I am officially a bad blogger. I am behind with my posts for the Concerned Bloggers Association. Now that I am back in my homeland, I am rectifying this.
Sort of. The topic for August's Concerned Bloggers posts was to be depression. I confess, when I saw this, I paled. Depression is an incredibly difficult topic to talk about, and something that is very close to the heart of our head honcho Marls Vaughan, as she described in her own post for the month. It isn't that I am afraid to write about depression, but that I wasn't sure how to write about it, incorporating my own experiences (and inexperiences) and understandings of it.
I then came across a fellow Concerned Blogger's post on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I found my voice. I knew what it was that I felt needed to be said. I will admit up-front: I have no facts and figures to base this on (I think that makes me an even worse blogger - I'm going to have a very sore behind by the time Marleen is done with me!) DeCuir's post has much more of that - I will place a link to her piece at the end of this post.
In the United Kingdom, post-traumatic stress disorder is a well-debated topic. I confess, I don't know the up-to-the-moment thinking about it, but I do know that, only a couple of years ago, there were programs on the BBC and Channel Four talking about whether or not the Government and the NHS should accept PTSD as an actual problem. A friend of mine whose father served in the Gulf War and his family were interviewed for one such programme, and the interviewers asked lots of questions about what their day-to-day life was like looking after somebody who suffered with such.
Here is what galls me. Whatever the Government and the NHS want to call these issues, I am not sure how it is really possible to have a debate about the existence of what we know as PTSD. We know it exists. We have seen it. It has been written about. Heck, it's made its way into the theatre - and that is, historically, the last medium to catch onto these things. We can see that people who have been to war - and, as Guen DeCuir points out in her piece on the subject, people who have suffered at the hands of natural disasters - come home and do not behave in the same way in which they did before they left. It almost seems stupid to point it out. I'm sitting here thinking to myself, well, of course they don't!
And I also think, equally obviously, that as a nation that sends its people to war, we have a responsibility to those who fight in our name, and those who return home, to deal with the consequences of that war and take care of them.
I realise that this is not as easy as it sounds. I realise that there are, in some instances, systems in place to help and take care of people with PTSD and their families. But why was this ever a question? Why did we ever debate about this?
Because it's an unsightly consequence. Because if we admit to things like post-traumatic stress disorder, we have to admit, publicly, on an international level, that War Is Bad. And if War Is Bad, we have to think a lot harder about it before we march our young men and women off to fight.
But here's the thing. If we are mature enough to declare war, mature enough to extend a hand of help (no matter how shaky the foundation of such an idea might be), we are mature enough to acknowledge the consequences of such actions, and help the people who, for whatever reason, agree to do the dirty work for us.
So, as the Americans say, support our troops. Whether you are anti-war or not, you can hope for the best for our soldiers. The best for the world's soldiers. You can lend a helping hand if/when it is needed. And when the television crews revive the argument, which I have no doubt they will, and they come knocking on your door, think about how stupid you're going to sound when you try to deny that war (and natural disasters) have an effect on the people that fight them.
That's what it boils down to, really. At least in my eyes.
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