Personal Questionnaire Information

(back to home page)

MISSION

The mission of this program is to share information with you, a returning veteran, to help you in your return to civilian life. Frankly, most of the process of coming home deals with managing everyday life. Sometimes it's difficult to understand what’s normal in military/civilian transitions, personal relationships and mental/emotional responses.

This material will provide information for self-help and family support. Part of our mission is to provide you with aid in identifying issues you face that need additional support and, if needed, where to get available professional services.

INTRODUCTION

If you are or were a person in the military who served in combat situations, you may be re-living or experiencing recurrent responses to stressful events from the war or conflict. 

It’s difficult for anyone to forget events that were life-threatening or overwhelming. It’s a normal response to trauma, wired into the nervous system. What’s important is to look at how these feelings are affecting your life and how you deal with them day to day.

At the Merritt Center in Payson, Arizona, we have a Returning Combat Veterans Program that helps combat veterans learn how to deal with recurrent feelings and reactions to the conflict in order to get some normalcy back in their life. More about the program can be found in Resources. We care about how you are coping with your life right now. It doesn’t matter if you are back after being recently deployed to a combat area or you are a veteran of combat from many years ago. We want to help.

This online program will assist you with looking at what’s going on in your life after your combat experience, and to see if you might benefit from some support in dealing with your everyday experiences.

First let’s look at what’s happening in your life today by answering these questions. Note: These questions are for your benefit and knowldedge only.

Glossary

Flashbacks – extremely vivid images that cause one to feel the event is happening again. Flashbacks are serious signals of distress. Professional help is necessary.  There now are effective non-drug treatments that decrease intensity and frequency of flashbacks.

Trauma -- physical injury or wound caused by external force or violence. An emotional or psychological shock producing disordered feelings or behavior. A painful emotional experience that causes anxiety and other stress reactions.

Traumatic events often are put in the “back of our mind” when they occur because the body focuses entirely on immediate physical safety. They stay in the body/mind awaiting release. Events similar to the trauma-producing situation can “trigger” flashbacks and other stress reactions. This may be happening to you.

TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury -- the result of an external force causing damage to the brain. Traumatic brain injury can be focal, to only one specific area of the brain, or it can be diffuse, meaning it involves more than one area of the brain. Traumatic brain injury can be the result of a closed head injury or from a penetrating head trauma. When the head violently hits an object the resulting traumatic brain injury is usually a closed head injury. Simple whiplash can cause a closed head injury. When an object, such as a bullet, pierces the skull and damages the brain, it is classified as a penetrating head injury.

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – a pattern of emotional and behavioral responses that may occur after exposure to an exceptionally stressful, threatening or catastrophic event. To be diagnosed with PTSD, there has to still be significant impairment in daily functioning quite a while after the traumatic event.

Although many children and most adults have at least one intense traumatic event in their lifetime, not everyone develops PTSD. Rates are higher in specific groups, depending on the type and intensity of the trauma. These include: disaster victims, sexual assault victims, urban firefighters, urban police officers and combat veterans.

Why doesn't everyone who experiences a traumatic event end up with PTSD? The two most obvious reasons are: first, the intensity, duration and number of traumatic experiences, and, second, the meaning the person gives to the experience. Also, some people seem to be more vulnerable due to early life traumas they experienced. 

It is important to ask yourself if what you are experiencing is causing significant disruption to your normal life activities. Symptoms that last beyond a month, or sometimes appear long after the original trauma, or are extremely intense indicate you may need additional help. Please do not hesitate to find a support group. Many of those who seek support learn skills to help them to integrate back in society, personally grow in understanding themselves and how to create a healthy life.  A good place to start exploring for a support group is a Vet Center: www.vetcenter.va.gov

*Disclaimer: This workbook is not a substitute for appropriate medical or psychological care for those experiencing significant emotional pain or whose ability to function at home, school or work is impaired. This workbook serves only for informational and educational purposes. Anyone needing assistance should contact helping professionals available through their base, fort, VA, or medical care facility.

topics menu

resources

Copyright © 2009 The Merritt Center