I had already gotten it through my head that the Army wants not to believe in PTSD. But now, according to a very disturbing article, "War Wounds," in last Sunday’s New York Times, they also want not to believe in concussions and the brain damage they do.
It's as if the Armed Forces had gone to sleep decades ago, and were fighting the last few wars while unconcious. Even the NFL knows about the new research on concussions.
Judging by the painful and damaging slowness of the Veterans Administration in taking care of all veterans requests for medical help, the Army doesn’t believe in any injuries. But the brain stuff really is qualitatively different.
Here’s an example from the Times story about Maj. Ben Richards. He is often unable to think clearly or in a connected way. His wife Farrah can’t even get the Veterans Administration health personnel to include her in a civil way in her husband’s care:
Countless spouses, parents and children of returning troops are struggling with similar challenges. Spouses often complain that the military treats them particularly poorly, and rarely communicates adequately. “They’ll be like, ‘your husband was briefed on that.’ ” Farrah said. “And I say, ‘well, my husband can’t remember that briefing.’ ”
It’s like a conspiracy to ignore the human brain in suffering soldiers. My own experience is that when people are in such vigorous denial, it’s usually because they’re trying to hide from something frightening. Denial is the human psyche’s way of acting out “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you.”
Trouble is, in this case, the saying means, “What the Army doesn’t know can’t hurt the Army.” But in this case, it sure can hurt our soldiers.
We have to do better.