Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (hereafter: PTSD) comes in many forms, affects people differently, and has a reputation for severely reducing the quality of life of those with PTSD. It has had many names in the past, including shell shock, soldier’s heart, war neurosis, and combat fatigue, to name a few. In many ways, PTSD is a new diagnosis. It was only officially recognized in 1980 and didn’t become a regular diagnosis until 1992.
There are names and faces of people who have stood up and spoken out about how PTSD has affected them, their families, and their lives. We aim to shed light on a few you may not know here.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD results from prolonged or acutely traumatic events in an individual’s life. It is not, as some call it, specifically a soldier’s disorder. Anyone can develop PTSD; whether it’s from chronic, long-term stress, or a specific traumatic event, civilians and soldiers alike can develop PTSD.
Military personnel, first responders, health care workers, and journalists are at high risk for PTSD because of the constant exposure to traumatic events. While these are the highest risk jobs, being a victim of a crime, a bad car accident or a medical emergency can also trigger PTSD in the average person.
Some people will experience symptoms like trouble sleeping or concentrating, being easily startled or hyper-aware of their situation, feelings of guilt, shame, and a drive to self-destructive behaviors.
The First Lady
One of the most famous moments in the world was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. It was an assassination that shocked the entire world. It changed the country’s course and the woman’s life riding in a car with her husband.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis experienced PTSD for years after the assassination of her husband. Even though Jackie O was referred to as a “reckless spendthrift” during her marriage to Aristotle Onassis, behind this fashion icon image, she was hiding an excruciating struggle. She experienced a great deal of sadness from the loss of her husband. It was even rumored that the real motive behind her marriage to Onassis was her trying to protect her children from being killed, the way she witnessed several of Kennedy’s deaths.
The American Sniper
If you’ve seen American Sniper, you know who Chris Kyle is. He is widely known as the deadliest sniper in American history. He wrote the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, which served as the inspiration and foundation for the movie mentioned above. Kyle spent his post-military life working to help veterans with mental illnesses caused by the trauma of serving in the military.
That’s how he coped with his own PTSD and insomnia. He struggled to adjust to civilian life and talked openly about how he used to drink heavily to cope. As he began to mentor others, this incredible soldier found solace in helping his brethren recover.
Unfortunately, his story took a crushing turn when a soldier he was trying to mentor shot him dead along with another man at a gun range. Kyle died from his injuries before the ambulance arrived.
The Firefighter at Ground Zero
Brian Bonsignore is a firefighter in New York City who spent six months working to help locate victims of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. For six months, he helped recover bodies until he developed asthma and PTSD. He still experiences symptoms twenty-one years later.
He wants to remember, talk about, and honor the people who died in the attacks but details that his symptoms include all too vivid memories of the work he had to do in post-9/11 recovery.
Lieutenant Bonsignore now advocates for others experiencing PTSD from the attacks and the recovery work that happened after.
The Author Who Wrote for His Daughter
Seth Kastle served sixteen years overseas, but when he came home, he found trouble. The author of “Why is Dad So Mad” struggled with extreme and irrational anger. He drank too much, had problems at work, and pushed away his family. When he finally began to get help for his issues, he struggled to communicate with his young daughter why he behaved and reacted the way he did.
Writing was part of his therapy, and he wrote a story about his experience with PTSD. But he wasn’t inspired to publish it until a close friend published a book on their experiences. After it was out, he could sit down and read it to his then four-year-old daughter and share these experiences with her in a way she could understand.
This badass veteran is now working on a new book “Why Is Mom So Mad?” with his wife – also a veteran. While he hadn’t intended the story for anyone other than his own family initially, Kastle has heard from other veterans who have used his book to ease communication in their own families.
Can You Be a Badass Who Helps People with PTSD?
Answering this question is at the core of our purpose at Spirit Peak Organics. Helping people live with PTSD is something we take pride in here. While we fully believe that CBD has the potential to help people cope with PTSD, and the homeostasis it provides is a benefit for those looking to recover, we are also involved with two charities that help people experiencing PTSD, veterans, and first responders.
The first organization is The PTSD Foundation of America. This organization helps people who have PTSD adjust to living a healthy, productive life. Additionally, it helps fund research into what causes PTSD and how to prevent it.
The second organization we support for people with PTSD is The Wounded Warrior Project, created to help soldiers and first responders cope with their injuries and return to living their healthiest lives.
You can donate a portion of the proceeds from your purchase to either one of these charities. Remember to specify your preference at the checkout!