PTSD - Calling the bluffs

there's been a bit of chat here about mental robustness, are we now less mentally robust than we were in the past or were there people back in WW2 who developed PTSD from being in contact with the pay records of wounded personnel or reading that the Germans on the channel islands were introducing cold beer? or did these people exist, but they were just told to sort themselves out?

reading some of the post there seems to be an attempt to divide those who are faking and those who have genuinely been affected. what seems to get peoples back up is stuff like the clerk who had to sign off records* etc. what i'd like to know is can these people be helped or do their problems stem from something else unrelated to whatever seems to be the event/cause in question? i mention this because with these types of cases i get the feeling that if it wasnt this it would be something else.

i'm aware this argument is wobblier than a wobbly thing but i'm trying to get my head around what some of the posts on here seem to be driving at; i.e. not just liars vs. PTSD sufferers

*my own personal one was a bloke i met who said he'd developed PTSD after being told his TA unit could be mobilised for GW1; they weren't.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
there's been a bit of chat here about mental robustness, are we now less mentally robust than we were in the past or were there people back in WW2 who developed PTSD from being in contact with the pay records of wounded personnel or reading that the Germans on the channel islands were introducing cold beer? or did these people exist, but they were just told to sort themselves out?

reading some of the post there seems to be an attempt to divide those who are faking and those who have genuinely been affected. what seems to get peoples back up is stuff like the clerk who had to sign off records* etc. what i'd like to know is can these people be helped or do their problems stem from something else unrelated to whatever seems to be the event/cause in question? i mention this because with these types of cases i get the feeling that if it wasnt this it would be something else.

i'm aware this argument is wobblier than a wobbly thing but i'm trying to get my head around what some of the posts on here seem to be driving at; i.e. not just liars vs. PTSD sufferers

*my own personal one was a bloke i met who said he'd developed PTSD after being told his TA unit could be mobilised for GW1; they weren't.
I think after the war, due to so many people being intimately involved and having common experiences workmates and employers tended to understand and cover for it
My Grandfather was a first world war veteran and worked through the second world war repairing buildings, and later on the Mulberry harbours, towards the end of his life he talked a little about it, some men just went off the rails and were committed, others were a bit bomb happy, but they looked after them at work, lots of them drunk themselves stupid to forget

After the Great war it was common to see night walkers on the streets, these were men unable to sleep and suffering from their experiences, they used to wander across London through the night until it became light, many contemporary reports by Police officer record this
 
I think after the war, due to so many people being intimately involved and having common experiences workmates and employers tended to understand and cover for it
My Grandfather was a first world war veteran and worked through the second world war repairing buildings, and later on the Mulberry harbours, towards the end of his life he talked a little about it, some men just went off the rails and were committed, others were a bit bomb happy, but they looked after them at work, lots of them drunk themselves stupid to forget

After the Great war it was common to see night walkers on the streets, these were men unable to sleep and suffering from their experiences, they used to wander across London through the night until it became light, many contemporary reports by Police officer record this
yeah, and i think we can all understand that. what i'm curious about is did we have cases where people were seriously affected by what we might call "minor" incidents*. i'm not saying these incidents weren't unpleasant but it seems strange that they precipitated a deterioration in mental health.

so, were we better equipped to deal with these sorts of things (more robust), were people just told to suck it up as there were more serious matters in the world, or were they afforded the same understanding as the people you describe above?




*as @dingerr mentioned earlier, this puts you on shaky ground; who determines what is minor. also,does the incident matter or should we just forget about it and focus on treating the symptoms**

**personally i feel the incident shouldnt matter, but i still find it strange that some people are affected by what seems to be minor incidents: aforementioned clerk, my GW1 bloke, joe glenton (i think i read he had PTSD from seeing coffins whilst working as a forklift driver in theatre)
 
there's been a bit of chat here about mental robustness, are we now less mentally robust than we were in the past or were there people back in WW2 who developed PTSD from being in contact with the pay records of wounded personnel or reading that the Germans on the channel islands were introducing cold beer? or did these people exist, but they were just told to sort themselves out?

reading some of the post there seems to be an attempt to divide those who are faking and those who have genuinely been affected. what seems to get peoples back up is stuff like the clerk who had to sign off records* etc. what i'd like to know is can these people be helped or do their problems stem from something else unrelated to whatever seems to be the event/cause in question? i mention this because with these types of cases i get the feeling that if it wasnt this it would be something else.

i'm aware this argument is wobblier than a wobbly thing but i'm trying to get my head around what some of the posts on here seem to be driving at; i.e. not just liars vs. PTSD sufferers

*my own personal one was a bloke i met who said he'd developed PTSD after being told his TA unit could be mobilised for GW1; they weren't.


I’d commend this book to anyone with an interest in this topic, as it looks at the history of military psychiatry and how this was applied to people with battle shock/shell shock or whatever it was called at any given time. Only goes up to 1994 just before it was written but it’s an informative and sometimes moving book.
 
Apart from avoiding repeat occurrences, the cause is pretty much irrelevant. What is more important is the identification of genuine cases amongst the bluffers.
in how you treat it yes, the cause is irrelevant. but should we (as a society) be concerned if we have people developing serious MH conditions over causes which many may consider trivial? or has this always been the case?

if this is a relatively new phenomenon then is it something that should be, or even can be, addressed?
 
but should we (as a society) be concerned if we have people developing serious MH conditions over causes which many may consider trivial?
I think PTSD and associated MH conditions are an entirely normal part of the human condition. You can alleviate the symptoms and attempt to reduce the impact of traumatic events, but there is simply no predicting who will react to a traumatic event or series of events or what symptoms they will develop.

Best statement on the subject is ' a perfectly normal reaction to an abnormal set of circumstances'
 
there's been a bit of chat here about mental robustness, are we now less mentally robust than we were in the past or were there people back in WW2 who developed PTSD from being in contact with the pay records of wounded personnel or reading that the Germans on the channel islands were introducing cold beer? or did these people exist, but they were just told to sort themselves out?

reading some of the post there seems to be an attempt to divide those who are faking and those who have genuinely been affected. what seems to get peoples back up is stuff like the clerk who had to sign off records* etc. what i'd like to know is can these people be helped or do their problems stem from something else unrelated to whatever seems to be the event/cause in question? i mention this because with these types of cases i get the feeling that if it wasnt this it would be something else.

i'm aware this argument is wobblier than a wobbly thing but i'm trying to get my head around what some of the posts on here seem to be driving at; i.e. not just liars vs. PTSD sufferers

*my own personal one was a bloke i met who said he'd developed PTSD after being told his TA unit could be mobilised for GW1; they weren't.
Hmmm! I wonder if the problem is people (self) diagnosing PTSD as if fits signs and symptoms, and they have trauma, which leads to Anxiety Disorders and Depression, but these are seen as signs of weakness unlike PTSD? Anxiety often has triggers and safety behaviours, but that does not make it PTSD.
 
Exactly right - it’s a different type of trauma.
But different "type" of trauma doesn't mean it is any less traumatic. It's not a competition to prove who has the worst trauma. Depending on many factors, what may seem fairly ordinary to one may be quire extraordinary to another.

PTSD is not diagnosed or defined by the degree or type of trauma that caused it, but by the reaction to that trauma and the subsequent effects on daily functioning. It is widely recognised that cultural norms can have a significant effect on prevalence (and that includes the cultural norms of the organisation that you belong to, as well as society at large).

I have been exposed to some pretty unpleasant things over my career, Including some fairly fruity firefights, IEDs and smashed up people, and have, so far seem to have managed to cope pretty well.

I am not in the Army or clinical practice anymore, so I don't see as many smashed bodies as I used to, but because of where we are based the lifeboat crew I am part of get a fairly regular call to retrieve bodies - They can be pretty badly damaged after a fall (or jump) from the cliff and sometimes getting washed about in the waves ( or in pretty bad state after days in the water).

I often get picked to go on the crew for these jobs because apparently I am "used to that sort of thing". Clearly it is true that I have seen more than my share of broken bodies and certainly more than most of the crew (who are mostly fishermen, builders, taxi drivers etc.). Dealing with badly damaged and mangled people was part of my day job for so many years that I have developed various coping mechanisms. Others have not had that experience, and have not had the opportunity to develop coping mechanisms. Being faced with it a body that literally falls apart when you try to pick it out of the water, particularly when you don't have much time to prepare (average time from pagers to launch is just over 5 minutes) can be pretty traumatic.

I also lead the debriefs with the crew after any job like that, and follow up (I am a TRiM practitioner although not officially engaged to be so by the RNLI! ) - Most cope admirably, but occasionally some have a wobble. You should not underestimate the effect of extraordinary experiences on ordinary people (although these are some of the bravest people I know and furthermore do it for free!).

I can't say to them "All right snowflake, You'll be fine because I've seen worse than that!"

As I said at the beginning, it's not a competition. That said, There needs to be far more training for the NHS in recognising and diagnosing the early signs and symptoms of PTSD, and particularly triaging that from general anxiety and depression and the time-wasters.
 
But different "type" of trauma doesn't mean it is any less traumatic. It's not a competition to prove who has the worst trauma. Depending on many factors, what may seem fairly ordinary to one may be quire extraordinary to another.

PTSD is not diagnosed or defined by the degree or type of trauma that caused it, but by the reaction to that trauma and the subsequent effects on daily functioning. It is widely recognised that cultural norms can have a significant effect on prevalence (and that includes the cultural norms of the organisation that you belong to, as well as society at large).

I have been exposed to some pretty unpleasant things over my career, Including some fairly fruity firefights, IEDs and smashed up people, and have, so far seem to have managed to cope pretty well.

I am not in the Army or clinical practice anymore, so I don't see as many smashed bodies as I used to, but because of where we are based the lifeboat crew I am part of get a fairly regular call to retrieve bodies - They can be pretty badly damaged after a fall (or jump) from the cliff and sometimes getting washed about in the waves ( or in pretty bad state after days in the water).

I often get picked to go on the crew for these jobs because apparently I am "used to that sort of thing". Clearly it is true that I have seen more than my share of broken bodies and certainly more than most of the crew (who are mostly fishermen, builders, taxi drivers etc.). Dealing with badly damaged and mangled people was part of my day job for so many years that I have developed various coping mechanisms. Others have not had that experience, and have not had the opportunity to develop coping mechanisms. Being faced with it a body that literally falls apart when you try to pick it out of the water, particularly when you don't have much time to prepare (average time from pagers to launch is just over 5 minutes) can be pretty traumatic.

I also lead the debriefs with the crew after any job like that, and follow up (I am a TRiM practitioner although not officially engaged to be so by the RNLI! ) - Most cope admirably, but occasionally some have a wobble. You should not underestimate the effect of extraordinary experiences on ordinary people (although these are some of the bravest people I know and furthermore do it for free!).

I can't say to them "All right snowflake, You'll be fine because I've seen worse than that!"

As I said at the beginning, it's not a competition. That said, There needs to be far more training for the NHS in recognising and diagnosing the early signs and symptoms of PTSD, and particularly triaging that from general anxiety and depression and the time-wasters.
I agree completely. My original post was in response to a poster saying that squaddies should sort themselves out because social workers etc go through trauma and don’t seem to have the same issues.
 
there's been a bit of chat here about mental robustness, are we now less mentally robust than we were in the past
I was recently on a course about 'Resilience training' one of the points that came up is that a large percentage of people today exhibit levels of anxiety higher than what was seen in patients in mental hospitals in the 1950's
 
I was recently on a course about 'Resilience training' one of the points that came up is that a large percentage of people today exhibit levels of anxiety higher than what was seen in patients in mental hospitals in the 1950's
As exemplified by certain 'snowflakes' today. The type who get 'triggered' at the result of an election. Or the loss of their internet connection?
Joking aside though, is there a connection between mental robustness and susceptibility to PTSD? I don't think that there is.
 
.
I was recently on a course about 'Resilience training' one of the points that came up is that a large percentage of people today exhibit levels of anxiety higher than what was seen in patients in mental hospitals in the 1950's
That doesn’t sound like resilience training, it sounds like a statistics session.

Who was teaching it?
 
I was recently on a course about 'Resilience training' one of the points that came up is that a large percentage of people today exhibit levels of anxiety higher than what was seen in patients in mental hospitals in the 1950's
What research did they use to back that up, or was it a throwaway remark?

Because it sounds like bollocks to me. Life in the 50’s for anyone was entirely different from today, how we treat people in hospitals has changed etc etc so the issues that people worried about may well have been very different.
 
As exemplified by certain 'snowflakes' today. The type who get 'triggered' at the result of an election. Or the loss of their internet connection?
Joking aside though, is there a connection between mental robustness and susceptibility to PTSD? I don't think that there is.
No there isn’t, none at all and there’s no way of predicting who is more likely or not to develop the symptoms.
 
.


That doesn’t sound like resilience training, it sounds like a statistics session.

Who was teaching it?
I can't remember, It was a company my employer got in for the sessions, and TBH I was not paying that much attention at that point as I was still thinking "not another bl@@@y course". As the day went on it did become quite interesting and more useful.
 
What research did they use to back that up, or was it a throwaway remark?

Because it sounds like bollocks to me. Life in the 50’s for anyone was entirely different from today, how we treat people in hospitals has changed etc etc so the issues that people worried about may well have been very different.
I think it was a throwaway remark and I quite agree we do live in a very different world to the 1950's with different things to worry about and a much more sympathetic response to people with mental health issues. How they can quantify levels of anxiety is beyond my grey matter.

However, my current wife works in a school and the issues that seem to be very, very common in youngsters today didn't seem to be quite as prevalent, or even appear when I was at school (more years ago than I care to think about)
 
I can't remember, It was a company my employer got in for the sessions, and TBH I was not paying that much attention at that point as I was still thinking "not another bl@@@y course". As the day went on it did become quite interesting and more useful.
I teach resilience, it goes hand in hand with adversity, I’m interested to know what adversity the suits of a company have faced.
 

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