Thursday, 14 April 2011

SOCIAL NETWORKING AND SERVICEMEN WITH PTSD

After a particularly bad few days online due the stresses of  trying to run a campaign to help our veterans I thought I really should blog about the reasons why I feel its extremely difficult for someone with PTSD to use face book and its groups. I could just ignore the issue and as I often do and  withdraw within myself and continue to post `Mil Babes` and Forces tribute videos courtesy of You Tube. As your Blogs are probably still going to go somewhere in cyber space even after you  have died, these type of posts may come in useful to some psychiatric trainee nurse in the future, as in the UK PTSD is still looked at with the scepticism of someone with social Tourette syndrome. Like in everyday normal life the internet and social networking can give you a hard time, the only problem is you cant see the person who has given you criticism or at the worse end of the scale been very abusive. Its all about how you deal with what are `words` on a computer screen. There are well documented cases of children being bullied online and taking their own lives, so these `words` cannot be underestimated. In my particular case as I was defending British veterans who have to undergo humiliating medicals sat alongside drug users, prostitutes, bogus Asylum seekers ect. I sent a message to all members of my group explaining that due to the Government spending cuts, more veterans will have to undergo these `medicals` and it was time to regroup and focus our attention on better treatment for our War heroes and that they should be treated solely by the MOD as in the US the VA agency looks after their Heroes. Where it has to be pointed out a small percentage of the 4,000 members took offence to my `Dregs Of Society ` comments and told me so in no uncertain terms. They had obviously taken what I said completely out of context. I had Fathers telling asking me “Is my disabled daughter a `dreg of society`? Obviously not, and what worries me is why would he even think that she might fall into the category of a `dreg of society?` The vast majority of the group understood where I was coming from, but those few negative messages impacted greatly upon my whole thought process regarding the group. With hindsight which is a wonderful thing, I did not have to react in the `knee jerk` reaction way that I did, by washing my hands of the group. This was a typical fight or flight reaction and a classic of PTSD. The  relatively small amount of negative comments impacted greatly upon my personal life and my health, I wasn’t listening to my wife or kids or what the guy on the TV was saying  my mind was in turmoil and really over a trivial matter to some. As regards Face-book in general when your friends are mostly or in some cases 100% military or ex military, things generally go along smoothly as we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, in my case once you have a mix of civilians then things can go wrong, as they do not understand the Black Humour squaddies use to cope, plus some think you’re a NAZI because you complain that our soldiers are sleeping in cardboard boxes whilst Asylum seekers get houses in Million pound mansions. I have found that generally most ex servicemen tend to be more Right wing than left although at the moment I would say we are very disillusioned with all parties left right and centre. Another thing that is really starting to grate on me is the every increasing amount of predominantly females who very well meaning but  become `obsessed` with the military and veterans , to the point where they even dress up in full uniform and attend ceremonies and march , some even sporting WW1 medals bought on e-bay. These women not surprisingly are the ones that have more than a few Walter Mittys on their friends lists, who’s sole aim in life is to lie their way into gullible women’sbeds via their made up SAS exploits. For me its about control as a way of handling the internet, when you have friends that you don’t know anything about who have access to your private information and photographs, it does play into your paranoia but can really be dangerous. In summary if you are thinking of starting a Face-book group especially if you have PTSD or any other mental health problems make sure you have appointed a few trusted administrators that will be a safety blanket and prevent you from making those knee jerk reactions as I did. At one time I was posting on an American Vietnam veterans board titled PTSD 101 , this was a huge site with thousands of veterans many suffering from PTSD and with differing political views. In the end due to `death threats`  the site was closed permanently, this goes to show even veterans with PTSD can be cruel to their fellow veterans. My advice would be use Social networking with extreme caution particularly if you are suffering from any  psychiatric problems, however I don’t want to dismiss the benefits of contacting old comrades again. Thank you for reading my ramblings, I trust no offence was caused by what I said? Alas I’m sure someone will take offence!







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