What is PTSD?

We can remember a birthday, an anniversary, or a holiday. These have places or folders in our minds. What about the memories we can’t understand? War has no folder in our filing cabinet. Watching those you love die, has no folder. There is no spot for us to put these memories, so they resurface.

It comes back when you aren’t healthy. It comes back when you let your mind drift. The memory has no space to be put away. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder comes from overwhelming memories the mind cannot comprehend.

This is common among our combat service veterans who no longer feel at home within society. They created new folders while on tour. Their daily actions become routine. They are in the massive order which is the military.

Then it happens. You are faced with the life or death situation. Friends are dying and a soldier must make a choice. This is the memory that doesn’t have space.

The memory doesn’t fit into the daily military routine, even surrounded by those with a similar experience. Then a soldier comes home, and they are not a soldier anymore. Suddenly they are surrounded by civilians who can’t imagine the choices a soldier must make. The memory sticks out further as it becomes increasingly foreign. The memory resurfaces more often. The images roll weekly, nightly even. It becomes increasingly clear this memory isn’t normal. Normal isn’t seeing a real death. Normal isn’t causing death.

This reaction is normal however. It may not be healthy, but it is normal. Treatments exist. Look to the leading experts who are looking after you. The Department of Veterans Affairs is leading research for PTSD. Help is available, reach out to a helping hand.

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