PTSD advocacy and education hasn't come nearly far enough. We have made strides in ending the stigma, but Dr. Phil is a prime example of just how far we have yet to go. Changing the name of the disorder (I call it that because that's what it is) won't change a damn thing except make it even harder for VA benefit evaluators to quanitfy. Some people believe that this is an attempt by the government and US society at large to avoid living up to their responsibilities to our service members. While I gave this some serious thought, I finally came to the conclusion that this was not true either. Do you know what I see as the motivation for the classification change?
Incredible hubris on the part of the psychology/psychiatry professions at large. These no talent idiots actually think that they can 'heal' us. They give those who do 'get it', like Rod Deaton (his blog is amazing), a bad name. So now, I want to hear from the horse's mouth. Docs, prove my assertion wrong. Let me lay this out for you in terms that you can identify with:
If my strong opinion offends people, so be it. I have never been known to candy-coat what I perceive is the truth, no matter how much it hurts or offends others (a personal flaw, I know). I sure as hell won't start now. All that will ensue from making this classification change is people will be even more confused. I have already heard, "PTSI? Is that different from PTSD? I thought you guys coming home had PTSD. What's the I stand for? Illness?"
Think on that last quote for a second. Does anyone here really truly think that reclassifying PTSD will reduce the stigma? Or is it more likely that it will just add another layer of 'crazy' for people to label us with? Think long and hard on this folks. I can't say that my opinion is the correct one. I am no more the moral expert on this subject than the docs are. All I can say is that serious discourse needs to take place. A precipitous decision to change the classification doesn't do anyone any favors.
First let me start off by saying the following: There are no perfect people, just perfect intentions. What do i mean by that? I have talked to people I know who watched Dr. Phil's show, 'From Heroes to Monsters'. Dr. Phil's intentions were pure. He wanted to show that guys who were seen as monsters were human. I get that. I respect that. The goal of his show was to help destigmatize PTSD. I wish more people would get on TV and do that.
It's not the content of the show that I have an issue with. It's the way that it was advertised on TV in the run-up to the show airing. Once again, the media whores who only care about ratings sensationalized the content of the show, thinking it would increase viewership - and I'm sure it did. Here's what they failed to consider and what Dr. Phil should have:
Those are the major points. I could go on a typing rant, but I think the message would get lost. Here it is in a nut shell: YOU SCREWED UP, DR. PHIL. You forgot one of the cardinal rules of being a doctor. As a highly trained psychologist, he should have been aware of the sensitivity and volatility of discussing this issue. With that in mind, you should have done more to protect those who are stigmatized by this stereotype. Your advertising 'specialists' should be fired. The advertisement doesn't accurately depict the content or intent of the show. What I find most disappointing is that I can't imagine this hit the air without you knowing about it, Dr. Phil. If you didn't know about it, you should have.
OK, I'm getting down off my soapbox now. I remind people again - there are no perfect people, just perfect intentions. While I detest how this turned out, I do recognize that his intentions were good. He has done so much to help people over the years that I am willing to forgive this - I just won't forget.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.