I Have PTSD and I Didn’t Get It From Twitter

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not a laughing matter and no one should make fun of anyone that has been clinically diagnosed with what can be a debilitating affliction.

Most of us know veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and many of those troops return home with this disorder. Now PTSD can be mild to completely disabling, meaning that people with the most severe symptoms are barely able to function in society.
PTSD was first diagnosed during after World War I and it was called “Shell Shock”. You can even still find film taken at the time of soldiers in hospital going through horrific episodes of shaking and not having any control over their bodies. Imagine though, being in the trenches in France then where your life consisted of living in the mud, being shelled on and off daily by the enemy, then basically charging the enemy trenches en masse and seeing your fellows killed or wounded only to retreat.
During and after World War II, it was called “Battle Fatigue”. Soldiers experienced the same as those from the first war and many soldiers from all countries involved came back changed forever.
Where this disorder really came to the public’s attention though was after Vietnam. Even though soldiers throughout the 20th century had returned home affected, this was the age of television and people actually became aware of PTSD because of the news stories about those veterans. Back then, in the early 1970’s is was known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, because doctors knew there was something actually going on, but over the years didn’t have the diagnostic tools and especially the government funding to perform any actual real research.
Now we all know it as a disorder, due to the research in the intervening years. It’s not really difficult for therapists to diagnose it either.
You’ll find police and firefighters having been diagnosed as well. These people have a very stressful occupation that often places their lives in danger. Over time, or even in an instant depending on the situation, someone’s life can be changed forever.
For me, I started experiencing symptoms the day I returned from Iraq, in December 2004, after thirteen months in country. I recall my sister picking me up at the airport in Houston, and as we were driving down the freeway back to her house, I found myself tense as I was scanning the buildings to either side of the freeway, also intently watching other vehicles as they passed us, or slowed down in front as well as looking for roadside debris as well. These are the things you learn (no one can really teach you) when you’re in a combat zone in a convoy.
I also recall, back just a couple of days, being in a bookstore with my sister when I started hearing “thump, thump, thump”. I had to get out of there and it turned out that it wasn’t mortar fire I was hearing (of course) but roofers tossing rolls of tar paper on the building.
In everything I’ve just mentioned though, this affliction is brought on because the person is in that stressful, often traumatic environment every day. They have no choice, no escape from the momentary terror and the hours of fear hoping to be able to have a night’s sleep or a meal without having to run to a bunker; without the fear of being here and a moment late, dead.
So it really bothers me when someone on a social media site says that they have been “diagnosed” with PTSD from freaking Twitter! I mean, come on! No one is forcing anyone to be a subscriber to any social media site. We all have the option to delete our accounts at any time, unlike the soldier who cannot go to his or her commander and say, “I’ve had enough, I’m going home”.
I’m not saying that people that claim this don’t have some sort of disorder, but I am really skeptical that it was diagnosed as PTSD due to Social Media. If so, they need to find a new therapist, because it sounds like bullshit to me and in a way, a little bit, it dishonors those that gave of themselves, freely, to serve their country or community.
We all have choices when it comes to social media. Honestly, I’ve only been on Twitter for a little over a year, and I only started writing this blog last July. Before that? I really didn’t care about any of this online socialization. I have to say though that I’ve met (virtually) a lot a great people online. We’ve all taken a level of harassment as well; some more serious than others. Me? Someone starts “stalking” me (how do you actually stalk virtually?) I ignore it for the most part. I’m not tied to any of this and I could walk away from it in a second if I wanted to do that.
It’s been entertaining for me though and until I find I’m either bored with it or feel it’s taking up too much of my time, I’ll be here.
Please, please though, if you are feeling “traumatized” due to any social media interactions I have to pieces of (free) advice: a) get help, if you let people that you actually don’t know in real life affect you with words, you really need the therapy. B) Get off whatever media it is that “triggers” you. That’s as easy as logging off.

One thought on “I Have PTSD and I Didn’t Get It From Twitter

  1. Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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