Archives for Post Traumatic Stress

anxiety and dreams

When Your Disability Involves Your Brain

I have a soft, mushy spot in my heart for dogs, military vets and and people with mental illnesses and brain injuries. So, when I went to the AOL home page to retrieve my email and saw a photo of a young man with his arm around a dog and this headline -  "Airline Staff Allegedly Abused Veteran" - I had to click. In the story, Jim Stanek, a disabled vet who served three tours in Iraq and now has PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) describes how he and his service dog Sarge were treated by United Airlines. It is one of those flight-gone-bad stories that makes you want to escort the boards of directors at all the major airlines onto a plane, seat them in coach, close the doors, disable the bathrooms and leave them on the tarmac for eight hours with only peanuts, pretzels and water. Stanek was trying to get back to his home in New Mexico after a fundraising event for Paws for Stripes, an organization he co-founded which provides service dogs for vets with PTSD and TBI. He got stuck in Dulles International Airport for a couple of frustrating days - flights cancelled, re-scheduled, cancelled, re-scheduled and on and on. It sounds like the kind of experience that would have driven the Dalai Lama to cursing.
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The Math Behind My Depression and Alcoholism

As of this minute, the U.S. Census estimates the population at 310,477,719. Researchers believe that in any given year, ten percent of the population will suffer from a major depression. That's 31,047,771 million suffering Americans. Researchers also estimate that about 12 percent of the population has alcoholism. That's 37,257,326 Americans with alcoholism. Combined, that is 68,305,097 American with alcoholism or in a major depression. For every person with a mental illness there will be at least three others profoundly affected by the illness. A parent or guardian (another 68,305,097); A spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend (another 68,305,097); A sibling/child/co-worker/friend (another 68,305,097).
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The Fort Hood massacre: Secondary PTSD or Jihad?

It is naive to believe that people will respond to stressful events in exactly the same way. Actually, it is stupid. Which is why I am slightly ticked off this morning by an opinion piece written by the Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Charles Krauthammer.

In it, Krauthammer, a psychiatrist who has not practiced for decades, slams those of us who believe what he skeptically calls "Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," "Vicarious Traumatization" or "Compassion Fatigue". The Army calls it "Provider Fatigue."

Krauthammer scoffs...
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Welcome. Glad you made it.

Hello. My name is Christine and I am mentally ill.

I have depression, a form of bipolar called hypomania and I am a recovering alcoholic with 10 years of sobriety.   I am also an investigative reporter, a single-mother, dog-owner and coupon clipper. I have a mortgage, a teenage daughter, a job, credit cards, a gym membership and a load of laundry that needs to be folded.

I am 50 years old and I prefer to call my gray...
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