Everyone knows what Shell Shock or PTSD is don’t we? It’s something crazy that only happens to men and women who fight in a war. Right?
When I began writing Home for this series my hero revealed his PTSD to me. Only back in 1967 there was no such thing as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It was most commonly known as Shell Shock or Stress Response Syndrome (SRS).
[“Windage” appeared in the American Civil War and was ascribed to shock waves from large shells passing nearby.
The first use of the term “shell-shock” was in 1915 by Charles Myers, of Britain’s Royal Army Medical Corps.] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1113259/
But PTSD has been around for more than 100 years. In fact, the earliest account I found was 490 BC:
[The Greek historian Herotodus writes a lot about PTSD, according to a presentation by Mylea Charvat to the Veterans Administration. One soldier, fighting in the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, reportedly went blind after the man standing next to him was killed, even though the blinded soldier “was wounded in no part of his body.” Also, Herotodus records that the Spartan leader Leonidas — yes, the guy from 300 — dismissed his men from combat because he realized they were mentally exhausted from too much fighting.
Also, some experts think the Iliad is describing PTSD when Homer says Ajax went mad under Athena’s spell, slaughtering a herd of sheep that he thought were the enemy, and then killing himself. http://io9.com/5898560/from-irritable-heart-to-shellshock-how-post+traumatic-stress-became-a-disease
In the early days it was only soldiers thought to be afflicted by this (literally) debilitating disease. British soldiers were actually put to death because of it. Soldiers became paralyzed for no apparent reason in some major cases. Doctors had no idea what to do with soldiers and thought some were just lazy cowards.
[The problem was to differentiate it from malingering, so a diagnosis of NYDN (not yet diagnosed nervous) was introduced. By the end of the first world war, 80000 British soldiers had been diagnosed with shell-shock. Some 346 had been executed by firing squad for desertion or cowardice.] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1113259/
Stress Response Syndrome is what it was called during the Vietnam War. But there have been more than 80 different (officially recorded) terms for PTSD as far back as 1678. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder–the official term used today–wasn’t coined until 1980. Just thirty-three years ago. http://io9.com/5898560/from-irritable-heart-to-shellshock-how-post+traumatic-stress-became-a-disease
It’s not just war survivors who are affected though.
Accident victims, terrorist victims, rape, kidnap, abuse, fire, drowning…the list goes on. Any way one can be traumatized, PTSD lurks. It was thought PTSD only affected the weak of mind, but that thinking has been disproved many times. Today PTSD is recognized as a legitimate disease brought on by any major trauma.
I tried to accurately portray what PTSD might have been like for a surviving soldier in Home, but there are many forms.
Take a look around you. Do you or someone you know have PTSD?
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
- Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like
- a racing heart or sweating
- Bad dreams
- Frightening thoughts.
2. Avoidance symptoms:
- Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
- Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
- Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or “on edge”
- Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
For more detailed explanations go here: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml#pub3
There is help, unlike in earlier times. No one needs to suffer.
Here are some important links:
National Center for PTSD: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp
National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
Call your local Mental Health Hospital
If only it was as easy as having someone understand the way Poppy learned to understand Sam. But even he had a doctor to lean on.
I wish you all safe health.
What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?
Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?
Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?
Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.
She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ heroes- and their sexy female counterparts, those sassy, stubborn heroines.
Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.com