Since the earliest of times there have been warriors returning to civilian life only to find that they have developed a behavior that is unacceptable in their old communities. After the Civil War in the US, the condition was called “soldier’s heart”; experiences in WWI produced “Shell Shock” and that was carried over into the WWII era; and warriors in the Pacific called it “going Asian”. It was after the Vietnam War that it came to be known as “PTSD”, post traumatic stress disorder.
To those that haven’t either been in the mental health field or to those that have been wounded in this way, it is a doubly perplexing condition to understand. Many think that it is only a result of continued bombardment or from extended close combat in the field. This is only partially true. Many more experiences contribute to the wounds. Furthermore, these wounds last for a lifetime…and don’t qualify for a purple heart. It is, for the most part, a matter of shame for those that have these wounds. There has been very little consideration of the fact that many of our heroes have these wounds and have nightmares, night sweats, isolation from others, unexpected outbursts of anger, a lack of concentration abilities, depression/anxiety, etc. that hinder their abilities to adjust to civil societies. They impede their education. Friends are few and far between. Marriages and relationships are many…and often fail.
You would be shocked to know how many returned veterans have “holed up” in their homes after their returns and have never come out except for the bare essentials and often those are retrieved late at night. There are many that live in the woods in bare shelters such as in the Olympic Peninsula of Western Washington State or in the hills of Southern Oregon. Most of you are only familiar with reports of the Veterans on the streets that are homeless of the crazies that are incarcerated for their anti-social behavior.
The costs because of this problem are great. Broken families and lost fathers or mothers make it to the top of the list. Generations of instability and lost opportunities result from these problems. Something should be done now that we have the means to treat these wounded.
Veterans often talk of their issues only with other trusted vets, if at all. Most never do, or if they do, it’s very cursory. Crazy. Weak. Soft. These are traits at odds with a warrior. Some hear, ‘Why don’t you just get over it?” from the uninformed. It’s a destructive but understandable remark when one considers the lack of information out there regarding the wounds.
Generations of Warriors is determined to put a dent in that field of the uninformed. Making a warrior’s return to civil society a more gentle experience is one of our main goals. If the families, employers and employees, the judges and police forces, friends and general public can know more about the nature of the wounds and the severity of the conditions that these veterans face, it will go a long way toward lessening the re-adjustment and coping problems.
Because families are the worse for wear in these matters, and returning
warriors often find themselves alone, “Never Without Family” has become our
motto. The families formed within therapy groups help to strengthen the
families in society at large.