HI, I'd like to help you with your question.
Yes, it is completely normal for you to experience these symptoms given the nature of your career experiences and what you have seen. You do have symptoms of PTSD. Since you are aware of having PTSD, that is a good first step. Educating your self is also important. The more you know about what you are dealing with, the better you can help yourself heal. However, you need to do more to help yourself deal with the PTSD.
As you probably already know, you have having typical symptoms for someone who has seen a lot of trauma. Although self help is great and very effective, in order to help you deal with how you feel, you need to seek out therapy as well. Therapy can help you desensitize from the trauma and give you ways to cope with the other symptoms. It also gives you support, which you need to help you through. The Marines, through the VA, should have therapists that specialize in PTSD symptoms. Law Enforcement may also have staff available for you as well. You can contact either for help. Therapy techniques to deal with PTSD have come a long way and are gaining more and more ground in helping those suffering with PTSD.
Also, you may want to consider attending group therapy. Sharing your experiences with others who have been through the same kinds of traumas can help you feel less alone and give you avenues to work out your stress. This is not easy to do for some people, but the benefits are worth it.
If you attend church, you can also talk with your pastor. Faith can play a big part in recovery, giving you a place of sanctuary and comfort.
Support is the most important part of helping your recover. Try surrounding yourself with friends and family who understand what you are experiencing. When you have a bad time of it, lean on them for support.
A couple of resources that may help:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/media/video/tuma.shtml. This is a current article regarding help for those who experience PTSD through their experiences in the military. Many advances have been made in treatment to help military personnel.
Also, a book called The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula is very helpful.
There are many resources to help you get through this time and learn to deal with the trauma of war and of police work. Reach out and let others help you recover.
I hope this has helped you,
Absolutely, that makes sense. I can see what you are saying about the police and military being seen as accomplishments and not hindrances. So sharing with your family you feel would cause more problems for you. So therapy, individual and group, may be your best bet for getting support.
Valerian Root is a good option for you, however it is used to calm people in preparation for sleep and can cause significant drowsiness. There are some other supplements you can take to help you as alternatives to Valerian Root. Try Omega 3 fatty acid (fish oil) 1000 mg once per day has been shown in studies in the UK and US as an effective mood stabilizer (be sure to tell your doctor as Omega 3 has blood thinning effects and can impact prescription drugs you are or might be taking.) Along with Omega 3, you can take, also with your GP's permission, 100 mg of magnesium glycinate, 100 mg calcium and 10mg zinc (preferably liquid zinc). www.Kirkmanlabs.com is a good source of pharmacy grade supplements of this nature.
Hang in there. You are already taking a great step in your recovery just by asking for help. Reaching out to others and using the resources you find, you will recover and be able to feel good again.
Thanks a bunch! Last question before I let you go. I am going to take your advice and seek out a professional to talk to. zI plan on doing this today sometime to set up an appointment. Do you think I should call a psychologist or a psychiatrist? Because of my level of paranoia and hyper vigilance, would simply talking it out work, or is there a balance problem within my brain? I have read about the Basal Ganglia, the ACG being the gear shifter in the brain, and also the temporal lobes all being hyper active with someone that has PTSD. What would you recommend as far as my first person to talk with outside of your help?
Hi, I am so sorry I could not get back to you. I had to step out for a bit.
I would recommend a master's level therapist or a psychologist as your first contact person. They are both qualified to do an evaluation for you and treat you. You can also see a psychiatrist, but they are more for medications, if you feel you need them. They can provide treatment, but unless you feel you need medicine, the therapist will do fine.
I think you might want to try the therapy first and see if that works to alleviate your symptoms. An imbalance in the brain is unlikely and even if you did have something like that, it would be as a result of emotion, which can be corrected by therapy and self help work.
Please let me know if you have any more questions.