post traumatic stress
In the week leading up to Christmas, I had a lot of festive-type things on my to-do list. Purchasing gifts, finally putting up the tree, and preparing to go away to visit family. But that's not what I did.
Whilst the London Bombings occurred 10 years ago this month, one only has to look at the cascade of news reports of traumatic events in the UK, and further afield, which affect people from all nations. For those who are affected by PTSD, or indeed by other mental health disorders related to traumatic exposure such as clinical depression, specific phobia or substance misuse, life after traumatic events can be very challenging.
We see every day that a starting point for recovery is contact with other veterans. This rarely quiet and often laughing band of brothers is the key to initial success. Later must come the move to a civilian identity, but the key is to find a civilian identity that is larger than, but includes, a veteran identity.
Many men suffer PTSD after they have been present at the birth of a child. The birth of a child can be a very distressing time for all present. Difficulties can arise which endanger the lives of the mum and baby and which require emergency treatment e.g.: emergency surgery.
Is Bergdahl a deserter? A traitor? Is he, as some critics in the US have implausibly suggested, a real-life incarnation of Nicholas Brody of the TV series Homeland, a captured US serviceman who may have switched sides? Or is he one more casualty of war, a man whose wounds can't be seen but are real nonetheless? It's perfectly possible, of course, to be both.
My Grandfather tragically lost his friend on the battlefield and suffered from depression for the rest of his life, which rendered him unable to speak for the days surrounding 11 November. My Great Uncle was severely, severely shell shocked and as an additional complication, the PTSD triggered psychotic episodes during which there was an attempt to break into Buckingham Palace.