PTSD for soldiers comes in more than one variety.
Battle fatigue is what demands treatment. The veteran can no longer be a soldier, and in fact has a very hard time being anything else. This is the shattered soldier.
I’m going to suggest and name another variety: I’ll call it the Perfect soldier:
- The soldier adapts to nightmares by never sleeping deeply. Whenever a dream starts he awakens to avoid all nightmares.
- This soldier never allows his thoughts to revisit the horrors behind him. This shuts off the guilt and remorse.
- This soldier is always on alert and his unconscious pushes him to be “combat ready” at the first hint of conflict.
- This is what makes veterans better soldiers. Always ready. No hesitation or remorse. To the military this is not an affliction. Not PTSD because there is no D for disorder.
What does make this a disorder is that it stays with the soldier when he takes off the uniform. 35 years after I got out of the service:
- I never slept more than 3 hours at a stretch.
- I banished any thought of combat.
- I was “combat ready” at the slightest provocation.
I was pushed into EFT therapy by a loved one who thought that if I slept better I would be easier to get along with. Once I got the hang of it I spent many hours alone, retracing my steps around combat zones. I gradually figured out that I was looking for memories of horror. When the pain was gone from a memory I went looking for another. I also figured out that I could use EFT to blunt the “combat ready” reactions that I had in day-to-day living. As I cleared out more memories I stopped having “combat ready”reactions. I went through whole days without my hands shaking from an adrenalin rush. I began to realize how unpleasant that “combat ready” reaction was, not just for the people around me, but for me too.
For 35 years I was hard to get along with. Divorced, fired, and feared by my children because I over-reacted to any provocation. Six hours of therapy gave me the tools to change.
Captain George Peters