Thursday, August 17, 2006

Soldiers and post-traumatic-stress

I wonder how many Fijian soldiers return from duty overseas and cannot fit back easily into civilian life. Certainly many Australian men have had problems, even suicide. Yesterday it was forty years on since Long Tan in Vietnam.

Our local paper, uncharacteristically, had some strong stories yesterday. They were by Vietnam vets remembering Long Tan. A lot of stories of post-traumatic stress. Made me think of my cousin, who as a youth was a handsome, shy lad. Went to Vietnam, his wife and daughter left him, and he has been ill and introverted ever since. Even his relatives don't seem to visit. We did and made a connection, by talkng computers of all things. I think it was Agent Orange that was part of his problems.

One of the writers in the paper wrote: 'It was all a complete waste of life as far as I'm concerned. I dont' see any relevance in it at all. My belief is,and they're finding this out in Afghanistan, you can't beat anyone in their own back yard. I often use theanalogy with my kids:take me out in the street and you might give me a hiding in the street buy try and take my house. It's just on a bigger scale to that.'


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting about Soldiers and post traumatic -stress
Last two days I have met with soldiers who are just return from the Prision and share their stories.
It likea permament wounds in their hearts andminds and only God can heal the hirts

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The Vietnam vets were shunned when they returned and not given help to adjust. Probably the same with Fijian soldiers though one of the Catholic priests was doing some counselling in recent years I heard. Of course it also affects their families too.

laminar_flow said...

Currently in the U.S there was numerous reports of returning soldiers going beserk, ending up in a tragic murder suicide.
There was a study done in the U.S, their findings: transport has alot to do with coping the effects of PTSD.

Study found that WW2 veterans had lower statistics of PTSD and the reason why their levels were lower(compard with Iraq) because travel back from combat zones used ships rather than aircraft. They found that spending time with their mates and talking amongst themselves provided some form of counseling. The length of the journey also prepared their mentality, by sort of winding down the emotions of war.

In missionary journals of old Fiji, there are accounts this unwinding process, with warriors returning from battles.

Pandabonium said...

The US has a long disgraceful history of not taking care of its veterans. After WWI they were not paid a bonus as promised which led ultimately to a huge march on Washington DC in 1932 of some 20,000 veterans.

I've known a number of vets from the Vietnam war and some of them are still dealing with psychological issues.

They can find money for more weapons in a heartbeat, but keep cutting back on care for those who serve.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Here in Australia, they do seem to have a system in place for vets and the families of vets - except the Vietnam war guys were the ones who were ignored for a very long time.