Search This Blog

Friday, June 6, 2014

Loss of interest and Can't remember Day 6 Of National PTSD Awareness Month

The next to last symptom in the numbing and avoidance set is no longer being interested in things that used to interest you. This is another survival skill because what you are interested in is avoiding triggers at all costs.It helps to understand the progression of triggers. A second generation trigger, like the gun, beer and friends in my example yesterday, can lead to third and fourth generation triggers of things that are around when one of those triggers you. If things trigger you that seem not to make sense, try to figure out when you first felt this way...
Even without second and third generation triggers, people who once had lots of friends may now avoid them. People who loved hunting, now can't hunt. People who were out and around now stay home all the time. Movie lovers don't go to movies anymore.
People who loved sex, don't want to do it anymore. (One of the truths no one ever mentions...war ruins sex for many men for various periods of time after). Naturally wives don't know this so they feel undesirable and get mad. Guys don't know this so they start looking for someone more exciting. Believe me, it is not you spouse and it will pass. I have only talked to men vets about this, but I suspect it is true for women combat vets, and I know being raped ruins sex for anyone.
So when you lose interest in outside things, you may find yourself staying home and advising your wife on how to wash dishes. This is dangerous, guys. Snarling often results. If you did stuff together, she may feel abandoned when you won't participate anymore.
The last symptom in the numbing and avoidance category is when you can't remember all or part of the traumatic event(s). Traumatic amnesia is common. Traumatic events often happen too fast to be laid down as a narrative memory, which is what your fore brain does. Your are reacting with what used to be called the reptile brain in my high school science classes. This is protective. Some events are so overwhelming they would incapacitate you, so evolution or God has given you this capacity. Hugh Thompson, the helicopter pilot who tried to stop the My Lai massacre, forgot it until the Army investigators came to interview him two years later. My husband Bob has a picture of himself in front of a bunch of dead VC at Plei Me, but he does not remember the event. One of my favorite vets tried to kill himself the same day ten years apart, so his therapist decided they should check the unit records. Turned out 28 guys in his unit died on that day. If you find yourself doing odd things the same time every year you may be reacting to an anniversary which leads me into the third set of PTSD symptoms, re-experiencing, which I will start on tomorrow.
If you follow the facebook page Recovering from the War, I think you will get these automatically. I will be posting every day this month. Or you can follow this blog. I cross post.

No comments:

Post a Comment