Symptoms of Combat Stress

No shit here…be honest!

So here we go! “Why do I have Combat Trauma, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?” you ask. Well maybe it was the planets, fate, karma, Murphy, or any other excuse you’d care to make, but the fact is, “You’ve Got it” . And it’s gonna stick with you like a tick on a dog. Like it or not, you are damn well gonna have to deal with it now, or deal with it later. I recommend now.

Alright then, my fine Youngins, let’s look at what may have caused a round to jam in your chamber. As you go through the list, see if any of these hit the “bull’s eye”, and you don’t have to say a word to anyone (unless you need to read out loud like Marines). This will be your own little secret for now; you can say “Holy shit!” in silence.

Do any of the following fit you?

  1. You have been through a traumatic, “life and death” experience, maybe a lot of them.
  2. You may be feeling “No one understands me”. That may be true unless you talk to the right people.
  3. You are in “pain”, mentally, physically, or both, and you don’t know why.
  4. You are suffering with the emotional waves of “Loss”.
  5. You are feeling “helpless” in getting a grip on the waves of emotions flooding your thoughts.
  6. You may be feeling “survivor guilt”, because you are still alive, and your friends are not.
  7. You may be feeling “guilt” over the things you’ve done and don’t know who or what to blame.
  8. Nothing “seems the same” to you anymore. Everything that was once familiar, comfortable and normal is now different and uncomfortable.
  9. Nothing feels important, not family, friends, work, or your life.
  10. You are not sleeping much, and having nightmares when you do.
  11. You are having “flashbacks” from your traumatic experiences.
  12. You want to return to the war, to your unit and friends and don’t really know why.
  13. You now have a violent temper. You get pissed off over every little thing, and want to lash out at everyone all the time.
  14. You may want to kill everyone who pisses you off. Everyone is an asshole.
  15. Your guard is always up, and you can’t trust anyone anymore.
  16. You can’t seem to find any real friends to “trust”.
  17. You can’t relax around people, and can’t stand crowds.
  18. You can’t go into public places and not be on full alert, checking for the enemy.
  19. You’ve turned to drugs and or alcohol to kill the pain in your head and body.
  20. You’ve lost what self-esteem you once had, and don’t think you’re worth squat shit.
  21. You can’t make plans for tomorrow because the present is so miserable.
  22. No one wants to be around you anymore, not family or friends. You’ve become angry, hateful, critical, and negative about everyone and everything.
  23. You may be thinking of suicide as a way to escape, and have become reckless with your life and the lives of others.
  24. You feel like no one gives a shit about you anymore, and don’t have a clue why.
  25. You find it more comfortable on base than around civilians, or you just want to be alone all the time. The 1000 yard stare has become your pastime activity.
  26. And generally, you’re up to your neck in shit, and nobody’s throwing you a line.

Well, my fine troubled friends, no matter how many of these nasty little items have struck a chord in your brain-housing-group, it’s not hopeless, and “I AM” throwin’ you a rescue line. So rest assured. And you may still smell like shit for awhile after you get pulled out, but don’t sweat it, you’ll meet others that smell the same way. Once you shower up, you can rub a little deodorant on your ass, and no one will know the difference.

This is just an Old Marine’s way of saying ”You Are Not Alone“. There are ways to get through all this, and “YOU WILL” improvise, overcome and adapt! The choice is yours. And after a good bit of work, you’ll be able to plan your custom-tailored life, and enjoy the hell out of it.

So then, just “Why” you have a post traumatic stress disorder doesn’t really matter. That you “do” have it, does. Deal with it in a constructive way.

Now, if you need help, see the “Need Help Right Now” page. Call Pete Comstock at the Military Order of the Purple Heart or call me…the choice of getting your shit together is yours. Don’t screw the pooch!

If you would like to discuss any challenges you may be dealing with, please contact me. (

This is an extract of Section 5-3 of The Warrior's Guide to Insanity.