The Burden of PTSD: An Ongoing Conversation

Perhaps you've heard: PTSD among veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is a huge problem and we might not have the resources to deal with its ramifications. GOOD recently ran my feature on the subject, "The Memory War," and since then, I've had many conversations on the topic-ranging from readers' personal experiences, to sprawling discussions on the multifacted challenges facing service members suffering from PTSD. One such discussion, however, really forced me to take a step back.In an email exchange with Kathie Costos DiCesare, a Senior IFOC Chaplain, she expresses a view of the Army's Battlemind training program that I'd never heard, or even considered. For the unfamiliar, Battlemind is a training program used to try to counter the effects of war on armed forces. It's been heavily criticized as inadequate. DiCesare takes that criticism one step further."Battlemind and Warrior Mind both have the same problem and-it's my belief-have the most to do with the rise in suicides as well as attempted suicides," she writes. Both programs, she says, tell troops they can prepare their minds for war, implying that if they are somehow wounded by PTSD, it's their fault.She went on to tell me what while visiting a VA in Orlando with her husband (who is a Vietnam vet with PTSD), she met two Marines who had just returned from Iraq. She was wearing her Chaplain's jacket and offered the men help in filling out some paperwork they were struggling through."We talked for a while and then one Marine began to cry," DiCesare writes. "He told me that as a Marine, he's not supposed to be weak. He told me that he was just not strong enough." It took a while, she says, but she finally got through to the Marine, telling him that it was normal to feel these things after battle, and that quite the opposite was true: That he had shown tremendous courage."No one had ever told him that before," she writes. "This Marine had received the message of Battlemind and it told him that if he ended up with PTSD, it was his fault for not preparing mentally for the challenge of combat."Annette Yover, the veteran whose story I recounted in my article, experienced a similar flood of emotion when she returned from her service in the Navy. Upon realizing she could no longer cope with her daily work as a mortician at a civilian funeral home-a stumbling block that forced her to find a new career path-she was devastated.But as DiCesare explains, this burden is plaguing countless veterans, who return from war with unrealistic expectations of how they should behave and react to civilian life. As many veterans have recounted to me, they wish they could just switch off their military training when they return home. Of course it's not that simple. As the DOD, NIMH, and others continue to pour research dollars into the problem, America's veterans are still struggling, and often taking their own lives, as they wait for answers.Guest blogger Matthew Newton is a freelance writer.Image via
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

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There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

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Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

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