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Invisible Wounds of War


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The RAND Corporation has just released the monograph Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery

It is American centric, but is a good read if you are interested in these things.  It deals with both Iraq and Afghanistan.   

You can find it here:


At first glance it looks like you have to pay $55.00 for the thing, but if you go right to the bottom ou can download it (or the exec sum) for free.




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This is very much appreciated. I was at a university library today and did a quickie search for this type of information.

The holdings at Guelph seem thin. Lots of stuff on PTSD but not in relation to current military operations.

It's sad to see so many return from combat and suffer.

Looking at it from the safety of my white collar world, I can't imagine what this experience is like.

One only hopes all soldiers get the support they need.

Lobbying and letter writing to politicians will help make the problem more visible and hopefully see more resources poured into this area.




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CF Suicides on the increase.

Not good news, unfortunately...



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daftandbarmy said:
CF Suicides on the increase.

Not good news, unfortunately...

What IS good news is that it is making the news. Best way to be able to act and hopefully change something is to be aware of it...

I've post it in French here :

Forces canadiennes : Une réalité inquiétante

In the Times : Quotes of the days , there was this interesting thing yesterday :

"We've got to get the word out that seeking help is a sign of strength" .
Col. Loree Sutton, head of a new Pentagon center on brain injury, responding to finding that 1 in 5 troops serving in Irag or Afghanistan suffers
from major depression or post-traumatic stress



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Saw this article today about Nate Self who left the Army in 04 suffering from PTSD. Thought it might fit into this thread instead of getting lost in the shuffle. If nothing else it may be a case study.Good read.

A private battle made public

Veteran hopes account of war, PTSD struggle helps other troops
By Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jun 23, 2008 6:31:13 EDT
After surviving one of the most vicious firefights in the war in Afghanistan, Capt. Nate Self knew he had to write about it.

Self led a Ranger platoon in a daylong battle on Takur Ghar mountain that claimed the lives of seven U.S. servicemen on March 4, 2002.

Self said that “as soon as we came off the mountain,” he felt there was a message he had to spread. “There was kind of a personal side of the story and what the Rangers had experienced leading up to it that needed to be told,” he said in an interview with Army Times.

What he could not have guessed was that by the time he finished writing his story, it would have expanded to encompass the tale of another tough battle — his own with post-traumatic stress disorder, which continues to plague him.

Now 32, Self, who left the Army in 2004, gives his account of both battles in “Two Wars,” a book published this month by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.

Although others, including this writer, have written detailed accounts of the Takur Ghar battle, Self is the first combatant to publish his version of events. His tale of the battle is searing, but for many military readers, Self’s description of how PTSD almost destroyed his life and his family will make an even deeper impression.

As Self recounts in the book, the PTSD sneaked up on him over the months and years following the hellish battle on Takur Ghar’s frozen mountaintop.

By the time he was back in Iraq as a staff officer in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in 2004, his sleep was troubled by dreams of combat and his motivation was slipping. When he returned to the U.S., he took command of a company in the 101st but soon decided to leave the service, the beginning of a four-year battle with PTSD that he is now winning.

“What has been added to the story now is the struggles I’ve had after combat, which I think a lot of soldiers could relate to, which has become one of the major purposes of why I wrote the book,” he said.

But his purposes were not entirely selfless, he acknowledged.

“I wrote, in many ways, for catharsis, for therapy of my own,” he said. “I began writing little-bitty scenes … in PTSD small group [discussions] at my church — we were writing for therapy. We would talk to each other, we would read it to each other and give feedback as a way to try to declare the traumatic experiences, put parameters on them — this is when it started, this is when it ended, this is what it was, this is what it wasn’t.

“That process at first was really jarring for me, and provocative, but then I got to where I felt like I needed it, so I just kept writing and kept writing,” he said

It’s an experience Self recommends for veterans struggling with PTSD.

“My guess is, from an anecdotal perspective, that if a veteran is struggling, if he actually goes through the writing process, that it will help,” he said.

But he acknowledges that for many veterans, writing about their trauma will seem counterintuitive at first.

“It’s hard to begin the writing process, because you resent the fact that you’re writing about these things, and part of the symptoms of PTSD is to avoid the experiences, and so if you’re going to sit down and brainstorm and meditate on these things and try to write about them, that’s not avoiding the experiences at all, that’s diving into them,” he said. “I felt that resistance even in myself.”

Self, whose PTSD caused him to gain so much weight he could no longer fit into his old uniforms, credits several factors with helping him come to terms with and start to overcome his stress disorder:

• The help he received from the Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. “The VA was great for me. As soon as I admitted that I had a problem, and agreed to go see someone, I got right in to the VA, got a diagnosis and got treatment right away … The education I received about PTSD, about the symptoms, about coping with those symptoms, was fantastic.”

• His religious faith. “When I really struggled the most was when I turned away from a life of faith, and so the church played a huge role in me getting better … I found answers in the Bible that gave me a lot of comfort and hope, knowing that warriors throughout all time, even according to the Bible, had mental anguish … that they really needed help with.”

• Maj. Randy Kirby, who had been Self’s chaplain in the 75th Ranger Regiment and is still serving. “When I got out and I got to the lowest point that I could ever have been at, my family called him and he really turned into the spiritual medic on the battlefield for me and my family over the phone — daily, sometimes hours at a time … He helped get me through the roughest times, and he was still in the Army.”

• Talking about how to cope with PTSD to veterans groups and soldiers who are yet to deploy. “Turning my experiences into a means to help other people has made a big difference for me, too.”

Self, who now works in leadership development and support for the Praevius Group, a defense contractor, hasn’t fully recovered from his PTSD. He continues to dream of combat every night.

“It’s just something I’ve gotten used to, but it’s still disturbing,” he said. “I’m still startled at times by loud noises — I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that — and certain smells will bring back images.

“That’s not all bad, either, I don’t think,” he added. “I wouldn’t want this stuff to completely go away because it’s just a part of what I lived through, and it’s a reminder of things that happened, and there’s a lot of positive things that can come out of those painful reminders.”


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Holy cr*p, I can't fit into my old uniforms anymore either. Do I have PTSD?  ;D

But seriously, writing about it is a time honoured way of dealing with war trauma and seems to go as far back as ancient Greece, fortunately leaving us with an invaluable written lehacy of our culture....