If you read much about matters of politics and the military, you are well aware of the significant problem of PTSD in returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. While only 20-30% meet criteria for PTSD, all have been forever impacted. Rightly so, the military and traumatology researchers are expending oodles of money and time trying to understand (a) ways to reduce trauma symptoms and (b) improve resilience. Thankfully, we are seeing some helpful interventions being developed. However, there is much work to be done in perfecting treatments (finding ways other than just medicating vets into a stupor), ensuring that practitioners are competent, and improving societal acceptance of PTSD as a real disorder and not just something someone can just decide not to have.
And yet, these wounded and changed warriors have something to teach us about how we see ourselves and our world. Sometimes, it takes a life-changing experience to recognize serious blind spots. Even if you haven’t served in a combat setting, you can understand a bit if you’ve gone on a mission trip and returned with a different perspective and a sense you could no longer go about life the same way.
This article is a worthy read to consider what we can learn from those who were willing to sacrifice their lives, their futures for our safety. If you are indeed thankful for a vet’s service, take a minute to read it.