It isn’t PTSD

A few weeks ago I heard radio newsman Bob Edwards interview a British World War II widow who wrote a book about her husband and his war experiences. Her book includes how he, and therefore their family, were impacted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

She made an interesting point when Edwards asked her husband’s PTSD. She proposed that soldiers who have PTSD not be described that way. PTSD can result from any number of injuries or traumas not related to war. Instead, she suggested that soldiers and veterans with PTSD, be more appropriately described as having a war injury.

She put forth that PTSD should be referred to as a war injury because describing it that way is accurate (the injury is the result of war). A war injury has fewer stigmas than mental illness, perhaps making a soldier less reluctant to recognize their injury and seek proper treatment.

I think that is a brilliant and accurate way to describe one of war’s darkest offenses to a soldier.

This Memorial Day, if only for a little while, we should set aside all the sales and the unofficial launch of summer. Let’s remember the soldiers, at least 22 of them everyday, who decide suicide is the only way to stop the war injury that has followed them from the battlefield from replaying itself over and over again.

And then let’s all work towards more and greater peace.

update: The woman interviewed by Bob Edwards was Patti Lomax. The movie
The Railway Man is based on her husband’s experiences. http://www.voanews.com/content/for-veterans-with-pts-battle-is-just-beginning-/1913544.html 

About Katherine Helms Cummings

During the day I am a social and environmental activist whose professional work has been in the nonprofit world for the last 12 years. Most nights and weekends I am an artisan making accessories with upcycled cashmere and woven textiles. My handmade items are available at The Sassy Gal http://thesassygal.org
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