proper way to react, ensuring that the path to recovery becomes faster and easier.

Of course, those are just few of the alternative therapies currently used by veterans suffering from PTSD. Medications are also recommended by doctors although they are often mixed with alternative therapies to increase the chances of recovery. If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, do not miss any of the alternative therapies mentioned above.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return from war and how he defeated his PTSD. Civilianized is a must read for any veteran, or anyone who knows a veteran, who has returned from war and suffered through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

ptsd, Uncategorized

5 Reasons It’s Important for Veterans to Share Their Stories

When veterans come home from the war, many of them bring back so many stories to tell. The problem is that society tends to forget them and these stories end up untold and suppressed. The moment they come home from their service, most veterans disappear back into the community. This is unfortunate, not just for the veterans but for society as well, since the experiences and stories from the servicemen and women can benefit everyone in so many ways.

Recently, the expressive arts have become a great way for many veterans to share their stories to the world. There are some veterans who had found their voice by writing while there are those who go onstage to tell their stories in speeches and theatrical performances. All of these are good signs that the veterans’ voice is coming out to be heard by many of the world’s population.

The stories that these veterans have to tell are more than just ordinary stories. What’s more, the act of telling these stories also serves various purposes. To understand the importance of this simple act, perhaps it would be best to take a look at the following reasons:

Catharsis

This refers to the purging of strong emotions. Veterans have a lot of pent-up emotions that come from their experiences in the war. Many veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is due mostly to the fact that they keep traumatic experiences to themselves.

Veterans who suffer from PTSD can no longer function normally in society. Their daily lives are affected because they replay those traumatic experiences over and over in their heads. It is a debilitating disease that makes them withdraw from everyday interactions. Even the smallest thing can trigger memories of the traumatic events they have gone through.

Although there are some medications prescribed to treat PTSD, talk therapy has also been proven to work wonders on the disorder. When veterans are able to share their stories among fellow veterans, they do not feel so alone in their struggles. They are able to purge themselves of the traumatic experiences that they have bottled up for so long and move forward with their lives.

Awareness

The struggles and sacrifices of servicemen have been written about for many years but ordinary people will never completely feel the way these veterans feel about what they have gone through. With more stories told by veterans, more and more people will at least learn about what these public servants go through as they perform their sworn duty. With enough awareness, civilians for whom these soldiers put their life on line can extend support, understanding, and kindness towards these veterans.

Reintegration into the Community

When they go back home, there is a certain part of the veterans that feel disconnected from their community. The years of being out on the field and away from their families and friends have the effect of isolating them from the lives they used to live. Even as they seem to simply disappear into their communities, these veterans feel out of place and often opt to keep to themselves. By encouraging veterans to tell their stories, they are made to feel that they are still part of their old community.

Passing on Oral History

What veterans have are pieces of history. First hand experiences of how history truly unfolded can be passed on from one generation to another. These are stories that you do not normally find in history books. These are stories that are told with real emotion unlike most of the storytelling found in academic textbooks. Some communities could perhaps have an annual tribute night where the stories will be recounted as a way to keep history alive. This is, of course, not recommended for events that are truly traumatic or devastating.

Preservation of Legacy

Much has been said about remembering the past and honoring the brave men who have served their country. Letting veterans tell their stories is a way to honor them for their service and bravery. By sharing their stories with the community, people will remembering them and the legacy of these veterans who served so gallantly will also live on not just for their sake but for the entire country’s sake.

Encouraging veterans to tell their stories is the least their family and friends can do for these living heroes. However, circumstances can vary from one veteran to another. It would not be constructive to force them to tell their stories if they are not ready to share them just yet. Not all veterans “heal” at the same pace. What is important is that their family and friends remain supportive and ready to give them the “stage” when they are ready to share their stories.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return from war and how he defeated his PTSD. Civilianized is a must read for any veteran, or anyone who knows a veteran, who has returned from war and suffered through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

Politics / News, ptsd, Uncategorized

How can I help someone with PTSD?

PTSD Awareness Month

PTSD does not just affect the person who has it. Rather, the condition can also have a negative impact on his or her family and friends. It’s not easy to live with the symptoms of PTSD, and seeing your loved ones suddenly change their behavior can be utterly terrifying. You fear that they won’t ever come back to normal, even when they’re under therapy.

Even though things may get difficult, it is important that you give your full support to the person suffering from PTSD. It doesn’t sound much, but it can actually promote a positive change to your loved one. Here are tips on how you and your family can cope with PTSD:

  1. Be patient. Even if a person is totally committed to his treatments, it will really take a lot of time before he can recover from PTSD. This means that you really need to be patient throughout the process.
  2. Learn more about PTSD. If you understand how PTSD works, its effects, and the available treatments, you will be more capable of helping your loved one and keep everything in the right perspective.
  3. Don’t force the person to discuss his thoughts and feelings. Talking about traumatic experiences can be really difficult, even if you are discussing it with someone close to you. Instead of forcing your loved one to talk to you, give him some space and allow him to open up when he is ready. Just tell him that you are always willing to talk.
  4. Learn to listen. If they are ready to talk about their traumatic experiences, listen to them without forming any judgments and expectations. Make him feel that you are interested in what he is saying and that you care about him. You don’t necessarily have to give some advice all the time; it’s enough that you just listen to him. Let the professionals give the advice for you.

In some cases, a person suffering from PTSD may feel the need to rehash the traumatic event over and over again. This can be infuriating at times, but avoid scolding him and telling him to move on with his life. Let him talk and lend a listening ear.

Keep in mind that it’s alright if you don’t like what you hear. It’s understandable that traumatic experiences are stories that are really difficult to digest. However, make sure that you still respect their feelings.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return from war and how he defeated his PTSD. Civilianized is a must read for any veteran, or anyone who knows a veteran, who has returned from war and suffered through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

Picture: Flickr/Alexis Lane

Comedy, military, ptsd, Uncategorized, Writing

Funny War Memoirs: The Importance of Humor When Telling A True War Story

War stories continue to capture the attention of today’s generation. Stories of how veterans survived each encounter they had with the enemy, how they managed to live with the limited supplies that they had, how they met and made friends not only with their comrades but also with the locals of the place where they were deployed, and how they learned more about appreciating life through their near-death experiences continue to become fascinating windows to the past and current events.

[pullquote]”Humor is a powerful and indispensable tool in keeping one’s sanity intact in the face of death and destruction.”[/pullquote]Your grandparents or any relative who had been deployed to war may have told their war story differently. You may notice that every time your grandfather tells his story, it would be filled with details of the places he has been in, the people he has encountered, the sensations of terror and waiting for death which would scare the living hell out of anyone. Sometimes, your veteran relative would focus on his achievements in the war, such as how he managed to lead his troop into enemy camp and capture it, how he killed men, and how he was considered a hero.

It may be an attempt to recall what had happened, it may have been altered to favor the storyteller’s image as a war hero, but the common theme surrounding the telling of war stories is the use of humor — its use of jokes, of anecdotes, of words which are meant to make people feel the impact of the events in the story.

Why is humor used by war veterans to tell their war stories? Being that what they are telling is their experiences in gruesome battle, which may have been traumatizing to thousands and even millions of people at the time, what would be the reason why humor would be needed to retell these tales?

War is painful. Not only does it injure people physically, imprinting lifelong marks on the skin of soldiers and civilians, but it is also emotionally and mentally stressful to the mind and spirit. Many have gone mad just by serving in the war for a few months. Civilians who have witnessed the horrors of war experienced being in the middle of conflict and being unable to do anything about it, except just to hope that they are not killed with the guns and the bombs that are going off everywhere. If explosives are not going off, people think of how to survive with limited supplies. Of course, soldiers are usually provided with food and shelter by their government in order to survive, but in the end they would still need to use their own creativity and wits just to make it through every day without starving, going mad, or becoming thoroughly exhausted.

Being in a war is one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through in life. It changes you and makes you more aware of the horrors that lie in the world. If people continue to wallow in the pain and suffering that comes with being in a war, it would be difficult to find the courage to get up from bed every day without your conscience being bothered.

Humor is a survival tool in this instance. It helps war veterans deal with the horrors and the stresses of war, and helps make it easy to retell their war experiences. Humor acts as a pain reliever which helps veterans and civilians (who can also be considered as war veterans in their own right) keep positivity in their lives, thus encouraging them to continue living their life to the fullest.

Humor is a powerful and indispensable tool in keeping one’s sanity intact in the face of death and destruction.

Just because people have gone to war and experienced it firsthand does not mean that simply being happy is something that they should be guilty about. There is no need for anyone to wallow in the miseries of war and destruction. Even in the darkest moments, people can still laugh, see the bright side of life, continue to hope, and appreciate what life has to offer.

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return from war and how he defeated his PTSD. Civilianized is a must read for any veteran, or anyone who knows a veteran, who has returned from war and suffered through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter

Order your copy of Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir .

ptsd, Self Improvement / Healthy Living

How War Can Lead To A Nihilistic Outlook On Life

nihilism and ptsd

[pullquote]”In fact, most civilians know war through a superficial lens—through what the media shows them and what other people relay to them about their experiences.”.[/pullquote]People who have seen how dark life can become eventually adapt a defensive view of their life. They reject what makes life, well, life—how people live and act against the forces of nature. When someone rejects the religious and moral principles that encompass life, they undertake what’s known as nihilism.

Nihilism is best known as the rejection of all moral and religious principles, in the impression that life is ultimately meaningless. The phrase originates from the Latin term, nihil, which translates to nothing. Nihilism is also used to promote the idea that life, or the world itself, has no true morals.

This philosophical position is famously associated with the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. However, his position on the philosophical belief is sometimes misunderstood. Nietzsche was one of the first philosophers to extensively study the philosophy; he also extensively discussed criticism of the belief as a whole.

He notably argued that ‘nihilism can become a false belief, leading individuals to discard any hope of meaning within the world and create some significant compensatory alternative.’ He also argued that ‘Nihilism results from valuing higher beings who don’t value earthly things.’ Lastly, Nietzsche also suggested the idea that ‘Idealism, after being rejected by the believer, could potentially lead to Nihilism.’

Why War Makes Soldiers Develop Nihilism

Popular culture tells us that war changes people. This sentiment is reflected in various quotes, depicted in countless films and recounted in just as many songs. In fact, most civilians know war through a superficial lens—through what the media shows them and what other people relay to them about their experiences.[pullquote]”It’s possible for people to overcome a nihilistic mindset, especially if they developed the mindset as a result of war.”[/pullquote]

There’s an underlying aspect to how war changes people that others don’t quite understand. War’s effect leave a lasting effect on the enlisted people who participated and the civilian people thrown into the middle. Soldiers, in particular, often end up bearing a lot of physical and emotional trauma that they don’t understand how to cope with. Due to this, many harbor feelings of resentment, fear and other negative feelings.

Some soldiers lash out in self destructive ways. This type of coping is responsible for tragically claiming the lives of soldiers each year. Fortunately, mental health organizations have made movements to help soldiers cope with their mental trauma from war.

However, some survivors choose alternative ways to cope with their trauma. Some undertake a new religion, while others adapt a new philosophy (such as Stoicism) to help themselves navigate life once more. Soldiers who cope with depression and other symptoms from post traumatic stress disorder may undertake a mindset that changes how they view life.

Emotional nihilism develops after someone has experienced significant mental and, sometimes, physical trauma. It doesn’t develop in most people who go through significant mental trauma, but soldiers of war tend to be among the most frequent suffers of this phenomenon. Soldiers who aren’t adequately prepared to cope with such situations tend to lose hope and then develop doubts about their purpose in life.

Overcoming Emotional Nihilism

It’s possible for people to overcome a nihilistic mindset, especially if they developed the mindset as a result of war. A nihilistic state of mind may be damaging to people who return home after being enlisted.

This type of mindset can completely change how a soldier sees life during their enlistment, while they’re waiting to be deployed once more and even after they’ve officially retired from service. Of course, today’s mental health societies do make sure soldiers receive adequate mental health care following their enlistment in the military. But truly breaking out of a nihilistic mindset requires the efforts of the affected person.

Some soldiers of war don’t break out of the mindset, after remaining with such thought processes for years. This mindset can make a person exhibit mental exhaustion or, in other words, develop a tendency to emotionally check out. They become disengaged from all aspects of their life, because they feel like doing anything doesn’t matter. While a nihilistic person can normally function, the things they do tend to only happen out of duty and not a real sense of fulfillment.

Soldiers who have become nihilistic after returning home do have options to overcome that mindset. Learning how to accept what has happened to them plays a large role in accomplishing that. Interestingly enough, utilizing other philosophies – such as Stoicism – may help a soldier regain their sense of self and some enthusiasm for life.

Overcoming emotional nihilism does take effort. However, a returning soldier of war can start making large steps toward recovery by accepting that whatever happens around them, no matter when it happens, occurred by means out of their control. That familiar theme, originating from Stoicism, can help a soldier accept their experiences and learn how to cope better after war.

Once people overcome nihilism, according to Nietzsche, a society can then foster a true foundation to thrive.

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