Violence and PTSD
They all assume we’re nuts
You go in for a job interview and they scroll down to the last seciton on your resume… “Oh, you’re a veteran?” Instant mark against you in most situations because they automatically assume you’re fuck nuts. They just know that you’re going to have a rough day and show up with an assault rifle. You are now a pending liability. They’ve seen all the headlines about how 48% of those leaving the military today to enter the civilian workforce are damaged. They’ve read about the base shootings and random killings done by those that have left the service (usually with undiagnosed PTSD). They don’t stop to consider that you’re a good person with good moral standing who isn’t about to preform some headline worthy act of violence. No… they just assume you are one bad donut away from blowing your brains out and possibly taking others with you.
I remember walking into the doctor’s lounge while working at a hosiptal one afternoon. It had been a long day, one of those days, and I was wearing my exhaution all over my face… and hair. As soon as I walked through the door, before it even closed behind me, a buddy of mine yells out “Hey Jonesy, weren’t you in the Marine Corps?” I stood motionless as every face turned to meet mine. I saw the look, the same collective look, on their faces. I knew what they were thinking… “She’s probably crazy.” And these are doctors! Highly educated and intellegent doctors with degrees and knowleldge and shit! And every last one of these men were looking at me like I might pull out my sidearm and start unloading at any moment.
Bottom line – you can’t avoid the bullshit and ignorance… it’s abundent and far reaching.
Fighting the stigma
Honestly, you’re batting a thousand here. I was yesterday, I am today, and I will be tomorrow, that female Marine people talk about. As a Marine, I was overly ambitions and motivated to be the best. Law enfocement, same thing. Schooling and my work in the medical field… same thing. But it’s not just because I am a Marine. That just happens to be who I am. I need to be the best, the one everyone else can count out. I will always be that person, that wife, that mother, that friend who everyone knows when the cards are stacked I will always come through. Call it control issues, call it a female’s desire to shine, call it crazy… but it’s how I’ve always been. But I know that people talk about me as the female Marine. And you know what… that’s ok.
A reporter friend of mine once asked me what a good story about veterans would be. I quickly told him to go interview these vets that can’t find a damn job because as soon as they proudly state that they were in the military they’re fucked. AND THAT’S NOT ALRIGHT!
So, it’s time we fight back! Put ’em up and fight like you mean it! Be willing to answer questions and have a statement prepared for the times this comes up. Be ready with your own facts and knowledge so that you can begin to steer folks in the right direction. Don’t hang your head when they say ignorant shit. Don’t shy away even if it makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to take it, so don’t.
Trained to kill
We were all trained to kill, train to fight, trained to react with violence. And when you add PTSD into the mix… shit gets interesting. Reality becomes skewed when you are trained to react with violence, so it’s reallly hard to just shut that off.
According to the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, “Iraqistan” vets are twice as likely as other vets to be arrested for crimes. Keep in mind that this is “crimes” no murder. We, as a group, are more likely to abuse alochol and other drugs which get us into trouble, more likely to punch that dude that keeps bugging you, or, in my case, break some dudes arm for grabbing a handful of what wasn’t his to grab.
Ok, I broke his arm, jaw, and three ribs… but who’s counting?
When muscle memory plays such a tremendous roll in your reactions, it’s hard to shake that instinct to react with violence. But all of this doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. Just like you can say and find negative shit about us, you can do the same with this mass school shooting shithead generation we are watching now. You take a large cross-section of any group, you’re going to find the shitheads.
So don’t let all this information put you down – AND don’t use it as an excuse to go beat the shit out of your neighbor because you don’t like how he looked at you.