Wednesday, September 21, 2011

EXPLORING POST-WAR TRAUMA: Through Fiction and Documentary

Comfort, deals with among other things, post war trauma.  I was motivated to explore this topic because I have friends whose fathers appeared to exhibit PTSD symptoms after serving in WWII and the Korean War.  Of course post-war trauma wasn't exactly being diagnosed in those days.

And as you can see in this Frontline documentary, The Wounded Platoon, it still doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

The documentary is over an hour and it's hard for me to sit and watch a movie at the computer so I canned tomatoes while I worked,  Perhaps this was also a distraction technique so that I didn't feel the pain too deeply.

I heard an extraordinary definition of PTSD while watching. A psychiatrist told an Iraqi veteran, "PTSD is a normal response to an abnormal situation."

Thank God he went on to say that war is abnormal!


  1. "A normal response to an abnormal situation." Sounds like a good summary of many reactions to events in our lives.
    I don't think I could have sat still either.

  2. PTSD wasn't diagnosed after WW I and WW II, but interestingly, Virginia Woolf wrote about it in Mrs. Dallaway. I have heard it referred to as battle fatigue, though. The soldiers showed the symptoms but no one knew what to do.
    My brother had terrible PTSD, and I only hope that today's war vets get the kind of care they need.

  3. Alex, I think my favorite word for PTSD is Soldiers Heart. (A Civil War term) Apparently at some level, society recognized this but did not face it until Vietnam.

    I do think it is getting better for our men in combat but not as good as it should be, (at least not according to this Frontline program.)

    Gary Paulsen wrote a book called Soldiers Heart.

    Blessings to you and your brother if he is still living.

  4. Very interesting. My dad was in the South Pacific during WWII and I'm sure he had some PTSD. Really, I find it amazing that he coped so well after what he lived through.

  5. Marcia, It is truly amazing what our veterans have experienced and how they have coped. I wish our government would give them the emotional care they deserve! But first, the stigma has to be removed!

  6. Joyce,
    So happy you stopped by my blog. I love the sound of your books. Checked out your website and love the book covers.
    Plan to share this site with some of my friends who write for children and teens.
    Thanks for stopping by and thanks for sharing your writing. Blessings, Barb
    PS I find your comment intriguing, Soldier's Heart. I've never heard that. My great grandpa fought in the Civil War and I enjoying reading about it.

  7. Barb, do you have much info about your grandfather war experiences?

    Glad you stopped by. Feel free to enter the Paperback Pair contest and to encourage others to join!

  8. Joyce,

    I love that you tackle tough topics with heart!