Psychology Today, "Shutdown and Shutout: The Social Ecology of PTSD"

“My patient, a Vietnam veteran, showed up to the clinic fuming with anger, his red face glistening with sweat. For 10 minutes, he vented about the government shutdown. Gesticulating and grinding his teeth as he spoke, his rant was peppered with soundbites he had likely picked up from the news. He continued with his torrent of abuse in a trance-like state. ‘Pathetic,’ he spat. ‘These people have no business running the country, can’t do anything right… like Vietnam… we should have never been there in the first place.’ Suddenly, his face froze, his lower lip quivered, and he started to sob. Brusquely wiping away tears with the palm of his hand, he asked, ‘I’m letting this get the better of me, aren’t I, doc?’

In my daily work as a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) specialist, the narratives of my Vietnam veteran patients often have a similar cadence: Drafted at the age of 19 or 20, he survived the tragedies of combat, but upon homecoming experienced hostility from his fellow Americans and felt ostracized from family and friends.“

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ArticlesShaili Jain