National PTSD Awareness Day

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The poster person for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a war veteran, which isn’t surprising given that anywhere from 11 to 20 percent of veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed as sufferers. But it’s not solely a soldier’s disorder.

Mac McClelland, who reports on human rights issues for Mother Jones, and who we interviewed for The Rumpus in August of 2010, also deals with PTSD, and has written a powerful piece on the subject for Good titled, “I’m Gonna Need You to Fight Me On This: How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD.” It’s a powerful and moving piece, and one that might disturb people, especially those who’ve been the victims of sexual violence because there are some pretty graphic scenes in the essay, but it’s worth reading.

In fact, I’m going to go one step farther and say it’s important to read, because it’s important to understand who PTSD affects and how it might affect them, and it opens a window into the reasons why people who suffer from PTSD might act in ways which seem strange or even self-destructive to outsiders. Go read it. You won’t be sorry.


Brian Spears's first collection of poetry, A Witness in Exile, is now available through Louisiana Literature Press, and at his personal website. He is the Poetry Editor for The Rumpus, and teaches poetry at Drake University. More from this author →