Combat and the Psyche

Via Blackfive, a veteran and therapist discusses traditional PTSD treatments and their applicability to the warfighter (emphasis mine):

In my years of work and study I have come to the conclusion that many of the therapies in use today for PTSD do not do the job. That is they do not help to restore the veteran to a state of harmony or even to the level of functioning the vet experienced while in a combat theater. In my opinion this happens because the focus of too many therapists is to revert the vet to who they were prior to their experienced trauma. This is impossible.

Combat irrevocably changes the person and this does not indicate a negative change. Combat is a super enema for the brain; it flushes out the toxins of illusory experience. More specifically, it shatters layers of your world view, peels away your fascination with petty thoughts and interests, and restores the natural state of living in the here and now. In fact, there are, and have been through the ages, countless people who devote time and energy in an attempt to achieve the inner state that the combat experience brings.

The sense of unreality and triviality when you return to the States is one of the things that freaked me out the most. I just honestly could not believe that people cared about American Idol when Kevin Edgin was bleeding out in a Humvee north of Kandahar.

I suspect his conclusions are dead on: you can't go back, only forward. I have my own opinions on the Army's ham-handed attempts to deal with demobilizing soldiers, but at least they're trying.



Bad days

Are you having fewer bad days now?


As a wife, I had the same feeling while my husband was gone. I couldn't believe the things that would bother other people...and the lack of perspective they had about life.