What You Need to Know About PTSD

For those who suffer from PTSD the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wrote a wonderful article about 27 things you need to know about PTSD.  Amongst those are:

  1. No matter how long it’s been since your trauma, treatment can help.
  2. Sexual assault is more likely to result in symptoms of PTSD than are other types of trauma, including combat.
  3. Social support is one of the greatest protective factors against developing PTSD after trauma.
  4. Research suggests that social support is an even more important resilience factor for women than men.
  5. Trouble sleeping is a core feature of PTSD, so it is important to address sleep problems in PTSD treatment.
  6. Getting help for PTSD early can prevent problems from expanding to other parts of your life.
  7. Evidence-based treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy (or “counseling”) and medications.
  8. Many people with PTSD also experience chronic pain or other physical health symptoms.
  9. PTSD often co-occurs with depression or other mental health symptoms.

It is also important to know that those with PTSD cannot help their behavior.  The trauma that sufferers of PTSD have endured has changed them.  This makes it difficult for them to function as “normal” people do.  They do not hate those around them, they actually need you to help them.  PTSD creates a sense of isolation, because of this your presence matters to them.  They are coping with their problems and at times it makes it difficult for them to control their behavior.  Because of this they cannot just “get over it”, they have to work through this and fight their demons.

Knowledge is power, and the more people that know these things the more we can help those who suffer with PTSD.

Awareness starts with one step.  Help spread awareness one step at a time.

#TrekOn

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Hikers Wanted!

Putting miles to raise awareness is hard work.  It is even harder when it is one hiker trying to hike the miles.  That is why the Trek4PTSD is looking for volunteers to carry the trek on their backs and raise awareness one step at a time.

If you are a hiker, the task is simple.  Just grab your trekking poles, lace up your shoes and go!  Grab some pictures along the way, and keep track of approximately how many miles you did.  Along the way if you strike up a conversation with a fellow hiker or anyone, talk about raising awareness about PTSD.  That is the hard part.  When you get home, take a few minutes to type up your hike, show us your pictures and upload them.  That is it.

If you are interested, fill out the form below or email us at Trek4PTSD@yahoo.com.

Remember that awareness begins with one step.  Help raise awareness one step at a time.

#TrekOn

You Are Never Alone! Suicide is NOT an Option!

More often than not when it comes to mental illness, suicide always seems like the most viable option to stop the pain.  Suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem.

As I type this there is a thread on a veteran Facebook page where the author wrote, “Goodbye brothers and sisters I can’t do it anymore”.  In less than 50 minutes there have been over 400 replies, many telephone numbers shared, dozens of veteran calls to local law enforcement and hundreds of positive comments telling the veteran to hang in there and not to do it.

This is not the first of these types of posts I have come across, and every time it is the same response.  Veterans drop whatever it is they are doing and try everything in their power to prevent the loss of yet another brother or sister.  This is because we never leave a brother or sister behind.

It is important that we understand that there is help out there.  If you suffer from Mental Illness, keep on trekking.  No matter how difficult the journey may be know that there are many people willing to help and support you.  There are those who are on the same path as you and as long as you let them, they will help you get through it.

If you need help, ask we will respond.

!!!DO NOT GIVE UP!!!

Updates will be posted below.

UPDATE:

20 April 2018 @ 1314 PST: Law Enforcement was able to get to the individual and he is safe and sound.  Hundreds of veterans mobilized to save his life and fortunately he is still with us.  He now knows he is not alone and that hundreds of people he does not know are with him and care about him.

PTSD Hotline: 800-273-8255

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255

#TrekOn #NeverGiveUp #PTSDAwreness

An Emotional Awakening; My Confession

A few weeks ago as I, Trek4PTSD founder Raul, was driving through Warner Springs, California (PCT miles 109.5 and 111.4) began to get very emotional.  But I kept driving and watching for hikers.  I saw a young hiker leaving the Community Center and offered a ride.  Not paying attention to my exact location and never having known where the Community Center was at, I offered him a ride to the trailhead.  A few seconds into the ride we saw another hiker and he mentioned that he might be on the trail.  That is not possible, I thought to myself, after all the only time the trail is visible from the road is immediately after the trailhead.  After a quick assessment of our location I realized that indeed we had just passed the trailhead and I really did not need to give him a ride.  But he appreciated it and so did I.  The young Army veteran thanked me for the ride and was on his way.

After I dropped the young veteran off, I texted my wife.  I told her I was about to cry.  In response, she called me immediately.  “What is wrong?” were her first words to me and I could not hold back the tears.  My response was one of uncertainty since I did not know what was wrong.  All I knew was that it had to do with the PCT and the fact that I just drove by Warner Springs.  She responded by telling me that “it[the PCT/trail] is part of you and you need to get back out there.”  The sentiment was heard, but finding the time is difficult with so much to do before I retire from the Marine Corps at the end of the year.  Our conversation was short and I soon got over the tears, but not the emotion.

This event was a trigger, and some parts of my PTSD, anxiety and depression started to come back.  Over the next couple of weeks I watched “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods”, again.  I started watching hiking videos on YouTube again.  I spent more time on the PCT pages on Facebook.  And I teared up along the way.

My love of hiking had not diminished.  However, I understood that due to obligations, family issues, work and my impending retirement that the trail had to work.  For almost two years I had suppressed my need to just walk in the wilderness.  On that day in Warner Springs all of the bottled up yearnings to hike exploded.  I needed to get back out, it was just a matter of  finding the time.

A week later I looked at the fire closures and found that the section between Hwy 74(Paradise Café) and Idyllwild was passable to some degree with a detour.  The detour was no problem, I would still hike the section.  Now to find the time.  With Memorial Day a little over a month away, it seemed like the perfect time.  And so it was decided.

This was my emotional awakening, and with it a new found sense of purpose.  The Trek4PTSD would continue stronger than when it first began.  More efforts to raise awareness, more content to bring to the masses, different ways to get the information out there.  Awareness starts with one step and that was my first step on this new phase of the Trek4PTSD.

Mental Illness is something we all need to talk about, specially in this day and age.  It is my goal to do so even if I have to stay up at night and work 3 jobs to do it.

Help me raise awareness, help me help those who battle their demons in silence, help me show the world what PTSD and Mental Illness is.

Thank you and Semper Fi,

Raul

“The woods are calling and I must go” -John Muir

#Trek4PTSD #PTSDAwareness #PTSD #MentalIllness #PCT

Food Review: Backpackers Country Risotto w/ Chicken

The trail is not the place you want to try out new things.  It is always imperative to test everything you are going to take on the trail before stepping off.  Food is no exception.  The last thing you want is to make a meal after a long day of hiking and you cannot stomach the smell or the taste.  Always test your gear and your food before heading out.

Backpacker’s Country: Risotto with Chicken

This meal provides a meal full of taste and sustenance.  There is very little negative, for my taste, about this meal.  This will be a future meal on the trail for me and part of my hiking supply stash.

This meal comes in at a total weight of approx. 7.8oz (216g), the meal itself is 5.8oz (164g).  That means that you will have to pack out approximately 2oz (52g).  This may be a bit heavy for those who are trying to go ultralight.

The package contains two servings.  Eating the entire bag comes in at 600 Calories, 6g of fat (3g Sat Fat), 50mg of Cholesterol, 2440mg of Sodium, 100g of Total Carbohydrates (4g of Fiber, 8g of sugar) and 38g of Protein.  Also 20% of your daily Calcium intake, 8% of Iron and 12% of  Potassium.  Not too bad to replenish most of what you have used in a day of hiking.

It does require 2 cups (470 ml) of water, a typical amount for a meal this size.

The “cooking” process requires the water to be boiled and poured into the resalable pouch.  Stir the water and meal together and seal the pouch.  After 15 to 20 minutes, the meal is ready to eat (more time may be needed at higher altitudes).

The front of the package reads, “AN ITALIAN STYLE COMBINATION OF RICE, PARMESAN CHEESE, WHITE MEAT CHICKEN, ONION, BROCCOLI, SWEET CORN, BELL PEPPER, AND TOMATO. DELIZIOSO, ABBONDANZA”.

The meal was very good with a pleasing taste.  The water was measured in a controlled environment according to the instructions.  Although 2 cups (470 ml) were used as directed, not all of the water was absorbed after 23+ minutes.  Towards the end of the meal I noticed a slight grainy feel to the meal.  The soak/cook time is double of some of the other meals and by the time I was done eating, it was getting cold.  Such a long soak/cook time will may make the meal get cold sooner at colder temperatures (meal was served in a 70° F (21.1° C)).  The weight of the packaging and the long soak/cook time may be a reason for some people to avoid.

Overall a good meal and I give it 4 spoons out of 4.