The punditry experts shrilled on today about the latest Fort Hood shooting. Having decades of experience with soldiers, naturally, I too shrilled on, but luckily for y’all, I confined mine to an email to a friend. Okay, so the PTSD diagnosis seems to loom large in many of the conversations and yes, I believe PTSD exists, in that many people face difficulties coping with traumatic events and sometimes these difficulties become long-term, incapacitating and professional help might help. Being highly skeptical of much that passes for medical certainty amongst the mental health community, lets just say, perhaps building a strong personal support network of family, friends, clergy to turn to in times of trouble might be just as good….. maybe even better.
Alas, we live in a world where we to turn to professionals and experts for everything. I’ll refer back to a G. Murphy Donovan article, The Psychobabble Bubble :
“Psychiatry and psychology are omniscient when it comes to diagnosis, but incapable of professional restraint or anticipating the unintended consequences of indulgence and quackery. Psych practitioners often plead for equality with other medical specialties and then do their damnedest to court ridicule. Credibility is earned, not assumed, in any discipline. Good intentions are a weak tea.”
From there, it’s time to follow GMD’s link to one of his favorite writers, Theodore Dalrymple and his article, Everyone on the Couch. Mr Dalrymple states:
“The word “unhappy” is an implicit call to self-examination; the word “depressed” is, at least nowadays, a call to the doctor. It is no coincidence that the age of the DSM should coincide with a tenth of the population’s taking antidepressants—drugs that, for the most part, are placebos when not outright harmful. None of this excludes the possibility, of course, that some diagnoses will run afoul of pressure-group politics by the time the DSM-6 comes out.”
Here’s a review from last year in The Economist on the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), By the book worth reading, which states:
“Grief. Indulgence. Unhealthy habits. All, it seems, may be classified as mental derangement, and treated as such. And the sets of symptoms described by the DSM are often common. More than one American child in ten has been diagnosed, using the DSM’s definition, with ADHD—and about two-thirds of those so diagnosed are now prescribed drugs.”
I’m not going to dismiss PTSD, because I do believe traumatic events can incapacitate people or cause obstacles to leading a happy, productive life. Most assuredly some traumas for some people are harder to cope with. I’ve had a few that were challenging in my life, so I am not suggesting people avoid seeking professional help, if they feel that is in their best interests. Unlike the experts, I believe in thinking for myself and I follow my own battle plan for dealing with trauma – back up and regroup, then fight on. It’s really the only way to take that hill or move mountains. In the words of a dear friend of mine, a devout Roman Catholic, “God does not give us more crosses than we can bear!” That is how I choose to live my life, free of antidepressants, alcohol – fighting on. I don’t believe in insurmountable obstacles. I cry, I whine, then I drive on. Life is measured and I want to treasure as much of mine as possible. Take that as my inexpert opinion.
Sometimes official statements stick with me and I’ll think about them for days, weeks, sometimes even years later, I’ll remember them and ponder, “what the hell does that even really mean?” or I’ll have a witch moment and channel that expert on all things, HRC, and think, “what difference, at this point, does it make”. In the end, the shooter in this mass murder (not tragedy) is dead, that’s a fact. Here’s another fact, military officials rushed to assure us that the shooter had psychiatric problems and had been seeing an Army psychiatrist. Anyone who took solace from that answer needs his/her head examined is what I was thinking today. Let me ponder that, a Fort Hood psychiatrist, of the same pond from whence MAJ Nidal Hasan swam, the self-same pond that ignored his radicalized views, yes that assurance from officialdom was uttered yesterday. And, what was MAJ Hasan’s job, this radical nut who waged jihad against American soldiers on American soil? Oh, yes, he was a psychiatrist who treated soldiers for PTSD and other mental health issues…. Yes, don’t’ think, just accept that this latest shooter had been seen by “mental health professionals”, all the appropriate career-saving dots have been checked in this chain of command. Rest easy, don’t question, The shooter’s dead, we will never know what he was thinking, no career-ending negligence in sight, the news cycle will move on faster than the grieving families can bury their dead and after all, “what difference, at this point, does it make?” The shooter had mental health issues and was being seen by an Army psychiatrist at Fort Hood….