PTSDDaddy Anti-Social Antidote
Having PTSD one of the topics I want to discuss a bit is the hatred for all human beings. Of course this is not necessarily all of them. Exceptions to this rule include family, some friends, and some co-workers. Everyone else is out of luck. Why do we become anti-social? Is it because we have trust issues? Is it because we are paranoid? Or is it because we have spent so much time with a handful of people we trust our lives to that trust is not something to be given away to just anyone? I believe the latter is the exact reason why we become anti-social.
You see we spent an exorbitant amount of time with a handful of people who were not trying to kill us. These times we became closer than family, friends or co-workers ever could. We have been tested in the fires of battle. We have all experienced the “new guy” who was not trusted to even put his boots on correctly by himself until he proven he could. For that matter he would have to prove he could accomplish this task consistently. Lack of trust or a slight slip in responsibility could cost lives. This is reality for us. Mistakes get people killed! It’s that simple and because it’s that simple trust and loyalty is not just handed out. It’s earned!
We come back from a deployment or even worse we out-process the military, and trust is something that is “expected”. You are now supposed to just “give” people trust unless or until they prove they cannot be trusted. I call this the “innocent until proven guilty” clause to civilian life. When I got to my team of “steely eyed killers”, it took me 3+ months just to get a team t-shirt. It took me a year before I could go upstairs without asking permission. Once I deployed and back it was a different story completely. I had proven my worth I had shown them that I had their back no matter what was coming our way. Now you expect me to just give anyone my trust and be okay with this?
How do you improve your push-ups???
My father, while I was preparing myself for the military, would ask me “how do you get better at push-ups?” I would offer a response of “with weight lifting and bench press.” WRONG…. “by doing more push-ups!” Okay, I got this game now! Then my father would ask, “how do you get better at running 3 miles?” I’d respond with “by running 3 miles.” WRONG AGAIN… “by running 6 miles!” I did not get the entire purpose of this until I realized the “moral of the story” You don’t get better at something until you push yourself. There are no replacements for push-ups, and it takes much longer to improve your 3 mile run if all you run is 3 miles.
The same can be said with being social. How do you improve your anti-social? By being more social! It’s simple but not, one of those “easier said then done” things. You see I was having huge issues with being social. I did not care to improve this because I did not care to trust more people. The time came when I realized that part of me getting control of my PTSD is to take control of all symptoms. Including anti-social tendencies I had gathered through my years of paranoia and distrust. You MUST start small though! Personally, I started with taking the privacy settings on my Facebook down to a lower level. This was a HUGE challenge for me as I was groomed to not let anyone find any information about me. Once I was past that I began adding friends from my past as well as co-workers. I am now able to add many people depending on those who are wanting to read the blog. It’s a necessity that if I want this story out, I have to open the doors.
Just like speech class, you cannot get better without doing it. Getting up in front of people and being social, having conversations, telling a little about yourself. You want to take on the anti-social tendencies… go out and BE social. My daddy always told me “son, if you’re not confident… pretend you are. Nobody will know the difference.” He was right, and soon that “confidence facade” turns into real confidence and builds exponentially from there.