I doubt there are many people that haven’t heard one thing or another about someone that has been diagnosed with and being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,  PTSD, or even has a loved one affected by it in some way. For the casual observer, these are mostly invisible wounds, and aren’t necessarily anything obvious to a lay person, however; this doesn’t mean that this individual isn’t affected daily and the condition is real.

Amongst the military and veteran community, besides the age old inter service rivalry, there are also some other assumptions and myths about what constitutes PTSD, and some negative connotations and stigmas for those diagnosed and treated. One doesn’t need to be in a combat related MOS (military occupation specialty) to experience the effects of PTSD, or other emotional issues related to military service. Just because one wasn’t a “Grunt” (Infantry), doesn’t mean they weren’t exposed to traumatic events, during war or peacetime service. Many of those suffering are either undiagnosed or they have no clue they are actually suffering from something that can be so overlooked or mistaken for something else.

In the civilian workforce, police, firefighters and other first responders,  as well as victims of crimes, sexual assault, accidents, or anything else that is “beyond the realm of human belief”, are also susceptible to PTSD and other emotional issues. Additionally, one’s personal background prior to a traumatic event plays a huge role in how one reacts to such things. Some people may have experienced a very violent and stressful life prior to the precipitating event.

It is important to remember the vet you may see is, of course, often much older than the same teenager who found themselves in unbelievably stressful and life-threatening situations, at a very young age.

In the end, I would encourage people to reserve any judgement about any current or former service member. Unless we have walked in their shoes, we have no clue what they have experienced or been through, regardless of their branch of service or MOS.

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