Love Our Vets-PTSD Family Support
8/11/15 at 10:52 AM 0 Comments

PTSD: Can You "Just Get Over It"?

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“You have WHAT?! How soon before you are back to normal?” In our modern age of quick fixes, high tech, and a plethora of pharmaceuticals, people not only don't understand Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they are often uncomfortable with it and just want others to get over it. But is it curable?

We all wish we had a definitive answer to this age old question! And as the great debate continues, millions (just in the U.S. alone) – along with all their loved ones – struggle with the relentless battles of Posttraumatic Stress. PTSD can affect ANYONE who has been exposed to a traumatic experience, whether or not they served in the military. Is there hope or not?

A brave young veteran recently shared with me that SHE herself has it from Iraq, her FATHER had it from Vietnam, and her GRANDFATHER from WWII. He may have been one of many who was locked up in an asylum and tortured with shock treatment “therapy.”

Have we come a long way since then? Absolutely! Do we still have a long way to go! Unequivocally!

The good news is that there are many very effective therapies available today that are resulting in significant improvements in those with PTSD. In some cases, the symptoms of PTSD appear to totally subside. Numerous variables combine to determine what treatments will benefit individuals and to what degree. And new cutting edge research and developments are continually emerging.

The hard news is that no matter how good and effective the treatment, nor how wide the possible range of recovery, it will never be able to take away the fact that a person experienced the trauma in the first place. The trauma itself can never be erased. So in that sense, the Posttraumatic Stress will never be 100% cured (totally gone, never to return again, symptom-free forever).

However, the hope lies in the fact that the effects of the trauma can be reduced to the point of no longer completely controlling one’s life 24/7. And that is where our efforts as loved ones, caregivers, supporters, therapists, and all who care – are primarily focused: minimally, to help those who struggle to maximally manage the symptoms. And to encourage them to develop as many coping skills and personal support systems as possible. As we say, “They can learn to thrive again!”

Personally, I have found that the two powerful components, faith and love, can truly make a difference. And helping others understand what PTSD survivors need is also a huge help.

I recently received a message on our Love Our Vets – PTSD Family Support Facebook page from a loved one about the PTSD not being 100% curable. “I am a fixer and this I can’t fix! It scares me, especially for all of our loved ones returning from war. I am so very sad for this.”

My reply to her was, “We cannot FIX, but we DO have hope!

There is a lot that CAN be done to help those with PTSD.

I know. I live it!”

Without hope, we cease to thrive. But at the same time, we have to be cautious not to promise a total cure we do not possess. Here are my thoughts on what CAN be done, as we offer hope for those who struggle with PTSD, and for all who love them:

* Accept that there is no quick or easy fix.
* Keep an open mind, but proceed with open eyes.
* Be willing to do some hard or uncomfortable work.
* Connect regularly to a good support network.
* Stay current on PTSD therapies, resources and developments.
* Surround yourself with people who care and hold on tightly to those you love.

Of all the topics I have written about, this is one I would LOVE to have proven wrong. We all would welcome the day a complete and total cure for PTSD were discovered. But until then, let us keep doing what we are to support and LOVE OUR VETS and other PTSD survivors. They deserve it!

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Welby O’Brien is crazy about her veteran husband, and together they find fulfillment as they face the relentless challenges of PTSD. With a master’s degree in counseling, she has authored the books Formerly A Wife (divorce support) and Good–bye for Now (grief support) (Moody/WingSpread), as well as contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul (Divorce and Recovery), and Shepherding Women in Pain (Moody). And most recently LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD (Deep River Books). Welby has been welcomed as a guest speaker across the country, and on radio and television. Welby initiated and continues to facilitate the spouse and family support network known as Love Our Vets – PTSD Family Support, LLC.

Blog content taken from the book LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD by Welby O'Brien (Revised Edition, 2015)

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