The Invisible Ones: Are you a Wounded Warrior?
Not all Wounded Warriors came home sans hands, arms, legs, fingers. Not all came home disfigured - with parts of their face blown off or burned beyond recognition. Some returned looking perfectly normal; walking, talking, looking just like they did before they left. Quite a few live in your community.
Although their injuries may be invisible, they are still wounded.
In WWI, it was shell shock. In WWII, battle fatigue. Today, and since the Vietnam War, it is called Post traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD.
But not all Wounded Warriors with PTSD are returning soldiers. Not all wore a uniform, or were associated somehow with our government, e.g., diplomats, United Nations employees. It is certainly not difficult to understand PTSD if we think about the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, Sandy Hook, the Twin Towers. Those who survived these moments in time, their families and friends, the first responders, etc., were severely traumatized.
Also, many of us have fought (fight) unpublicized, involuntary private battles in our lives that have left us traumatized, plagued with PTSD.
In the Catholic grammar school I attended, a parish priest sexually molested many of the boys. In my mid-twenties, I was stalked and subsequently raped by someone close to me. Several close friends, and many past clients, (I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker) have lost children to illness or violence. I know personally, or have worked professionally, with numerous medical personal who stayed in hospitals during Hurricane Katrina, and were stuck there. Doing their best, without electricity, food, water, meds, in overwhelming heat, bodies piled up, the stench became overwhelming, and many became, in one nurse's's words, "like the children in Lord of the Flies."
We've made the connection between autoimmune disorders and PTSD: Trauma can cause autoimmune disorders. We've also discussed the importance of knowing your personal history. Can you make a connection in your life? Have you experienced trauma? Do you have an autoimmune disorder?