Post Traumatic Stress is the term we use to describe the disturbing thoughts, feelings, and/or dreams that are related to a single traumatic event, or on-going exposure to stressful situations. It is a normal reaction to abnormal situations.
And it’s been around for a very, very long time, under various names. You’ve probably heard a range of the terms that have been used in the past. Words like “shell-shock,” the most common label used to describe the reactions of soldiers in WWI. By the time WWII came around, doctors were calling it “combat stress reaction.” For the most part, these diagnoses were limited to active-duty military personnel.
In some ways, times have changed. In others, time hasn’t changed very much.
At The War Horse Project, we prefer to to call these experiences Soldier’s Heart, a term used in the American Civil War to describe the painful effects that occur weeks, months, and even years after heart-wrenching experiences. Soldier’s Heart was not limited to those who experienced the battle field first-hand, but also by those who cared for the injured, most times in hopeless situations, and by the general population who were displaced and torn apart by the war.
The physical and psychological affects of war aren’t limited to soldiers – every day, we hear stories of civilians and even animals that experience the negative impacts of life in a combat zone – whether it happened on the field of battle or behind closed doors. At The War Horse Project, our specific focus in on veterans, military personnel and first responders but we are more than happy to help connect people who are suffering with equine therapy organizations that can help. In the meantime, if you or someone you love is struggling with the after-effects of a life in service, please get in touch with us. . . A Soldier’s Heart doesn’t only beat under a uniform. We’re here to help you.