Many of us will have heard of the tragedy in Nova Scotia where a returning veteran murdered 3 family members and then committed suicide. For some reason, this has become more than just another dreadful news story to me and find myself thinking about PTSD and the effect it has on many returning veterans.
In a CBC radio interview with a friend of the man at the centre of this tragedy, the man being interviewed made the comment, “we did things and saw things than no human should do or see”. That comment has been rattling around my head since I heard it yesterday.
I lost two very good friends to PTSD. Both were veterans of Viet Nam and both did things and saw things that no human should see or do. These were good men who died far to young. Post Viet Nam there was no discussion about PTSD and the general comment about people who were struggling was, “‘Nam sure fucked up their heads”. There was no organized treatment protocol then and veterans struggled alone.
I am sure in earlier wars there were similar names placed on PTSD – shell shock and the like. I know my dad spoke of people who served with him who were never the same when returning home.
I do hope that as a society we can bring emphasis to the need for urgent care for those who have been damaged while defending our way of life and culture. The damage caused by PTSD is not as visible as a missing limb or other outward trauma to the body but it is just as devastating.
It is time to let our political overlords know what we think.