Post Traumatic Stress Disorder develops with some military veterans after serving a tour in combat. Real PTSD usually does not just go away, but it can be managed with psychological counseling. Some vets with PTSD never achieve peace with their lives, struggling to their graves. Some even commit suicide.
I volunteered as VA facilitator for a PTSD group for eight years because of my combat experience in Vietnam and could relate to the vets' issues.
For the outsider looking in there are five symptoms that can help reveal whether a veteran has PTSD or not:
1. Relationship Issues: multiple divorces or breakups with loved ones due to the unwillingness by the veteran to admit he has a mental issue.
2. Drug or Alcohol Abuse: veterans literally try to drown their war demons with booze or by taking drugs.
3.Psychosomatic: individuals may have health issues such as high blood pressure due to mental stress.
4. Depression: with an overload of mental issues the individual becomes despondent. This can lead to suicide.
5. Despair: with no end in sight to the anguish the individual loses hope and contemplates suicide.
In my novel Legacy of War the main character deals with mental anguish from war.
In the summer of 2017, as a City Council Member I conducted the Idaho Falls Symphony as part of a fundraising activity. The regular conductor was gracious to tolerate my bungling along in the performance. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed doing this, even though I am far from having any proficiency in this profession. Still music matters to me, mostly because it calms the inner soul, maybe making me appreciate humanity more.
During the Vietnam War, I served in combat in the dark jungles of that land where the killing fields existed. That experience unlike music did not calm the soul. I recall reading Lincoln's First Inaugural Speech in 1861 as he faced Southern Succession and the coming conflict of the Civil War. In it he tried to reconcile the horror of the war, its killings, by looking forward to the time we could be a united nation once again by referring to "...the better angels of our natures".
Sadly in wars "...the better angels..." do not readily appear as soldiers slug it out, killing each other .
Such was the Vietnam War. That war, the basis for my thriller mystery novel, Legacy of War, serves to explain, trying to find the "better angels" within our selves.