Is the US Military Forgetting about Post Traumatic Growth?
A fascinating piece at the Australian military’s The Cove asks an important question: With all the focus on PTSD, are we forgetting post traumatic growth?
Highlighting only chronic illness amongst veterans however, risks creating an unhelpful sense of expectancy that illness will follow service…
This illness narrative does not align with the experiences of many veterans from both historic and contemporary operations, who have endured varying levels of trauma, but grew from these experiences.
Author Tim Robinson notes the idea has been around for awhile, and James Mattis — now Secretary of Defense for the US military — has proffered it as well:
The post-traumatic experience is not necessarily something to “fix.” It can be something to go through. And with this in mind, as men and women return from the combat area with these experiences, one of the main things that can help them work through their experiences is their religious faith. Faith is not something the government should fear in helping its troops; it is something it should embrace.
If nothing else, now-Secretary Mattis reminds us that war does not inherently leave men broken. Struggle, deprivation, hardship, etc., do not necessarily make us victims.
They can also help us grow.