When the War Never Ends: The Voices of Military Members with PTSD and Their Families
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The chances of service members developing PTSD after military-related traumas is, according to a U.S. study, at least 30 percent. The effects of PTSD can be devastating, ranging, for example, from distressing flashbacks, nightmares, sleep disorders, physical symptoms, irritability, aggressions, memory and concentration problems. These symptoms often cause severe impairment in all areas of life and may lead to despair and hopelessness. PTSD is neither a localized nor a temporary problem. Here, Leah Wizelman relates the true stories of service members from different service branches and ranks from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Germany, who were participants in various wars (Vietnam, Gulf war, Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada) and peace missions (Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, Somalia, Cyprus, Haiti). They talk openly about their lives after trauma and share their fates with the reader. Spouses of affected military members also tell their stories. They talk about the challenges loved ones face when living with a partner with PTSD, how it affects their children, and how they manage to cope. As these stories show all too vividly, military-related PTSD has not been dealt with effectively or with enough empathy or sympathy. Those affected by PTSD will realize that they are not alone in their suffering, and others will gain insight into the realities of this challenging mental disorder.
felt hot, broke out in sweat, and couldn’t explain why. On the base it got even worse. A psychologist made another appointment for me with a trauma specialist at the military hospital. I went there with my comrade and was put on antidepressants within three weeks. I’m still taking them today. Not the same ones as then; I’ve tried several different ones and increased the doses. Some really attacked my stomach; others lost their effectiveness after a while. Half a year ago, we changed to a new
it? Over there?” it infuriates me. I understand their curiosity, but I also resent the implication that it was anything other than hell. I find it disrespectful of them to ask a question that opens up such a can of worms. I fight the urge to tell them exactly what I think of people that ask that question. Sometimes I feel like giving them what they are asking for—if they think it’s a game, then tell them the gory details. I say this because it took me over a year to tell my mom that I was
like to have PTSD. Therefore, other soldiers, police, and fire department personnel and other high-risk-job employees are a good source of comfort and understanding. Some days, life is worth living to the fullest. Other days, life sucks, and I wonder, what am I still doing here on earth? Fortunately, there are more good days than bad. Every Day Is a Struggle Bunnie’s husband Kevin has been in the military for twenty-four years, serving since 1984. A petty officer first class in interior
for over two months. He is depressed and finds it hard to function and stay on track to be able to complete normal daily routines. He hardly leaves the house, he barely spends time with our kids or grandkids, he hardly talks to me or our kids anymore, he goes to bed before 10 p.m. and gets up in the afternoon unless he has to go to work. Then he goes to work, comes home, goes to bed, gets up with enough time to get ready and leave for work, and repeats that everyday. Our son is devastated by
have time to think about anything but working, and I had no family life. I went to the doctor for help in January 1999, but I was told that my childhood was the source of my problems. I replied that the nightmare I was going through had nothing to do with my childhood but only with the experiences from former Yugoslavia that were coming back as flashbacks. I did not know where to go or what to do, and I pushed away my own family. My wife says that my behavior changed completely. I was depressed