Thank a Veteran by Elevating your Awareness about the Silent Battles they Face
According to John Elflein, the “second most common injury reported among U.S. veteran and active service respondents during military service after 9/11 was PTSD.” (https://www.statista.com/topics/7449/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/#topicHeader_wrapper)
The percentage of U.S. veteran and active service responders suffering from PTSD after 9/11 was 83%. Sadly, the percentage is based on the number of veterans who actually reported symptoms, and unfortunately this mental health disorder has been under-reported historically.
Under reporting is attributed to the ongoing myth that “anyone who sought treatment for PTSD would risk losing their security clearance and being immediately chaptered out of the military.” (https://veteransandptsd.com/ptsd-statistics.html)(
The once penalizing system that seemed to be in place years ago, that treated PTSD as a disqualifying condition, is now being challenged by various advocacy groups. However, the fear of losing benefits, status and being judged continues to prevent many veterans from coming forward, ultimately resulting in undertreatment and poor quality of life for these men and women.
My grandfather was a veteran of both WWII and the Korean War and suffered terribly from PTSD, having nightmares until the day he died, and refusing to speak of the wars because the memories and horror were still so real to him. I remember him once telling me that anyone who bragged about battle, never actually experienced true battle, because if they did, they would never want to talk about it.
The stigma of a condition such as PTSD in society, but especially in the military, must be defeated. Our veterans and active duty members, who fight for our freedoms, who sacrifice their time with family and loved ones to witness horrors abroad and suffer afterwards in silence, need us to fight for them. Stop the stigma, and help a soldier by changing the perception that PTSD is a symbol of weakness. Instead, let’s cast light on this disease and help people understand that it’s a condition that affects some of the strongest individuals known to us, and who deserve to have their minds protected and healed when they need it, without consequence or judgement.
Today, for Veteran’s Day, I ask that you not only thank a Vet, but acknowledge the many unspoken silent battles they face, sometimes until the day they die.
This one’s for you, Pop-Pop. I love and miss you every day. I am comforted, however, by the thought that you are resting peacefully now.