Combat stress

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ALEX LOCHRIE ✞

Legionnaire
RIP ✞
#1
Combat Stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as it is more communly called, is something that many of us with military service are well aware of.

It is something, (particularly in the UK) that those suffering from it, find hard to get help with. They find it difficult to talk to Medival experts, no matter how qualified they are in dealing with the problem when originating from a non military background, but who have no idea what it is like to have operated in a combat zone.

Many suffer from physical as well as mental scars and require more help than is being made available from the authorities. Once medically discharged, they are no longer the services' problem and most feel that they have been abandoned to the NHS which does not wish to become involved.

In Scotland we only have one charitable center at Holybush House near Ayr, which specialises in treating Combat Stress. It is a beautiful small residential complex but with only 25 single rooms and a couple of family units. Veterans can come here for short term treatment or to give their families a bit of a break from the anguish of living with someone suffering from this dramatic illness.

I have become involved with a charity called GARDENING LEAVE (www.gardeningleave.org) who help veterans suffering from PTSD through Horticulture to make sure that they get the most out of their time with us in the garden by matching them with the activities which suit their physical abilities and social and emotional needs on any particular day. My involvement is introducing them to art and its theraputic values.

I know that there may be some of you who visit this forum who suffer in this way. If you feel that airing your thoughts on this forum to fellow veterans might help you, or would rather communicate with me in private, please feel free to do so either by posting in this thread or by sending me a PM.

There are fellow veterans out there who can help you, it is not unique to you.
Together we can help to ease your problem.

A problem shared is a problem halved and remember tomorrow is the start of the rest of your life. Turn a page and keep smiling.
:)

P.S. Perhaps this could be made a 'Sticky'
 

Arnie

Super Active Member
#2
A common problem for a lot of those with PDSD is that they join the forces and goes out on a tour hoping to get away from their personal problems. But when suddenly finding themselfs isolated and in a stressfull environement they youst further develop problems leading to PDSD.
 

ALEX LOCHRIE ✞

Legionnaire
RIP ✞
#3
Thanks for all your thanks folks.

I am pleased that some of you have taken the opportunity to PM me. Anything you say stays confidential. If you want to share your problems with the rest of the forum then that's what this Thread is about, but it is up to you.

There are more of you out there with Combat Stress problems than we realize. If any of the 'vets' on the forum have any suggestions as how we can help our collegues with their problems, please drop me a PM. It's not always the medical pros who have all the good ideas.

;)
 

Stoeng

Legionnaire
#5
It looks like once more I am going to be a bit different from the standard crowd, but I will anyway express my opinion in this matter. To be quite honest, I think that this combat stress thing is grossly exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong; there are for sure people that have problems, but not at all to the extent that some of them pretend. Once somebody have the opportunity to claim additional cash or support, I get very skeptical about the whole affair, and when in addition the guys that are claiming are some guys that was far in the “backâ€￾… well I get straightforward doubtful.

In my opinion the problem is much more related to the successful (or not) return to civilian life. The guys that have a good job and are well adapted to their civilian life seldom have any problems. While on the other hand, the jobless alcoholics and lazy bastards often have all kinds of problems and the whole “combat stressâ€￾ is just another excuse for not functioning in society.

Once more don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there are people with problems, and I completely agree to that they should get all the help that they need. However and maybe unfortunately, so far I have only seen articles about people that in my opinion have had little “combat stressâ€￾ to build their cases on.
It is just like the Gulf War syndrome during the late 90’s and early 2000’s: all armies had people that have suffered this and that problem, and there were accusations left, right and center. Toxic gasses, radioactive ammunitions, poisoned Coca Cola, and God knows what. However and strange enough… no cases in the Legion. Even if as usual the Legion was first in and last out. Why is that???? Simply because in the Legion they teach you to not sit around wondering if the glass is half full or half empty, but for f**k sake empty it and get another one. This is an expression… and not about alcohol, but about getting the fingers out of your ass and get to work.

It is so much better to be a fu**ed-up alcoholic wreck when you can claim sympathy and even feel sorry for yourself. It is even an excellent excuse to not go to work whenever you have a hangover. Maybe a bit harsh words from my side, but this is the situation as I see it with all my “combat stressâ€￾ behind me, and I still sleep like a baby (as long as the “babyâ€￾ next to me is blond with big tits). Let’s get back to reality guys.
 
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ALEX LOCHRIE ✞

Legionnaire
RIP ✞
#6
I don't disagree with what you are saying. There are a lot of guys looking for an easy buck and playing on the system. Unfortunately they are the ones that the rest are judged by.

A lot of the problems have come about because of lack of training and preparation in today's modern armies. They do not teach recruits the realities of either giving out or being on the end of extreme violence.

Most of the kids today suffer from what I call 'the video syndrome' where you shoot or blow up someone, then you switch off the computer and walk away into a life that is unaffected. When they are put into the real thing, they can't cope.

A lot of today's young guys finding their way into the forces are already fucked up in the head. You know from your own experience that the so called hard men and bullies were the first to 'run away' from the Legion because they couldn't hack it.

Some of the ones that come to us for help are in a bad way mentally. Why they are like that is not my area, all our team can do is try to help them help themselves. They are not all from the lower ranks.

When I was a Police officer on the street, I knew what it was like to have to handle broken bodies from car crashes or assaults. I think I saw more horrific sights then than I did in the military. Not all of the people who come to us are from the armed services. There are Police, Fire and Ambulance service guys who suffer from PTSD as well, quite a lot in fact.

You and I have been lucky in that we are able to cope with this kind of stress, others can't and it is they that we are trying to help.
 
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Stoeng

Legionnaire
#7
Alex, I couldn’t agree more… I just think that the secret of success in this case is to filter, and focus our help on the guys that genuinely needs it.
My fear is that it's going to become some sort of “holy groundâ€￾ where it is enough to claim combat stress and everything should be first of all excused and secondly paid for.
“Combat stressâ€￾ within police, ambulances, and fire personnel is something I can much better understand. When you spend years of your life on a everyday (and badly recognized by the public) mission in to the worlds misery in your own area, it is in my opinion much worse for your head than most military missions.
 
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ALEX LOCHRIE ✞

Legionnaire
RIP ✞
#8
The guys who get referred to us are 99% genuine cases. A percentage of them have also had serious injuries, amputations ect, and have literaly been abandoned to their own means once their injuries have 'heald'.

Now that there are no military hospitals in the UK, the injured are treated within the NHS and although not the fault of the doctors and nurses, they do not like having stressed out military types mixing with 'normal' civilians. And that's a fact.

Anyway, I repeat! If there are any of you out there who feel that they would like to talk to someone confidentialy about their situation, or have a friend whom they think may have a problem and want advice, feel free to drop me a PM.

I don't want to turn this into an 'agony aunt' situation, but if we can help, we will.
 

voltigeur

Legionnaire
Former Moderator
#9
I believe that some people can help themselves by being physically very active.
The adage "Idleness is the Devil's pillow" comes to my mind when I hear of so many cases of PTSD. I also believe that in genuine cases the problem will always stay in the back ground of someones mind, regardless of the type of help provided.
 
#10
I wonder if there is a substantive body of peer-reviewed research that would reveal any correlates for anticipating the condition.

Is the disorder commonly associated with family history of stress or anxiety diagnoses to any disproportionate degree?

Are there causative relations with substance abuse, or vice-versa?
 

ALEX LOCHRIE ✞

Legionnaire
RIP ✞
#11
I believe that some people can help themselves by being physically very active.
The adage "Idleness is the Devil's pillow" comes to my mind when I hear of so many cases of PTSD. I also believe that in genuine cases the problem will always stay in the back ground of someones mind, regardless of the type of help provided.
That is very true. It depends on whether the person has been handicapted physicaly as to the level of work they can do.

Simple tasks like gardening have proved to be perfect for many and being creative, i.e. seeing a flower or vegetable develope from their efforts is something that many of them have never experienced before.

At our gardening centre we have been given a huge green house complex which requires total restoration. The lads (we have a couple of girls as well) are doing all of the work themselves, even if it is only plaining a piece of wood while sitting in a wheel chair. They work for as long as they want or are safely capable of as many have problems with extended concentration.

We also have to take into consideration normal health and safety laws as we are responsible for their safety.

Any one person can only stay with us for the max., of 6 months. One problem is that the younger ones see long term vets from the second world war who come back to us now and again to give their families a rest. They ask if they are going to be like this for the rest of their lives.

There are lots of 'experts' who turn out lots of statistics and theories about why this person has this and the other one that. Most of them only care about their professional standing and couldn't give a toss for the victim.
 

flash010

Top Member
Legionnaire
#12
I wonder if there is a substantive body of peer-reviewed research that would reveal any correlates for anticipating the condition.

Is the disorder commonly associated with family history of stress or anxiety diagnoses to any disproportionate degree?

Are there causative relations with substance abuse, or vice-versa?
The disorder is associated with getting shelled night and day for weeks, getting some of your mates splattered over you, watching how human behavior makes your stomach turn. Days of stress with no relief laying in mud, snow, and God knows what. All that and the knowledge that some twat responsible for you being there is comfy in bed shagging his mrs

Anyone in combat conditions of weeks days or months can crack, anyone. Don't take it as a given. Mind ww1 ww2 guys who suffered this were shot as cowards on all sides :eek:
 
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ALEX LOCHRIE ✞

Legionnaire
RIP ✞
#13
Just to say thanks to all of you who have sent me an email on the subject. ;)

Quite a few lads have been in touch to tell me, or talk about, their feelings.
Good on them. There is no shame in accepting that you might have a problem and need help, so if there are any more of you out there thinking about it, feel free to drop me a line. Whatever you have to say will remain confidential.

:cool:
 

Terry

Active Member
RIP ✞
#14
When it comes to combat stress, in particular PTSD, I've had my problems over the years. In 1968 I commanded a rifle platoon while serving in Vietnam. I replaced a Lt who was there TWO days before he was killed so I knew I wasn't going to be there long. After 4½ months, I was seriously wounded and left with a T-8 spinal cord injury which for the last 40 years has left me in a wheelchair.

Upon my return to the States I was given a great deal of psychological counselling as well as constant medical help. For 8 years I taught high school history as well as lecture on Vietnam at two colleges. That is until I was talking to a class at a junior college when I broke out in a massive sweat and started babbling like I was in a fire fight. The class professor, another VN vet saw what was happening and he had two football players in the class hold me back till they could get me some help. So for years I was an outpatient, after a short stay there, for treatment for PTSD. I no longer teach and still go go the VA for treatment and for the grace of GOD I haven't had another experience like that again.
 

Samtoo

Actual or Ex Legionnaire
Legionnaire
#15
When it comes to combat stress, in particular PTSD, I've had my problems over the years. In 1968 I commanded a rifle platoon while serving in Vietnam. I replaced a Lt who was there TWO days before he was killed so I knew I wasn't going to be there long. So after 4 1/2 months I was seriously wounded and left with a T-8 spinal cord injury which for the last 40 years has left me in a wheelchair.

Upon my return to the states I was given a great deal of psychological counseling as well as constant medical help.
For 8 years I taught high school history as well as lecture on Vietnam at two colleges. That is untill I was talking to a class at a junior college when I broke out in a massive sweat and statrted babbling like I was in a fire fight. The class professor, another VN vet saw what was happening and he had two football players in the class hold me back till they could get me some help. So for years I was an outpatient, after a short stay there, for treatment for PTSD.I no longer teach and still go go the VA for treatment and for the grace of GOD I haven't had another experience like that again.
Yeah well Vietnam sucked for most. My neighbor was a recondo and probably did and seen more than most of the US vets and he is just fine. Why is that? Conditioning and attitude....the difference between well-trained troops and fodder. Not everyone is cut out for the military.
 

joette ✞

In Memoriam....Retired and missed Mod ...
Former Moderator
RIP ✞
#16
my dad was a medic in VN. When he came home he was quite edgy. But ok. Couldnt sneak up on him and wake him up when he was napping...all hell would break loose.!!
 
#17
Terry,
My feelings are with you. And good luck.
Thankfully I am not a sufferer PTSD albeit I have been at the sharp end. Whatever anyone says it can affect any veteran who experiences something which is emotionally shocking that then registers in the mind. It may remain dormant and not surface for some time. However some are fortunate that it never does. With others attacks can be psychologically triggered by the strangest of occurrencies and these may not be necessarily obvious to others.
In genuine cases, no one should demean or sneer at the sufferer for having PTSD.To relate it to an inferior regiment or to suggest that basic training is inadequate is crass. There are current sufferers from all the crack units that served 'down south' in the Falklands war and the subsequent suicide rate has been horrendous.
There but for the Grace of God etc.
 

Samtoo

Actual or Ex Legionnaire
Legionnaire
#18
To relate it to an inferior regiment or to suggest that basic training is inadequate is crass.


Oh bullshit! What then DO you accredit it to? Personal weakness? The inability to cope? WHAT then?? The suicide rate may have been caused by the UNEMPLOYMENT rate for the former soldiers post-Falklands. The recondos TRIED to get a knife kill! THAT is training and conditioning. America's 'sweetheart hero' hid in her truck and never fired a shot before being captured by the Iraqis. Training and conditioning! I would venture to say that doctors and nurses see more inhumanity and babies dying than your average Falklands hero...I dont hear THEM creating unprovable disorders represented by acronyms.....because they are TRAINED and CONDITIONED in their chosen profession.
 

Madmonk 7.5

Actual or Ex Legionnaire
Legionnaire
#19
I had an immediate PTSD after my first accrochage, it made me smoke a complete pack of cigarettes plus part of my cassock in about an hour. hahahaha
 
#20
It looks like once more I am going to be a bit different from the standard crowd, but I will anyway express my opinion in this matter. To be quite honest, I think that this combat stress thing is grossly exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong; there are for sure people that have problems, but not at all to the extent that some of them pretend. Once somebody have the opportunity to claim additional cash or support, I get very skeptical about the whole affair, and when in addition the guys that are claiming are some guys that was far in the “backâ€￾… well I get straightforward doubtful.

In my opinion the problem is much more related to the successful (or not) return to civilian life. The guys that have a good job and are well adapted to their civilian life seldom have any problems. While on the other hand, the jobless alcoholics and lazy bastards often have all kinds of problems and the whole “combat stressâ€￾ is just another excuse for not functioning in society.

Once more don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there are people with problems, and I completely agree to that they should get all the help that they need. However and maybe unfortunately, so far I have only seen articles about people that in my opinion have had little “combat stressâ€￾ to build their cases on.
It is just like the Gulf War syndrome during the late 90’s and early 2000’s: all armies had people that have suffered this and that problem, and there were accusations left, right and center. Toxic gasses, radioactive ammunitions, poisoned Coca Cola, and God knows what. However and strange enough… no cases in the Legion. Even if as usual the Legion was first in and last out. Why is that???? Simply because in the Legion they teach you to not sit around wondering if the glass is half full or half empty, but for f**k sake empty it and get another one. This is an expression… and not about alcohol, but about getting the fingers out of your ass and get to work.

It is so much better to be a fu**ed-up alcoholic wreck when you can claim sympathy and even feel sorry for yourself. It is even an excellent excuse to not go to work whenever you have a hangover. Maybe a bit harsh words from my side, but this is the situation as I see it with all my “combat stressâ€￾ behind me, and I still sleep like a baby (as long as the “babyâ€￾ next to me is blond with big tits). Let’s get back to reality guys.
Thats pritty interesting and i will agree with some of what your saying in terms of social class. But chew on this for a moment,,

According to some CNN report i saw like a year ago. PTSD has somethng to do with the individual and their psychological makeup. For some reason cirtain people are affected while other are not regardless of social class.

The same way some soldiers hear gunfire and run towards it and others duck for cover(xxx). People are wired differently. Thus they deal with violence and traumatic expiriences differently. But this is all still under scrutany. I know a couple of soldiers from Iraq and they were deep in the warzones day in and day out, seeing all kinds of shitte from both sides and neither of them have any problems climatizing back to civilian life despite being unemployed or doing low paying dead end jobs. They dont like to talk about it much but other than that they are regular beer drinking cheerful fellows and they talk about the good things they did in Iraq.
 
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