Today is PTSD Awareness Day. It is a day to remember and acknowledge the emotional wounds suffered by our military men and women after their service in the war has physically ended. Emotionally, the war still rages in their minds. Victims of post traumatic stress need encouragement, support and counseling. But ignoring these unseen wounds can only make them worse.
Years ago, the emotional distress of soldiers long after the battles had ended—the nightmares, the anxiety, the depression—were not discussed.
Most relatives of WWII veterans describe their post war loved ones as soldiers who would never speak about the war. One can only imagine the internal horrors plaguing their minds—the battle scenes they wanted to protect their families from knowing about. They suffered in terrible silence under the label of “Battle Fatigue.”
In wars prior to WWII, soldiers still suffered. Those in the Civil War carried the label of “Soldier’s Heart.” In the Revolutionary War, surviving warriors had to suffer their own nightmares of bloody battles long after the swords were turned into plows.
My protagonist, Nathaniel Stearns, in The Promise of Deer Run is a veteran of the American Revolution suffering from post traumatic stress. In doing my research for this character, I interviewed veterans from recent wars who suffered from this terrible aftereffect. I gently asked them about some of the details of their suffering in order to add realism to this fictional character. I interviewed two Army chaplains who shared stories of the emotional wounds of warriors who they had counseled. It was sobering research that still touches my heart.
In honor of all the soldiers who have suffered from this disorder, I am giving away three copies of The Promise of Deer Run to three readers who comment on this blog. Please leave me your email address so I can contact the winners.
The Promise of Deer Run won Best Romance at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival, and also was a finalist in Religious Fiction at the 2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year contest.
For further information on PTSD, you can read more here.
And thank you to all who have served in our military. I salute you.