cstnprapp12.centerstone.lan
Home / PTSD After Combat and Holiday Gatherings

PTSD After Combat and Holiday Gatherings

A warrior in a family social environment is usually quiet. Quiet does not mean that they aren’t listening. If you want to include them in a conversation use, a question unrelated to the military or locations. Be prepared for a short answer, usually as close to one word as possible. Move on. Maybe try again in twenty or thirty minutes. Then let it go.

If your family members are huggers, keep in mind that the safe space for a warrior is about two arm lengths out. Someone coming inside that two arm’s length perimeter may trigger an automatic threat reaction from a warrior especially if the move is quick or unexpected. Asking for a hug is a good idea.

For family dinners, consider a warrior with PTSD in your seating chart. Seat him or her with their back to a wall and the rest of the room and the door in view if possible.

I still recall, usually without a panic attack now, my first Thanksgiving with my fiancé’s family. It was a close and happy family. My fiancé was the second youngest of eleven children in her family. So, it’s dinner for twenty-six and their children. This was a significant learning experience for me.

Everything about the time together and the dinner was wonderful if you were one of the family. The brothers teased their sisters. Dads and kids played football some outside, some in the house. This family was happy and loud. They were just being who they were. My problem was that my anxiety level had maxed out five minutes inside the door.

Looking back forty-plus years, it was a classic combat PTSD reaction. I declined dessert and was out of there as quickly as I could be. It was November, and I drove all the way back to Post with the windows rolled down shouting and screaming to release the stress and burn off the adrenalin.

If you are having a guest that has spent time in combat, gentle and easy are good. Moderating noise levels is good. Combat survivors don’t require much social care and feeding. A safe space and the opportunity to listen may be just fine.
Ken Jones, PhD©

 

Ken Jones is a Vietnam combat veteran (11th Cavalry 67-68), a speaker, an advocate, and a writer. His focus is recovery from combat induced PTSD. Supporting our troops, veterans, and their families as they work their way through recovery from PTSD drives Ken to be actively engaged on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media venues. Although he served eight years as a volunteer and staff counselor at the Anchorage Vet Center, he is not a clinician. His comments and observations are based on his own experience of living with combat induced PTSD for the past 40+ years.

Related Posts

Military Services

Changing the Narrative Around Mental Health in the Military

Many values are instilled in service members from their earliest days in basic military training and boot camp. Some of those values include service to others before self, honor, loyalty and a sense of toughing things out. These qualities unarguably make our nation’s servicemen and women, veterans and military families some of the most self-reliant ...

No image set - Centerstone logo
Military

Take time to thank and honor a veteran today – and every day

Veterans Day is once again upon us. This is the one day each year dedicated to paying our respects to all those who have served in the U.S. military. Originally known as Armistice Day, Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance. Starting in 1938, November 11 became a national holiday. Unlike Memorial ...

Military Services

What is PTSD?

Since 2002, over 100,000 military service members have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The effects of combat PTSD on a warrior’s family can range from disruptive to extreme. Help and healing are available. ...

No image set - Centerstone logo
Cohen Military Family Clinic

1st Annual Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone Community Art Show

The clinic was transformed into an art gallery on August 10th in honor of our one-year anniversary. Thirty Veteran and Family member artists came together to share their talents with the community. The celebration featured pieces created in numerous different mediums from a variety of artistic expressions. Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts, who advocates ...

No image set - Centerstone logo
Foundation

Sun Tan City Supports Centerstone’s Military Services

Sun Tan City is partnering with Centerstone for a week of giving in support of Centerstone’s Military Services. All Sun Tan City locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee will be offering Spray Tan or Sunbed sessions for $5 from June 24-30, 2019. Centerstone’s Military Services will receive $1 from each visit. Everyone is invited to ...