People tend to believe that those who serve our country are “strong” and won’t suffer the effects of what they do day in and day out during their job. What is “strong” anyway? Does “strong” mean that you are immune to depression, anxiety, or PTSD? Does it mean that you push through and persevere through adversity? Does it mean that you don’t need other people to support you? Or maybe it means you use the support of other people. Obviously the definition of “strong” is not that easy. People have different definitions of “strong.” The bottom line is, every single human being is at risk of developing depression, anxiety and/or PTSD at sometime during their lives.
According to The Veteran’s Administration, about 15-20 in every 100 people (15-20%) of adults suffer from depression at some point during their lives. This number does not seem to decrease with military according to an article written in Healthline here, it is indicated that about 14% of service members experience depression after deployment.
As for PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), there is a lot of research that is showing the astounding number of vets that meet the criteria. According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 1 in 5 military members that have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan report symptoms of depression or PTSD and that the rate of PTSD is three (3) times higher among military men and women who have been deployed versus those who have not. An estimated 7.8% of adults will experience PTSD sometime during their life according to The Nebraska Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Stigma causes many people to not seek treatment from depression or anxiety or PTSD. Often the symptoms are not symptoms people want to admit to (whether emotional or behavioral). The relationship problems, irritability, intense fear, sleeplessness, avoidance of people or places, unintentional physical responses (lashing out, etc) can often make people feel like “something is wrong with me.” Especially those who are “supposed” to be able to handle really difficult situations. We also tend to ignore and hide (stigmatize) what we don’t understand. Once understood that these symptoms are 100% normal, it makes it easier to get treatment. PTSD and depression are treatable. The symptoms do not have to ruin the rest of your life. Just imagine…You can become a functional and “strong” person again!
What would it mean to you to not have to fight the demons in your head? What would it mean to be able to go to work again without fear that you will have a panic attack? What would it mean to you to not need to sleep with the knife or gun next to you? What would it mean to you to be able to sleep through the night? What would it mean to you to be the husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc that you were before the symptoms began?
When you are ready, look for a therapist who can help you. There are so many out there that are excellent at what they do and can help you get that life back. I would be more than happy to talk with you as well. I may be able to help you, even if it is only to help you find a therapist near you. However, I will see people through a HIPAA compliant web platform in Connecticut and in Florida as I am licensed in both states. Whether I am the right therapist for you or can help you find the right therapist, call me: 860-501-9767 or 941-462-4807.