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What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and How Is It Treated?

Many survivors of domestic violence, regardless of the “severity” of their situations, suffer from an anxiety disorder known as post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.  I’ve been fortunate to not suffer from it (with the exception of an occasional flashback or mild “trigger”), but through my friendships with other survivors I have grown familiar with what it does to those who experience it on a daily basis.  Left unaddressed or untreated it becomes a pervasive obstacle in their everyday lives, making it difficult to perform basic activities or experience life in a stress-free manner.

However, people who have experienced domestic violence are not the only ones susceptible to developing PTSD.  Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, such as a sexual assault or robbery, a natural disaster or auto accident, military combat or other violence (among other things) can develop this disorder.  In fact, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, “60% of men and 50% of women will experience at least one traumatic event” during the course of their lifetime. Of those, “8% of  men and 20% of women” will go on to develop post traumatic stress disorder.


PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of experiencing a traumatic event.  In basic terms, anxiety overwhelms a person’s ability to “cope” with the trauma, causing him or her to suffer a variety of negative experiences.  These may include:

  • inability to fall or remain asleep
  • mood swings
  • fearfulness
  • forgetfulness


Symptoms last at least three months, tend to cause great distress, and disrupt normal life.  They include:

  • reliving or reexperiencing the event through flashbacks, nightmares,  or “triggers”
  • hyperarousal (being easily startled or constantly feeling “on edge”)
  • avoiding certain people, places, or events that may “trigger” memories
  • numbness of emotion.


Treatment for PTSD typically involves one or both of the following:



  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)–ie, sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil)

By arming yourself with even these most basic characteristics of post traumatic stress disorder, you give yourself or your loved one the opportunity to seek appropriate treatment and resume living a mentally healthy lifestyle.  Never feel ashamed or embarassed.   PTSD is surprisingly common, with nearly 7.7 million American adults being affected every year.  You CAN take back your mental health…and your life.

It is important to remember that this is merely a quick glance into post traumatic stress disorder.  Anything written here is accurate to the best of my non-professional knowledge and I insist that if you or someone you know may be suffering from PTSD you not only research further on your own, but that professional intervention be sought.  Only a properly trained mental health professional can accurately diagnose and treat this condition!!

For more information, visit:

National Institute of Mental Health

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

PTSD Alliance



Understanding The Military Divorce:  A Guide For Spouses

It’s a topic nobody wants to discuss.  Mainly because we all “know” it won’t happen to us.   But the truth is, with 30,000 marriages ending in 2011, military divorce rates are the highest they’ve been since 1999.  And even though there are various programs in place to prevent divorces from happening within the military, repeated deployments, long-standing issues within the marriage, and stress from everyday life often make it difficult, if not impossible, to stay in the relationship.  If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important to understand your rights as a military spouse so that you can pursue those benefits to which you are entitled.

There are two types of benefits to which a spouse may be entitled:  1) those ordinarily awarded in any divorce case, and 2) those resulting from military service.  In order to claim those benefits specifically designed for military spouses, there are a few programs to which you should be familiar:

Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA):  this legislation protects military members from lawsuits, including divorce proceedings, while he/she is on active duty and for up to 60 days following.  The reasoning behind this is simple:  the service member must be insulated from these activities so that his/her full attention can be given to the “needs of the Nation.”


Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA):  generally speaking, spousal rights are based on state AND federal laws.  However, the USFSPA specifically grants state courts the ability to divide pensions in the matter of military divorces (an ability often regulated by federal law).   Through this Act, individual states may divert up to 50% of a retired service member’s retirement benefits to his/her spouse. Entitlement largely depends on the length of the marriage and the amount of time the service member spent in the military while married.  And while there is no duration of marriage requirement to receive a portion of the service member’s retirement pay, the US Defense Finance Center will only oversee disbursement when the marriage lasted more than 10 years and those 10 years coincided with the service member’s time in the military.


Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP):  this plan is much like an insurance policy in that you must pay premiums to keep it active.  The SBP protects an ex-spouse’s share of retirement benefits in the event of the service member’s death.  It also protects the ex-spouse’s benefits when the service member remarries—the new spouse and any of their children are prohibited from having duplicate coverage.


Child Support:  federal law dictates that the service member’s child support can only be calculated at 60% of his/her base pay plus allowances.  Actual child support rates are then established by guidelines in place within the state of jurisdiction.  However, anything earned under Publication 3 of the Internal Revenue Service’s Armed Forces Tax (such as combat pay as defined by the President) is exempt from being considered when figuring total income.


Alimony:  whether or not a spouse is entitled to alimony from a service member depends on numerous factors, such as the couple’s overall financial situation, the spouse’s capacity to earn an income, and the “circumstances of the marriage.”  It usually ends upon the spouse’s remarriage or the death of either party.  It is important to note, however, that the court is not obligated to award any alimony, whether it’s a civilian or military divorce.


Most states have residency requirements that must be met before filing for legal proceedings; however, many states are willing to relax their requirements for military families who are stationed there—even if the family doesn’t necessarily reside within the state.  As with any legal proceeding, it is important that you contact a local attorney for specific advice as to how to proceed with your divorce.  It is never easy, but with planning and knowledge, your transition from spouse to former spouse can be as smooth as possible.


8 Tips For Writing Your Resume—For Military Veterans

If you’re planning to transition from the military into a civilian way of life, you will undoubtedly need to create a resume that shows off the numerous skills and experiences gained during your time in service.  But let’s face it:  military jobs (military LIVES for that matter) differ quite a bit from their civilian equivalents.  So, how do you, a veteran, create an amazing resume that gets you the job you want?  By following a few simple rules:

  • Have a clearly defined goal: your military service will have undoubtedly equipped you with a wide range of skills that translate into the civilian workforce.  However, before you begin your job search, you need to decide what type of employment you are seeking.  This will allow you to harness the power of those skills most suitable to your goal.
  • Use keywords to match the job description: managers don’t have time to read every resume they receive word-for-word.  Catch their attention by using the keywords found within the job description.  For example, if the job requires someone who manages time well, consider using such a phrase within your professional summary.
  • Demilitarize: words, phrases, and acronyms that are second nature to you may not be familiar to the person reading your resume.  Avoid using military terms, including in job titles, descriptions, accomplishments, or training received.
  • Avoid using information not related to your job goal: the military provides ample opportunity for training and awards; however, if this information is not directly related to the job for which you are applying, eliminate (or at least deemphasize) it.    Your resume is about showing employers those skills which will benefit them.
  • Don’t be “me-focused”: as mentioned above, employers want to know what you can do for them.  They don’t want to know what you are good at.  They want to know what you’re good at that will help them sell more products, get new clients, or otherwise increase their bottom line.
  • Use active, energetic words: avoid using the term “responsibilities included”—it’s too general and bland.  Tell the person reading your resume what  you DID.  How did you have an impact on your previous employer’s business?  Show the new company what you’ve done before and will do again by using verbs such as “created,” “streamlined,” “assisted,” and so on.  When possible, use sales numbers, percentages, or other concrete examples to highlight how you did those things.
  • Format correctly: always include your name and contact information at the top of your resume.  Should you include a cover letter when applying for a job, don’t assume it will stay with your resume.  If they don’t and you haven’t included your information on your resume, it doesn’t matter how well written the information is.  Also be sure to use a clear, concise format with a font such as Times New Roman or Arial.  Keep your resume to no more than two pages.

Last but not least, when writing your resume (whether civilian or military) it is important to:

  • GET TO THE POINT. As a general rule, hiring managers decide whether or not they want to interview you based on the first few lines of your resume.  Start your resume out with a strong, professional summary regarding your previous accomplishments.  Done properly, this will entice him or her into delving a little deeper into your skills and qualifications and quite possibly land you your dream job!



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