Memorial Day: A Soldier’s Struggle

Memorial Day: A Soldier’s Struggle

LaDawn Hathaway, MS, PLPC

Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor

 

The last Monday in May is a date that we all learn about in school. It signifies the one day each year that is dedicated to remembering not only those who have given their life in combat but also those who have returned. We honor the fallen by placing flowers on their graves and flying our nations flag. For those who have returned home, we have parades and celebrate the commitment they have given to us and our country.  Some soldier’s tell stories of friendships that will last for life while other’s sadly relive horror’s witnessed during combat. With sad eyes and heavy hearts, they remember the fate of those that were lost. For most of us, this will be the only day we concern ourselves with what our soldiers have done for our country. But for many of our soldiers, the memories of combat are a daily nightmare. A nightmare that becomes so intense that it affects not only their lives but the lives of their families.

This nightmare has a name: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety disorder which can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm either occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a chronic result of trauma such as physical or sexual assault, the unexpected death of a love one, an accident, natural disaster, or war. Most people have some residual fear, anxiety, or feelings of disconnect from friends or family members after having faced something traumatic. What makes PTSD different is that these feeling do not go away. The memories of the event do not fade, the anxiety increases, and nightmares become worse. The emotions and thoughts of the tragedy become so overwhelming that it can begin to affect every part of one’s life. Some lose their jobs, their families, or both.

For a complete list of signs and symptoms of PTSD, please visit: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/dsm-iv-tr-ptsd.asp. If you have a loved one who may have symptoms of PTSD, encourage them to seek treatment from a licensed therapist or doctor. If you are the loved one of someone suffering from PTSD, seek treatment and support for yourself.

Thanks you to all who have served our country!

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