Invisible Wounds of War: PTSD and the Trauma Soldiers Carry Long After Battle

Wounds of war are often invisible to the naked eye. For hundreds of thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the trauma they carry home is a reminder of their time in combat, one that continues to color their relationships and family lives far from the battlefield. The difficulties of coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can leave many former soldiers feeling detached and alienated. Drugs and suicide are often the only means some feel they have to blot out the pain.

In the clip below, one veteran describes the visions that haunt him in his civilian life. 

In Of Men and War, which was shot between 2003 and 2014, filmmaker Laurent Bécue-Renard offers an intimate and up-close look at the wages of war. The film depicts an unvarnished take on the realities of combat, the struggles our veterans wrestle with and the difficulty many have in seeking help for a condition they say can make them feel “small” and “defective.” The film, as long-running PBS film series POV notes, “provides a searing account of how the disorder has affected veterans and their families,” and also reveals the “role treatment can play in helping soldiers reclaim their lives.”

“They came to perceive the filming itself as an additional glimmer of hope,” documentarian Bécue-Renard told POV about the process of filming this powerful documentary. “Consciously or not, the veterans began to sense that voicing their brutal experiences might uncover deeper meaning; their stories might contribute to a greater public consciousness of the hardships veterans confront long after the war’s end.”

Of Men and War premieres Monday, May 30 on PBS’s award-winning film showcase series POV. For more on the documentary, visit the series website. You can also check out the broadcast schedule online, and watch the trailer below. 

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