I guard the use of the term.
My awareness of it was born of those in uniforms.
It was the landmines buried in those
Human beings broken down and rebuilt into
Weapons of war.
Many by their own choosing.
When they came home, they were sent back to reclaim their humanity
As if it were placed in an airport locker for
But their humanity was never safe.
Their ethical muscles were stretched and torn.
Their fear dialed up into a red-zone and then
Cooled to sub-human temperatures in order to pull the trigger,
Launch the missile. At the target. At the enemy. At the human being.
At the child. The target…the target….the target.
Gun fire. Explosions. Incoming missiles. Sirens.
Triggers for terror, fight or flight, protect and kill.
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
It is an explosive side effect of combat.
I have been by the graveside of those who have died from
Their own private conflict unmarked in any history of war.
I hesitate to embrace the term for those
Whose traumas are a different sort of war.
The scars of war are born no matter the nature of the war.
More of us live in the Post period of
Of our own named trauma than even we ourselves recognize.
It does not come with a Purple Heart.
That is what the civilian has in common with the soldier.
Neither comes with a medal for bearing the wound of the soul
For the sake of serving, doing the expected job.
PTSD visits the civilian and the soldier with indifference to the uniform or the conflict.
It is the landmine lying in wait to be tripped.
I do not use the term Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome lightly.
I do use it with the deepest respect.
I do use it with profound tenderness.
I do, however, use it for us all.