I watched the true-life episode I have post traumatic stress disorder. The episode follows the lives of three different veterans all from the Iraq war. Each veteran is in a different stage of recovery and implementation back into society. One soldier has returned home and tried six different types of medication and none have helped. This soldier is drinking heavily to try and beat this disorder and rarely sleeps. Fortunately this person does have a night security job and is trying to start an organization for soldiers like him. The next soldier has been receiving therapy and medication after attempting to commit suicide in Iraq. He seems to be doing the best emotionally out of the three but it having trouble finding work and leading a “normal” life. He may have to move out of state to find a job and leave his support system of doctors and therapists at his veteran affairs hospital. He struggles after seeing so many of his fellow soldiers die. Lastly the third veteran who has been home for almost five years is struggling because a DUI arrest is not settled and he is unable to enroll in therapy. He arrest was a direct link to his psychological disorder and repeatedly tells officers he was in Iraq and killed many people. He moves house-to-house sleeping on friends couches and considers himself homeless. His lack of medicine and therapy seems to contribute to his problems and he will “snap” when put in a stressful situation.

Their story of PTSD is at first a chaos narrative and hopefully it an become a quest illness narrative. They face strong psychological battles including suicidal thoughts and terrible nightmares. Their rehabilitation is a constant battle and can improve with time and therapy. They benefit from being the teller and having someone be the listener like a therapist. Also being around other veterans helps them because they can share thoughts with people with similar struggles. Being able to express their feelings make them more comfortable and not so isolated.

Each veteran has different experiences with medical professionals. The three stories illustrate how hard it can be to be enrolled in treatment, but how beneficial it is once enrolled. The stories also show that medicine alone is not the answer.

Unfortunately I believe our culture is very unaware of the challenges soldiers face when returning home. The episode says that we are aware of the war they fight overseas, but not the intense war they face with PTSD. I wish our culture did more for veterans to reward the substantial sacrifice they make when defending our freedom.

For the families, I believe they can understand their role in supporting the recovery. The veteran benefits from strong family support and the family benefits by helping heal their child. I think the goal of the one veteran to start an organization for holistic healing of PTSD is supported by the community and local health care professionals.

I think that this illness is terrible and sad that some veterans have difficulty returning home. Hopefully the disorder can be treated and veterans will be healed and not just drugged up on pills. I think the only preventative measure is to not be in combat, but that isn’t realistic for members of our military.

2 thoughts on “PTSD

    • You can use as many words as you want! I am glad you found a topic that you are passionate about. PTSD is a great example of how illness is more than just a biological experience – families, communities and the government have a bigger impact on health than we realize.

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