Thursday, October 3, 2013

No, I Was Not in the Military

Yesterday I saw my dentist to get a temporary bridge put in.  This involved grinding down the teeth or either side of my now-missing tooth so that crowns could go over them, which is what anchors the bridge in place.  The whole thing took about 90 minutes, which is a really long to be in a dentist chair, especially for me.  We did take a short break in the middle somewhere.

A friend went with me to the appointment and I called the office ahead of time to ask if she could be with me during the procedure.  Dentists usually like people to wait in the waiting room but I wanted to ask if they would make an exception due to my PTSD.  I explained to the receptionist that I have PTSD and was very anxious about the procedure and she checked with the dentist and then told me it would be OK to have my friend with me.

When I arrived, the dental assistant led me and my friend to the back and got a chair for my friend.  Then she said to me, "So I hear you were in the military?"

I said, "No, I wasn't."

She looked confused and said, "Bridget said you were in the military."  Bridget is the receptionist.

I realized then what happened.  I said, "That's probably because I told her I have PTSD and some people think only people in the military get PTSD.  That's not true, though.  Other people can get it, too."

I've been asked a lot if I was in the military.  Actually, my last dentist asked me that, when I told him I have PTSD.  The pastor of the church that held the fundraiser for Isaac asked me that.  Other people have asked me that, too. 

I've never seen any statistics indicating how many people with PTSD are military veterans and how many aren't.  I do know, though, that many, many people with the condition were never in the military.  It's true that being in combat can cause PTSD but many other things can cause it, including childhood abuse and sexual assault.

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