War changes people. PTSD affects many people, including veterans. Veterans aren’t the only ones affected, active duty members also suffer from PTSD from what they’ve experienced in combat. PTSD is also not limited to what people have personally experience upon themselves, it also includes what they’ve witnessed. (class notes)
Sometimes PTSD can stem from witnessing horrible acts, such as having flashbacks to the men in the orange suits torturing civilians detailed in the graphic novel, “Walking Wounded.” It can also appear in the form of night terrors and needing to perform rituals, such as the woman needing to imagine the hook before she goes to sleep. (Morel and Gauvin, 2015)
PTSD interferes with daily life. It’s different than simply having an issues you’re upset about. PTSD severely impacts the life of people to the point where they shut down or become unable to integrate back into society. (Connie, guest speaker)
Self medication, such as using recreational drugs to cure their flashbacks and subdue the effects of their mental illness are often issues faced by those with PTSD. Removing the stigma from mental illness can help fight against this, as substance abuse is a serious issue. (Connie, guest speaker)
Understanding that PTSD sufferers are not crazy, simply unwell, is a step in the right direction. Counseling and possible medication is the way to move on. (class notes)
References: Morel, O., Mael, & Gauvin, E. (2015). Haunted. In Walking wounded: Uncut stories from Iraq (pp. 8-62). New York, NY: NBM Publishing.