I believe that PTSD is a spectrum. Just like that of Autism.
I also believe that it shouldn’t be diagnosed lightly. Like Autism.
Seems that nowadays everyone is on a “spectrum” of some kind and we have to tip toe around their diagnosis.
Today a man came into my office to make a repair and somehow got into a discussion with one of our attorneys about cops/dwi then it turned into cops who are veterans. The punch line (meaning the part that pissed me off & made me sick to my stomach) was the repair guy made a comment about how veterans turned cops abuse their power here in CONUS because they have “haji flashbacks and think they are back there again.”
Are you fucking serious?!?
I couldn’t do anything but keep my mouth shut in fear it would cost me my job. My husband & I know SEVERAL veterans turned cops that keep their spectrum of PTSD under control so as not to harm a civilian unless absolutely necessary because other lives are at risk. (But that goes with cop territory no matter what.) Let me give you a story of how an outsider could view a veteran with PTSD and think it is a liability but I consider it to be one of his greatest assets.
A while back ago as Mike and I were enjoying a meal together after he came off shift, he told me a story of excitement from the night before. It was late at night before the guys were getting ready for bed when the tones drop for an assault of some kind. Luckily the call was for right off the highway by their station, so not far of a drive. As the guys proceed to the bay to get in the trucks some guy comes running up to the open back door screaming for help covered in blood.
Let’s play a game on what happens next. As a firefighter/EMT your duty is to save lives, what do you do:
A) You rush up to the person to start treatment right away. They are covered in blood and screaming for help.
B) You tell them to stop where they are and sit/kneel down and call for back up.
If you answered B, you are a PTSD crazed veteran who is a liability to society!
Let’s go through the reasons why B is the better choice.
1) National Registry for EMTs dictates you ALWAYS secure your scene & make sure everyone is safe first before rendering aid. Not a military thing. A common civilian organization. If you as an EMT aren’t safe what good are you to the victim.
2) Military training did kick in for my husband at that point because he didn’t know WHOSE blood was on this person. It could’ve been the victim, it could’ve been the attacker’s, but which of the two is the blood on this guy?
3) Taking a few minutes to verbally halt this person is going to save more lives than running up to them & not realizing they have a weapon, if they have one.
Did Mike’s actions flip out the non-veteran coworkers at the time? Well yeah. To a lot of people, they COULD HAVE seen a veteran flip his lid because in a brief moment he saw a bloody insurgent coming right at him. Does it matter? Not really. Whether in that field or in my office, I’d rather work with a veteran like that than a civilian who tosses up their hands & cowers in the corner. When I hear my husband tell this story my heart swells with pride on so many levels. I love his situational awareness that he can think on a split second’s notice and take command of a situation like that. He kept everyone safe while helping a victim, as it turns out.
I did kind of giggle during his story for a few reasons. First I asked him how everyone else felt in his moment of “reminiscing”. LoL he said they were all a little shocked & dumbfounded. Then I said “Did you reach for your weapon?” He grinned and replied “Maaaaaybe.”
So my point is this… Yes there are some who never address their PTSD and it effects them negatively on the job and at home. Yet, we can’t group them all together and place a burdensome stigma on them and then bitch because they are unemployed sucking up state/federal benefits. The ones who can work need our help and compassion to work through those issues that may arise in the civilian world. I like to think that I’m able to provide that for my veteran and that he always views me as a soft safe place to land when shit gets real.
PS I’ll take my situationally aware infantry grunt over your pansy-ass civilian wuss any day. PTSD or not. That command voice is hot 😉