Today is Veterans Day here in the U.S. – the anniversary of the end of World War I and a day to honor U.S. military veterans and victims of all wars. Veterans Day events across the country will spotlight the very best of the human spirit displayed during war: courage, service and a willingness to sacrifice their lives to defend their country and fight alongside their fellow countrymen in battle.
Many military veterans have returned from war profoundly different than when they first left for the battlefield. Servicemen and women who are negatively impacted by the images and actions of war, often find themselves left out in the cold, as PTSD is largely an unacknowledged disorder – and some continue to deny the post-trauma effects of war once the veteran has left the battlefield.
For military PTSD survivors, everyday things such as a sound or a smell can trigger a flashback. The sound of the garbage disposal or the dishwasher, certain smells, and suddenly they are back on the battlefield or the hospital, fighting for their survival. Every soldier returning from battle carries the trauma of that war with him or her every day, physically wounded or not.
These men and women struggle to just ‘get over it’ and ‘move on’ – and this struggle is often negatively influenced by family and friends that are trying to understand what exactly happened to their loved one. War trauma crushes the assumptions about our invulnerability and the safety of the world we live in and are part of.
Progress has been made in the field of behavoiral science among the medical community, and as a result, brain illness and injury has come into sharper focus in the hopes of finding a better way to treat PTSD and brain injury in our brave veterans.
If you are a veteran suffering from war related PTSD, remember you are not alone. There is help available to you. Take a look at our resource page here to find out who to talk to and where to go for help. If you love someone who is struggling with PTSD, the resource page will be a valuable resource for you, too.
On this Veteran’s Day, can we strive to honor all our soldiers and veterans with a commitment to take the reality of PTSD seriously? Make the effort to come alongside veterans who are fighting a never-ending war. The fight is theirs, but knowing they have a reason to fight is half the battle.