The Human Mind and War

by Phyllis Zimbler Miller on January 26, 2015

One Vet at a Time sign

The movie AMERICAN SNIPER — based on a true story — has just broken box office records for a second weekend in a row, according to The Wall Street Journal. And while the main focus of the film is sniper Chris Kyle’s four tours in Iraq, the film also deals with the affects his experiences have on his mental health.

Many of you reading this post know that I often write about PTSD, which is the current term for these mental wounds. Earlier terms included shell shock (World War I) and combat fatigue (World War II). The documentary WARTORN 1861-2010 traces the history of PTSD back to the Civil War.

Here is what I wrote after viewing this documentary:

Perhaps the most graphic parts of the documentary are footage from Iraq and the stories of the veterans and families today living with the legacy of PTSD.

Actor and documentary exec producer James Gandolfini visited Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. as well as army headquarters in Iraq to question what the military is doing to help military personnel dealing with PTSD.

While there are not a lot of answers in this documentary, for people who question that PTSD wounds are real, after watching this documentary there should be no uncertainty.

I am watching Masterpiece Theatre’s DOWNTON ABBEY, and the January 25, 2015, episode continued a subplot about the cook’s nephew, who was shot for cowardice during WWI.

The cook wants his name included on a war memorial, and she points out that he volunteered and served until his mind was wounded. The housekeeper, in supporting the cook’s stance, says that they know a lot more now in 1924 about shell shock than they did during the war.

Unfortunately, even today there is still not enough known about PTSD, which is why I continue to work on my proposed TV drama SOLOMON’S JUSTICE (see

Last week I watched several episodes of the BBC series ROBIN HOOD via my Netflix subscription. At one point Robin describes how he mentally deals with the horrors that he experienced fighting in the Holy Land. He talks about what he must do now in order to continue fighting to help the poor of Nottingham in approximately 1192.

And the recently released movie UNBROKEN also has a mention of the affects on mental health of the protagonist in his WWII survival story.

If you are unfamiliar with the symptoms of PTSD read this information now. What you know may help someone you love get help. And remember that PTSD can be caused by non-combat trauma as well as combat trauma.

© 2015 Miller Mosaic LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY, as well as newly written books not yet published. She can be reached at

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