Worlds Away
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Nov
24

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Nov
24

There is much to be said today about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This condition has newly been recognized as a serious issue within the past 30 years. Since PTSD is a recently discovered and recognized condition, there are still many new questions obtaining to it that are unanswered. One question is why are some people effected by PTSD and other are not?

“New PTSD studies are using technology to try to get at the answer. Select Marine and Army units are undergoing a battery of physical and mental tests before deployment including genetic testing, brain imaging and stress exams. They are followed in war zones and upon return.”

 If there is an answer to why some people are more susceptible to PTSD, more things can be done to help prevent the onset of PTSD.  Test are being done to see what characteristics people have that might encourage them to suffer to PTSD.  This shows that with PTSD there is not free will when it comes to being effected by it. It is very similar to a theme that occurs throughout the book Slaughter House-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. 

            “Welcome aboard, Mr. Pilgrim.” said the loudspeaker. “Any questions?”

Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: “Why me?”

            “That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?”

            “Yes.” Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs embedded in it.

            “Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.” (97)

This quote is taken from Slaughter House-Five and it shows that  there are some things in life that just happens and there is nothing that can be done about them. throughout the book there is always the question why? The answer to the question is just because. There is no other reason besides that it just happens. Some people are more adapt to suffering from PTSD and other even when it comes to seeing similar events. Ideally no one wants to suffer from PTSD, it just happens.

Chang, Alicia. “Military Experiment Seeks to Predict PTSD – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com. 20 Nov. 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2009.

Kurt., Vonnegut,. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dial Trade Paperback, 1999. Print.

Nov
12

When the thought of war rises up in our minds, most people have an opinion about it whether it be positive, negative, or even neutral as saying it is what it is. This of course is a general thought of war. If someone was to go in dept and really cover all the aspects, a lot of it is unimaginable. Who would have thought of giant bodies of metal gliding through the air gracefully, dropping containers filled with combinations of different ingredients to create a blast to vanish other people? I do not think many people would if they had never seen or heard such things. It is interesting how many different ways a person can write about war. I am currently reading Currently, I’m reading SlaughterHouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. This book is an anti-war novel. It demonstrates the unimaginable things that happen in war that one would not know unless participating in. Vonnegut recounts something he sees after the war working as a reporter.

“Did it bother you?” she said. She was eating a Three Musketeer Bar.                                                                                                                           “Heck no, Nancy, ” I said. “I’ve seen lots worse than that in the war.” (12)

This was his reaction to seeing the remains of a man after being crushed by his car. This is a pretty gruesome thing to observe and to say that is not the worse you’ve seen is something to say. People in wars have a good understanding how bad it can be. Many do not expect it to be that bad until they are on the front lines, they see things they never would have imagined. A veteran soldier Troy Steward describes what it was like to know his son was going to war.

“Being able to come back from Afghanistan and tell him the most recent lessons learned has been an invaluable asset for him as he gets ready, but it is hell on earth for me because there is nobody that can blow smoke up my butt and tell me things like “It isn’t that bad there,” or “He will be safe,” or any of that other bullshit. I have seen the laziness of the ANA soldiers, I have seen the gross corruption of the ANA and ANP leadership, and I have seen the ineptitude of many American service-members in leadership positions. I will go day in and day out knowing what he is seeing and dealing with, and let me just say that is true torture. Being blind as most Americans are to the true facts is not such a bad thing.”

The thing that stands out here the most is the honesty of the quote. He knows his son is not going to be safe there and it is really that bad. He says this because of the fact that he knows what it really is like. He is not naive about the things that will happen. There is a sense that he kind of wishes he does not know these things because he is going to worry all the time. As the saying goes, “War is hell.”

Kurt., Vonnegut,. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dial Trade Paperback, 1999. Print.
Steward, Troy. “The Sandbox: HOPE IS NOT A METHOD.” Uclick Blog. 25 Jan. 08. Web. 13 Nov. 2009.

Nov
12

Even though Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was not discovered as a condition until recent years, it has been around long before that. World War II was really the last conventional war that was fought and with all the atrocities, many people were likely to suffer from PTSD. I had just finished reading a book called Since You Went Away. This book has the contents of an assortment of letters during WWII that were from families and loved ones sent to United States soldiers over seas. Many of the letters were advised to be uplifting for the soldiers. When reading the letters, there is a sense of strong feelings towards the person receiving the letter. Family are always going to have a role in wars. In a recent article, a North Texas couple talk about what it is like to have a son over in Iraq that has PTSD. They know their son has PTSD and it has to be hard to know that their son is not the same person that they were once before.

“My son is having to wait months at a time before he even sees someone, to talk to a license counselor,” explained McCartney.

This quote is an example of what many families are going through with the recent discovery of PTSD. Many of the soldiers are not getting the treatment that they really need and are still being shipped off to fight a war. To watch a family member suffer has to be a hard thing to endure. A family is going to want what is best for one of its own. This is a reoccurring theme in the book Since You Went Away. Even though PTSD was something that was never heard of during WWII, many families understood the hardships going on over seas. They gave much support to the soldiers.

Litoff, Juddy B., and David C. Smith. Since You Went Away World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front. New York: University of Kansas, 1995. Print.

Newton, Melissa. “North Texas Family Feeling The Effects Of PTSD – cbs11tv.com.” Dallas / Fort Worth news, weather, sports, traffic and video from cbs11tv.com. 12 Nov. 2009. Web. 12 Nov. 2009. <http://cbs11tv.com/health/post.traumatic.stress.2.1308792.html&gt;.

Nov
05

When looking at the Holocaust of WWII, it was one of the most gruesome acts that mankind has ever inflicted on itself ever in history. There truly was not another instance where there was the attempt of mass extermination on a group of people like this in one point of time. It is easy to look at it and identify with it that it was horrible. Another way to look at it is through a scientific stand point. The Holocaust was something of a cause and effect. Could the Holocaust that cause post-traumatic stress disorder, then raise the rate of chanced of receiving cancer? A study done to answer this question was published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute

“The study found a 17% increase in risk for all types of cancer. The younger someone was during the Holocaust, the higher the risk for cancer.  This was especially severe for infants and toddlers. For example, male survivors born between 1940 and 1945 had an overall risk of cancer 3.5 times higher than those who were not exposed to the Holocaust, while the risk for women in that age group was 2.3 times higher.”

I currently just finished reading a book written by a chemist who survived during the Holocaust. The book is called Survival In Auschwitz If This Is Man. The author was a man named Primo Levi who was 24 at the time. It was just interesting because much of the book he talks about his experience of the Holocaust in a more scientific standpoint of how everyday life was carried out throughout the concentration camps.

“This time last year I was a few man: an outlaw but free; I had a name and a family, I had an eager and restless mind, an agile and healthy body.”

This is Primo saying that in just under a year the Nazi concentration camp has taken so much from him. He was perfectly normal and then now his health has deteriorated and he cannot think the same anymore. The Holocaust greatly affected his body in a harsh way. Even after the prisoners were liberated they still had to deal with problems concerning their health. Many died after the camps because there was just no way their body could recover from such an event as the Holocaust.

Primo., Levi,. Survival In Auschwitz. Null: Www.bnpublishing.com, 2007. Print.

Szalavitz, Maia. “Early Trauma, Diet and Cancer: Holocaust study probes links – Wellness – TIME.com.” Wellness – A healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit. – TIME.com. 29 Oct. 2009. Web. 05 Nov. 2009.

Oct
20

It has been about 70 years since the end of the Holocaust, with its end in 1945. Many of the survivors of the concentrations camps have since passed but their children live on. Many of the children may have lived a different life if the Holocaust would have never happened. The children of Holocaust survivors have to deal with a variety of issues with themselves and between their parents.

”Many who have lost parents and relatives feel a total lack of trust in the world and in humanity, and that makes it difficult to relate to anybody,” (The New York Times )

Currently, I am reading a book that was written by a Holocaust survivor’s son. The book is called Maus and is written by Art Spiegeleman. It is a graphic novel that tells the story of the Holocaust through his father’s memory and it also has more than just that. It tells about the current relationship that him and his dad had at the time of him writing the book.  I think the quote above relates well to the author. I don’t mean it in a negative way though. It is just that when I analyze Art’s writing of his story, it seems that he doesn’t relate well with anyone, including his wife. Throughout the book, there is a sence of a very distant relationship that him and Vladeck (his father) share.

“In some ways he’s just like the racist caricature of the miserly old Jew.” (131)

This is just one of the many distant feelings that Art expresses about his father. Art makes it clear throughout the book that him and his  father have never had a normal relationship that most fathers and sons typically have in our culture. A big part in why that might be is because Art’s dad went through the Holocaust and that changed him to a different person than he would have been if the Holocaust had never affected him.

HINDS, MICHAEL D. “RELATIONSHIPS; HELPING HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS’ CHILDREN – New York Times.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 05 Nov. 1984. Web. 20 Oct. 2009.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus : A Survivor’s Tale My Father Bleeds History/Here My Troubles Began/Boxed. New York: Pantheon, 1993. Print 

Oct
08

When people think of post-traumatic stress disorder, most of the time the first thing that comes to their mind is a picture of and soldier, which there is nothing wrong with that. It is just how our society kind of stigmatize the medical condition. PTSD can stretch out farther and affect a variety of people put in devastating situations. An unfortunate illustration of post-traumatic disorder is the holocaust and the prisoners it affected. During WW II, the Jews and other minority races had to suffer to a degree that is unimaginable and at no other time in history has something as this happened.

“In 1975, physical exams and psychiatric interviews were conducted on survivors from the Holocaust survivors. It was reported that 52.2 percent of the survivors suffered from met the certain criteria for PDST.”

This is an outrageous number that helps demonstrate how traumatic the experience the Holocaust survivors had. I have always known and heard of the things that were carried out in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. It was only until I recently watched An Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the Nazi Holocaust when I realized how gruesome the Holocaust really was. In the documentary, it shows the prisoners that died and the ones still living. It was obvious to see all the prisoners were starved down to nothing. The documentary also showed the worst living conditions that one could live in and also the worst things that could be done to a person.

“It had to be seen to be believed”

Alfred Hitchcock is exactly right when he says this in the documentary. There is no way a person could even imagine how horrendous the things were that were carried out at these concentration camps. I could not even imagine some of the things that happened there before I had seen this documentary. Even then, there is still a different, more realistic experience of how bad things were if you were there to see it in person for yourself.  

An Alfred HitchHitchcock documentary on the Nazi Holocaust. Video.google.com. Google. Web. 7 Oct. 2009.

PTSD transmission: a review of secondary traumatization in Holocaust survivor families | Canadian Psychology | Find Articles at BNET.” Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. Web. 07 Oct. 2009.

Oct
01

You never realize how important something can be to you until it is gone. After it has left, it seems like part of you went with it and it is never coming back. This is my assumption for what soldiers feel like when they go off into battle. I wouldn’t know for sure because I’ve never stepped foot on battle grounds. They leave everything they have behind to go fight. They give up so much for their country. I never thought about that saying until now. They give up their family, they give up their friends, and they give up every day luxuries that we take for granted.

I have just finished reading a play called the Ghost May Laugh. The play is centered on four soldiers that tell fearful stories they have encountered throughout World War I. One of the characters named Jones says,

“And I can see my wife, years after I am dead. All those years I should have had with her, they’re gone, they’ve been taken from me. She’ll find someone else, and I’ll be angry at him because he lived and I didn’t. Because he can hold her, and kiss her, and love her, and I can’t. It’s like I’m sinking…sinking into an endless infinite sea of hopelessness, but infinity just isn’t big enough.”

Jones is very fearful of what might happen if he is not able to return home. Then is no different than to what soldiers feel today. This is a piece of a blog from a modern day soldier that can be compared to what Jones says.

“Those realities that finally catch up to you when you just can’t push past the pain of how much you miss your kids, or how much you miss your girlfriend or wife. And other realities, such as realizing how frustrating even some of your fellow comrades are, and how damaging they can be to everyone’s morale.”

If only things could be different. It is hard for me to read these two quotes. When I read them I think about my family and my loved ones that I could not bear to not be there for. I would be stressing out of my mind if I had was put in their situation. I now understand a bit more about how they give up so much. Soldiers are stripped of the things that make them who they are. This is what war does to people and it is very unfortunate it has to happen.

Lee, Stuart D. “The Ghost May Laugh.” Secondary Worlds: Teaching, Technology, and English Education. WordPress. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. .
Mahoy, Ken. “The Fog Of Life.” Web log post. Third Times A Charm. The Sandbox, 14 Mar. 2008. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. .

Sep
24

One thing that is noticeable about post-traumatic stress disorder is that it not only affects the person that is personally managing the illness but also the people that are around them. This is a troubling fact. Imagine having a family member, friend, or a love one come home from war to find out that they are not the same person they were before. Or even talking to them while they are on duty and noticing the metamorphosis of their change throughout the war. This can be very upsetting especially to a loved one.

I am currently reading a book called Testament of Youth by Vera Brittan. It is the memoirs of a woman that served in World War I as a nurse. It is a fantastic book and I highly recommend everyone to read it. A good example of two people in love with each other having to deal with PTSD is Roland and Vera. Roland and Vera, who are in love with each other often, write each other letters during the war. After awhile of being on the frontlines, Roland’s letters to Vera start to become quite peculiar. This is a letter from Roland to Vera.

“I can scarcely realise that you are there, there in a world of long wards and silent-footed nurses and better clean smells and an appalling whiteness in everything. I wonder if your metamorphosis has been as complete as my own. I feel a barbarian, a wild man of the woods, stiff, narrowed, practical and incipient martinet perhaps-not at all the kind of person who would be associated with prizes on Speech Day, or poetry, or dilettante classicism. I wonder what the dons of Merton would say to me now, or if I could ever waste my time on Demosthenes again. One should go to Oxford first and see the world afterwards; when one has looked from the mountain-top it is hard to stay contentedly in the valley….” (216)

This letter to Vera shows that Roland doesn’t feel like he is the same person he was before he entered the war. He feels like a hardened man. This letter also affects Vera and makes her quite upset at Roland. Roland is basically telling her that he is nothing of the man that she originally fell in love with. This hurts Vera very much and it demostrates how PTSD can hurt close ones.

“It is typical to note that young veterens even in these times tend to marry younger. This adds extra unneeded stress on a soldier to balance an at home life and a life on the front.” (KPBS) Post-traumatic stress disorder is a vicious circle that doesn’t just affect one person.

Brittain, Vera. Testament of Youth (Penguin Classics). New York: Penguin Classics, 2005. Print.
Cavanaugh, Maureen, and Hank Crook. “How Does Stress Of War Affect Military Families?” Kpbs.org. 23 Sept. 2009. Web. 27 Sept. 2009.

Sep
17

Man’s Best Friend to the Rescue

This is my first my initial post on my topic, post-traumatic stress disorder.  So this should be very interesting. I found an article that caught my eye and I thought it would be perfect for my first real post. A recent article did a study on how dogs can soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is also commonly called PTSD.

The study was first introduced by the U.S Department of Defense and it was for one year. What the study did was compare soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder with dogs and to ones without. I thought this was a genius idea. I believe that most soldiers in all likelihood feel that they are kind of lone wolves after they come out of the war. I think a dog can give them companionship that most other couldn’t offer. It always seemed to me that people who like dogs are happier when they’re accompanied by them. This especially concurs with soldiers that do not exactly have a family with open arms to come back to. A dog can also fill a void of all the empty time that a soldier might have when they come back.

     “Eighty-two percent have reported fewer PTSD symptoms since they have had the dogs, and 40% said they were using fewer medications.”

     This was a quote from an article by USA Today that obviously shows the correlation between the difference of a soldier having PDST with a doge and one who does not. It doesn’t exactly completely banish the disorder but it is a start and those are significant percentages. I am in big favor of, as long as progress is being made then it is a success. I am in full support of soldiers with PDST to all have psychiatric service dogs if they are willing to receive them. This study truly has the capability of producing many Cinderella stories.

Dogs get nod in study to help vets with post traumatic stress disorder, Todd Plittby
by USA Today
04 September ,2000