Post-Traumatic Stress Injury

My post of yesterday about The Trion Syndrome brought to mind the subject of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). Over the years, I’ve written several posts about it here. I live with that malady and always will. It’s the result of being in combat in South Vietnam and living through the fall of Saigon. When the subject came up yesterday in a weekly discussion group I attend, I realized how little is known about the disease.

I’ve explained here before why I call the disease an injury and not a disorder. Whether it is the result of combat or some other life-shattering experience (like rape or a natural disaster, for example), it is a wound to the soul. It is not the mind internally going awry. It is an externally inflicted injury.

Too often, PTSI is equated with fear. Those suffering from it are condemned for lacking the courage to face their memories. Or they are accused of weaknesses. The strong among us, some believe, weather their experiences without scars or aftereffects. That way of thinking is pure fantasy.

I remind readers that reacting to violent and grisly events with horror is both natural and healthy. If those events are bad enough, they do permanent damage to the psyche. Only those lacking humanity are not deeply affected by the experience of living through happenings severe enough to scar the soul. And if others by our side did not survive, the injury is even more profound.

The events that cause PTSI stay vivid in the memory. The memories never fade. And there is no cure. The sufferer must teach himself how to control his emotions when the memories flood him.

More next time.

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