PTSD and barriers to seeking treatment
For many of us when we think of PTSD, the first things that come to mind are first responders and combat vets. What we don't think about is what treatment looks like for them and the reasons they don't seek help.
Let's start with first responders. Their reasons for not seeking help are many, often too many to list and we'll touch on the most common barriers. To begin, let's think about what it must be like to witness horrific events on a daily basis: car accidents, death, destruction, and watching how poorly people treat one another. We must also consider other first line responders such as doctors, nurses and other medical professionals exposed to more than any human should be expected to endure.
Knowing and understanding are two completely different things. The culture of police departments, fire stations, etc., doesn't help. They believe, "It's your job and you should just suck it up." "Asking for help is a sign of weakness." "If I seek help everyone will think I'm a wimp." These attitudes are promoted internally among the ranks but leadership in these areas recognizes the seriousness of ongoing trauma and encourages treatment. Enduring PTSD without seeking help can adversely affect job performance.
For combat vets the reasons are similar but there are other complexities inherent to this sector:
Believing you will get better on your own.
Not knowing that PTSD treatments work.
Thinking services are for other people, not you.
Mistrust of anyone who is not a vet and hasn't been through the same things.
A diagnosis of PTSD will affect benefits.
One vet was overheard saying: "The trauma is the one thing that holds me together. If I get help I'll just unravel at my core."
Knocking down the barriers to treatment:
Know your treatment options and that in addition to conventional medicine the alternatives include acupuncture, neurofeedback, EFT (emotional freedom techniques), EMDR.
Talk to someone you trust such as family, friends, clergy, other vets and first responders.
Join a support group.
Our vets are a national treasure. We are where we are because of them and they deserve whatever help we can give them when they need it most. Let's be there for them. If you know a vet or first responder in need of help for PTSD, help them recognize the necessity of getting the help they need.
My First Migraine
Having your first migraine can be a very scary experience. Trust me, I know. Even with all the knowledge I have, the last thing I expected was to have my first migraine at age 52. But it happened.
It was early afternoon at work when suddenly I developed a hole in my vision just to the left of center and the effect of that was not being able to see the 2nd half of all the words when trying to read. Yes, panic began to set in. A short time later it was followed by what looked like squiggly lines, electricity if you will, in the periphery. But, when the dancing rainbows started that's when I really started to get scared. With a history of unrelated ocular events in the past, I chalked it up to just another and immediately called my ophthalmologist who agreed that I should come in right away. By the time I arrived at the doctor's office all the visual effects had subsided at which time he told me I'd just had an ocular migraine. That's when the pain started. Left temporal eventually resulting in an inability to open my eye. On his advice I went home, took some Advil and went to bed.
To this day no one can explain why I would have my first migraine at age 52 and the doctor made it clear that I might never have another one. If only that had been true. By the time I was able to get real help almost 5 years later, the events were getting to be about every 2 weeks apart, the last obviously being related to food. The auras were getting so intense as to result in confusion and disorientation but luckily I had a tool at my disposal to prevent the onset of the headache-EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques. If I started the tapping immediately at the onset of the aura I could completely avert the headache but it required intense tapping for at least 20 minutes. Great, no more headaches but since I was unable to pinpoint any triggers I could never figure out how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
I started seeing a naturopathic physician for things unrelated when the issue of the migraines came up. He told me there was a practitioner in his office, another ND, who practiced a technique called low energy neurofeedback (The LENS) and I saw her for a total of 10 treatments. Miraculously I have not had a migraine in 3 years and yes, I find myself counting the days and the months since that last dreadful experience.
I refrain from ever using the word cure and I especially don't like hearing it from conventional practitioners. At this point in time I will say that my issue with migraines has been successfully eliminated, not cured.
At any rate, I knew at the time that I wanted to learn how to do this technique so I could share it with the world. It really is so simple, effective and affordable. My office is located in Greenland, NH. You can set up an appointment here or call me anytime at the number listed.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.