PTSD and Concealed Carry
I am an OIF veteran that spent over 12 years as an airborne infantryman. Shortly after being discharged from the US Army, I was diagnosed by doctors at the VA with PTSD.
One of the side effects is what some would call being "scatter-brained." My mind goes a million miles per hour and I have a hard time concentrating on more than one thing at a time. It's bad enough that I have a routine that I follow, to include a list of things to make sure I have when I walk out of my bedroom posted right next to the door. If I break my routine, I seriously increase the risk of forgetting something that could be important.
At the end of February this year, I was at the eye doctor's office for my daughter. While she was being examined, I used the bathroom. I removed my pistol that was in my inside-the-belt holster and placed it on the handicap rail. When I was done, I washed my hands and went about my business.
An hour later, after I was already at home, I was unloading everything out of my pants and it was then that I realized my pistol was not there. It only took a moment to realize where I had left it and I began to seriously panic. I called the office and they informed me that the police had secured it. At that point I began breathing a whole lot easier; at least it did not wind up in the hands of a kid.
It took a couple of months to get it back, in which I'm sure the P.D. raped the hell out of it...but I did get it back. This led me to come up with an S.O.P. (or a routine, if you will) for situations such as using public restrooms that will ensure this mistake never happens again.
My question is this: am I alone here or do any of you have similar experiences or problems with carrying due to PTSD or other anxiety disorders?
Please let me know and thank you for reading.
I'll start off by saying THANK YOU for your service in keeping my family, my friends, and myself safe from those who wish to do us harm.
Unfortunately it sounds to me like you need to get some help before you should carry here. I hope you get down to the VA and get some help....there are some new therapies for PTSD which have shown pretty good efficacy.
Airborne brother! i do have similar issues, just not quite to the extent as you. I forget a lot of stuff, but havent forgotten my pistol anywhere. What I do to ensure I dont is to put it in my pants/shorts when i take it off so I cant forget it lol
11B '02-'06, 91B '06+
82d '02-'09 (2-504), '10+ (3BCT)
Leg medic from 1AD here, been diagnosed with minor PTSD/TBI. I've had a similar issue, removed my IWB holster with my Gen 4 G17 that I carry on a daily basis, and set it on the TP dispenser so it wasn't too obvious under the stall and forgot it walking out of the bathroom. Thank God I remembered after drying my hands and went to retrieve it but there was still the oh ***** moment there. One of the scariest moments in my life, moreso than firefights.
Your gratitude is appreciated, although I speak for most of us veterans when I say that it is not necessary. I have been undergoing treatment, both pharmaceutical and therapeutic, for about a year now and I'm a hundred times better than I was before I started. This was the first incident like this and I chastised myself harder than anyone else possibly could have. I did stop carrying for a few days, simply because I felt incompetent...a very strange feeling for me. I couldn't go more than that because I couldn't function right without some sort of weapon; I did carry my zap stick in the interim but it was just a bandaid. I realized that I've had 14 years of professionally and personally carrying some sort of firearm and this is the only negative incident I've ever committed. It could have turned out really bad and I was genuinely relieved when I learned it was in the hands of the police. But I'm a firm believer that you have to learn from your mistakes and get back on the horse. Once I was sure I had a safeguard in place that would prevent that from happening, I started carrying again. Thank you again for your concern and gratitude
Originally Posted by Boatswain2PA
Ha! You went from killing them to patching them up. You're in an unusual situation; if you already earned the EIB and the CIB, then you could conceivably also earn your CFMB and your CMB...if you haven't already. That would place you in very elite company.
Originally Posted by vettefreak
Your SOP is the same one I adopted; simple but effective.
Be safe brother, shoot them in the face, and keep our guys healthy!
Firstly, Thank you for your service. 2nd I've never been diag'd with PTSD as I've never served, but I am as you said way to scatter brained and WAY to regimented. If I do something (or don't) during my morning (or any) routine I will pay for it later. I moved where I charge my cell phone and due to that left without if probably 10 times and didn't notice until I got to work. I'm a service technician and if we start installing something new, Since I don't have an exact system for that I'll make 25 trips to my truck instead of 3. And don't feel bad about the gun, I used to carry a Sigma, It was either in my pants or under my bed. When I bought my G26 for daily carry It stayed in a closet on the other side of the apt, So instead of accidentally taking the Sigma, I left the house with nothing day after day, usually not noticing until I was half way to work. I don't think I'm an OCD case because I'm not going down a mental checklist (at least not doing it consciously) But when something in my routine changes....I'm screwed. I feel ya pain man.
I know that "OH SHlT" moment all too well. Until I established my routines, which has been the best help, I'd forget it at home from time to time. When I realized it wasn't with me I'd panic and wouldn't recover until I was back home. Interestingly enough, I'm ok in places where everyone has to go through a security checkpoint and I know no one else is armed.
Originally Posted by Joshua Stuart
Yeah I'd give you **** for being a leg if this were in person but the truth is that everyone fights on the ground.
On a side note, is the Gen 4 worth it? I have a Gen 3 G17 and a Gen 3 G30...yeah I'm a Glock fan...but the interchangeable backs of the grips don't seem worth it to upgrade to me.
Same as "vette" up above...stay safe, shoot 'em in the face, and keep our guys mission ready!
Thank you for your gratitude.
Originally Posted by snatale42
FYI...it's not just combat veterans that have PTSD, we're just the ones on everyone's mind when the subject is broached. Anyone that has been through something traumatic can develop it. I used to believe it only happened to weak-minded people until it became too big for me to ignore last year. Thankfully I have valuable resources available to me and I've utilized them as best as I could and I'm a lot better...although a situation tonight (non-weapon related) reminded me that I still have a long way to go.
Thank you for sharing and good luck.
You're right. I never saw combat, but I did search & rescue for 20 years in the USCG. While I won't compare my experiences with that of actual combat, I've had some pretty freaking traumatic experiences - like being the first o/s to a loaded Boeing 747 crash.
Originally Posted by jabatam
I've thought about what I've said earlier, and would like to clarify my point. You seem to be smart on PTSD...so you know the sx can come and go depending on a million other things - life stressors, triggers, etc. I manage my PTSD like I manage my screwed-up back; some days are better/worse than others, so some days I exercise more, or rest more, or ice more, or eat more motrin. With my PTSD sometimes I exercise more, lighten my stress load, take a benzo to sleep, and then some days I can take on the world.
It sounds like you know how to compensate and manage your PTSD as well. Furthermore, I'll guess that you are your own worse critic. If that is true, and you feel like you can manage it well enough to carry, then more power to you. I'm sure you will track your stress load and, if it becomes necessary, leave your firearm locked at home if you need to. There certainly is no shame in doing that.
Tags for this Thread