PTSD—POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER—SOMETHING WE NEED TO TAKE MUCH MORE SERIOUSLY
Personally, I don’t think PTSD is confined to combat veterans. Instead, it is a cognitive consequence of extreme stress in virtually any situation which has a semi-permanent to permanent effect of significant proportions. It can manifest itself in numerous ways, but essentially it distorts our ability to cope with life in a calm and positive manner. The consequences are severe and span the gamut—everything from flashbacks and nightmares, to marital discord and alcoholism. They can and do wreck lives.
Yes, I know that is not the medical definition, but I am writing more as a concerned layman.
The point about combat, or even a combat environment, is that everyone is affected to a greater or lesser extent because to live in a world of near constant threat is an assault on all one’s fundamental survival instincts. In addition, those who experience actual combat can be—it varies— exposed to situations and events which are truly horrific and life changing.
But here is the thing: Despite the fact that we have been at war since 2001, we don’t seem to be coping with PTSD very well. The sheer number of sufferers is way too large for the resources that have been committed and the Veterans Administration seems to be bogged down in a bureaucratic morass.
I’m prompted to write about this because I recently met a remarkable woman who has been helping PTSD sufferers. She has no medical qualifications, but her empathy and understanding of the core issues are impressive.
This piece is merely a placeholder. I’ll return to this important subject when I am more up to speed.