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PTSD Awareness: Learn, Connect, Share

Those that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are consistently trying to regain some sense of the normalcy they had before events that caused pieces of themselves to go missing. Misconceptions and stigmas surrounding PTSD get in the way of successful recovery and the ability to return to duty.

Those that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are consistently trying to regain some sense of the normalcy they had before events that caused pieces of themselves to go missing. Misconceptions and stigmas surrounding PTSD get in the way of successful recovery and the ability to return to duty. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Master Sgt. William Vance)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Approximately 8% of Americans are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at any given time. That is 24.4 million men, women and even children that are affected by the disorder, which is roughly the population of Texas.

While any traumatic event can prompt PTSD to become a facet of one’s life, it is most commonly known and seen among combat veterans. 15% of Vietnam veterans and 11-20% of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans suffer from PSTD since returning from combat, according to a survey published in 2008 by the RAND Corporation, the Center for Military Health Policy Research.

PTSD Awareness Day, June 27th of each year, was created by Congress in 2010 ,and the month of June was designated PTSD Awareness Month by the Senate in 2014. One thing to remember by anyone who may be affected by PTSD, or anyone with a loved one battling the disorder, it is okay to not be okay.

At the 45th Space Wing, our business is providing assured access to space in the safest way possible. In order to accomplish this, all aspects of a launch must be synced – the weather, the hardware and the individuals directly supporting liftoff. Should one of those aspects not coincide with the others then there’s a chance of mishap or a delayed launch. Just like a rocket that cannot launch safely if all its moving parts are not in harmony– a person will not function at their best when their body and mind are not in sync and at peace with one another.

To help sync the body and mind on the road to battling PTSD and, in an effort to recover from the disorder, remember three key words: learn, connect and share.

Learn – discover the facts. PTSD is a common reaction to have to a traumatic event. Symptoms can range from heightened anxiety and feelings of fear to flashbacks and nightmares. PTSD is not something that a person chooses to have. It can happen to anyone and is not a sign of weakness or the fault of those affected by it.

Connect – reach out. Many cases of PTSD go unreported and more often than not, untreated. Do not hesitate to seek help if you or someone you care for is battling PTSD. Visit a mental-health professional, talk to a loved one, apply to get a service animal, or visit one of the many websites dedicated to helping those with PTSD. Information and tips on battling PTSD can be found at ptsd.va.gov. It’s never too late to seek help from those around you.

Share – spread the word. Raise awareness about PTSD, its symptoms and effects, and helpful treatment options. Talk to others with the disorder, attend PTSD campaign walks, fundraisers or groups in order to further educate others, yourself and your loved ones.All while helping yourself and others overcome their PTSD.

More often than not, the support from those around us – whether that be co-workers, friends or loved ones – can help us through hard times much more than we think. Educating yourself, connecting with others and sharing your story is the start to overcoming the battle with PTSD.

If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and would like to seek professional treatment, you can contact the Patrick Air Force Base Mental Health Clinic at 321-494-8234 to point you in the right direction.