Archive for: post-traumatic stress disorder
Military Bootcamp – it’s all about pushing your body physically to the limit and a bunch of mental challenges that keep you going and responding under extreme conditions and fatigue. Push-ups, pull-ups, and miles of running in combat boots humping your pack uphill.
When you workout, the results from the physical side of military life is easy to see. You do dumbbell curls and your bicep grows; you bench press and your pecs grow; you run enough and it starts to get easier. After a while you feel physically fit for deployment.
But how do you prepare for the mental side of deployment?
This isn’t just about being dropped on foreign soil miles from family and homemade apple pie. This is about the unexpected smells, sights and sounds of war.
Are you ready for the smell of death, burning flesh, or watching the guys you trained with be caught in the line of fire?
Every soldier, every war, has its own name for this.
“There’s a condition in combat, most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum, can’t take any more input, the nervous system has either snapped or is about to snap. In the First World War that condition was called Shell Shock. Simple, honest direct language…In the Second World War the same condition was called Battle Fatigue…Fatigue is a nicer word than shock…then in Korea it was called Operational Exhaustion…then Vietnam War the very same condition was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder… ” ~George Carlin
This is how the comedian George Carlin explained the evolution of language to describe a very real condition experienced by war-time soldiers. And…it’s becoming clear that PTSD can be triggered in even non-civilians who are overly stressed.
Playing a game you love or serving your country with pride can put you in danger of physical injury. You know that going in, right? We do our best to protect ourselves from preventable injuries by wearing armour and helmets. But what about the fall out to our brains from head traumas that cannot be totally avoided?
In sports it’s repeated blows to the head most often associated with football players and boxers; for soldiers it’s the unexpected IUD or other blasts from the field of combat. Sure the helmets will protect you from shrapnel, but what protects you from the initial shock wave and secondary “blast wind” of an IUD?
When you decided to enter the military, you prepared, right? You started running to build cardiovascular health, you started paying attention to what you ate, you started taking dietary supplements to build lean muscle and strengthen your immune system, and you started studying so you could pass the required exams. All of this is good and definitely stacked things in your favor to get into the military.
But the end of military bootcamp is just the beginning of becoming a soldier.
When you’re a soldier you are given many opportunities. You are also exposed to many environmental and occupational threats that the normal population will never face. For this reason you need to take your nutritional health more seriously than the “average” population. You also need to fortify all systems of your body, including your brain, to meet the demands of combat.