The CBC website is running quite a good story about post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the ongoing worldwide read of the Diary of Samuel Pepys, we recently reached the historic Great Fire of London, which raged from September 2 to 5, 1666. Our man Sam was personally not directly affected by the fire - his house was not burned, although you can see from this map that he had reason to be afraid.
But regardless of his personal good fortune, Pepys spent days and nights walking the streets, witnessing the fear and destruction. He is thought to be one of several people who urged the Lord Mayor of London to order that houses be pulled down to stop the fire from continuing to spread. He also spent many panicked hours removing his possessions - especially his books - by boat and wagon to safer ground.
In the nights following the fire, and for weeks to come, Sam's sleep was troubled by visions of burning buildings and of houses being pulled down. Many readers immediately recognized his descriptions as post-traumatic stress.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about that CBC story is that the comments are full of support and encouragement, and survivors sharing stories of hope. My own experience with post-traumatic stress is part of what draws me to the war resisters. I don't pretend to know what they've been through, but on another level, all trauma is related. And there is always hope.