In this post: The Virtual PTSD Experience is a sim dedicated to help soldiers that suffer from PTSD. It’s also good for helping family members to understand PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Simulators show the symptoms of PTSD.
You can visit it here:
I was pleased to find this gem in Second Life. My hubby deployed to Iraq twice and has mild PTSD. I’m branching out into more educational and helpful sims. The PTSD experience was a great place to start.
I did everything backwards but I’m going to post the proper order. First, you’re supposed to suit up and take a ride through an Afghan market.
Here’s the map with the different areas: causes, symptoms, & next steps.
This picture says it all. Children should not go through this simulation.
I went to the low intensity market. It was still a bit unsettling. It’s nothing to what soldiers have to face in real life. I can only imagine being in a crowded city and any person in the crowd could be a terrorist.
So I rode the Humvee through the market. It goes into mouse look view (as if you’re looking through your own eyes). It made me scan back n forth through the market.
It’s much more crowded in real life. My hubby was in Iraq but he also had to go into crowded cities. Even kids could be carrying bombs. Who do you trust? People start looking the same. It’s different from the states. You don’t know where the enemy is. Everyone is suspect.
Now it’s time to redeploy and head home to the states. Through out the simulation many strangers look like the terrorist. It’s another case of not knowing who the enemy is. Can you even trust the baggage carrier? PTSD makes life hard.
Waiting to board. I’m already anxious even though this isn’t real. I think it’s because I went to the symptoms mall first and it really got me on edge. By the way, there’s a stress HUD you wear and it shows you your health and anxiety levels in different situations as if you have PTSD. But I’m talking about my real life anxiety too.
The plane ride is bumpy and feels like forever. Then you go down the tunnel and “people” are waiting.
I remember this part in real life. I did this twice and it was nerve wracking. Sometimes we waited several hours. Flights could be late. Deployments were sometimes extended.
Now on to the mall. This part tripped me out.
The mall simulates symptoms people with PTSD have. Not every one has the same symptoms. Every soldier is different but I will say that I know for a fact these are common symptoms.
The candy shop was trippy. The words on the board faded out and the words “all of them died” stood out. I had to do a double take. I thought maybe it was my imagination but I learned that the simulation changes things as you walk. So you never know what’s going to happen.
There are information hubs all over the mall. Click on the letter I and it will quiz you on PTSD info. Then it gives details on each subject.
A kid center in the mall changed and began to look like…
the Afghan market.
Images of memories popped up suddenly. Gunfire went off but it turned out to be the popcorn machine.
A portion of the mall suddenly felt like the gun range. You can hear the soldiers crying out.
I was getting paranoid. I didn’t know what would pop up next. Was the window washer really a sniper? That kid’s phone looked like a bomb. There’s a section that talks about relationship troubles, sleep issues, & even needing to sit in a safe seat when out and about. I think the scariest thing was the unexpected and I can see how that is true for people with PTSD. A loud sound can bring back memories. It takes awhile to feel safe in public…especially crowds. Some soldiers suffer many many years with PTSD. My heart goes out to those who went to Vietnam especially.
When the stress meter gets too high you can hit the relax button and transport to a tranquil place. Now if only real life was like that! There’s also a recovery area with tons of resources for those suffering with PTSD.
Here’s an app:
This is a great website for counseling etc…
It’s fantastic that there’s a place like this in the virtual world. I think it helped me to understand my husband just a bit more. If you know someone with PTSD or you have it, I pray you will share these resources with them. No one should have to suffer alone. There is help. There’s no shame. My prayers go out to you.
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover