The Walking Wounded – by Greg Albrecht
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.—Psalm 34:17-18
When we think of the term “walking wounded,” we usually consider warriors who served their country, whose wounds are visible and known, as well as those whose wounds are not as apparent.
Most recently, we are familiar with The Walking Wounded who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. While one of the tragic consequences of any war is The Walking Wounded left in its wake, one of the most publicized examples goes back a generation. You will remember The Walking Wounded who came home to these United States from the Vietnam war. These veterans returned, having served their country, having followed their orders, but nonetheless having taken part in an unpopular war. While many were, like veterans of any war, injured and maimed, others looked outwardly normal.
But inside, many were, and still are, seething cauldrons. Many of these veterans still deal with survivor-guilt. They came home, but some of their comrades-in-arms did not. They struggle with the psychological and emotional flashbacks to the pain and suffering they caused, and the pain and suffering they endured. It’s called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I have close personal friends who are Vietnam vets who still suffer flashbacks, who still deal with PTSD, 40 or more years later. PTSD, among other things, can involve waking up in the middle of the night, in fear, in emotional pain, in full battle mode, in the middle of a nightmare induced lock-and-load adrenaline rush. It’s never, ever fully getting over the haunting torment of something so excruciating that the mind blocks it out, until something triggers it anew. These moments are called flashbacks.