The Survival Syndrome

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A popular argument to fight the stigma of PTSD is to abandon it as a disorder.  There have also been cases for calling PTSD an injury because of damage to the hippocampus.  However, this is perhaps, the worst piece of evidence…  Such scarring also occurs in bipolar disorder and throughout the entire spectrum of anxiety disorders — some caused by trauma, some not.  The injury moniker’s most problematic issue’s that it seems to create an acceptable male — or, women living up to male ideals — not mental illness.  Even rape survivors are said to have MST and not PTSD caused by rape within the military.  Why there’s any effort to sterilise rape within the military, continually, blows my mind.  The worst thing about injury and/or trauma titles, is their omission of how paradoxical and complicated Civil , PTSD, and Shell Shock have always been.  Injuries are often a lot more simple — rest, ice, elevate does very little to your identity.   alters our identity — what we have, is a persistent disorder, illness, and/or syndrome.  Yet, anyone who truly understands PTSD grasps how it’s the persistence of survival skills into non-survival situations.  Those survival skills, ultimately, saved our lives — they also make the mundane and/or routine parts of life harder to manage.

s are often permanent and the damage to our brain wasn’t instant.  It takes years, of overuse of the limbic system, to damage the brain’s declarative memory — creating the scaring, as identified by injury advocates.  Moreover, calling it a syndrome of survival would explain the deep longing and even nostalgic memory of war — seeking “the suck”.  Although we’re damaged, most of us have some longing to return — even, missing combat and/or trauma.  When we act like PTSD’s solely an injury, we confuse injuries and disorders — all, because of stigma.  Assholes will be assholes, whatever title’s used for them.  But, calling PTSD what it is with respect to trauma’s paradoxical complexity, will help us to accept what survival and war have done to us.  It will also help war survivors in recognising what they may have in common with rape survivors, and that their persistent problems are extremely difficult and life altering, but that they ultimately come from a place of strength — not weakness.  We’re all survivors, and we should have a better title.

Strong Arm ReadyI realise that this is a controversial topic which many, well-informed and capable, people will disagree about.  However, as a combat veteran, I’ve never been able to feel comfortable with any of the other popular titles.  The syndrome of survival seems to capture all of the complexity of survival, in addition to addressing the lasting syndrome.  Survival is a universally respected — even, celebrated — aspect of the human experience.  Connecting our troubled lives to this ultimately positive fact will encourage growth within all of those affected by trauma.  We also need a title, that people who suffer, are more willing to bear publicly — shifting the conversation, becoming broader and more substantive.  A title that should come with a stronger sense of pride and empathy from non-survivors.  A title that expresses a collective appreciation for what people have survived and the baggage that comes from it — no other title does that in such a way.  Survivor’s a moniker that captures the fact we’re not leaves blown about by circumstances.  We survived, through merit and resilience, and we can also survive the way that those original experiences have changed us.  Perhaps, even let our survival motivate us to be something better than we would’ve otherwise been without our horrible experiences.

James Stewart

Commander at Forces.ARMY
James, a Canadian Forces veteran, is an information technology consultant.

He's based in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada…However, he's able to telecommute globally though.He's willing to travel, upon pre-payment of associated expenses (i.e. airfare, hotel, etc.), as well.

James doesn't sugar-coat shit…He's not Willy fucking Wonka!

James has been professionally developing software since circa 2000.You may recognise him from cPanel and/or WHMCS.Although he's versed in several programming languages, he has focused primarily on PHP.