Yesterday, we talked about defining PTSD and its symptoms. Today, we would like to discuss who can be affected by this disease and what causes it.
As you know, our organization focuses on helping Veterans overcome PTSD, but this illness is not solely found in service men and women, or even specifically in those who have seen combat. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be caused by any type of traumatic event, such as sexual or physical abuse, natural disasters, or serious accidents.
It is normal to experience "stress-related reactions" after a traumatic event (feeling out of control or excessive fear), but if these feelings reoccur after a prolonged period of time and substantially interfere with your daily life, it could be a sign of PTSD.
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Not only is June Soldier ON Service Dogs' birth month, but it is also National PTSD Awareness Month. Because of this, we will be sharing a few tidbits about the illness every day. We encourage you to share our posts so we can further our educational outreach. Also, if you have a specific question or topic about PTSD that you would like addressed, feel free to send us a message, and we will do our best to cover it.
Let's start with talking about what PTSD is.
The acronym stands for "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." It is what's referred to as an "invisible illness," but can manifest physically with headaches, shaking, chest pain, accelerated breathing, nausea, and more. The "invisible" symptoms of PTSD include: reliving the event that caused the disorder (through nightmares, memories, and flashbacks), avoiding situations that are similar to that event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and hyperarousal (feeling jittery/always on the look out for danger).
Thanks to the Fayetteville-based company Soldier On Service Dogs Inc., Bob Grubbs has a means of coping with his post traumatic stress disorder.
Grubbs, 70, is a Fort Smith resident and Vietnam War veteran who was in a Jeep accident during his service that broke his back and injured his neck, hip and head. After returning home in 1971, Grubbs went to graduate school to get his masters degree in geology and found a job as a geologist soon after. However, during this time he experienced symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, not realizing what it was.
It used to be if you came up behind me, you'd startle me, Grubbs said. I would jump out of the chair, throw anything in my hands straight up into the air and start diving under the table. Earlier in my days, if you walked up and surprised me you may get hurt! One of us was going to get hurt before I recognized what was going on. It was like an involuntary reaction.
However, despite his affliction and injuries, Grubbs did not feel comfortable sharing his experiences.
Soldier ON Service Dogs shares good fortune
Soldier ON Service Dogs, the non profit host of the inaugural Dickson Street Slide on Sunday, August 30th, is giving back to the community which has given it such terrific support. Thanks to the generous support of JB Hunt, founding sponsor of the Slide, and contributions from InTents Party Rentals, Soldier ON has been able to make the event accessible to a wide variety of local organizations. Soldier ON has offered free booth space to dozens of local non profit organizations, and has worked with local merchants to create a vendor bazaar and kids’ activity area around the Slide.
Adding another reason to smile, Soldier ON Service Dogs is donating 60 triple slide tickets to local children who may otherwise not be able to attend the Dickson Street Slide. With 20 tickets each for the Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sister of NWA, and Pagnozzi Kids charities, Soldier ON Service Dogs keeps on keeping it local!
Angie Pratt, President and founder of Soldier ON Service Dogs, says of the organization’s connection to the NWA community, “We live here. We work here. We shop here. We give here. Our veterans are here. And “Here” is the best place on the face of the earth as far as I’m concerned. It amazes me how this community has gotten behind Soldier ON Service Dogs. When we tackled putting together something as big as the Dickson Street Slide, we not only wanted to raise funds for Soldier ON, we also made the commitment to create a cooperative environment for other local nonprofits and businesses in order to share some of the goodwill we’ve benefited from.”
Soldier ON Service Dogs is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Fayetteville which provides trained service dogs, at no charge, to local veterans suffering from PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury. The Dickson Street Slide will take place from 9:00am to 9:00pm on Sunday, August 30th: organizers expect 5000 sliders and 15,000 spectators to participate in the event. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.soldieronservicedogs.org - use promo code “DOGS” to receive a 10% discount.
FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- A local organization matches up Northwest Arkansas veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder with service dogs. The group "Soldier On Service Dogs" rescues shelter dogs and trains them and their veterans.
Joshua Hale participates in the program with his service dog Grunt. Grunt is a two-year-old shepherd mix. Hale served as a medic in Iraq from 2008-2009, and now has PTSD.
"You get that tightness in your chest, but then it just goes away, it's not there anymore, it's 'hey we're safe,'" Hale said.