Sunday, March 24, 2013

Myke Cole on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Last week this web site linked to Myke Cole's discussion of how he, as a veteran, experiences post-traumatic stress disorder; my comment on his blog post asked what he found helpful.

Here's his original article:

Here's my related post:

Here is his reply to my comment:

Glad it was helpful to you. I engage in a wide variety of strategies to deal with my PTSD, but the single most helpful thing is treating it as a shift in perspective, as I have mentioned above.
You don't treat a shift in perspective, you acknowledge that you have changed, and changed permanently, and go about constructing a new life with new goals based on the person you have become. You also don't view this new person as "wrong" or "sick" or "damaged." You are different, and that is what it is.

The 2 big fresh goals that have honestly saved me are:

1.) Security - Taking on crisis related work, especially those tasks that are dangerous and difficult (I currently work in Search-and-Rescue and Maritime Law Enforcement) has been enormously helpful. It is the closest thing to that the bone-rattling feeling of significance I had when deployed to Iraq or major domestic disasters. It also helps put the fear to bed as I mention in the the post above.

2.) Art - Pursuing a career in the arts was a thing I was always taught was foolish, and that responsible people didn't do it because one could never make a living. But publishing novels is the only thing (other than armed service) that makes me feel relevant to the world post Iraq. Part of coping with PTSD was giving myself permission to be poor, or bohemian, or whatever I had to be in order to allow myself to follow this calling.

I am not saying that PTSD is a way to chase your dreams. I am saying that, instead of treating it like a pathology, I had to find new ways to be in the world that fit the new way in which I saw the world. I had to find life goals that felt relevant post disaster. Writing and fighting are the only 2 that work for me so far.

Hope that helps."

It helps me feel that I've provided useful information on this web page; thank you, Myke Cole.

Out of gratitude, I looked up Myke Cole's Amazon page. Although they're not the kind of novels I read, somebody out there may want to buy these books...