This is my own experience, living with the illness. Society sincerely believes, for all the wrong reasons that because our illness comes with disorder attached to it, this means that PTSD, is Mental Illness. Therefore, I'm convinced that to the majority of society this means that anyone labeled with the disorder is perceived as insane.
Where I've landed with my own personal understanding of why we go there as human beings, why we assume psychopathy towards our brethren in the streets with mental health issues, is due in part to our unconscious, animal need to bully through stigma. This is caused, in part, due to the label itself. My heroes in the field agree.
Dr. Frank Ochberg and Dr. Jonathan Shay, along with Retired General, Peter Chiarelli and Retired General, Romeo Dallaire, together recently joined forces in an attempt to shift the label with the American Psychiatric Association, as recently as 2012. I see no evidence to date that they were successful, unfortunately. However I do believe the label will change. It is only a matter of time really, before it does.
From the perspective of bullying, this assumption of psychopathy, I believe, is due in part to our animal inside of us, doing the thinking. We do tend as human-animals to unconsciously seek out the weakest among us. Not that much unlike hens might do to one another in the coop. We seek out the weakest, to ensure our genetic survival as a species, and natural selection will drive us towards pooling the strongest humans into the genetic pool. Just as all science has determined we see the rest of the animal kingdom doing to one another.
If we are truthful with ourselves, this behaviour rises to the top of the milk like cream, in our growing understanding of this aspect of our nature.
As primates, we are Mammals. Biological Animals on the planet. In this light, we are not above the other creatures in nature. We live, socially as primates in various formations of a primate troop. Should we choose to actually be courageous enough to look at ourselves this way, I sincerely doubt it's a sin to accept the body our spirits reside in as nothing more than biological meat.
My belly says, it's just fine with our Creator, to think this way. Self-awareness, begins and ends with the body. In recovery from issues of mental health, we are wise, not to forget that.
Let's take a look at how we live. First of all, we live as individual monkeys (for arguments sake). We then, form into the troop of family monkeys that is immediate and extended family. Our family troops, join with Community Troops.
Moving further into our animal kingdom, in Canada we ultimately form Provincial, Territorial and National Troops of Canadian Monkeys. For arguments sake, lets agree on this. I'll only ask you to stay with me here for a very little amount of your time.
In this collective hierarchy of primate society, I believe we've all learned too well that we are individually vying for our place in the collective-troop hierarchy. All of us, it seems, are battling for our most accepted place by all the other human primates of dominance. Or, we are seeking our own more subservient position in the troop. This, I believe is the actual truth of humans in nature. I see this as at the root of all stigmatization.
Unfortunately for us in terms of accepting our place in nature, we've been taught to believe that we've been granted dominion over all others, as well. We believe that somehow, humans are above other animals, that we are superior in some way to all the rest.
We've also accepted teachings that allow us to lord dominion and control over all the earth, our collective animal home. I therefore further argue that this is the root cause of any environmental destruction we allow ourselves to engage in. This, I believe is a very serious human issue. One we should consider raising as a project for individual study, actually. I'm simply putting the questions out there for us all today to at least consider the argument seriously.
Granted, we have good reason for resting with these perceptions of ourselves. We do have teachings to support our view of dominion. This came to our minds along with our biblical myths. I further argue therefore, that with these myths, combined with our human need to dominate everyone and everything around us, we are left with a very damaging interpretation of the truth of many things.
I refuse to argue, at this point the validity of the Holy Bible as a history book. Rather, I accept the validity of all biblical stories, as teaching stories. For now, please. Can we simply leave it to that?
Actually. dominion isn't about dominance over the brethren primates we live with. Nor does dominion translate easily into outright permission to do to the planet, anything we might want. We could choose to celebrate our animal-ism with all of nature. Dominion might very well have been misinterpreted from the biblical texts and in my own understanding, translates to nothing near what we choose to allow it to mean to us today.
For me, dominion translates directly from the biblical learning stories we collectively share (whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not) towards something more inline with stewardship. Dominion over all the earth for humans in my mind and heart, means we're damn lucky to have it. Therefore, care of the planet and the rest of nature translates into a ministry of sorts to me.
For lack of a better description, a ministry of caring for our fellow primates and for our home called Planet Earth.
The concepts of dominion, have nothing to do with power. Nothing at all to do with fellow human primates, ruling over anyone else. Especially not, rule over the entire planet. To me that's God's job. Not ours.
I'm struck with such thoughts this morning having just watched the now evident psychopathy at work once again in Iraq. Was Saddam Hussein a psychopath? Probably. Anyone who chooses to rule in such ways, making himself all powerful in any nation at the expense of his people's needs and desires, this type of man is hell-bent on his own need to rule, in my view. The needs of the people are really quite left behind in the thinking of such men, with the psychopath's own narcissistic tendencies so far removed from any chance of a normally functioning human mind.
Such a man has no clear inner-intent to be anything but powerful. This new psychopath at the head of the snake of radical followers in Iraq. I take care here to not even so much as mention this devils name. Is clearly, in my view. A cult leader.
We've seen these guys come and go across history. Hitler. Stalin. That little boy running things right now in North Korea, some say fits the bill. Some others, say he does not. This ISIS leader we're all becoming so frightened of now. David Koresh, comes to mind. As well asJimmy Jones.
These are, messed-up human beings. Anyone, who would kill humanity is either so stressed with oppression in their worlds they are willing to die themselves and take their people with them for a necessary cause. Or, they are radical nutcases. Sick. Very psychotic and very much therefore, dangerous to society.
This brings me back, to the evidence of insanity some filter to define trauma and PTSD. I've belly-ached enough about stigmatization for now. Based on my understanding of primates, acting out in the troop, behaviours of dominance over one another, and all that.
It would be hypocracy for me to have anyone believe I'm some sort of enlightened guru on these subjects. We have enough of those guys, filling their pockets against our pain in the self-help industry, quite frankly. Some I know are sincere. One or two or three, I actually personally follow. Some of them? Are just inches shy of psychopathy themselves in my studied opinion. They carry with them, messiah-complexes. These are very sick human beings. From all walks of new-age and religious life who propose to shine imaginary light on far to many.
These people act as though they have all the answers. I fell prey to my own narcissism in this regard, if anyone has ever been unlucky enough to hear any of my rants. I believe had I not found right treatment, I may well have sunk into psychopathy myself.
It's far too humanly easy to fall victim to this. It is due to human frailty that we end up feeling like we know more than others. Especially when we've chosen to face and wrestle our own personal demons. I am a student of Carl Jung:
"Knowing Your Own Darkness: Is The Best Way To Know The Darkness In Others".
It is with this teaching that I now see far too many fellow humans living life with broken souls. This is directly due to childhood or later in life adult psychological traumatization. I see this psychological trauma living a very misguided attempt to heal itself in the Middle East. And, it appears more active, this living out of PTSD trauma, in the hearts of the oppressed lives coming from the Arab world.
The radical following this latest psychopath is building for himself in Iraq. ISIS. This organization is filled to the brim with the angst, defensiveness and fighting back at the world's machine that is not much different to me than my own ranting on paper once was. As far as I'm concerned, the Arab people have lived as marginalized a life as any indigenous group we know.
Our own aboriginal peoples have been living a forced dependence upon the parent of Canada for nearly 200 years. Prior to white colonization by the French and the British, our First Peoples actually lived very natural, human-animal lives, according to the aboriginal view of our Canadian history. It's beginning to feel, very much, that we will soon work towards reconciling the inter-generational trauma of both European and First Nations, now suffering with so much, toxic shame and human pain.
Let's be truthful. We, messed up heaven here in Canada by showing up with our Small-Poxed, Drunken White-Faces on these lands. We, our ancestors, stole this country from an original people. We set out to take power away from them. Chose to destroy their culture in the process.
We saw wealth over and under the ground. We stole it all. For our gain. Period. For me? End of argument, already.
Doesn't that, sound a little like psychopathy to anyone else? Or, am I so off on this personal determination I'd be better to shut my own yap on this? Or, would you all rather I shut up about such things to continue to spare your emotional feelings? So we all can still pretend to be closer to one-another than we actually are as brothers and sisters on this earth?
My truest loving family and friends. I simply can't do that for anyone. Especially myself these days. My own emotional well-being won't allow any longer anything short of the truth. The truth meaning, simply. This is how I see things RIGHT NOW.
I'm no longer stuck either on developing convictions that I will then choose to hold as THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, SO HELP ME GOD, FOR THE REST OF MY NATURAL LIFE. There is, no such thing as this understanding of the truth. Not for a mind, like mine at least. Which, believe it or not, is a mind far too curious and engaged in needing to constantly learn something new to accept any longer remaining convicted inside over anything, frankly. I'll lead us now back towards the absolute ignorance of the masses in determining an understanding of Trauma and PTSD.
Those of us who are honest enough to admit to the world that we've suffered psychological trauma are, in truth and fact (in far too many human minds) considered someone to fear. What is the net outcome of this fear driving a societal need for protection from a probable perception of us as insane, PTSD Demons?
STIGMATIZATION. SELF-PROTECTION. SELF-DEFENSE THAT IS ACTUALLY, FACTUALLY TAKING PLACE. FOR NOTHING.
The most tragic net outcome-story to support this point-of-view, happened here in Canada, not that very long ago. I hold this story still deep in my soul. It is the story of my once guardian angel, protecting me from suicide. Greg Matters.
A Veteran of the Canadian Military. A Man of Honour. A Man of Duty to Country persuaded in his own life that democracy and freedom, matters to him, so much so, he was willing to die for the rest of us, defending our, so-called freedoms.
I say, so-called, due to the now suspect issues related the U.S. Administration conducting the exercise at the time. A pparently over oil and power-control of the region for private, economic gain. Soldiers, were fighting for us in the Middle East. I honour them all for their service on my behalf.
The saddest irony of Greg's story, is the story of his death. I heard the RCMP radio communication that went public in Greg's case. The story of the situation that came to a head, ending in the tragic taking of Greg's life.
In Greg's case, with the RCMP Emergency Response Team ultimately involved, the day ended with Greg, allegedly shot in the back. They weren't psychopaths, were they? The E.R.T.? Of course not. As far as they were concerned, they were out-there, doing their job.
I totally agree. As a veteran of public safety, once a rural paramedic, I know how scenes get messed up.
My greatest on-the-job trauma was due to a call, with RCMP support going wrong. This wonderful day of memories, ended with a fellow-human, splattering brains across a barn. Human-primate-tissues landing across the driveway to later act as a meal to the family dog. We all were lucky enough to watch Fido, dive-right-in. So, the Matter's case? I get it, I really do.
But, as the story goes, the entire team, in my view, certainly did their job with some misinformation about PTSD rattling around in their overly-frightened brains in Greg's case. So much fearful information, in fact, that the team feared so much for their own and the public's safety, the team leader chose, allegedly, to end it.
The detail shared in news-stories describing the chaos at the scene, reported that at one point, a member allegedly forced Greg's elderly mother to the ground. An action in protest of her efforts to get to her soon to be lifeless son.
Fear? Ignorance? Or, perhaps, visions of psychopathy relative to PTSD, rattling around in some very frightened RCMP brains that day. Right from the start of reading into this mess, I determined through my own filter of personal, trauma-lived experience it was misunderstanding of PTSD that ultimately killed, Greg Matters.
The allegations remain. Greg Matters, of Prince George BC, died, tragically with two bullets into his back. A man who fought for our country. Who, is now dead for his country, in my humble opinion. His sacrifice to us all now being a dramatically improved opportunity to collectively address the misrepresentation of PTSD as a mental illness.
In my own studies to recover I learned that the illness is, in fact, the result of a psychologically induced, brain injury. PTSD is proving itself in science to be a physiological, biological illness. A condition actually rooted in trauma, resulting in the over-activation and continued open-valve presence of a stress-response in the human body gone completely array.
If we are going to grant Greg some peace. Then this new understanding should launch a dramatic change in understanding of PTSD across Canadian Society. Change that is now, long overdue for far too many. We owe it to Greg's sacrifice to grant him this change in understanding. If not for Greg, than at the very least we should be undertaking such change on behalf of his family. T hey all deserve this, in return for his unnecessary, sacrificial death. In return for Greg's own service to us all, I believe we owe this to him now.
Who am I to tell the power in Canadian Society what to do? The people in power here, after all have claimed already the dominant monkey-place in our collective troop. Therefore, as the subservient member of the troop, I am understandably forced now to stand-down.
Am I still raging inside over this situation? Yes, in fact I still am. I'm actually, quite pissed off about it. Very much so.
Why would I, Subservient Me, in my Monkey-Troop, take such a thing so personally? Because, quite frankly. Ptsd-is-Ptsd-is-Ptsd. The cause may be unique to each of us. The effect in the body, is always the same.
You see, I think I might know Greg Matters, somewhat. Through the shared symptoms of our shared human experience of trauma. Therefore, without ever needing to hold the man or shake his hand, I know exactly what he personally might have been up to that horrifically tragic day for all concerned - a hideous, messed-up, stuck in many memories, moment in endless time.
I believe, he found himself symptomatic. He'd had an altercation with family. Family that too, didn't quite get the illness for what it is. Nobody in the world cares to look at it for what it is. It's far too frightening to look at for most people. Nobody is at fault for that. I am here though, to try to give society some lesson in the tragedy.
Canadian Society: you have been living in fear of a very natural, human primate response to trauma, confronting us now so publicly with PTSD. You are reacting to lies you've rested upon as convictions. You are fearing, actually, the human stress response that gets stuck for us with PTSD. You aren't seeing real people when symptoms come alive. You are seeing, primitive man alive when PTSD lights up the human brain in all the right places inside.
You are not immune from this happening to you. You don't need not go to war to get this thing you fear so much. It can happen to you, following a surgery. It can happen to you later in life, because someone put hands where they don't belong when you were a kid. It can happen to you, following a car wreck. It is entwined in inter-generational trauma across aboriginal communities, world-wide.
Is PTSD, psychopathy? Not on your life. Not one person I know living with PTSD is living a life of insanity. Not one person I personally know with PTSD driven addictions is an actual drug addict. Nobody on this planet with PTSD is living anywhere near insane psychopathy.
Society, do you think you might be able to stop seeing us all as insane? So we can all quit hiding from you to save ourselves from your fear of us? Please, with love on behalf of us all, I'm personally, with a loving and peaceful heart, asking you all to please stop. This perception of psychopathy? Is now taking far too many human lives.
Greg Matters was doing for himself, what I've chosen to do many times, the day he died so tragically. It wounds me just as deeply, trust me. I am wounded to the core of my soul for the men doing their chosen duty that day. Whose leadership, took them into a situation causing them to make a very huge mistake. Killing a man, for what?
For hiding. For looking for safety in his cabin. His safe place to go when he was hurting inside. Hurting so much that horrific day that he FEARED his skills gained from military training. Greg knew how to kill a human, likely with his fingernail. He knew how dangerous the Canadian Government had made him to be. Greg was afraid of himself, trust me. He had absolutely zero fear of any simple Cop pounding on his door to take him away. He feared, hurting someone himself, more than any arrest in my view.
His brother, who we know Greg loved if we're anywhere near being human, was someone he loved who had triggered symptoms due to an altercation. Greg, didn't trust himself. I can hear his self-talk, as if it were my own, right now inside my own mind.
"What if i hurt my brother?" I can literally hear his voice, right now. NO, NOT AUDIBLE, FELLOW-COUCH-SHRINKS. I KNOW, and can therefore hear what must have been running through his mind that day, seeking safety from himself.
I share this, because with my own, incredibly simplistic martial arts background-majorly simplistic compared to the death-machine a man can become through military training. I learned I can kill a man with two fingers on his trachea. Under the right kind of threat, for my life? For the life of my family? I would, kill. No question.
With PTSD, living inside of me. Do I fear this skill? Absolutely. And, I learned not too long ago that I have that skill. It is fine-tuned, thank god. I do know, thankfully what actions of threat towards me are life threatening and which ones are bravado, red-necked bull-shit coming at me. A very, messed up day in my own life. So I can't help but think, Greg remained in some control.
Why do I share this? I share it to let the world know more about Greg Maters. Because for me, in spite of what was thought PTSD meant, I certainly know I wasn't insane during that shitty time in my own life. I was very angry. I was taking care of myself, through that anger. I'd lost all care about anyone's feelings at that point. But all my choices were conscious ones.
Every move I made, was done to not hurt anyone. I wanted to chase everyone away from me by barking people away from my space. That well-meaning kid in my own life, refused to listen to the barks of warning. He was not a psychopath during the exchange, and neither was I.
Greg Matters, allegedly took two bullets in the back due to the same misunderstanding of PTSD, I believe. I share my own story, not to hurt that young man. But, to share how stupid we can get with one another when we make choices to confront someone with PTSD through glasses we wear that tell us he's insane.
My take on Greg's last day of life, may be off. I wasn't there. My take on the motives of anyone, might be off. I wasn't in that younger man's head that nasty day in my own life. But I did see his rage, when I barked at him. I did hear the taunting to fight. Like poking an angry bear with a stick, in my humble opinion now. I know, I barked 'go away' enough times to rest comfortably with my own choices that day.
When society doesn't know the difference between psychopathy and a stress response that is actually functioning abnormally, we do some pretty stupid things in response to perceived threats that may seem real but are actually created in minds with false evidence.
I love that definition of fear, actually: 'False Evidence Appearing Real'. ISIS? The latest bowl of mixed nuts, running around in Baghdad, cutting off fellow-human heads? Absolutely,psychotic. Insane. Any man, lording power over the people. If not insane, is bordering on becoming so. This leader and his followers, seem totally off their own nut, to me.
Knowing how easily treated PTSD can be, if handled correctly from the start. Knowing, it's a biological physiological brain-injury. An injury induced through traumatic experience. A physical issue in the body that is not, a mental illness. Psychopathy? This is, a mental illness. PTSD? A physiological one. F.E.A.R. False. Evidence. Appearing.Real.
It's time, in my view from the sofa this morning, that we give PTSD as a mental illness, it's walking papers. When we start loving it, we will stop fearing it. When we learn to make this choice, in my experience, the illness goes away. The people once living with it, grow. We are, renewed. We return to the best of ourselves. Return inside to the light. We do keep our darkness, of course because we actually need it to survive. We need the traumatic stress response, I believe, to kill if under physical threat.
The way I look at the human-primate today. We need both our white-monkey and our black-monkey as animals in an often brutal world. We need capabilities of self-defense. I've gone all over the place this morning. I hope I've left behind a decent enough reasoned argument. I personally, don't want to see one more unnecessary death to PTSD in Canada. And, I'm totally convinced, along with my heroes, that it's high-time we changed the name for PTSD.
Due now, to the overwhelming support, of heroes in my own journey of PTSD Life. I speak here of Dr. Jonathan Shay. Dr. Frank Ochberg. Ret. General Peter Chiarelli and, of course, Ret. General Romeo Dallaire. I henceforth accept, that my own experience with Post Traumatic Stress was due to a psychologically induced, traumatic brain injury. An Injury. Names must be changed to protect all innocents from false representations of insanity.
Best to all. Be well and may we all find our way out of this PTSD misunderstanding. You see - F.E.A.R? That is the trouble with imaginary psychopathy. I'm personally tired of living through it, myself. What you wish to do with this information shared here today? That remains, society, entirely up to you.
Darren Michael Gregory. August, 24th, 2014. Darren is a Community & Workplace Trauma Specialist, living in Creston, British Columbia, Canada.
Letter To the American Psychiatric Association: Dr. Frank Ochberg: PTSI, Online: 2012.
Occupational Stress Injury, Bill of Rights: North American Fire-Fighter Veterans Network, Online: 2014
One Mind For Research: Internet Resource: 2014.
PTSD, A Primer: Darren Michael Gregory: The Trauma Recovery Blog, Online: 2014.
PTSInjury, Online: Internet Resource: 2014.
Terrorist: Is Too Big a Word for the Deranged Killers of Isis: Gautam Malkani, Contributor: FT.Com, Opinion, Online: 2014.
The Disturbing Link Between Psychopathy and Leadership: Victor Lipman, Contributor: Forbes Magazine, Online; 2013.
Trauma Treatment Options: Darren Michael Gregory: The Trauma Recovery Blog, Online: 2014.
Why Do You Think The Term Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) is More Appropriate Than PTSD: Dr. Frank Ochberg
Disclaimer: These materials and resources are presented for educational purposes only. They are not a substitute for informed medical advice or training. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified health or mental health care provider. If you have concerns, contact your health care provider, mental health professional, or your community health centre.
Darren Gregory © 2014: All Rights Reserved
Certified: Community & Workplace Trauma Educator Traumatology Institute.
Associate Member American Academy Of Experts In Traumatic Stress.