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Why Do Soldiers and Veterans Seem Reluctant to Seek Help?
I have thought about this for a couple of days and did not know what to say for a minute. But then I started thinking about why I was not persistent with receiving help. My initial help seeking came from the insistence from ex-wives, on a conscious level I did not believe that I needed help even in the face of my insanity. It took many years of my flailing about to become convinced of my need for assistance.
Another key issue we have, trust. We have an aversion with trusting anyone that do not think like us. In combat we formed the most intense bonding that a human can experience, a total and unrelenting commitment to a guardianship between squad members. I refer this as the “troop organism”, we feel great pain in the loss of our appendages, both in a KIA and in going home without the “rest of us”.
The mystifying experience of posttraumatic decline involves a sense of confusing reexperiencing and intrusive thinking from a disowned side of the personality. This disassociated self, the combat self, insists on interjecting itself into our daily life. In a battle with no solid enemy and no apparent battleground the warrior having been trained to combat the physical comes in contact with a foe that can overshadow the imagination. A pitched battle between denial and acceptance can rage for many years.
Even after many attempts to receive help, I was not equipped to begin therapy, so I would quit before a diagnosis could be assigned. In the VA before a service connection can be determined the veteran must endure many forays into the stressors that caused the posttraumatic stress reactions. Doing so without many months or even years of psychoeducation and cognitive restructuring therapy can be detrimental and harmful to the veteran, exacerbating their condition.