Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by OldRedCap, May 7, 2009.

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  1. My interest in PTSD arises from very limited personal involvement as a sybill in what some might view as stress. Messy suicides, rtc with consequent fire of the wreckage and potential survivors and dealing with long dead remains. sudden death in infancy and quite severe child abuse/sexual attacks. I am able to say that none of these caused me detrimental stress but others with me were influenced. I have tried to establish here before now why it is that 2 or more individuals can face exactly the same situation and do not have identical outcomes. Is it early upbringing (mine was harsh as parents did not know of what has now been diagnosed as Aspergers; this was further disciplined out of me as a NS soldier)? Conditioning (big boys don't cry), black humour - what?
    My return to this was occasioned by this article which only briefly revisits PTSD.
    Anyone here ever worked out why some suffer and others do not - some even thrive. I was always an adrenaline junkie and sought out the 'dirty' jobs.
  2. i think we are all different, simple as that, no two people will react the same, what upsets someone may not bother someone else, just different make up..
  3. So, that's it? Random accident of birth.
    Has anyone experienced any attempts at pre-conditioning on our side of the pond.I know of Dave Grossman's analysis of US methods. Anyone from other side of the pond who can comment on those?
  4. I think it comes down to the individual and everything that encompasses their mental stability, thought processes, ability to rationalize and their coping mechanisms.

    A while ago I worked with two men who had been in the same IED attack in which 3 of their colleagues were killed. One of these men was affected by the experience the other was not. Both were assessed by the same Psychiatrist. The gentleman that was not affected was taken off active duty and sent to fly a desk as his reaction (or lack of one) was deemed as inappropriate, the fact that he had few residual thoughts or emotions relating to his experienced was seen as abnormal. The other man was medicated for a short amount of time given counselling and then told he was once again fully fit. The other one even after 18 months had still been made unfit due to his lack of reaction, the shrink was waiting for him to have a breakdown, it wasn’t going to happen. The man never did display any symptomology indicative to psychiatric illness and when I asked he said he just wasn’t brought up to let anything bother him.

    Certain people are going to be more susceptible to PTSD than others, just the same as some people are pre-disposed to any other mental illness such as depression. I personally have been brought up with the notion that death is part of life, sometimes it isn’t nice but the worst thing to do is dwell on it and the best thing to do is talk about it. I was brought up to be open about emotions but discouraged from being sentimental or sensitive or have any thought processes that were anything other than rational and efficient, to see things in black and white. When learning to deal with bad things in life it was very much simplified, partly through religion that bad things happened because of evil, so there is nothing to be gained by questioning the intricacies of an unpleasant occurrence. Sorry to digress slightly, but I think it is relevant in that I could class my upbringing as pre-conditioning if I wanted to, however it was something that has been built over a long period of time. Also at what point does pre-conditioning become mind altering, if it becomes a concentrated succinct desensitization of minds for…well what for? Operational purposes? As I mentioned earlier in some situations PTSD is considered a normal reaction.
  5. Dolly86 Your preconditioning was similar to mine although from a different direction. I'm particularly taken by the idea that the guy who showed no emotion was deemed unfit for further action. So, with us, it seems preconditioning could be of benefit but could it be inculcated in a shorter period - basic training say? THEM sort of training we sometimes see on tv involves killing and eating cuddly rabbit and this could be a form of conditioning?
  6. I can’t entirely agree with you…
    In my understanding (and experience) PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. do not inhabit a realm of rational and conscious. That’s why they are so difficult to deal with using conventional talking therapies that appeal to a rational thinking.
    Our life is ruled not by an objective reality or our rational knowledge of that reality, but by our irrational responses and feelings – they are the ones that form our true reality.

    Everything we KNOW is regulated by our consciousness.
    I KNOW if I’ll close the door (turn the lights off) in my room nothing bad will happen to me… I KNOW that spiders in this country are harmless… I KNOW that I’m attractive and clever… I KNOW that too much alcohol is bad for my health… All these knowledge comes from my consciousness. But what do I do? I keep my room door open; I go to bed with the light on; I walk around with my head in my shoulders and looking under my feet; I scream at the site of a spider…

    Why, despite all my rational knowledge I behave in such irrational way? Because my actions, my feelings and life in general are governed by my subconsciousness. If my subconsciousness tells me “you are ugly, fat, stupid”, -- I would believe it despite my knowledge of myself; if my subconsciousness tells me “close the door and you’ll suffocate”, -- I would believe it; if my subconsciousness tells me “be afraid”, I will be afraid… (I know a professional person who is scared of peas).

    For the most part our consciousness and subconsciousness exist in perfect harmony; but at times something happens in our lives that disrupts this harmony: graphic news on a TV; picture of a spider eating a mouse; nanny walked into our room, turned the lights off and said “Sleep or a wolf/ bogey monster will come and take you away”… And if what we heard, saw or smelt made a great impression on us it might disturb an equilibrium of consciousness and subconsciousness. The results of such disturbance vary from person to person, for example: both my friend and I are afraid of spiders; yet she loves doing BBQ in her garden, while I don’t go to BBQs even though I’d love to. We both suffer from a psychological disorder – phobia; only in my case it is more pronounced and stops me from enjoying my life.

    Practically, every person experiences psychological disturbance of some intensity at some point in his/her life. It can be fear of tight or open spaces, animals, people, public speaking; it can be low self esteem, addictions, jealousy; it can be stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD…

    Of all the listed conditions the last two are the most dangerous to the sufferer.

    Can one be “pre-conditioned” against them? Only if we can foresee and pre-condition against every possible eventuality (that would include visual, tactile, sound, odorous stimulus) in every person’s life.
  7. I have thought about this for a while and come to a similar conclusion to D0lly86.

    As a child I grew up around men who had been to and understood war. They were hard men in the sense of enduring great hardship, personal discomfort and an acceptance that death will get us all. Although my father was drowned whilst I was young, the society that I grew up in like many others in towns and villages throughout the country ensured that we lacked for nothing. I don't mean the welfare state but neighbours who in reality had as little as we did.
    When someone died we all went to view the body, children and all; so seeing death held no fear. I killed my first rabbit at six years of age and by twelve was regularly slaughtering sheep. Along with my friends we were given two cartridges for the old single barrel 12 bore and were told to go out and get something for the pot. By fourteen I could slaughter a cow with a sledgehammer and knife and had seen two people killed: one by drowning and the other falling drunk onto a fishing boat at low tide. The men around us accepted that these things happen and by that default we learned to accept in the same fashion. At the same age my school class of fifteen had lost three by drowning, two of them girls.

    I went on to lead a full and very enjoyable life in the Inf and although I have been involved in some messy things I can honestly say that it has never bothered me. I believe that along with my peer group I was 'innoculated' by growing up in the way that I did. I was told by one female doctor that I was 'brutalised and desensitised'; that my upbringing had been abnormal and unpleasant. I however disagreed as I was no different to my peers and had, in my opinion a very happy upbringing.

    I believe that if people are brought up to see death from an early age, to accept mental and physical toughness and have role models who exibit these characteristics they are more prepared for any unpleasantness that life may throw at them.
  8. What sort of death? Death of an old person who died peacefully in his sleep; death of a murdered child; death as a result of torture and mutilations; death in horrific car crushes? Death of someone who just died, or someone who is already decomposing? You can't "prepare" yourself for every eventuality because you don't know what life is going to throw your way.
  9. All and any one of them. It has been tradition here for a very long time to view the body of someone who has died prior to burial. We do not 'prepare the body' other than to have it placed in a coffin. Death occurs in many ways. Someone who is lost overboard and drowns in winter will not come to the surface for a good six weeks. By that time they smell. When they come back from PM the coffins are still put into the house for a night. In some respects the results of car accidents do not look as bad as those that have been partially eaten by crabs and seagulls. At the end of the day Its what you are willing to accept; death is part of life after all.
  10. I happen to believe that more is made of this now than ever before, I have seen some serious RTA's and been on scene of a fatality at an RTA, some people react there and then, some react later and some don't have reactions to the event. However it seems that the more violent or unexpected the event, the more likely to be a reaction. The training we as Military personnel receive does give us an advantage in dealing with these situations, the fact that we are in an organisation which is to a large extent very base in its humour and we mix with a great variety of people in many different ways and with attitudes that are so different, makes ourselves less susceptable to being affected by the situations that we have come across
  11. When my great-grandma died I accepted it because I was prepared for it, -- she was in her late 90-s. It didn't stop me from exhibiting few signs of depression for a long time afterwards. And you know what triggered it? As a priest sprinkled her open casket with Holy Water, a few drops run down her cheek. I remember myself looking at them thinking "She is crying"... That's it, nothing major.

    All I was trying to say is that no amount of "preparations" can guarantee you will not come against some event (it doesn't have to be death) that will affect your psyche to a "breaking" point.
  12. 'OldRedCap' you seem to look for a clear and simple answer for why some do and some don't. I believe that trying to simplify boxes and labels is somewhat flawed as we are all different and all can and do react differently regardless of our past experience to each and every new experience or situation.
  13. Sounds about right...
  14. Nail, head, bang. Due to the fact we're all human individuals, you mean?
  15. Indeed indeed Tremaine