Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

September 1, 2009 -

…another in an occasional series of reports about gamers who gave their all:

Jacob Blaylock wasn't killed during his tour in Iraq, but a pair of his close buddies were. After he rotated back home, Blaylock, like so many other combat veterans, struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In a moving report, the Indianapolis Star chronicles Blaylock's troubles and eventual suicide:

Blaylock was known as a more than competent soldier in Iraq, a popular guy who smoked three packs of Marlboros a day and played the video game "Halo" to relax between the many missions logged.

After his death, family members came across a blog entry written by Blaylock:

I am well past gone. I don't care what anyone says, cause they just don't know. They don't understand, and I can't expect them to. I want to remember. I want peace. I want to be happy. All I want to do is live.

The New York Times has a much more detailed report on Blaylock's downward spiral, including gut-wrenching video footage.

GP: Why do we cover these stories? Because this generation of gamers has suffered war like none before it. We hope to honor their sacrifice.


Comments

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

What a tragic story. I hope he finds the peace now that eluded him here.

I know that it's still technically a minority of soldiers who experiene PTSD, but it's prevalent enough that I think soldiers should be persistently monitored by a doctor once they've returned until it's certain that they're going to readjust to civilain life.

If you go crazy then I will still call you Superman.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

May he know peace

 

 

But here is my 2 pennies on another topic this could very well be related to.

Here are the facts there are gamers who are also soldiers and some do end up suffering PTSD.

 

These two facts combined literally fly in the face of every argument that "video games desensitize you". If video games truly desensitized you to killing, violence, or events that could potentially lead up to PTSD, then occurences like this should theoritically never happen, if you follow their logic

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

Here is another interesting thought:

If video games can desensitize people to real life violence, can video games cause PTSD?

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

The premise doesn't support the conclusion. If you're desensitized to real life violence, it would more readily follow that you'd be less traumatized by experiencing real life violence and, hence, less susceptible to PTSD.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

The process of desensitizing a person is to expose them to such elements on a frequent enough and progressively more intense basis to make it a norm and remove any emotional reaction to the stimuli.

If it were possible to desensitize someone to real world violence through the play of progressively violent games, it seems theoretically possible to cause PTSD through the exposure to highly violent games without the desensitizing process.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

@EZK:

You present two opposing theories: (1) exposure to violent games desensitizes and (2) exposure to violent games doesn't desensitize but, rather, traumatizes. Which is not to say that the two theories cannot peacefully co-exist. Just that they are theoretically opposed to each other. 

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

That is not exactly what  I stated. Here is what I am saying:

1. According to critics, video games desensitize players to real world violence by exposing them to progressively more violent gameplay.

2. If 1 is correct, then exposing someone to the most violent of games without the desensitizing process could lead that person to developing PTSD.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

But if we accept the first as being correct, then the latter inexplicable negates the fact of desensitization. I'm confused. How do we get from "exposure to games desensitizes" to "exposure to games without the desensitizing process?" According to the former, desensitization tends to always accompany exposure.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

I get it. You're saying if the "progressively violent exposure" is bypassed and we fast-forward to the tail-end of that exposure. But even so, I still ain't seeing a strong logical correlation 'twixt the two (i.e., desensitization and traumatization). Not without squinting my eyes. 

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

which still reinforces our point, no matter how you spin it.

Plus I have yet to hear of anyone with PTSD that has only touched video games.

This man was a trained soldier, which parts of basic training is designed to desensitize you to the idea of possibly having to kill another man without basic survival instinct coming into factor. From the video game naysayers, games are meant to desensitize as well.

Yet this man (and probably others) came back with PTSD, so what we have here folks is a contradiction and I guarantee that the military is a more proven method than any video game.

 

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

 It is unfortunate that we hear these stories, ones that could have been prevented if the military at least attempted to promote psychological counseling to combat PTSD, instead of denying its existence or being reluctant to talk about it.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

+ 1.

The law firm of Morrison & Foerster, on a pro bono basis, had to file a class action lawsuit against the Department of Veteran Affairs on behalf of returning Iraq veterans for declaratory and injunctive relief (no money damages were sought) to compel the VA to meaningful address the issue of veterans with combat PTSD and to actually give those with combat PTSD the help they need. Apparently, getting help if you're a veteran with combat PTSD isn't half as easy as our resident expert on all things military would have us believe.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

 It's not easy it's also hard to get a soldier to admit s/he has it.  Most of the time they will say whatever they need to say to get back home; doesn't mean they are healthy doesn't mean they are well just means they are done.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

Be that as it may, the class action against the VA involved returning veterans who were seeking, because of alleged PTSD, to claim benefits but were denied those benefits after review by the VA of their claims. Which is a lot like the strategy of insurance companies whereby if the claim is denied for whatever reasons, the insurance company doesn't have to pay out on the claim.  

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

Okay, I'm sorry, but something you said in the article is bullshit.

'Because this generation of gamers has suffered war like none before it.'

No, they haven't.  They've suffered far less of war than those who fought in Vietnam.  To suggest otherwise is simply untruthful.  We've lost, what, 40 a month at worst?  How many did we lose a month in Vietnam?  How terrible were the improvised traps used by the Viet Cong and the NVA?  To suggest that this current generation had a tougher time is just ridiculous.

As for the whole PTSD issue, a lot of psychologists are suggesting that it has to do with what someone has repressed earlier in their life.  There's a strong correlation between being emotionally (whatever the hell that means), mentally, physically, and sexually abused and PTSD.  When you consider that a record number of children are suffering such abuses, it's not hard to see that PTSD incidence would rise a bit.

As for this article, I read it online the other day, and if he or someone else had sought him some psychological help, this would've been avoided.  I also read the accounts that he was a mousy person before going to war, which surely didn't help him cope.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

You are dead wrong about PTSD, Austin. I don't know where you get off passing off ARMED COMBAT as non-traumatic.

Tell you what, lets give you a few guns, send you off into the desert with a crowd of people, strap explosives to a few of them and give guns to a bunch of others, women and children included, and give them the order to kill you and everyone who looks like you. Now, on top of constantly being shot at and watching CHILDREN blow themselves up because they think doing so will bring them to heaven, lets go ahead and bring 2 of your best friends along as well. You know, those guys who you call up to go golfing or shoot your guns or whatever people like you do? Yeah, we'll call them up and execute them right in front of you. Even better, we'll go ahead and make sure thier brain matter and blood gets on you, on your face, in your mouth and eyes.. Good visual? Ok, now try doing that on and off every day for a year.

I bet money you'd have some issues, too. Now, most combat vets won't fire a shot or see any kind of trauma at all. However, many more of them will. War is a traumatic experience, and it will always be one. Just because PTSD can manifest via non combat traumas (As I know all too well, since my buddy has it from a car crash where he was stuck for hours inside a car with his dead siblings), as well, doesn't mean that PTSD isn't caused by combat.

Why else would so many soldiers kill themselves after returning home from duty?

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=a2_71Klo2vig&pid=20601124

I honestly find it hard to believe that I have to lecture a conservative "genius" like you on the kind of trauma they go through fighting for your right to sit on your ass and count your money.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

Well, let's look at war.

Mental abuse: Check. The fear of being attacked or killed every day you wake up and every night when you go to sleep.

Physical abuse: Check. Being attacked (even without injury) frequently.

Early traumatic experiences can cause PTSD, but so can anything traumatic. You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder regardless of whether or not you repress something. In fact, one of the most important symptoms of PTSD is re-experiencing the trauma. That's not repression.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

"As for the whole PTSD issue, a lot of psychologists are suggesting that it has to do with what someone has repressed earlier in their life.  There's a strong correlation between being emotionally (whatever the hell that means), mentally, physically, and sexually abused and PTSD.  When you consider that a record number of children are suffering such abuses, it's not hard to see that PTSD incidence would rise a bit."

Even if it's true that mental, physical or sexual abuse can lead to PTSD in adult life, that in no way eliminates the possibility that war -- potentially a very traumatic experience -- could also result PTSD.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

I have a very good friend who has PTSD he had a great childhood a great high school experience a great start in college he also after his second tour started waking up screaming and pulling his pistol out thinking he was being attacked.  Maybe Austin should join up and serve on the front line (Im sure he will say he has been in the military and if has it wa probably the same place I was in the rear with the gear state side where you can't be shot).  As for PTSD its very real and just because childhood abuse can cause it doesn't mean that being shot in the fucking chest by a fucking sniper doesn't cause it either. 

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

"They've suffered far less of war than those who fought in Vietnam."

True, but those who fought in Vietnam or were around at the time were not a generation of gamers.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

But the article implies that we're not just talking about gamer generations. If that were the case, then the only competition would be vets from the first Iraq war, and even then only maybe a few of them. In that case, yeah, it goes without saying that these current vets have it worse.

--------------------------------------------------------

Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it!

GET OFF MY PHONE!

-Glenn Beck

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

"But the article implies that we're not just talking about gamer generations."

I disagree.

"Because this generation of gamers has suffered war like none before it." -GP

To me, it looks like he's comparing generations of gamers to me and not the current generation of gamers to previous generations of people dating back to before video games were even invented.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

And that is what it its about the gamer generation that grew up on 8bit and 16 bit and the Xbox the current 18-40 soemthigns that make up a good bit of todays gamer generation. Its these who he is referanceing.


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

write the author an email. that's not the place for this

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

Perhaps I am over simplifying the context of what he said but this generation of gamers breaks down to  since atari hit it big  in the late 70s.
So the question should be is this generation of gamers that much more multi demographic and wide spread to serve in more nubmers in the armed forces if so then the statement

'Because this generation of gamers has suffered war like none before it.'

 is VERY true.



Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

This sounds like it could have been my story if I did not seek professional help after coming back from my second tour in Iraq.  I know what he means when he says that no one can understand.  Perhaps his life could have been saved if he was around more people who could of helped him live with the horrors.  All of my buddies and myself all played Halo and the newly released Halo 2 after our shifts ended to unwined a little.  This guy could have been a friend of ours.

 

We are all going to die someday. The trick is not to rush it.

We are all going to die someday. The trick is not to rush it.

Re: Iraq War Vet, Halo Gamer Succumbs to Post-Traumatic ...

May he know peace.

"Why do we cover these stories? Because this generation of gamers has suffered war like none before it. We hope to honor their sacrifice."

While I understand the intent, Dennis, every single generation has known war. Gamers have always existed before this medium (card games, board games, etc.) and every generation has seen great conflict. We are not special in this regard. We are not worse or better. It is a mark of saddness and burden that every generation has had and most likely will have. I hope one day that I am proven wrong and people will stop killing each other because the previous generation cannot learn to compromise. Unfortunately our generation will get their chance to be in the seat of power and I doubt that they will be able to prevent the next generation from spilling their innocent blood in a vain attempt for peace.

Always remember, nobody desires peace as much as those that have experienced unbridled conflict.

 

"
 
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