First of all, I am a psychiatrist and I treat veterans and non-veterans. Second of all, a psychologist can diagnose PTSD. Having PTSD – like symptoms is still painful. A lot of veterans have PTSD, some do not. Nobody except Melody’s psychologist or someone who has done an interview and psych evaluation can diagnose her. I can imagine how harassment and stalking via internet can cause PTSD – just replace the internet with written communication, telephone calls, etc. I had one patient who was threatened by a few letters by a stalker. She did not have all the symptoms of PTSD but it definitely derailed her life. I have added some links to a couple of studies on cyberstalking. I don’t have enough time tonight to do a more thorough search.
What I don’t quite understand is this need to figure out if Melody is lying or making stuff up. It costs you nothing to believe her. She is not getting any more money from this. And it certainly is not a way of self-aggrandizement to talk about your PTSD given how much stigma there is when it comes to mental illness. In the grand scheme of things it is more important to look at the issue of internet harassment and stalking than worry about this one person.
And, Johngreg, words do matter. If you want to be decent human being, you would say something along the lines, “I don’t understand how the internet can cause PTSD. Can you tell me more or direct me to information about this?” If you want to be an asshole, you would tell her she “is full of shit” and “my PTSD is worse than yours.” I consider my words very carefully when I talk to patients. I advise people on how to talk to others in a way that leads to a productive discussion rather than an argument. If you don’t someone to ban you, then you figure out how to express yourself in a polite and considerate way. And you can criticize someone’s ideas in a considerate and constructive way, such as “Will veterans feel their PTSD will not be taken seriously if you talk about your PTSD.” this can lead to a discussion about PTSD from different kinds of trauma or something along those lines. It is not rocket science