Copyright Daryl Eigen 2011
While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are four clusters of
Intense reactions when cued
Avoidance or numbing of:
Lack of focus
Loss of interest
Guilt and shame
Aches and pains
The official site for PTSD is with the VA but the left hand column provides a bare bones, not for official use, summary of PTSD symptoms.
At the VA I saw a Vietnam Veteran in a T shirt that said "I am medicated for your protection." And he looked liked his meds were a good thing for everone in close proximity. PTSD is something that has to be dealt with sooner or later I can tell you from personal experience, if it is not adressed sooner it will pop up years later perhaps stronger than before.
If you are not sure about your symptoms then ask those around you if you are different after the traumatic event(s). If there are differences than what are they. How do they affect the family and/or the people in close proximity.
Just knowiing what the symptoms are and having a lable for your what is wrong can be a relief to you and your family.
To explore the origins of PTSD in war time, go to the web site;
which gives information on a memoir I just published that tells the story of my tour of duty in the Vietnam War. The book is titled "A Hellish Place of Angels: Con Thien: One Man's Journey" and makes clear the origins of PTSD in war or at least the origins of my PTSD...
Agent Orange being sprayed over Vietnam
Agent Orange is a herbicide designed by Monsanto. Monsanto, admitting a mistake in chemistry, created a component of the herbicide:known as Dioxin. Dioxin has a very long half life and is one of the deadliest substances per volume known to man. Better living through chemistry, they say. Agent Orange was named for the color of the canister holding the defoliating agent. Before Agent Orange there was Agent Blue.
As the map shows Agent Orange was sprayed over a good part of Vietnam to defoliate the jungle and brush to expose the enemy. By 1971 about 12% of the total area of South Vietnam had been sprayed with defoliating chemicals. Not only did we spoil the Vietnam country side, cause hundreds of thousands of deaths and birth defects; we damaged Vietnam Veterans who had crawled through it and dug fox holes in it.
There are a number of conditions caused by Agent Orange. For the listed conditions the Veteran's Adminstration will presume that the condition was caused by exposure to Agent Orange and thus fast track the Veteran through the system. This process assumes that the vet was actually "in-country" with some exceptions.
On the plus side the US has started a multimillion dollar initiative in 2012 to begin to decontaminate the Dioxin hot spots in Vietnam. It is a beginnig.
A foxhole or fighting hole is dug in situations of imminent harm from enemy shelling or air or ground attack. It portends death while providing a means of survival. Foxhole solidarity is more about solidarity than a foxhole. Under the pressure of death fighting men are forged together into a common spirit, like no other.. An example is the siege of Con Thien shown in the photo..
A fox hole is simply a hole dug in the ground to give the fighting infantry some cover and protection. Usually the Marine infantry is on the move but in cases of establishing defensive positions that are to last the foxholes may meld into trenches. And the Marines (or soldiers) may meld into a unified fighting force with a common spirit.
This extraordinary common spirit is called foxhole solidarity and it is what we ,who have experienced this hyper state of relationship, want to experience again. It is what combat veterans hold as the standard (for better or worse) to which we judge all of our relationships.
Foxhole solidarity is a state of brotherhood, foxhole solidarity is a state of mutual grace, and foxhole solidarity is the basis for the Marine promise, "We leave no man behind.." Foxhole solidarity will only grow stronger in the face of more demise. It is what fighting men in the end fight for..