Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shell-Shocked Ain't PTSD

I was considering just posting some quotes from reviews for On the Way to the Web today, but that's too easy. I'll do it later. For now, I'll just repeat that it's a book that had to be written.

Most of you are familiar with the late George Carlin's monolog about adding words and syllables to terms to make them more impressive. Or, in the case of something negative, to make it easier to take. Shell shock from WWI became battle fatigue in WWII. Two syllables to four syllables and it sounds like something not so bad. Rather than *SHOCKED!* by the screaming shells and explosions, bullets, and terror everywhere, the victim is just a little fatigued. (Not likely.)

In the 1960s, we all became more conscious (of lots of things) and near the end of the decade Vietnam vets no longer came home with battle fatigue, but post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Wow: seven syllables. A term that long must be helpful. Wrong, damnit--it was still shell shock, no matter what the name given it. And it is serious. I think the terminology often gets in the way of treatment.

The same gag was pulled on women who get beat up by their husbands. No longer were they battered wives; they were diagosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, as if that would make the ongoing nightmare a bit easier to handle, somehow milder. And the politically correct crowd no longer had to deal with the shock of the harsh terminology of battered wives.

Some things need to be called what they are, so that they aren't glossed over and set aside because they don't sound bad. They need to be dragged out where everyone can see what's going on, instead of tagged with something hip like PTSD.
Copyright © 2008, Michael A. Banks

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