NorahChristine RunningWolf reminded me that a lot more than just military folk suffer from PTSD.
"There are also those of us who have suffered longtime traumatic occurrences. Loud noises make us jumpy, large crowds, yelling and strangers with odd weapons, such as baseball bats."
And just like soldiers with PTSD, she never knows when some trigger, some upset, will smack her upside the head.
PTSD has gotten a lot of press lately because so many soldiers are coming home with it. I wrote a column last week noting that jerks who feel a need to carry military-style guns in public should keep in mind they are, I hope unintentionally, freaking out returned soldiers trying desperately to live normal lives.
There are an awful lot of those soldiers, and not just young guys.
On Monday, we ran a story about Roger Lestrange, of Clearfield. His father took, as a prize of war, a Japanese flag in World War II after killing a Japanese soldier. He gave the flag to Lestrange years ago, refusing to tell him anything about it except, "I don't want anything to do with it."
I can imagine. Killing someone close enough to take souvenirs off the body is trauma enough. Imagine dealing with the blood of that person on a souvenir.
Soldiers coming home today have the same issues.
Marine Capt. Timothy Kudo had a heartbreaking piece in Sunday's Washington Post about his time in Afghanistan. It's titled "I killed people in Afghanistan. Was it right or wrong?" and he honestly doesn't know.
"To properly wage war, you have to recalibrate your moral compass," he writes. "Once you return from the battlefield, it is difficult or impossible to repair it."
How hard that adjustment is, Kudo wrote, is shown by the suicide rate among returned troops, which outnumber combat deaths.
But as I said, it's not just soldiers. We live in a very traumatic society.
Just ask Norah.
Norah moved back to Ogden late last year after fire destroyed her home in Arizona and put her at death's door in a burn unit.
That's not why she has PTSD.
She describes a childhood in an abusive boarding school, a marriage at 13 to an abuser, then another abusive marriage, then another. "Along the way, I've just been beaten a lot," she said. "I've been from one abusive relationship to another, because that's what I know."
Not to mention finding her last husband dead, a suicide.
"That's an awful lot of blood and brains that come out of a really tiny hole," she said.
Like soldiers, she has learned that PTSD is a life sentence.
"I've been through therapy and therapy and therapy, and it helps, but it doesn't take it away," she said.
"PTSD affects every facet of your life. No matter how you get it, whether its from lifelong abuse, or war, it never goes away. And people don't understand, because they don't see it."
She's glad, thanks to the attention military PTSD is getting, that people are finally starting to pay attention. People like her, as well as soldiers, may get the public understanding they deserve.
After decades, Norah said, she is finally finding a bit of peace.
"I see the beauty of the snow and feel the warmth of my dogs," she said. "I am breathing, and I feel my heart beating, and I am grateful for that."
And one other thing: "The great thing is, all the people who abused me? I outlived them."
Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can contact him at 801-625-4232 or e-mail him at email@example.com. He also blogs at www.standard.net.