E04: Critical Reading PTSD – twofoursixohtwo

Is PTSD Contagious?
Contagious is a bit misleading in this case. Contagious would imply that PTSD is transferred through the spread of bacteria or a virus, but you can’t “catch” PTSD by the same means you would catch the flu.
Being too cognizant of every sound—every coin dropping an echo—she explodes inwardly, fury flash-incinerating any normal tolerance for a fellow patron with a couple of dollars in quarters and dimes.
Our first claim is assuming there is a such thing as being too aware. Too aware of every sound, assuming she can hear every sound, even thought she is immediately said to be “deaf with rage” after this sentence. This sound being every coin that drops into an echo. If she is focused on the sound of the coins dropping, could she hear every other sound?
Caleb has been home since 2006, way more than enough time for Brannan to catch his symptoms.
We’re back to using the terminology “catch” to insinuate that PTSD is comparable to a virus or bacteria, something like the flu. In the time span of Caleb coming home, Brannan is exposed to PTSD. How much time would need to go by before she is “infected” by this disorder? When would symptoms start to show?
Even when everyone’s in the family room watching TV, it’s only connected to Netflix and not to cable, since news is often a trigger.
The whole family is affected by Caleb’s triggers. Why would they disconnect their cable, and not just censor certain channels? Netflix has some violent content. Besides opting not to watch it, would the family put any censors on their own programing? If they go so far to disconnect their cable, why would Netflix be any different?
“Sometimes I can’t do the laundry,” Brannan explains, reclining on her couch. “And it’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m too tired to do the laundry,’ it’s like, ‘Um, I don’t understand how to turn the washing machine on.’ I am looking at a washing machine and a pile of laundry and my brain is literally overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to reconcile them.”
Caleb’s PSTD has an obvious affect on Brannan. Laundry is something most adults know how to do, and assuming she does the majority of the laundry, it would seem silly she suddenly forgets how everything works. For there to be such a violent shift in thought process where she no longer understands how to work the laundry machine and feels as though she needs to “reconcile” with the machine shows she is truly overwhelmed. Her brain has taken on the qualities of PTSD by witnessing Caleb’s episodes.
And there’s Caleb, slim, in a tux, three years older than Brannan at 22, in every single picture just about the smilingest motherfucker you’ve ever seen, in a shy kind of way.
Brannan married at 19, Caleb at 22. Their pictures at their wedding are happy. The author uses a rather strong word to describe Caleb, then contradicts herself by writing “in a shy kind of way”. Was he the smilingest motherfucker, or was he shy? Could he be both?
Some hypotheses for why PTSD only tortures some trauma victims blame it on unhappily coded proteins, or a misbehaving amygdala. Family history, or maybe previous trauma.
There is no known cause for PTSD, at least not for now. What throws doctors is that PTSD does not affect everyone who comes back from combat. Because of this, the cause is hypothesized that PTSD originates from “unhappy coded proteins”, “misbehaving amygdala”, or potentially family history, making those who suffer from PTSD at the very least have a familial sensitivity to trauma, counteracting the title of “Is PTSD Contagious?”. In that case, wouldn’t PTSD be genetic?
Whatever is happening to Caleb, it’s as old as war itself.
– Caleb, being a man of average age is not as old as war itself. War is incredibly old, dating back whole civilizations. The comparison is between war and PTSD. By that logic, PTSD has most likely occurred through every war, only now we have a name for it.
Civil War doctors, who couldn’t think of any other thing that might be unpleasant about fighting the Civil War but homesickness, diagnosed thousands with “nostalgia.” Later, it was deemed “irritable heart.” In World War I it was called “shell shock.” In World War II, “battle fatigue.”
– Most of these claims are just sad. Civil War doctors didn’t think there was anything unpleasant about war? Their answer to those who felt uneasy with war were diagnosed with nostalgia, homesickness, because obviously that’s the only reason why men would not fight. As time goes on we get a little closer. “Irritable heart” could be considered a symptom. “Shell Shock” is even closer, shock being the key word, insinuating something about the soldier’s surroundings had to do with their discontentment. “Battle Fatigue” is in the ballpark, but not quite as strong as “shell shock”.
Doctors have to go on hunches and symptomology rather than definitive evidence.
There are no biological symptoms for PTSD. Doctors have to literally guess and check, going along with what makes the most sense. Not a very exact science, but there is nothing else to be done right now. Because it is a disorder, would it be based in the brain? Would the brain show any symptoms?
“Somebody at the VA told me, ‘Kids in Congo and Uganda don’t have PTSD,'” Caleb tells me angrily one day.
Someone says that “Kids in Congo and Uganda don’t have PTSD” to Caleb. This person could be claiming that those kids are stronger than Caleb, or even that PTSD is made up. In whatever context, this person claimed PTSD to be silly, possibly made up. Claims aside, this is truly heartbreaking to hear.
He wasn’t diagnosed for years after he got back, despite Brannan’s frantic phone calls to the VA begging for tests, since her husband, formerly a high-scoring civil-engineering major at Auburn University, was asking her to help him do simple division.
– Brain injuries are taken incredibly serious now, but in Caleb’s tours, that was not the case, and he suffered a lot of head injuries. He was not diagnosed for years, presumably because no one checked. No one checked even though Brannan had made several phone calls. Did she ever call an emergency line? Regardless of whether or not she did, why does it seem like no one gave her the time of day? Caleb was presumably a very intelligent man, so why would no one take time to even check out the story, considering head injuries are now taken so heavily into account?

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