Steve is screaming in his dreams. He’s panting heavily. Cold sweat envelopes his entire body. He dreams of the scuffle once more. He sees his dead friends and how he ended the life of a Viet Cong fighter. Clutching a knife closely, he’s ready to plunge the blade at anyone who dares attack him on his sleep. Then came the rustling of fabric. He wakes up to find his knife pointed at his wife’s neck.
This scene from the war film Heaven and Earth is a harrowing depiction of how behavioral disorders as a result of violent field experiences are affecting many war veterans. Although most people get over traumatic events in a matter of time, the scars that veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) get from war are on a different level altogether, gradually taking their toll on soldiers’ minds. Images of lifeless bodies flung by sporadic explosions vividly haunt their dreams, almost as if they’re reliving the terrible moments.
Flashbacks of traumatic events occur to the point of obsession. Concentration is difficult and they are easily alarmed. They express feelings of betrayal, depression, guilt, and self-blame through frequent bouts of anger. They become emotionally numb and cease to function as a normal part of the family. They feel alienated without a sense of a better future. Eventually, they resort to substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors.
Recognize the signs of PSTD and seek immediate psychiatric help. Let a disability benefits lawyer manage your claim from the VA.