Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
On Memorial Day we rightfully remember those who died protecting our freedoms.
While most Americans no doubt are grateful for our veterans’ courage, sacrifice, and loyalty, we tend to not pay much attention to what surviving veterans continue to struggle against. Society in general does not accept or appreciate the mental price paid by so many.
Some veterans come home with what used to be called combat fatigue. Now it is known as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. If society does not allow discussions about PTSD in polite company, veterans and others are shut-down from talking about their great challenge.
Recently a man sued a public business for taking offense at his service dog. He has PTSD, and no one there respected that fact. “Just get over it,” I can imagine them saying. “Leave your dog outside.”
But his dog is what keeps him able to go out independently into public businesses in the first place. He is better for having a trained working dog who senses his master’s rising anxiety and knows how to ground him and bring him back. If only we as citizens were as smart as that dog!
If we are truly grateful, we will learn. The internet makes it easy for us to read up on PTSD on reputable sites. New education will grow our insight. We can talk knowledgeably about PTSD, and expand society’s acceptance.
This Memorial Day and beyond, let’s grow in understanding the ongoing sacrifice many of our veterans pay.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.