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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Doonesbury this Week: One Vet's PTSD Struggle

One of this award-winning strip's returning characters, B.D. (a hard-nosed guy who never needs anyone's help), is an injured Iraq combat vet and amputee. He's also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

(Click here or on image to enlarge)

One of the significant obstacles in successful PTSD treatment is the reluctance of the sufferer to reach out for help. For a variety of reasons (military indoctrination, avoidance, `toughing it out', fear of appearing weak or `crazy'), many vets suffer alone. The decision to get help is one that is often made gradually. Often with a lot of hesitation. And a lot of agony.

Doonesbury is portraying this with aplomb this week.

Since this diary is for educational purposes only, I'm including copies of this week's Doonesbury strips for these purposes.

12/12 | In Monday's intro, we find B.D. entering his local Vet Center:

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

(Click here or on image to enlarge)

He says `hi' in a less than confident manner. The friendly receptionist greets his arrival and asks if he has an appointment. B.D. scoffs at that a bit. "I don't need one....I'm just looking, okay?" A quiet pause...and then he tells her he's got to get to an important meeting...

::

12/13 | Tuesday we find B.D. returning to the Vet Center again:

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

(Click here or on image to enlarge)

He's just looking around again, he says. The friendly receptionist tells him to take his time. As B.D. begins to glance at some magazines, he tells her he doesn't have much time today either...he better get going. She says, "Okay, catch you next time." But, B.D. stays anyway. He's not ready to leave the center; he asks her a question about the magazines, and she invites him to take a look at them.

::

12/14 | Today's strip continues in the Vet Center:

Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

(Click here or on image to enlarge)

B.D.'s still intensely focused on the magazines. He compliments their selection. Meanwhile, one of the Center's counselors has entered the reception area and observes B.D. He asks the receptionist if she's gotten a name out of him, yet. "Not yet. He's still reconnoitering." Meanwhile, B.D.'s still apparently consumed with the magazines and asks why Jennifer Aniston's on all of the covers. The counselor tells the receptionist, "I'll leave my door open." Be sure to follow B.D.'s progress at the Vet Center here.

::

If you're a vet suffering with PTSD, please know that you are not alone. Please take your symptoms seriously, and seek out any or all of the resources available to you.


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