RTFU

Mean Tweets and PTSD: Facts and Fakers

By
Updated: May 20, 2014

 

By Havoc 13

Americans love labels, and we can’t wait to show ours off. We look to distinguish ourselves by the physical labels attached to things ranging from the clothing we wear, to the cars we drive, to the beer we drink. Then there are the labels we give ourselves. “I’m conservative…” “I’m African-American…” “I’m a Packers’ Fan…” and the list goes on and on. It’s interesting in a society consumed with “not labeling” others we are so quick to label ourselves—and to make sure everyone else knows what our labels are.

Labels are important, because they tell us who we are, they tell others who we are, and they tell us who others are. In short, labels are closely tied to our individual identity. But in the hashtag-and-selfie-driven world we live in today, labels do more than just establish our identity: self-labeling generates attention and sympathy. Labels can also excuse our bad behavior, or even make us money. And I’ve come to understand that there are no “bad” labels, as long as the label makes the individual in question look like a victim.

Case in point: self-described atheist and feminist Melody Hensley made worldwide headlines recently after she claimed the PTSD she was diagnosed with was “on par” with that of war veterans. No drama there; veterans know that we don’t have a monopoly on PTSD, and as a group we are usually loathe to try to one-up someone else’s PTSD and the way it affects him or her. But what really got people fired up was how Hensley claimed she got PTSD: from reading mean tweets about herself that other people made on the Internet.

Think about that for a moment: Melody Hensley is pretty much saying something along the lines of “The Internet gave me post-traumatic stress disorder equivalent to that experienced by war veterans because someone posted something on the Internet that hurt my feelings.” Interesting. We’ll revisit that sentiment later. But first, if having mean things said about you is all it takes to develop PTSD, then consider this a trigger warning because a whole lot of people are about to get their feelings hurt… and it’s not going to just be Melody Hensley.

I’ll go ahead and just say what’s on a lot of peoples’ minds: right now there is no “better” label for someone seeking attention or money than that of a PTSD victim. Need attention? Claim PTSD! Need to shut someone down who is getting the better of you in a political argument? Claim PTSD! Need an excuse for your own bad behavior? Claim PTSD! It’s the cure-all label for what ails you. No one can criticize you after you say you have it, because you’re a victim. People are reluctant to punish you for your misconduct, because you’re a victim. Even better, the government will even pay you for it, because you’re a victim. You don’t even have to prove you have it, you just have to apply that label to yourself, and *poof* instant victim status, instant attention, and maybe even instant money.

PTSD is real. It is a real disorder with real consequences for those who suffer from it and the people who love them. Unfortunately, PTSD is also the perfect tool for frauds and fakers because it relies almost entirely on self-reporting, and its symptoms can be easily faked. Oftentimes doctors can’t even tell the real cases from the fraudulent ones, and a whole little “cottage industry” has cropped up to help people fake PTSD. There are perverse incentives associated with claiming PTSD, and very little chance of ever getting caught for a false claim. There are all kinds of sketchy PTSD claims these days, including ones that involve nothing more “traumatic” than watching aerial video footage… or getting your feelings hurt by things you read on the Internet.

hensley 2This brings us back to Melody Hensley. Not only do we not know for sure that she really has PTSD right now, we don’t even know for sure that she was even really diagnosed with it. All we know right now is that she CLAIMS she was diagnosed with PTSD; she carefully avoided naming the doctor who diagnosed her, or to offer any other supporting evidence. Based entirely on her own self-labeling, hordes of people are rushing to give her sympathy, attention, and other support. Predictably, Hensley has weathered a backlash against her outlandish claims, receiving particularly withering criticism from the veterans’ community. To this, she responded by threatening to contact service members commanding officers, a tactic I find laughable given 1) most COs are likely to think she’s just as full of shit as the troops do, and 2) most of the “veterans” responding to her don’t have a commanding officer to begin with, since it’s even easier to fake being a veteran than it is to fake having PTSD.

Many people think that Melody Hensley is crazy for claiming that she got PTSD from mean Twitter posts, but I don’t think that at all. Whether or not she legitimately developed PTSD from something she read about herself on the Internet, I think she is shrewdly manipulating the wave of attention being thrown her way by attaching a sympathy-garnering label to herself and adroitly playing for sympathy by claiming to have a disorder that very few people actually know anything about. And the backlash that has been generated against her simply plays into her hands; all of the (largely justified) attacks against her merely make her “victim card” easier to play, and gives her even more attention and credibility in the communities in which she is seeking to make a name for herself.

Given the backlash directed against her from not only veterans but also from survivors of rape and other violent crimes, I suspect we’ll see an “evolution” of Melody Hensley’s story. Over time, the “Twitter gave me PTSD” story will probably drift into a narrative of some other underlying event, for which the mean tweets were merely the “trigger” instead of what actually gave her PTSD, in order for her “PTSD” to have been acquired in a more politically-acceptable manner. Time will tell.

In the meantime I have some advice for fellow vets who are outraged by Melody Hensley’s PTSD claims: don’t feed the trolls. Treat Hensely and others like her the way you would treat the Westboro Baptist Church or a crazy ex: ignore it when you can, confront it when you have to, but ALWAYS comport yourself in a manner that reflects credit on the service. Don’t do dumb shit that reflects badly on all of us.

Melody Hensley says “I will not be silenced.” No one wants to silence you Melody, we just don’t want to hear you saying stupid things at the expense of those whose PTSD couldn’t have been prevented by pushing the “off” button on their iPad.

Comments

comments

42 Comments

  1. Fatty Bread

    May 20, 2014 at 7:44 am

    She will most likely claim she is bullied as well. Here is a great response from a great mayor:
    http://wwmt.com/shared/news/features/national/stories/wwmt_california-mayor-hot-water-comments-bullying-7957.shtml

  2. JoeC

    May 20, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I have PTSD from reading about this BS. While I agree with everything you said, this is the first I have heard of this and I could easily have gone my entire life without hearing about it and been OK with that.

  3. TRubiconSims

    May 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

    This is the DSM-V criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD. It is our standard as Clinicians when we attempt to diagnose anyone with PTSD.

    “The exposure must result from one or more of the
    following scenarios, in which the individual:
    • directly experiences the traumatic event;
    • witnesses the traumatic event in person;
    • learns that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend (with the actual
    or threatened death being either violent or accidental); or
    • experiences first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event (not
    through media, pictures, television or movies unless work-related).”

    NOTE THE FOURTH STATEMENT.

    • Avicenna Last

      May 23, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Your argument ignores the fact that TV Drone operators have had PTSD from their work despite it being “through a TV Screen”.

      We accept that bullying and harassment and stalking is a form of trauma BTW.

      And you know nothing about Patient History.

      And finally? As most Veterans with PTSD will tell you that aversion to triggers is real but the gold standard care for PTSD will include and encouragement to face your triggers.

      Furthermore? The lady you are so charmingly bashing has a job that exposes her to abuse. Would you deny veterans the chance to hold down normal lives?

      And I must point out? That PTSD is not a contest. No therapist would tell you to go around comparing your PTSD to others. In fact a lot of soldiers aren’t “badly” wounded when they get PTSD and feel guilt over the “non-seriousness” of their PTSD.

      Well here is the thing. There is one more group of PTSD “sufferers” associated with war. And they often don’t have it as lucky as veterans. See Veterans have systems that detect, diagnose and help. These people? Until quite recently would have been exposed to everything a paid soldier is exposed to. But they would have had no choice. And they would often be much younger.

      And they used to be told that they cannot have PTSD.

      PTSD is for soldiers. The same people lived through the same bombings, the same gunfights and would see the same wounds. But they never got that kind of care.

      Are you aware of the Trevor Project? Media, Picturees, TV or Movies cannot hurt you right? The Trevor Project is about cyber bullying and the number of children whose lives were lost due to such. We accept it exists.

  4. Frank

    May 20, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Stupid slut is lucky I can’t message her due to being suspended from Facebook for PTSD inducing posts!!!

  5. leftoftheboom

    May 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

    There will always be those who leach off the deeds of others. Stolen Valor or claiming PTSD is simply one more facet in which the 99% attempt to gain notoriety or find some wish/fantasy fulfillment by getting attention.

    The entire system is a desire by insecure individuals to achieve a pseudo sense of reality in which they are important to the world outside their tiny minds. They will get away with it for a while but reality will set in soon enough as the world gives them their 15 minutes and then ignores them for the rest of their lives. Then they will spend every waking moment in a desperate effort to achieve any recognition.

    The best thing you can say, if you must say anything, is, “Were you important yesterday? Because yesterday is over and we are done with you now.”

    Oh and my label: I am a pragmatic realist without delusion and I like to puncture the inflated egos around me. In short, I am an a**hole.

    Have a nice day.

    26 May. Never Forget.

    • leftoftheboom

      May 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I got my wish. Awesome

    • Avicenna Last

      May 23, 2014 at 6:47 am

      If you wish to pretend to have PTSD then go right ahead. It doesn’t net you anything but heart ache and trouble. If you want to pretend that you have it? I have no qualms.

      The joke is none of us are really important to the world? We are important to humans. And Melody is probably a lot more important than you think. She’s pretty famous. You may not know who she is but I do.

      She was well known before she got PTSD from harassment.

      • leftoftheboom

        May 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

        Avicenna Last,

        I have not stated or implied that I did or did not have anything. I pretend one thing in my posts, I use a pseudonym, that is the only pretense I use because freedom of speech is not all that free these days. I also don’t announce what I have done or not done because I don’t feel the need too. I do post based on my experience in an implied fashion.

        As to the rest, why do people who never served a day in uniform, wear military uniforms? Because it is great and stylish clothing? No they do it because they want to dress up and pretend. And they either cannot or will not accept the price of actual service. Similarly they wear medals or tell stories that they did not earn or made up in order to be important, if only for a moment, at a bar, at a gathering, on the internet.

        Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame if they can get it. Even I want it. But I control my desires as best I can. Should I strike intent gold and become a meme, my pseudonym will get the fame not me.

        Your defense of your friend is admirable. She should treasure you and all the others who have risen like knights to defend her honor.

        She still made a very ill-advised comparison but she has to good people to turn to. Fine people just like you. Bask in her fame and fortune, just remember, some of us don’t care.

        Remember, the more famous you are, the more people who are watching when you fall.

        • Avicenna Last

          May 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm

          She isn’t my friend.

          I used to work with the victims of acid burns. I decided to defend her for them. Because it was their images that was used to harass her. The Charity that held the rights to those images could not afford to fight the idiots who were using their IP to harass her.

          I must repeat. Melody is famous prior to this. She’s insanely well known among the atheists and skeptics. It’s like me pretending to be attractive…

          None of us need that extra attention. She already was at the top of a community and widely liked. She is still widely liked. You are literally listening to a fringe group.

          Serve in Afghanistan? I was part of the Peshawar Earthquake and Flooding Response. I medic for a bunch of charities. You know as well as I do that Afghanistan is a fucked up place for women.

          A Voice For Men doesn’t think so.

          You know the current Measles Outbreak? Due to a paper by some quack called Andrew Wakefield who shilled for some Ambulance Chaser in the USA. The fearmongering was done by the Daily Mail.

          Children have died thanks to them.

          These are the sources Veterans in the USA are basing their arguments on. You can claim ignorance on the subject material, sure. But it is important to listen to the people who do engage with this sort of thing.

          I don’t remember exactly what got me. I was 5 when I had war descend on me. But I know I fear explosions. Balloons and Fireworks. Tell me if you had someone throwing fireworks at the feet of veterans to trigger them, what would you think?

          Imagine that for a 5 year old. I was called a coward when I was young.

          The joke here is that you are reading a half story. The source here is faulty.

          I have clashed with A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam. Trust me, the mens rights movement don’t care about men. They claim to but most of what they do is whinging about women.

          I am aware of the History of PTSD. I just see people making the same stupid mistakes of the past and deny people.

          In WW I they used to execute shell shocked soldiers. Called them cowards. Abandoning Duty. I see the arguments being made here as similar.

          We have drawn a line beyond which Trauma is not real. The article does it too. Look carefully, you will see real Veterans with PTSD being denied their status. Imagine if the 5 year old refugee gets to draw that line?

          Which is why it is stupid.

          And I really don’t care if someone gets their 15 minutes of fame pretending to have PTSD.

          See that’s not all we are. I am so many more things than just PTSD. PTSD lead me to read. It lead me to my gardening, my baking and cooking. I found a lot of time to do things that improved me. And in time I grew out of that shell. I still have flashbacks and nightmares but I live with them. I am healthy. Healthy enough to be a doctor (Come August)

          But that’s the thing. All people see when they discuss Melody is just that. They ignore all the achievements she has.

          It is simple. Melody is disliked not because she has PTSD, but because she was outspoken against the MRA.

          You are aware that there are issues with sexual assault in the Army right? The MRA would want to cover that up or deny women the right to serve claiming “That’s what happens when you have soldiers”. As if soldiers are unthinking meat heads.

          That’s who you are throwing your lot in.

          I suggest you read about it carefully and see exactly what is up. You are looking at tweets out context and faulty sources and constructing a dialogue.

          • leftoftheboom

            May 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

            Avicenna Last,

            I took the opportunity to follow the link in your user name and found your site and read through the articles there. I found them informative and well stated.

            I am curious as to why you choose reply to my post because you are trying awfully hard to convince me so either you think I am reasonable or on the fence or maybe I guess I struck a nerve.

            If so, I am sorry. I have nothing against Melody personally, as I said, it think she made a mistake. Her mistake does not excuse the attacks against her nor should it be license for a scorched earth campaign. Unfortunately it is, and that is the internet for you. If you look, you can find just about anything there no matter how disgusting or vile but I am sure you know that.

            If she was already famous, so be it but she still made an ill-advised comparison. I do not support any group that behaves the way those attacking her do. This site, took issue with her choice of cause comparison and the additionally silly statement that she would contact commanders. I don’t think this is an orchestrated campaign to destroy Melody though it does poke fun at her.

            Afghanistan, the entire Middle East, is a fucked place for women, children, and anyone with sanity or decency. One of my favorite General’s is Patton and he slapped a soldier who was in the hospital for “shell shock”. He was wrong, fired, made to apologies but I still admire him for the good that he did.

            Times change with knowledge and understanding, this comes at a high price. The wars brought labels like PTSD to the front page. But the issues are still not understood because medical science still does not understand the brain very well. The best way to test would be to have a complete neurological scan of everyone and then compare the scans after the trauma to see what PTSD has changed so that they might help. The cost is too prohibitive to do that. So we muddle along learning as we go and everyone is a test case. It makes the struggle all the more difficult. And with budget cuts and all the garbage happening with VA, well it makes it worse.

            Does the military have a corner on the total numbers of PTSD? No. Nice and definitive answer for you.

            Did the military and the suffering in the military bring the issue to the front page? Yes. I do not doubt you for a second or your own suffering but no individual howsoever famous is enough to reach the public consciousness the way the suffering in the military has and not all of that press has been good either. It does not mean yours is any less, nor does it mean that Melody’s is any less but right or wrong it subscribes a sense of ownership to veterans of the military as their issue from the war. And when I see someone do what Melody did, I see someone attempting to profit off the backs of my fellows. Right and wrong do not come into it, neither should cause and effect.

            In the end I have to say also that both of you operate in fringe groups that other fringe groups and even some mainstream groups feel safe in attacking. That is unfortunate but reality does not give us the ability to make the world as we would wish it. You are going to be a doctor? Congratulations and focus on the achievement but keep always in mind, no one is perfect.

            You are defending the misuse of others used in the attack. I defend the perception of marginalization of my fellows. In the end we are both defending. And that is also what being in the military is all about, defending those who cannot defend themselves. See, you would make a decent Soldier.

  6. Mary

    May 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Whoa! Trying to wrap my brain around the wasted time I just spent reading about your drama. I’m thinking that possibly you did not have the mental faculties needed to be in the military. Where you not aware of the horrid, vile and unnecessary violence you were going to be subjected to on a daily basis when you enlisted or where you just focusing on a free education or some such nonsense. I am anti-war; have been since the Vietnam fiasco; wish we could settle our disputes with conversation rather than blowing each other up; slaughtering children like pigs and seeing who can win the game first; disgusting, but I admit I don’t have the answer. I just pray, yes I do pray, that this world will come to have some common sense before it’s too late. Should we be proud of our military? No comment; but I am proud of our police officers and firefighters who put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform and head to work and lets not forget the doctors and nurses who try to piece the blown up body parts back together in the name of fighting for our country. The difference is they are here in the good old USA; saving the people in our country; not shooting our fellow human beings in some God forsaken desolate war zone halfway around the world. I do not pretend to know to “whys” and “how’s” or the reason for the need to blow each other away; I just know that I am against violence of any kind. We teach our children to “use their words” when they are angry rather than choose violence; what happens to that theory when we grow into adulthood? If I knew how to make it happen I would ask the decision makers in our country to say, “No, we won’t go” because if every person in this world said “no” to violence we would have not any choice but to find another way to solve our problems without bloodshed and PTSD….I know, I am crazy to even bother to attempt to think about a world without violence; but I can pray; the Bible says that before the world ends we will all come together as one; no bigotry or hatred or rich versus poor, just human beings living our lives, paying our taxes, and “using our words” to solve adversity. In what world, exactly, do I think I am living in? Not sure, but I can dream, right? I don’t know you; but reading your whiny whoa is me OMG I have PTSD pile of doo-doo was just about all I can stand. Get a grip lady, we all have our demons and they can either beat us up or we can get help and move on. I’m wondering what other aspect of your life would have caused PTSD if you hadn’t joined the military……..maybe dust balls would make you crazy??? Who knows?

    • leftoftheboom

      May 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Mary, learn to read and write. While I was able to understand your literate diatribe, it is only because of my education, no your ability to articulate yourself. The article is about some claiming PTSD not someone in the military expressing an issue with their service.

      I am not sure if you are aware of your hypocrisy or not but I will point it out so you can maybe recognize it in the future. You say you don’t believe in violence but Mary, you words are confrontational, bigoted, demanding, and aggressive which means you do expound violence. You are simply misguided into thinking that you are a good person because you profess to not lay hands on someone. It doesn’t quite work that way. There are types of violence and physical is only one of them.

      I am glad you appreciate law enforcement and firemen but keep something in mind, the fact that you can express, howsoever misguided it might be, your opinion, is guaranteed by soldiers, not cops.

      By the way, this is me “using my words”. Hope you enjoy your day, you illiterate harpy, you.

      • AngleDragn

        May 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

        leftoftheboom…Love the reply. Thank you for expressing so elequently what alot of us where thinking. Oh and Mary, the bible also says that the anti-christ will be the one to bring about world pease, so be careful what you wish for.

      • JoeC

        May 20, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        ^^^^What he said. What a delusional fairy tale dweller.

      • Fatty Bread

        May 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

        leftoftheboom,

        God Bless you and your writing ability. Unfortunately, I am only able to “Hulk Smash” things when I become frustrated with people. I am not as fortunate with your writing skills. I am sure you are only considered an [email protected]@hole by those who wish to bury their head in the sand and believe the world is of rainbows and unicorns.

      • Chubs

        May 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        Leftoftheboom….well said.

      • Janean

        May 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm

        Hahah!!! Great reply,,leftoftheboom, thanks

      • Gunship Load

        May 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

        As usual, an eloquent response from you… What I always expect from you.

    • Whitey

      May 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Mary, I am an American firefighter. While I am not a military veteran, many of my fellow firefighters are. So are a tremendous number of law enforcement officers in this country. Does that mean you are suddenly no longer “proud” of them?

      It is obvious that you consider yourself smarter than everybody else, so I can’t help but wonder if it has ever occurred to you that there are a lot of people out there who want to kill you, and many of them would rape you first. They don’t care about your consideration for their world view, and no amount of education or pacifism will change their minds. You’re not one of them, therefore they hate you. They can’t reach you because the Servicemen you regard with such disdain man the ramparts that keep them at bay.

      Some problems can’t be solved with a rifle. And some can’t be solved without one. You are very fortunate to have never experienced the latter. It is thanks to better people than you that you have not.

      You talk of Vietnam as if the Army started the war, when it was in fact President Lyndon B. Johnson who committed US forces to the conflict in Southeast Asia. He did so against the advice of a surprising number of military leaders, and further ignored their advice by implementing his micromanaged “limited” commitment strategy that effectively doomed the whole enterprise from the start. The US Military wanted no part of the Vietnam War as we know it today, but they followed the orders of the Commander in Chief that We The People had elected. So whose hands are the bloodiest?

      In any event, you clearly did not read the article. And I speak for a large majority of my fellow firefighters and likely for many LE folks as well when I say that we don’t want your “pride” in us. We are, by and large, patriotic Americans who are very proud of those who wear our country’s uniform whether we agree with the war or not. And many of us (myself not included) are veterans. We are not like you in any way, and we are proud of that

      So kindly piss off.

      • Louise

        May 21, 2014 at 9:10 am

        Whitey, beautifully and eloquently said.

      • Pro_scholar

        June 1, 2014 at 1:19 am

        Whitey, nice reply. Where’s the “sometimes violence is the ONLY answer” shirt when you need it? It’s entirely possible it was just a trigger for me – but saying I have PTSD isn’t painting myself as a victim. It’s labeling myself as a SURVIVOR. But I usually only do it to explain why I jump at noises and can’t stand crowds. And no I was never in the military. Rape trauma syndrome rolls up into PTSD. I can’t speak the word rape so I say PTSD and everyone assumes I mean military. Which sucks because I sure as hell won’t claim credit for the hell they went through voluntarily for US, so I have to use metaphors. I don’t like the “victim role” saying. Maybe I was one but I won’t remain one. RE clinical diagnoses – you think #4 ‘s exclusion counts when those photos combine 1&4? That said these guys come home (or not) and I’m not supposed to GAF because “we shouldn’t have been there in the first place”. That’s what I keep being told. “I have no sympathy for them…” And if hang up the phone. But I’ve got an adrenaline flood switch so if anyone says that to my face and I kick em in the teeth…. Well I wasn’t a soldier so it doesn’t reflect badly on military, right? Because I can’t take too much more of these ostriches. (Family is all I’m willing to say – & they talk politics.) someone said they pray. Ok cool. WHAT ELSE ARE YOU DOING TO HELP THEM? Not a thing. Ppl talk smack and whine and don’t even bother to vote much less talk someone out of a flashback. I get those too… But it’s not being a VICTIM. Or playing at being one. It’s dealing with it the best way I know how, which is to hang our with soldiers cuz I feel safer. There’s my $.02 for whatever it’s worth.

  7. Emily

    May 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Well said

  8. M. A. Melby

    May 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    You realize that you are LITERALLY just making shit up right?

    She made a name for herself long before she was diagnosed with PTSD and before she made her diagnosis public (which was a long time ago). She has a high administrative position in a well-established organization with a good reputation. She organizes a conference every year, which is the main reason that people know who she is.

    How the hell you can twist this situation around the way you have, I’m unsure.

    But, let me make this perfectly clear to you.

    SHE DOES NOT WANT OR NEED YOUR ATTENTION.

    The people who made this a “story” that you and other “news” outlets picked up on – are the people harassing her – not HER. THEY are the ones trying to manipulate you – not HER. They are the ones misrepresenting what she has said and what she has claimed for maximum outrage – not HER.

    You are the one who decided to write an article about the PTSD diagnosis of a person you don’t know instead of taking your own advice and ignore a situation that does not concern you.

    But, in all sincerity, thanks for this: “…but ALWAYS comport yourself in a manner that reflects credit on the service. Don’t do dumb shit that reflects badly on all of us.”

    Wish others were so inclined.

    • leftoftheboom

      May 21, 2014 at 7:12 am

      First, Anyone who uses Twitter to get out their message, wants attention. If you were misinformed on the proper usage of social media, sorry but the entire idea is self promotion.

      Second, her diagnosis may have been a while back but she is still out there plugging away so the article is still relevant. And what twist? Her words, on record, her statements, how is there a twist?

      Lastly, no one said she did not have PTSD. The entirety of the argument is the equivalence that she claimed to military personnel who are suffering from PTSD. That type of comparison tends to irritate military personnel who faced death and violence and then get to read her claim that mean words makes her their equal.

      In this day of overreaction to every situation, why is it always the military that have to adapt to the rest of the world when they are comparing themselves to us? Why do you defend her? When she is the one who had the audacity to compare herself with us to seek attention?

      There are thousands of individuals on a daily basis to claim that which they do not deserve, have not earned, and when confronted demonstrate they lack the courage to do more than pretend.

      I have news for you when some ignorant twit claims to be my equal, because she read something, I get offended.

      • M. A. Melby

        May 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        “Lastly, no one said she did not have PTSD.”

        You have no idea what’s going on at all, do you?

        She never compared her experience directly to combat veterans. The Daily Mail essentially made that up – and a bunch of other people ran with it.

        The closest she came to saying anything like that was to say that having PTSD was horrible regardless of the cause, and she said that to someone who out-of-the-blue asked her how she dared claim PTSD as if harassment was like being raped. Considering that Melody is also a survivor of rape, her getting upset at being drilled for somehow being insensitive to rape victims because of her diagnosis seems understandable – don’t you think?

        The only reason she brought up military personnel is because she was being harassed by some military and ex-military people (and simply people who *know* combat veterans) who were pissed off at her *ONLY* due to her diagnosis. Because, to them, being diagnosed with PTSD and being open about it – enraged them because IN THEIR MINDS it set up a comparison of the stimulus that caused the PTSD. They also emphatically accuse her of faking – with no other evidence than the fact that she tweets occasionally. So, THEY are the ones using military PTSD as an excuse to harass her – claiming that her supposed “faking it” is insulting to combat veterans.

        That is why she mentioned that other groups (notably rape survivors) have higher rates of PTSD than veterans – because she was being attacked by a group who were essentially claiming that ANYONE who was diagnosed with PTSD was claiming to have traumatic experiences similar to combat veterans. The Daily Mail article ran with that idea.

        When she said that she would contact commanding officers, people twisted that to her contacting the CO for frivolous reasons.

        However, the harassment she’s received runs the gambit – from simply being asked annoying and invasive questions; to being told that she should slit her own throat; rape threats; people saying that are going to find her and punch her in the throat and all sorts of bullshit, etc so forth.

        The idea that she thinks that her experience is the same as combat veterans is complete fiction. She clarified to the contrary – but none of that matters. it certainly didn’t matter to the person who wrote the OP.

        I know the reason why I (and others) have been blocking literally HUNDREDS of people on her behalf in the last week or so. (YES – that is they only way she can stay on twitter.)

        It’s because the narrative struck a chord. You know – pampered elite desk-job type, clueless to dealing with the type of life-and-death situations that military folks endure, has first-world problems and thinks her life is sooooo bad….blah blah blah….and needs to be taken down a peg.

        Well, that anger is misplaced in this case. That convenient narrative is being pushed by the people who have been harassing her – which btw – is not just on twitter, but with her work e-mail and calls to her home. This crew are creepy as hell, and obsessed – not your ordinary hit-and-run lolz trolls. They threaten to show up where they know she will physically be; and laugh about the fact that if they did show up to further disrupt her life in person, that she would not be able to recognize them.

        They are assholes who terrorize people for fun – why you think this story is about Melody’s real and perceived imperfections and not the fact that this type of harassment is becoming so normalized that SHE is being blamed for THEIR behavior due to her lack of capitulation is really FUCKED UP.

        The fact that she is supposedly the “Douche of the Week” and not any of the people threatening to kill her – well – that’s a comment on society as well isn’t it?

        • JoeC

          May 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm

          I looked up some of her tweets and she very plainly stated that she got PTSD from being harassed on the internet, not from being a rape “survivor”. At the end of the day there is one truth that she can’t escape from regardless of whether or not she has PTSD and regardless of what caused it if she does have it: If she had kept her mouth shut instead of bombarding social media with pleas for pity none of this would be happening.

          • M. A. Melby

            May 21, 2014 at 10:31 pm

            She developed PTSD from the harassment she’s received.

            One of the reasons she may have been more prone to developing symptoms is because of her prior traumas – but she has always maintained that growing up in the foster-care system and her history of childhood abuse did not cause her mental health crisis. My point is – that it certainly couldn’t have helped. I’ve lived with people that have severe C-PTSD whose primary symptom is dissociative episodes and hyper-vigilance. From the perspective of that person, as well as experts, prior trauma (especially during childhood) increases your risks of developing symptoms.

            http://www.skepticink.com/gps/2014/04/18/can-one-get-ptsd-via-twitter/

            This history was public before Melody made her diagnosis public – so please don’t jump to the assumption that this is just being mentioned now as some sort of post-explanation.

            She doesn’t talk about it much however – and NO – she really does NOT owe anyone personal information about her life.

            But if you really NEED to know about whether or not a stranger that you’ve never interacted with has been raped or not – here:

            https://twitter.com/MelodyHensley/status/453915527866777600

            And that links to the tweet that was used to accuse her of claiming to compare herself to combat veterans. It was a problematic tweet – too generalized – but, no, she didn’t compare the cause of her PTSD to combat veterans. If you take that tweet with any charity at all – she’s simply saying that just because the events that brought on her mental health crisis do not compare to the unspeakable traumas that others experience doesn’t mean that her symptoms are not severe.

            Someone who knows Melody through her professional work, who has PTSD from literally living through war as a child, and who is a medical professional that often treats people who have endured trauma weighed in on this issue.

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2014/04/21/ptsd-and-melody/

            Besides simply making public her diagnosis and granting an interview for a news outlet who was doing a story on one of the main harassers – several months ago; Melody has not been making a spectacle out of this. As I explained, the most current media splash about her diagnosis was directly fueled by the people harassing her; not by her.

            People talk about various things like this on twitter all the time – and somehow it isn’t considered news worthy (nor should it).

            This is happening to her because she is being targeted.

            The idea that she could just wave her magic wand and make everyone shape-up by being the “perfect victim” is just blaming her for other people’s actions because you don’t want to take responsibility for how organizations like this page have been complicit in this particular instance of assholery.

          • M. A. Melby

            May 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm

            I wrote a response to you – but it may have been put in moderation because it included several links.

        • leftoftheboom

          May 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

          M.A. Melby,

          I have a couple of education points. 140 characters makes it difficult to tell a story. Articles can and will be biased because they are written by human beings who write with their emotions. I do not condone anyone who threatens anyone else with violence over words.

          At what point did she say she was raped? Because I checked several different points of view and in an interview attributed to her, she makes no mention of rape. Her own twitter feed does not say she was raped. She talks about it in reference to others but she does not say anything about herself.

          I am not calling you a liar, and I would imagine that a rape survivor might not want to talk about it. So why mention any of it if part of it was off limits?

          If you take to public social media to express something, be prepared for reaction. If you claim something, be prepared to back up your claim. She stated she had PTSD. She stated in the interview that I read that it came from internet trolls on her twitter feed. She did not say rape.

          Tell the truth or remain silent. Everything else sets off a fire storm and given her desire for social media, I would even consider that she made it deliberately because it would increase the number of people listening to her.

          It is true that she may be harassed by the trolls on twitter. Turn it off. If she cannot do that because of her job, tell the truth. If the truth is she made an idiotic comparison, apologize and move on. Don’t want to follow any of those options, suck it up and move on.

          Although you do confirm that Ranger Up has a wide viewer ship. You should by a t-shirt from them.

          My personal favorite is Fingers to War.

          • M. A. Melby

            May 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm

            “If the truth is she made an idiotic comparison, apologize and move on.”

            She never made a comparison between what caused her to develop PTSD and what causes other people to develop PTSD. She did say that PTSD is horrible regardless of the cause.

            That’s really about it.

            She never said that her childhood or her rape caused the PTSD – because it didn’t. However, people who have endured previous trauma are more likely to develop symptoms. Not everyone is at the same level of risk of developing PTSD, or other mental health problems such as depression.

            As I told you – there are people blocking on her behalf. We’ve been monitoring news sites (such as this) and anticipating waves of people asking her invasive questions, harassing her, and threatening her. We block them before she sees them. Someone I know coded a twitter application that lets us do that.

            And yeah – a few of the people we are helping her actively ignore become absolutely enraged that they aren’t able to have her attention and be heard. I mean, seriously, these are the same people who scream about how she has a “block” button and can disengage – but when she does – in a way that allows her to keep using twitter – they pitch a fit.

            The idea that she’s the one wanting attention is just so backward – I don’t even know how to express it.

            As I said, she has a high-level position in an organization that well-established and has a good reputation. She made a name for herself long before her harassers decided to target her and before she developed PTSD as a result of that. You’re getting the cause and effort confused – she is being targeted because she is prominent; she is not prominent because she is being targeted.

            If you don’t believe me – that’s fine – but I’ve been watching this unfold (in many respects first-hand) for the last three years.

            There is not much I can do if you wish to rely more on your intuition, a few tweets, and the OP’s conjecture – than on what I have to say.

            I know this is an extremely emotional subject for many people – trust me – I was reading through the responses to her for hours at a time right after the Daily Mail article was published. I engaged with a few of the people who were making those responses.

            And besides the sexist and dehumanizing crap – really – the most offensive idea that kept popping up was the notion that having PTSD meant that you are weak or that it is something you should be ashamed of. Much of the more disturbing abuse she received was from people who appeared to be lashing out at her as a means of coping.

        • leftoftheboom

          May 22, 2014 at 7:41 am

          M.A. Melby,

          I read your links. Request for charity denied. Your friend chose to include herself, in public, into a community that is full of hurt and emotional pain. She may have PTSD. I am not a licensed professional so I cannot say one way or the other. She equated her pain to everyone else’s. This is also probably true. The widespread symptoms of PTSD can be recognized across the board in a generalized fashion.

          And that right there is where she failed.

          It is already difficult to live with PTSD and the stigma associated with it. For all the brotherhood in the military, PTSD is the hardest to handle because every individual is unique and no one knows how to deal with it properly because generalizations don’t work very well. And your friend equated her origin of PTSD with theirs.

          I can see that she was trying to equate PTSD with PTSD but that is not what she did. She equated the causes together and that is what set off the firestorm. The emotional temperature of a military service member’s reason is a bit hotter, like incandescent, compared to a mean tweet.

          I know of servicemen and women who have PTSD. Some have it because they looked down and saw parts of their body were gone, some had to put their friends into plastic bags, some had to pick up the pieces of their friends and then put them into plastic bags, some just had to watch, some fought on a god forsaken spot in the desert over land that no one cares about for people who could care less, to one who carried flag draped coffins every single day of his tour.

          PTSD may all feel the same. Equating a mean tweet cause? Fail, unimaginably stupid, callous, heartless, fail.

          She Was Wrong. She does not deserve to be threatened over this but she was still wrong and if she wants to know who is to blame, tell her to look in the mirror. Know your audience.

          • Avicenna Last

            May 23, 2014 at 7:11 am

            1. Her pain is equal to everyone else. Any PTSD survivor and that includes me (You did not read my work I notice. A running theme among anti-PTSD) will tell you there is no hierarchy of trauma. A man who has is leg blown off is not higher on the scale than the medical team that rescues him. Their PTSD is equal and just as real

            2. I have the same PTSD as what you would consider a “proper” PTSD. From war. In fact? I endured more than what soldiers would. See? I know you guys have something called a “Tour”. The irony is that the Tour idea was created to avoid PTSD. 180 days rotations right? Well there are one group of people in wars who don’t get rotations. And are often younger than soldiers. Should we deny soldiers PTSD because of them? The irony is that Melody is part of a group of people with the highest incidence of PTSD. Rape survivors by definition all experienced trauma. Not all veterans have so the rate of PTSD is higher in one more than the other.

            3. Any Veteran can tell you that PTSD can be due to a slow grinding. If you remember its history you would know that the first cases were people who went “bonkers” after shelling. Sustained, systematic shelling. Not a scratch on them.

            4. Your list of servicemen achievements is rather tragic. It is why I am not a fan of war. There is a rather amusing joke that you consider the Middle East “Godforsaken”. Think about it… It is the least godforsaken place out there. However there are civilian tragedies. Which is why you are told explicitly to NEVER EVER compare your trauma to others. Because you think Combat Veterans are at the top of “shit seen”. I know that there are people who don’t have their luxuries. And those people are invisible to you.

            5. And I know you will start trying to denigrate my PTSD, but guess what?

            If we were to apply your sliding scale of PTSD severity due to trauma experienced? Mine would out do most veterans. I had what they had.

            Except I was 5.

            Should I be telling Veterans to knock it off? The only real PTSD is mine?

            No. That is foolish. Your PTSD is your own, your trauma is your own.

            I actually came across Melody when one of the charities I do work with had their Intellectual Property stolen to be made into images to harass Melody. Another group of victims of a crime that make “war” seem nicer. Acid Attack Victims. There was more and more. Rapes, Threats, Pictures of dead things.

            And do you want to know the joke? When I wrote about my PTSD the first thing I got was someone trying to trigger it.

            Trust me. You are on the wrong side of this. Not everything Veterans do is correct. Sometimes you need to take a step back and realise something stupid is happening.

          • leftoftheboom

            May 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

            @Avicenna Last,

            You would like for me to be open minded. I would ask the same of you. Go back and read her words as dispassionately as you can and remove the benefit of the doubt. Her words started this mess she finds herself in and you and all her pals are just enabling the firestorm by not admitting she messed up. Sometimes good people do dumb things. That is life, deal with it.

            I am not bashing people with PTSD. I am not bashing your friend. I am not bashing you or making light of your pain. Your words “Which is why you are told explicitly to NEVER EVER compare your trauma to others.”

            You’re absolutely right, comparing trauma is a cardinal sin in PTSD. Now answer me one question honestly, who brought up the mean tweet cause to her PTSD? I read the tweets. She brought it up. She compared traumas. She broke the cardinal rule.

            Her intent may have been to state anyone who has PTSD is equal regardless of cause, that my dear, is not what she did. You read her tweets and you see what she meant because you follow her or know her personally, I read them, I see where she was trying to go and I also see where she failed in her objective.

            War is hell. So is being EMS, Police, Fire, Victim, hell working in a slaughter house or veterinarian clinic, it can all come crashing in on you either the first time or cumulatively thereafter. My point is the same as yours, don’t compare the trauma, I listed graphic examples but go back and read the last line of my examples again. One sufferer carried flag draped caskets, every.single.day. He did not look inside, his imagination filled in the blanks and his pain is just as real and hurts just as badly as anyone else’s. PTSD is in the mind, and how the mind reacts to things whatever they might be.

            The pain someone feels who suffers from PTSD is the same regardless of how they got it.

            I know the cause has nothing to do with the level of pain.

            To the sufferer, their reason, their trauma, is the worst because it is theirs and no one should play the “my scars are bigger than yours game” in order to feel better. Your friend brought her cause into the argument and the comparison of scars war began.

            Your friend messed up. And all of you white knights are not helping her. Even with the best of intentions, people still screw up. She screwed up.

            As for the Middle East, if there is a place on this earth where God is farthest from, the Middle East is that place. What is done in the name of god there is horrendous, cruel, and ultimately pointless because unless you remove the right people, and by remove I do mean kill, you change nothing. You think I am a fan of war? There are people out there who make war necessary; people who care less about you and me than an ant in their path. Someone has to stand in their way or else all is lost. This nation that I love does not fight all the right wars all the right ways; greed, stupidity, self-righteousness all get in the way of common sense on many occasions. But the Soldier, the Marine, the Sailor, the Air man, the Coastie, they don’t start the wars. They just fight and die in them because they believe that they are doing the right thing; that they are protecting you and the ones that they love. It might be naïve but they serve because they believe they are Defenders.

            If you attack that community, expect a backlash, especially if you attack, even with innocent intent, the part of us that we cannot adequately help because their simply are no easy answers or perfect solutions.

            And if you really, I mean really, want to look like an idiot, threaten to contact their commanders. Rule of leadership, if you have to resort to rank, you lost the argument before you started.

          • Avicenna Last

            May 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

            See we have different attitudes to Veterans. I come from the UK. Being a Vet/Legionnaire is a badge of honour and pride. But it doesn’t make you immune to criticism.

            The macho posturing we see on sites like this is alien to us. Then again? Our war was a lot more tragic. Remember… we went to Iraq for a lie. We died for the profit of your corporations.

            So we do not venerate our Veterans this way. Our memorial day is one of tragedy. I think it has to do with WW II. See your country escaped it. So all you got were war stories. We got the actual war. Here for example we see A Veteran making rather incorrect statements on an issue where everything has come from a dialogue of hate. Come now? You can see the bias in the Daily Mail right?

          • leftoftheboom

            May 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm

            Avicenna Last,

            Now I never said I was immune to criticism and if you read more articles in this site you will realize a couple of things, one, we poke fun but we are a bit hash about it, and two, there is a bit of elitism about certain aspects of our military societal groups and this is one of them.

            Lies and the profits of corporations, big topic that one, but not untrue, however I see more than that. I see Saddam who was once a rabid dog on a leash, but still on the leash, get off it and try and bite the master. I see those fundamentalist you wrote about getting their hands on weapons even nations are wary of using. American corporations made money by the truckload in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the fundamentalist believers were drawn into the range of our guns and eliminated before they could harm someone else. It was an imperfect solution to an imperfect situation. And if you really want to look into a cause of problems in the Middle East, which one of your articles made a good point about, add one name, Winston Churchill. Because he made the country of Iraq with his pen and really upset the apple cart.

            I have no idea what I was like to live in London during the blitz and watch your cities and your history burn around you. You are right, other than the Civil War, which is a different bloody topic, America the nation has been relatively unscathed, consider Pearl Harbor, by the physical brutality of war and so our remembrances of it are parades and celebration, not burnt out buildings and the smell of rotten bodies decaying in the rubble. We sent soldiers and material and the soldiers came home, or when they didn’t, we moved on. It was “over there.”

            But not all of us are so estranged from the realities of war. I don’t venerate every veteran but I have an inbuilt obligation to take the veterans side first because I am they. There are many of my brothers in arms that need a good talking to in the wood line as once was the term but we don’t censure the right to be stupid. I wish there was a law but we would have to lock up half the country. Unfortunately, stupid is genetic and there is only one cure which cannot be legal prescribed except as needed by the government when they have been properly advised of it.

            I don’t believe the Daily Mail just like I don’t believe Fox or CNN. I went to Melody’s twitter page and read her tweets. She messed up. And since she is part of a fringe group, she is an easy target for bigots who want to feel good about themselves.

    • Gunship Load

      May 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      I keep seeing that she “Made a name for herself”, or “Was already famous” before her claim of PTSD.

      I’ve never heard of her.

  9. Whitey

    May 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Regarding Melody Hensley, I think the guy on “Game of Thrones” said it best: “There’s no cure for being a cunt.”

  10. k wells

    May 20, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    My husband has PTSD and it effects myself and my two children daily . The time he spent fighting for our freedom can never be repaid it time lost forever . Every day waking up is a challenge for him trying everything in his power to make it a good day making up for what he lost . No one will really understand in till you’ve gone threw this yourself . But for you young lady your PTSD is just called being selfish and having a problem accepting herself bullying and saying things about or to someone is in your control how it’s taken in you and only you can control how you feel about what ppl say about you . But for ppl with PTSD from War , Rape, being beat anything along them lines do not .something literally happened to them . Image long life friends fighting next to each other over seas married family kids at home then boom look to you right gone he’s been blown up gone how are you going to tell the family and this picture playing over and over in your head every day hunting you then hrs later two four six more friends ppl you live with everyday a brotherhood just gone like that or disabled no arms no legs and your gona say this shit about PTSD grow the hell up

  11. Jeremy

    May 21, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    She can contact my Commanding Officer but I’m pretty sure my Wife, who is now my Commanding Officer, would skull fuck her

  12. Janean

    May 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Great article and good points. Thanks for speaking truth!

  13. Ben

    May 23, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Melody – you get the douche of the year award.

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