by Helena Kaufman reposted with permission from her original article on Lanterloon
How does an urban woman whose desk top in Canada is devoted to the topics of communication and marketing come to write about post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD?
It started the winter of 2011, in Las Vegas.
Working as a solopreneur, content writer and blogger necessitates participating pro-actively in opportunities that broaden horizons. If such an event offers the stimuli of social networking and the infusion of new information, so much the better. I set off for a conference in Vegas to enrich my mastery of language and the inter-relationships of humans and their modes of communication. I chose the smorgasbord of live guest lectures and new knowledge and studies from related fields delivered annually at Dr. Kevin Hogan’s Influence Bootcamp.
In the room of like minded professionals, entrepreneurs, social scientists and psychologists were two unique attendees. They were Captain Nathan Brookshire and Captain Marius Tecoanta. Naturally, the thread connecting us all was our desire to communicate well and effectively. Regardless of our occupational orientation our shared interests were the words, the manner and even the body language that would facilitate the successful movement of our message from one person to another.
Brookshire and Tecoanta were also on a mission of discovery about both individual and mass communication. They had written their first book. Hidden Wounds: A Soldier’s Burden and it carried a critical message.
The book’s characters essentially live out, in story form, the definitions and criteria of PTSD becoming more and more recognizable to civilians all over the world. Traumatized returnees may live in a state of avoidance or numbness which means they may avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma, as well as activities, places, or people that arouse memories of the incidents that caused deep distress. They may be estranged from others and generally detached from families or community life.
We have all seen movies or news reports about outbursts of anger, difficulty sleeping and obsessive hyper-vigilance that kept soldiers alive in war zones but that now make ‘ordinary’ routine difficult.
On closer examination of PTSD, any of us might find that we share many of these challenges in our daily life, but it’s the nature of the indelible traumas that struck me. In some cases it robs our nation’s returning heroes of their ability to enjoy full human feelings including love and gives instead a sense of a foreshortened future where they do not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span.
The Captains’ impassioned sharing of their book’s contents with us over the days of the conference showed us the face of civil, polite, articulate and very modern men who were talking about soldiers’ lives – right now.
This wasn’t tonight’s news feature or a Veteran’s Day (or Remembrance Day) TV special featuring an octogenarian veteran.
The Captains Courageous offered me the privilege of being the primary editor of their book before it went to ‘friendly readers’ in the field to give final comments and then to print by the fall of 2011. I say courageous because they moved out of their occupational comfort zone and expertise and wrote a very engaging book of value to all. In addition, they took a heartfelt chance on me, a writer with a documented 30 year success record, but never for a full length historical fiction book.
Such is the strength of this book’s story and journey from soldiers’ experiences to the public’s consciousness, that all who touch it are compelled to contribute to something for the larger social good.
As that 1% of combat veterans who’ve protected their country’s interests and carried out their government’s directives return to the other 99% of society and ‘life as it was’ they’ll need support to integrate. They’ve been coming back with images burned into their minds and battle scars on their bodies for centuries, but now we have a name for it: PTSD. It has been studied and its consequences for the individual and for the community more clearly understood. We will all be involved; we might as well be prepared.
One step is learning more starting on June 27, 2011, PTSD Awareness Day in the USA. Select chapters and an informative Foreword can be read at www.hiddenwoundsasoldiersburden.com. Book sale proceeds will benefit hiddenwounds.org a separate organization dedicated to helping returning soldiers and their families.
Check it out. No time like the present to think about the future or our communities.
Read a review of Hidden Wounds by William Burns.
Blogger bio note: Helena Kaufman is a communication trainer and professional blogger writing on many topics of human interest, specifically business, personal development and cross cultural communication.