As a therapist, I am always happy to see social media bringing awareness to mental health issues, especially suicide. This month an army veteran in Michigan started it to get people talking about POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.
To accept the challenge, you do 22 push ups each day for 22 days to raise awareness and funds to show military men and women they are not alone. Every day, an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide because they cannot cope with what they’ve been through, CBS2s Emily Smith reported (newyork.cbslocal.com)
Former Navy SEAL Kevin Lacz portrayed himself in the film American Sniper alongside Bradley Cooper, who played Chris Kyle. Kyle became a mentor to Lacz in Iraq. Kyle is known as the man with the most sniper kills in U.S. history. He was murdered by a former marine suffering from PTSD after he was honorably discharged.
Its an issue thats alarming, stunning, striking and I think we need to pay more attention to it, Lacz said.
He worked up a sweat for the PTSD awareness challenge, but he said there is a stereotype that everyone who serves has the disorder.
They estimate 20 to 25 percent do. There’s another 75 percent who don’t and people are quick to put the label if you served overseas you have PTSD.”
But Lacz said the issue and experiences that cause it should be talked about by everyone including war veterans themselves.
There’s always that perception dont ask what someone did overseas, but I think people want to know, he said. Your experiences are powerful. You led squads while your buddies were playing video games in college.
Here at Wasatch Family Therapy, we are always trying to being awareness to suicide, a topic many do not like to talk about. Take this holiday to read up on the stats of suicide and take the Push Up Challenge, which shows war veterans they are not alone and have an army of their own to help empower them once again.
Cindy sat in my office, seeking relief from the intense psychological anguish that she had been experiencing for the several months since having survived a fatal head on collision with an SUV. The driver of the other vehicle was intoxicated, swerved into Cindy’s lane of traffic and impacted her vehicle head on. That driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Since that time, Cindy had been experiencing insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks and difficulty functioning – classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
From a neurological stand point, her brain was essentially “stuck” in a primitive survival mechanism known as “fight or flight” – a protective measure that is designed to identify a dangerous situation and put the entire system on the defense at warp speed, all in an effort to ward off any threat to survival. Fight or flight is a mode of defense that operates on a “better safe than sorry” mentality. In Cindy’s case, even though the threat to her safety had ended months ago, her system was still stuck in that defensive posture “just in case” the threat, or anything like unto it, resurfaced. Although Cindy understood on a rational level that the threat had long since passed, her neurology was reluctant to let it’s guard down in the event that there was a mistake and the danger had not really passed. Scenes from the event were relived again and again in her mind because literally that memory had been loaded into her neurological network in a manner that caused the rewind button to be continuously pushed by anything in her environment that even slightly resembled the near fatal accident – riding in a moving vehicle, the sound of a car’s engine, sirens in the distance, flashing lights, etc….