In beginning the new launch of the site dedicated to helping those confronting post-traumatic stress, started with the book that went to #2 for three weeks on Amazon.com’s Topseller list in 2004, I’m going to look directly at the wording used to describe what I prefer to call Post-Traumatic Stress Response (PTSR).

And far be it from me to hide from controversy by also saying it’s NOT a disorder, something I’ll reveal in many posts. The PTSR is actually the appropriate subconscious reaction to events reminiscent of traumatic events. If you’re getting mortared were you not trained to hit the deck? The key is that having come home, you’re not being mortared (at least I hope not! :) ) and that’s why it’s not a direct response to a traumatic event, but a subconscious reaction to a historical traumatic event, and that it’s the lack in congruency that we’re working with.

Some in the mental health field have tried to remove the stigma of PTSD by calling it Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Syndrome, disorder, these have only served to reinforce the much larger public lack of understanding that words such labels as “shell-shock” had in previous wars.

In the ten years that I have assisted those dealing with PTSR, I’m realizing completely that it’s the stigma and alienation that effectively magnifies the more disastrous reactions to PTSR such as an over-sensitivity, uncontrollable anger, insurmountable frustration, and emotional crippling and stifling—all of them adding to the inability to reintegrate healthfully into modern society. We will have many talks about society and how we work
with and around society to achieve inner and outer reintegration.

In an effort to remove this stigma and more effectively aid those dealing with the delayed response related to being in and surviving combat, I will as often as possible refer in this blog to what has historically been labeled shell-shock, combat fatigue, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) as Post-Traumatic Stress Response (PTSR).

Plain and simply PTSD is just a reaction, during times that may seem inappropriate, but still just a reaction like having an emotional reaction to a movie or song. You consciously know the movies not real, just like a combat veteran consciously knows he or she is not in combat anymore, but yet you have the reaction as though you were. When it’s a love song or romantic movie what could more enriching supporting than feel those pangs of love and share those tears of romance?

But, when you hearing your friends screaming in your mind, you’re afraid to go to sleep because you might wake punching and yelling, where’s the benefit in that? That’s what this work on conscious and subconscious reaction to memories of sorrow has been about for me and those I’ve helped: reacting in a healthful, beneficial manner to historical events that nearly killed us.

I look forward through the coming weeks, months and years providing as much information not just from an analytical and clinical point of view as a counselor, but also as one who had to use old tried tools, techniques and organic understandings but also create and confirm the new ones to survive my own coming home.

Onward and Upward!