Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a real problem affecting thousands of service men and women who serve in all the branches of the military. It is a real problem whose affects are serious, prolonged and difficult to treat.
One method which is proving to be very effective is writing.
Most writers understand the therapeutic effects of putting pen to paper, but the actual health benefits are a little more difficult to define. Doctors cannot write a prescription to "write a thousand words a day." If they could I would be first in line just so I could keep up with all the projects I have going on.
What they can do, however, is make suggestions; coax people who they feel may benefit from releasing their thoughts in writing to do so. As it happens, this treatment is proving very effective for those suffering from PTSD.
I read a story this morning about a former Marine, Matt Craw, who just finished his first book, “The Song Each Bullet Sings: the Story of Iraqi Freedom Through the Eyes of One Marine" and is already thinking about his next.
Craw suffered injuries during a training accident, but the PTSD he suffered is real. It was damaging his life; his self-esteem, his ability to relate to the world around him. His world was simply not the same after the accident.
Writing has helped him regain control of his life; make his life his own once again. It doesn't matter whether he writes a best seller or not, although like every writer he hopes that is his destiny. What matters is that he gets to tell stories, his stories, in a way which is empowering, and gives him back the control over his life he felt he had lost forever.
Writing is powerful. Writing is strength. There is evidence to support this aside from Matt Craw; it is evident in every word written by every starving writer with nothing more than hope that someday someone will read their words and be moved.