“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them"

Today we commemorate 75 years since our soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy. Fighting for their country and for the freedom of others. 

As my knowledge and learning has developed, I have noticed that what happens and what is witnessed during military combat does not simply get left behind on the battlefields. Servicemen and women suffer the consequences of war and conflict long after the events. This is ironic in a way, they fight for the freedom of their country and their people yet they come home imprisoned by their own vandalised minds, unable to escape the horror they witness. 

In an article posted by a soldier named Stuart Tootal he emphasised this hidden war would in his title: “Post-traumatic stress disorder is the invisible scar of war”. Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that results from experiencing or witnessing traumatic or life-threatening events. 1 It is part of a 5 key diagnoses that have been subdivided from Post-deployment syndrome. The other diagnoses include; major depression, chronic pain, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and mild traumatic brain injury. 2 Although the terminology of this disorder arose relatively soon following the conflict in Vietnam (1955-1975), this closely observed psychiatric disorder that accumulates as a result of traumatic events is not, however, new. PTSD is strongly associated with veterans due to many instances of traumatic events they endure while at
war. Mentions of combat stress were found over 2,000 years ago in historical literature, one of the first being in a story of the battle of Marathon in Ancient Greece where tales of battle trauma and flash-back like dreams were documented. Shakespeare was also known to allude to the disorder throughout his various plays but where the disorder was developed further was on the battlefield and this is highlighted throughout history by the various wars fought between enemies. These included the Hundred Years War’s between England and
France (1137-1453), the Civil War (1861 - 1865) - where a PTSD-like disorder was referred to as the ‘Da Costa’s syndrome’ from an American internist (Medical Doctor) who had worked in a military hospital during the Civil War, WW1 and the Vietnam war. During these periods of intense combat and war zone participation, PTSD was characterised in many different ways such as 'battle fatigue' or 'soldiers fatigue’ and ‘shell-shock’ (which was to become the predecessor of the official diagnoses). But it wasn’t until the 1900s when the “talking cure” was popularised by Sigmund Freud, that methods to treat the symptoms of the disorder emerged. Treatments for PTSD during the world wars ranged from psychoanalysis to drastic and unproven “treatments” of electric shocks but by the 1950’s treatments became more humane, this was mainly due to the fact that there was negative stigma placed over the disorder, preventing many from admitting to having the trauma symptoms and those of them who did step forward were seen as cowards and a disgrace to their country. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when social movements began to study Holocaust survivors, Vietnam veterans (veterans - defined by the UK Government - applies to anyone who has served for at least a day in HM Armed Forces, whether as a regular or as a reservist), and survivors of domestic abuse that it was truly understood. By the 1990s, developments in neuro-imaging started to suggest that psychological trauma may cause physical changes in the brain and just a decade before this breakthrough regarding the neurological side, The official description and definitive text for diagnosis of PTSD was created by the American Psychiatric Association and added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980. 


As with most mental illnesses, no cure exists for PTSD, but the symptoms can be effectively managed to restore the affected individual to normal functioning. By working with a healthcare professional, individuals with PTSD can resolve their triggering factors and learn new and effective ways of coping with the stress of the past trauma. 

On this day, we must remember the reason our soldiers suffered and how they suffered to give us our tomorrow.