Author Archives Anonymous

30
Jul
2015

A news article came out today saying researchers are working on a very simple computer game to help veterans suffering from post traumatic stress. It sounds simple: you look at a negative word or face (ones that you associate with bad memories or stress) and neutral words and then you complete a simple task. The idea is that the association between the negative and neutral become closer together and this will reduce the effects of PTSD in daily life.

Seems basic. We hope it works. If the results are positive we would love to offer it to huddl members. The good news is the research regarding post traumatic stress is increasing and leading to more help for those suffering. In the meantime, it still feels good to connect with others going through similar things at huddl.org.

Full article here: Simple Computer Program to Help PTSD

12
Aug
2014

Robin Williams

By now, unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware of the tragic passing of Robin Williams. His untimely death should serve as a reminder to everyone that no one is immune to mental health issues.  Here we had an iconic comedian, a man who by any guesstimate made millions of people laugh billions of times, a man beloved by those who knew him best as well as those who never stepped foot on the same Continent as him.  There is a lot to be said for anyone who has such wide appeal to so many, his zany personality connected with so many people, but let’s not forget his ability to take on serious roles as an actor and do so flawlessly.  Robin Williams was truly a generational artist, I cannot point to another actor/comedian who brought so much to so many.

Just like all of us, we all knew that Robin was battling his own demons, the extent of which perhaps we are just now finding out. I had heard/read some snide comments already, how people cannot ‘understand’ how someone so happy and who elicits such happy emotions can be so unhappy on the inside. Why is this bizarre? This is the norm, not an outlier, people battling depression don’t walk around all day with their hands in their pockets kicking rocks, they lead normal lives, or as close to normal as they can take. They are your colleagues, your neighbors, your family, no matter how many laughs are born by a person, don’t let the exterior tell you the full story.

How often these days do we truly, genuinely try to get to know people in & out? We get asked bottled questions and we give bottled responses, we don’t dig any deeper. I don’t know if we have always been that way, but the older I get the less interested people seem to be in other people, and this is disturbing. Perhaps we are numb to so much more now because we constantly get reminded of horror & tragedy via news, twitter etc. We hear a bit of bad news and almost instantaneously we are being buried under the next news story, no real time allowed to digest what we just learned, to empathize with people we don’t or never will know.

Robin had family, loved ones, did they know how pained he was? There is no right answer to that question, my heart  breaks at the thought of not being around for my own family, and I cannot imagine the inner turmoil a person goes thru when they make the decision that they have only one way to stop the pain. In Robin’s passing, I hope we can all look at our loved ones a bit differently, and everyone else for that matter. Depression is often times not visible, your little day to day interactions with people can have a resounding affect, don’t waste it twiddling with your phone or having someone’s words glance off of you.

At PTSD United, through huddl.org (the anonymous social support network for trauma) we strive to make connection and support as easy as possible.

As we reflect on this tragic and sad loss, please look at those around you, especially if they’ve mentioned depression before. We may think there is time to get help and that we can wait it out. This simply isn’t the case. If you know of someone around you who needs help, please reach out today. One more day living with sadness is too much. One more loss of life is too much. It’s upon all of us to save those in society who are struggling and to make real, honest connections with those close to us.

 

 

The VA Issues

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24
Jun
2014

The VA has been in the news a lot lately and most of the reports have not placed them in a good light. There have been stories of backlogs, crazy wait times and cries of “understaffed” and “underfunded”. It’s this simple article that really set me off though:

8 years for psych eval a ‘harmless error,’ VA says

With all of the scrutiny going on it’s time for someone to take responsibility. These stories are not “harmless errors”. Your job is to help our veterans; your job is to help those suffering from mental and physical problems. When did it become fine to send Americans to war and not care for them when they return home? When did it become fine to let people wait for 8 years?

Veterans aren’t waiting 8 years for a vacation or a car. There are serious consequences to neglecting our veterans: lives are on the line.

20
Mar
2014

This is an encouraging read for anyone suffering from PTSD.  Researchers in Brisbane have began working on finding the root cause of PTSD, in hopes of better diagnosis & potentially prevention in the future.  What is most encouraging is the fact that this is being spearheaded by a team of Volunteers.  – PTSD United Staff  

World-first PTSD research starts in Brisbane

Some of Australia’s leading scientists, researchers and doctors have started world-first clinical research in Brisbane to unlock the code behind post-traumatic stress disorder – the debilitating and potentially fatal mental illness that impacts around one million Australians, including many war veterans.

Read the rest of the story.

16
Feb
2014

Following the recent tragic passing of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, many people who cannot wait to chime in with their opinions of anything & everything decided to speak out on the topic.  While I believe any death is tragic regardless of the cause, in our age of twitter & facebook where people can voice their thoughts at a moments notice, I honestly feel as though our sense of empathy is waning.  Have we put our feelings towards other people aside in order to get behind a particular side of an argument, even when there shouldn’t be an argument to begin with?

I was disheartened to read so many blog comments, tweets & facebook posts disregarding the loss of this fantastic Actor & artist, and instead focusing on his struggles with drugs. Many people echoed the same sentiment; drug addicts deserve what they have coming their way, and they should be ashamed for putting their families through such turmoil.  While I am not denying being accountable for your actions, substance abuse on its own is a sensitive topic, especially for many of our Veterans and civilians who have lived through traumatic experiences.  Escape through drugs or alcohol is the easiest & quickest way many people know how to ease their pain, to help them forget.

The view that Mr. Hoffman’s death was cliche, big time Hollywood actor who overdosed, tosses aside the true cause & effect of substance abuse in our society.  Do you honestly think that addicts wouldn’t rather be sober?  Do you really believe that they care more about their drug of choice than their own families & loved ones?  For those of us who have experienced life-altering pain or circumstances, we find ourselves searching for a way to not think about what we had lived through, while drugs & alcohol are not an answer, our options are limited and unfortunately many of us would rather struggle inwardly than outwardly in public.

I did not know Mr. Hoffman, but I do know many Veterans who have witnessed trauma’s that most of us could not fathom.  This tragedy could serve as a wake-up call to many of us that getting to the root cause of substance abuse, and offering safe alternatives, could help save so many lives, not just those of Hollywood actors.  I do not know what led Mr. Hoffman to use drugs, but I know what led many of our Nation’s bravest down a similar path, distinguishing between the two does not help anyone.

17
Jan
2014

A recent article published by the Huffington Post touched a nerve with several members of our Staff, and knowing that many of our users are Veterans themselves, presumably them as well.  The author, William McNulty, a Co-Founder of an excellent organization called Team Rubicon, really struck a chord with his words.  Maybe it was not the words, but the feelings conveyed through those words that jumped off my screen and into my soul.

PTSD is not new, as Mr. McNulty points out early on, but rather it has a name now.  Veterans are losing the shroud of shame they had coming home from War, they are realizing that there is nothing wrong with the way they feel, and that there are many out there just like them

But then we make an unexpected turn, we dive into the unknown.  Why are Veterans of our 2 most recent wars in Iraq & Afghanistan suffering worse than Veterans of Wars past?  Why is a Veteran taking their own life an average of every 65 minutes?  The clear marker, addressed by Mr. McNulty, is the unclear goals of both Wars, from their start up til today.  Our Veterans sacrificed so much to go serve in hostile areas, those who were fortunate enough to return alive did not leave the War ‘over there’, they brought it home with them.  In the days/weeks/months upon their return, understandably, they would replay in their minds the experiences they had.  During those replay’s, I think it would be only natural to start asking questions, and there is where the onset of depression & despair may start.

Mr. McNulty is not pinning the situation on a Politician or Political party, which many people are quick to do nowadays.  Admirably, the focus shifts to Civilian leadership, and their inability to clearly outline the goals of our 2 most recent Wars.  The percentage of Americans serving in the Military is at its lowest point since the 1920’s according to Mr. McNulty, so fewer of us have any idea what the others are going through.

Why?

Why are so many our cherished & deserving Veterans suffering, and feeling as if there is no answer?

Why did these Wars take as long as they have?

What is a Veteran returning to America supposed to do?

You see, when questions start to spring up, more will follow right behind them.  When left to your own thoughts, it can be overwhelming.

On behalf of the PTSD United staff, thank you Mr. McNulty.

02
Jan
2014

Music is the one media that transcends time, I can hear a song today from my youth and it will take me right back.  Music also can help heal, it generates memories of happier times.  In dealing with PTSD symptoms, music can undoubtedly play a key role, and this program in Virginia is definitely tapping into the power of music to heal.  – PTSD United Staff

Program uses guitar lessons to treat vets for PTSD

BY BILL SIZEMORE (THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT)
Published: December 31, 2013

HAMPTON – “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.”

Playwright William Congreve coined that sentiment in 1697. Three centuries later, Dan Mathes is a poster boy for it.

Mathes, 54, came to the Hampton VA Medical Center in August carrying a lot of baggage from his 21 years in the Army. On a recent Friday afternoon, all of that was relegated to a back shelf of his mind as he caressed a shiny, new Yamaha acoustic guitar.

Read the rest of the story.

Happy Holidays

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24
Dec
2013

On behalf of the entire staff here at PTSD United & Huddl, we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday season.

This year has seen the formation of our organization, all through the hard work of our dedicated staff & advisors.

We launched Huddl, the only anonymous social network of its kind.  Since launch, we are seeing a thriving community of passionate users, all coming together to share their experiences with others.  To say that we humbled by our growth is an understatement, and we are so thankful to be having a positive impact on people’s lives.

This community truly is yours, and we could not do it without all of you.  The Holidays are all about giving, if you are able to help during our Holiday Fundraising Drive, we would appreciate it.  If not, join our community & contribute there.

Most importantly, if you know someone living with PTSD, please tell them about us, and let them know that they are not alone.

06
Dec
2013

As PTSD awareness continues to grow, its encouraging to see the new & creative ways people are channeling their emotions.  There are so many positive outlets available for thos of us who suffer from PTSD, let’s hope that this trend continues – PTSD United Staff  

Yoga instruction aims to help those with PTSD

  • By Kelsey Ryan

A local yoga studio is hosting a workshop for yoga instructors and social workers to learn how yoga can help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“This program is very empowering,” said Jon Greuel, a retired Air Force major who lives in Dallas who will teach the workshop this weekend at Siva Yoga Studio, 416 S. Commerce, Suite 104.