Friday, 17 January 2014

Global Soldiers by Susan L.

  Last night on Global National News they did a story about a soldier, an Afghanistan veteran, who had barely escaped death. He survived when six of his fellow soldiers had died in an attack on their vehicle seven or so years ago. It was the largest single fatality for Canadian Soldiers since the Korean war.
  This young man is well. He overcame the prognosis that he might never walk again because he had been injured terribly in the blast. He has now committed to being a full time soldier. I am glad and thankful for those mercies.
  Here's where I have a problem. The opening line to the story went something like this: "In a time when many soldiers are being diagnosed with PTSD, here is one soldier with a different story." In the interview the soldier verified that he remembered what had happened but pushed the memories aside in order that he may continue to serve. I am thankful he can do that.
  Here's what bothers me the most: PTSD is not a choice. It isn't something that can be ignored. His words affirmed the stigma and lack of public knowledge about this insidious illness. There was an underlying contempt that was obvious in regards to other veterans who face this illness every day. It's as though somehow they weren't strong enough, they weren't doing enough, they weren't working hard enough to be well. Talk about a slap in the face! As if they haven't done enough already!
  There's been no mention of the possibility that these veterans, who come home to face PTSD, most likely have faced some other trauma. They may have experienced physical or sexual abuse long before they served. It may be why these young people chose to serve in the first place, to escape something neither you nor I could possibly imagine. Repeated trauma is a contributing factor of PTSD even if the events are dissimilar. The emotional responses are often the same. It's just something to think about, that's all.
  As for the soldiers who are struggling to come forward, please do! I'd like to offer the hope that the worst of the illness can be overcome in time with help from people you trust. Talk about your experiences, all of them. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
  There is One who is already waiting to help. If you do not know Him, perhaps this may be the time to invite Jesus into your heart. He is the great Physician and in Him we can do all things.
  "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." Rom 8:28-29

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