Nostalgia. Shell shock. Battle fatigue. Cowardice. These are all terms used at one point or another to describe the psychological effects of combat on soldiers. Until recently, little attention was paid to the long-term toll that combat takes on the soldier’s mind and spirit. Certainly during the American Revolution soldiers were exposed to traumatic stress, but they received no treatment; in fact there was little or no acknowledgement that they had suffered these “invisible wounds.”
In the Gideon Hawke novels I attempt to address the issue of what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) looked like 240 years ago, in an attempt to inform the conversation about the plight of modern veterans. PTSD is the most savage and relentless enemy many veterans will ever face; and far too many lose that battle.
Fortunately there are people and organizations who are working hard to help veterans who suffer from PTSD. My favorite one is Invisible Wounds, a non-profit group that strives to empower veterans to win the fight against PTSD; it is my great privilege to have served in Iraq alongside the group’s founder. The Invisible Wounds website is a wonderful resource, and I encourage you to check it out and learn more:
If you happen to be a veteran suffering from PTSD in silence, PLEASE go to the site. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!