“Brannan Vines has never been to war, but her husband, Caleb, was sent to Iraq twice, where he served in the infantry as a designated marksman. He’s one of 103,200, or 228,875, or 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD, depending on whom you ask, and one of 115,000 to 456,000 with traumatic brain injury.”
- Which statistic is correct?
“Like Brannan’s symptoms. Hypervigilance sounds innocuous, but it is in fact exhaustingly distressing, a conditioned response to life-threatening situations. Imagine there’s a murderer in your house. And it is dark outside, and the electricity is out. Imagine your nervous system spiking, readying you as you feel your way along the walls, the sensitivity of your hearing, the tautness in your muscles, the alertness shooting around inside your skull. And then imagine feeling like that all the time.”
- Caleb is always on high alert
- His brain is being compared to how normal people would feel in a scary situation.
“Caleb has been home since 2006, way more than enough time for Brannan to catch his symptoms. “
- The author is basically comparing PTSD, a mental disorder, to an airborne disease.
- Saying that the wife can “catch” PTSD is insinuating that is can be transmitted.
“Even when everyone’s in the family room watching TV, it’s only connected to Netflix and not to cable, since news is often a trigger.”
- (The family could easily just not watch the news)
- Caleb either gets upset watching the news because of what they are saying or because of the possibility or war videos and sounds being played.
- Simple things can become a trigger for Caleb.
“There were 500 people at the ceremony. Even the mayor was there.”
- Caleb was held high in the community.
- They were a known and respected family.
“She has not, unlike military wives she advises, ever been beat up. Nor jumped out of her own bed when she got touched in the middle of the night for fear of being raped, again. Still.”
- This is something I didn’t know
- Brennan is knowledgable person and she advises other women.
- Has she been raped? Or when the author said again, did he mean other wives.
“Sometimes I can’t do the laundry,” Brannan explains, reclining on her couch. “And it’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m too tired to do the laundry,’ it’s like, ‘Um, I don’t understand how to turn the washing machine on.’ I am looking at a washing machine and a pile of laundry and my brain is literally overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to reconcile them.””
- Daily life can be challenging and stressful.
- Brennan is constantly flustered
“Granted, diagnosing PTSD is a tricky thing. The result of a malfunctioning nervous system that fails to normalize after trauma and instead perpetrates memories and misfires life-or-death stress for no practical reason, it comes in a couple of varieties, various complexities, has causes ranging from one lightning-fast event to drawn-out terrors or patterns of abuse—in soldiers, the incidence of PTSD goes up with the number of tours and amount of combat experienced. “
- It is very hard to measure this disorder.
- Every soldier has a different experience.