Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about something that has been a point of uncertainty since the first awareness of PTSD - is there a difference between military and civilian trauma? The question if only soldiers get PTSD is luckily more and more a relic of the past.
I think it is very important to understand this point, as this leads to confusion and to a lot of dead ends. So let us shed some light and talk about it.
To make a long story short: The answer is no. There is no difference. This is sort of a correction on my end as well, as I did separate into military and non military myself and it was wrong that I did. I see that I correct things on my end as soon as possible.
I had in the meantime a lot of time to research and understand both civilian as well as military trauma better. Additionally I finally managed to finish the categories of PTSD, which I will explain more next week, which cleared out the last doubts and old believes.
Remember when I talked about the shapes of trauma in form of ring and ball trauma in episode 52? Well it turns out the answer is, that for military trauma there is basically no ball trauma. They start earliest with the ring trauma, if not the next stages.
It turns out putting people who are sleep deprived and/or bodily weakened, facing a life or death situation, dealing with a lot of death, having to kill people, seeing friends die, dodging death themselves, deprived of their social network and the like - is bad.
Especially for your mental health. Who knew? /s. I am aware not everyone faces those issues and might have faced different issues, but the underlying point is: The military is a high stress and pressure environment. I think we can all agree on that.
So the problem with military trauma is that it starts in stage 2 so to speak - and many have trouble treating anything above ball trauma - if they can treat that at all. Especially the bigger ones.
Similarities between the two?
The thing is, that civilian traumas can also go way beyond stage 1 - the ball trauma - and often for the same reason. Their life being in danger, they are regularly facing a lethal enemy, they suffer loads of bodily harm and so on and so forth.
Once you understand what a trauma is, was causes it and how PTSD happens - it becomes pretty clear that it is the same mechanism. The military are just the ones looking out for it - and still doing a bit of a sub par job in offering good treatment.
Those in the civilian sector who face it are mostly either children or civilians in war zones. Those children often don’t survive it into adulthood - be it being killed along the way by their abusers or to drugs/alcohol/other harmful coping mechanism later on.
Which is sadly a strong tendency of those affected by childhood abuse - and to be honest… I can’t really blame them. Both parties face often a strong taboo - the civilian ones regarding speaking ill of those who raised them, their family or something the like.
The military ones it either often shame, not appearing as weak, letting the other down or one of the other reasons. Either way both parties find it hard to speak out and face a lot of harsh backlash and criticism if they do so.
Being insulted, harassed and becoming punching bags - which is why I don’t recommend stepping out or saying anything unless you are prepared to take a full brunt of the attack.
The stubbornness of the military… and civilians
A point that makes the military trauma often worse without real reason - is the stubbornness of the ones having it not wanting to admit something is wrong. And keep going on despite all the signs that something is very wrong. To not loose their connections.
This is encouraged by the military - for many reason others explained extensively. Though to be fair something similar happens with civilians, who refuse to accept that something like that has happened to them and it is not normal as they thought.
As it usually means loosing a lot and letting go of things deeply loved. Similar to what I did. Most likely this stubbornness kept you alive so far - which is great and if utilized well it will keep you alive in what is to come - but it also prevents you from seeking help early on.
So, to recap: There is no real difference between military and civilian trauma. It is just that military trauma is usually more extreme, as the more extreme civilian cases usually don’t survive and/or rather live in the shadows - for their own safety.
It is the exact same mechanism, structures and so on. But there is a big problem with people not understanding the more severe stages of PTSD. Which I get more into next week in hope to give people better tools to communicate and act with.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast, information regarding therapy you can find under johannadraconis.com/Therapy and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.