Kudos to PBS for honoring Memorial Day by broadcasting wonderful programming regarding soldiers, service, and PTSD. Catching only some of it, and making a mental note to watch all of it at a later date, I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy in the portrayal of PTSD.
As I have stated before, PTSD is not only a “soldier” issue. However, soldiers and anyone else suffering with PTSD are often misunderstood, stigmatized, and not immediately privy to the help that they need and deserve. This is truly unfortunate, as anyone who has suffered with this illness understands that time is the enemy. PTSD only gets worse with time, and, being a disease that REQUIRES treatment to get through, too often it is struggled through without treatment, to continue to resurface throughout one’s lifetime.
Too often, I hear the refrain, “just give it time, you’ll get through it,” in regards to PTSD. This thought was especially prominent during my own early struggles with PTSD. Time does not erase PTSD, nor does it lessen the severity of PTSD. If anything, time, without treatment, makes PTSD stronger, as more triggers develop and avoidance behaviors strengthen.
I know this diagnosis sounds particularly ominous, however, this is when we need to remember that mental illness is just that, an illness. An illness requires treatment. I doubt that many of us would look at a physical wound, such as a severely infected cut, and maintain the hope that “it will get better with time.” Time without treatment, whether physical or mental is often ineffective.
I think, in looking at soldiers’ struggles throughout the years with this debilitating mental illness, we all can take note that PTSD does not go away merely with the passage of time. It is very apparent that some soldiers who served many, many, years ago still are severely affected by PTSD. It is not any different for other people, no matter what their profession, who suffer from PTSD. It does not matter how many days, months, years, decades, have passed. If you do not seek professional treatment, you will not be able to make your mind better. Time does not erase PTSD, only treatment.
Thanks for Reading,