Ask A Wench, PTSD

Jobigblue Jo here, putting together a group answer to one of the questions sent to the Wenches. Marsha Bolden wrote, "I would love to read a discussion of post traumatic stress syndrome from the Napoleonic wars.  I think there are many novels which give a tremendous description of post-traumatic stress syndrome as it affects soldiers who fought in Spain or at Waterloo." Marsha, because your suggestion was picked, you win a book from me. You can go to my booklist and pick. I have spare copies of most, but not all.

Post traumatic stress is anteresting subject, and it's brought out great responses. This post may be a little long, but it's worth it, and I'm looking forward to interesting comments.

I thought it would useful to have a definition, so I took this from Wikipedia. "Post traumatic stress disorder (also known as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma…. Diagnostic symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma(s) through flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, and increased arousal – such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hypervigilance. Formal diagnostic criteria (both DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10) require that the symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

We can see why having a character suffer from this creates powerful books, and if we write Regency we have the Napoleonic Wars dominating the period on land and at sea. However, I have generally tried to resist using it. Why? It's partly my contrary streak, but I have a few other reasons. Cavalry

1. It's clear from diaries from the wars of the 18th and 19th centuries that many men did not suffer PTSD, and I think there should be balance in our fictional world. Whilst still aware of the horrors of war, these enjoyed the purpose, the action, and the victory. Particularly in the Napoleonic Wars they were fighting an "evil enemy" who did in fact directly threaten their homeland and all they loved. It was a noble war, and I suspect that helps.

2. They came from a harsh world. (This is a point some other Wenches pick up on.) From all classes, they would be familiar with death and violence, and given the state of medicine then, with gruesome suffering. Many occupations were dangerous — even today, agriculture is a very hazardous occupation — and even transportation had its risks. There were a great many coaching accidents and people killed by being thrown from carriages or off horses, and pedestrians were hurt by out-of-control vehicles. In addition, legal punishments were harsh and ofter public, from whipping through the streets to hanging.

London Amusements were often violent, as with cock fighting, dog fighting, and bear baiting. To assume all our heroes are too refined to ever have watched such things is definitely putting modern heads on fancy costumes, IMO. They almost certainly would have hunted, for stag and/or fox.Hunting was encouraged for cavalry officers as it demanded excellent horsemanship, almost foolhardy courage, and the risk of injury and death. The bloody end for the fox was incidental. They would also quite likely witness the slaughter and butchery of animals for food, either in farms or at markets in London and elsewhere.

3. I worry sometimes that historical romance sometimes puts modern heads on fancy dress for the men and grant nobility to men because they are made from more sensitive stuff, and create villains from those who aren't broken, and sometimes not even shaken by warfare. I think that's both unfair and anachronistic, and I'm probably even biased in the other direction. Many wars are and have been pointless and venal, but when an evil enemy truly does threaten the lives and communities we care for, I think we all hope for warriors with the ability to do what has to be done and keep doing it until evil is vanquished.

So I've written a range of men who've been in the war, but none who has been broken by it. Some of them find it a completely satisfactory career, as in Lord Cynric Malloren in My Lady Notorious. He talks about building a shelter out of corpses on a bitterly cold night after a battle, which is a story I took from a diary of the war. That's not a pleasant memory for him, but he doesn't have any hang-ups about it.

In my three Georges — The Demon's Mistress, The Dragon's Bride, and The Devil's Heiress — I portrayed three different ex-military men. The three friends had joined the army, egged on by one who was ripe for the adventure of it. 

George Vandeimen, the dashing cavalry officer, carries the hurt of many lost friends, but he's not damaged by that. He's shaken much more deeply by the loss of his family while he was away. Shock, you see. I suspect PTSD arises more commonly when the events shock than when they are terrible in an expected way.

Lord Amleigh, the steady one, chose the infantry, did his duty, but came to dislike warfare intensely. He returned to fight at Waterloo, which did almost break him because of his time away.Dragbrism

George Hawkinville wanted to be a fighting officer, but he's brilliant and was quickly switched over to battle planning and supplies. His main hurt comes from being mostly an observer, which is often the hardest place to be.

Now, on to the other Wenches.

  Pat Wench Pat is brief. "As far as I can remember I have no soldiers or PTSD victims for characters, heroes or otherwise."

Wench Nicola. "I've never written a character with combat-related PTSS in any of my books althouNicolagh in Unmasked I did write a heroine who suffered panic attacks and flashbacks as a response to a traumatic life experience – PTSS in a different context.

I find PTSS a fascinating subject and enjoy reading about it in a historical context just as I enjoy reading about other medical conditions that had not been diagnosed before the 20th century.  The reason I have seldom tackled any of these topics in a book myself is two-fold.

Firstly, through being married to a psychotherapist I have realised just how complex these conditions can be. I think this inhibits me from writing about them. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing in my case!

Secondly, I am also very aware of how differently a condition such as PTSS might have been viewed in the past both by the sufferer and those around him or her. I wouldn't want want to treat it anachronistically but I know it can be done with sensitivity and accuracy – I've read some wonderful depictions.

One of the things that has always fascinated me is whether attitudes towards death and suffering were different in a society where people were confronted daily by the reality of death in many different forms, from childbirth and infant mortality to accidents on the hunting field. Are we in danger of projecting our own sensibilities onto a society with a more immediate experience of violent death? I don't think one can generalise. One thing that is clear from letters and documents from past centuries is that the reality of combat was intense and terrifying and that PTSS would be one of a number of reactions to the experience. A fascinating area for a writer to explore. I think I have talked myself into tackling it now!

Mj Wench Mary Jo. "I have done far more than my share of wounded heroes, whether military or  otherwise.  My very first book had a  hero recovering from wounds received at Waterloo. But  there are wounds, and there is PTSS.  Several of my military heroes have  suffered injuries they must deal with.  All have been affected in one way or  another by the experience of war.   I loved when I came across the  phrase “thousand yard stare” to apply to my soldier hero in Shattered Rainbows.

But  by and large, these are men who accepted the conditions and necessity of  war.  They may have been wounded,  they are certainly affected—yet the truest case of PTSS that I’ve written was  actually a spy.  

Lord  Robert Andreville, hero of Angel Rogue, fell into spying while touring France during the Truce of  Amiens.  Robin came across some  useful information, sent it home to England, and spent the next dozen  year doing dangerous and difficult things inside Napoleon’s empire.  When the war is over, he returned home  physically whole but spiritually empty because of the moral dilemmas of spying.  He needs to find a reason to make  the effort to keep on living.  He  does, of course, but I can tell you that writing a hero is who is apathetic for  the first section of his story is not easy!

Ian  Cameron of Veils of Silk, my other  hero with PTSS, was a serving officer in the Indian army, but the emotional  damage was a result of horrendous imprisonment in Bokhara.  The  experience costs him an eye, a fiancée, and all his pleasure in life.  Feeling half a man and haunted by  nightmares, he keeps moving, one foot in front of the other, until gradually  life sweeps him up again.  

Now  that I think of it, Ian is a sharp contrast to the hero of the book I just  finished.  (No Longer a Gentleman, May 2012.)  The hero of NLAG hasn’t endured as  ghastly a prison, but he’s been locked up a whole lot longer.  He emerges half-feral, burning with  energy, and ravenous for life.  He  is a long way from normal, but PTSS?  I don’t think so. Those two men are very different, and they react to their  traumas very
different ways.  Just  like real people do."

Cara Wench Cara/Andrea. "I've written a number of heroes who are former military men, but have never dealt directly with the issue of extreme mental trauma from the experience. My characters are harder and more cynical, and abhor the senseless slaughter they have witnessed. But battlefields in the background.

The question of PTSS in the Napoleonic Wars is certainly a very relevant-and very complex-question, and while I've haven't made a conscious effort to avoid it, it's something I feel would be a very challenging thing to get “right.” I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to march straight into a hail of withering musket fire, or see a friend cut to pieces in a hand-to-hand bayonet fight . . . I confess, I'm surprised that to a man, they weren't all traumatized after the first few minutes on a battlefield.  
Sharpe
I'm a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, and given the incredibly graphic scenes he writes about battle, and the research details that color his accounts, it's interesting how few times the topic is dealt with. Were Napoleonic soldiers less “sensitive” to the horrors of the battlefield because everyday life in that era was much more filled with blood, violence and death? Expectations were certainly very different than they are today. But I haven't delved into enough primary source documents to feel I can make an informed comment. So for now, I will probably leave the issue to those who are more knowledgeable on the subject. (But I do like writing conflicted heroes <G> so maybe that will change!) 

Jo here. I think Cornwell does a great job of writing the hardened soldier in all the periods he covers, and his warriors often revel in the fight — in the anticipation of it, the action of it, and especially (when it happens) the victory over the enemy.

Joanna Wench Joanna. So far, my characters are always in the heat of action in these stories.  I haven't looked so much at how they cope with the 'coming home' part.  But one of my characters did suffer from a form of PTSS.  It's my young spy,Annique, from *The Spymaster's Lady.*

She's in a hard place as the story begins.  She's been struck blind, her mother's just died, she's on the run from her own side, and she's captured by the enemy.  Most important, she's burdened with plans that will decide life and death for thousands.  She's faced with the dreadful responsibility of what to do with those plans.

Annique has slogged through months of unremitting danger and loss like the good young soldier-spy she is.  *After* she regains her sight, *after* she escapes from her most immediate enemies,* after* she nears her goal, *after*she feels almost safe — the reaction sets in.

She travels across England.  Beneath the cheerful, determined facade, the emotional trauma she's undergone leads to a sense of terrible isolation.  It makes her reach out, unwisely, to what seems a friendly hand.  She lets down her guard.  She's also prey to a paralysis of decision.  The life-and-death choice hangs fire while she delays and delays in a way that's not characteristic of her.

The subtle wounding of the mind is difficult to convey.  Do we explain too much?  Do we look at the PTSS in a way the Regency wouldn't and seem anachronistic?  Do we explain too little and leave the reader puzzled at our characters contradictory action? It's just plain hard to bring out the vulnerable side of our strong, capable heroes and heroines.

BridebyMistake68kb Wench Anne. When it came to the writing, none of my heroes show very obvious symptoms of PTSS. There have been indications, for those who wanted to look for them, but my characters weren't the kind of men who like to show their inner struggles or private torments. 

My models for that attitude were my father and uncles, all of whom had seen active service. My father was wounded badly enough to be shipped home, and my uncle and a number of my father's friends were put in prison camps under horrific conditions. They never talked about their war experiences — at least not in front of others.  

That said, there were indications of trauma in some aspects of their behavior — a sudden explosion of temper, an inability to sleep at times, and certain triggers that would set someone off in a particular way. But that was also never discussed, apart from a general understanding that it was because of the war. So, right or wrong, I've allowed that to influence my heroes' attitudes to their past as soldiers. Dad

(Jo here again. I think I'm influenced by my father and his friends, who served in WWI and were kind and gentle men. In my father's case, he went to war very reluctantly, served in one of the harshest campaign — in Mesopotamia, and was wounded. I'm sure he did return with some psychological damage, but it was never spoken of, and by the time I was born 30 years later there was no sign. He thoroughly enjoyed action-adventure fiction and films, including those about war. We write what we know. Back to Anne.)

My first hero, Jack Carstairs (in Gallant Waif) began the book as a grumpy recluse who drank too much. But the heroine in that book was equally scarred by wartime experiences, though not as obviously. And the story of their romance involves mutual healing.

My current  "devilriders" series has featured heroes returned from war, and each of them show the subtle ways in which their wartime experiences have scarred their psyche.  At the beginning of Stolen Princess, my hero, Gabriel Renfrew is restless, finding it hard to settle down to a peacetime routine and relieves the tedium with risky activities, like riding at full speed along the cliffs in the dark. His friends also take frequent risks and seem not to care about consequences. 

It's Luke, the hero of my next book (out in January 2012) who shows the strongest indication of PTSS. He has nightmares and unresolved painful memories and bottled-up guilt that makes him constantly test his right to live, and part of his journey in the book is to confront those feelings, though not in a modern-day psychiatric fashion. I've also paired him with a heroine who has her fair share of wartime trauma, so he's not alone with his problems, and she brings a perspective to his experiences that allows him to view them in a different light.

In fact I often pair my heroes with heroines who've experienced hardships and/or trauma of their own, though not necessarily wartime — I like both heroes and heroines to have been tempered by life, and even if scarred by the experience, to emerge, through love, the stronger for it. I suppose you could call it a recurring theme, though until now I hadn't been aware of it.

Swordm

Wench Susan."I've explored more than once the theme of heroes stressed and changed by the rigors of war, though mostly in a medieval setting. One of my favorite heroes among my own fictional guys is Lachlan MacKerron, the hero of The Sword Maiden, a 15th century Scottish swordsmith and knight who rode with the Scottish guard accompanying Joan of Arc.

He returns to Scotland a different man — deeper, more reserved, wounded inside and out by what he has seen and what he has lost, and the secret guilt he carries. What he doesn't see — literally, as his vision is damaged by a head wound — is what he has at home in Eva MacArthur, the girl he left behind, whose healing influence is not so gentle.

She's a spitfire, full of revenge and pushing him to train her in swordplay. He wants peace, she wants war locally. Yet in tracking back over his own experiences, in examining his expertise as well as his mistakes as a warrior and a man, he puts his life back into perspective and is able to move

No matter what the context, medieval or Napoleonic, in historical romance it's the healing process that is most important when a hero has been through war and has returned. He's changed, he's burdened, he has a great deal to sort out. He's a more serious hero than some other types, and often he is just the sort of hero I love to write and love to read — the warrior poet, wise and weary and in need of true healing, the certain uplift of spirit that the right heroine can bring to him. Together these two, hero and heroine, can be a magical, beautiful couple, with healing and emotional substance adding depth to the romance."

Jo again. What a range of fascinating comments, and now it's your turn.

Feel free to address this topic in any way you wish. The following questions are just sand tossed into the oysters!

 How do you feel about career soldiers as heroes of romance? Do you prefer that the hero be ex-military rather than on active service, and if so, why?

If a hero has been involved in war, do you admire them more for it not being a great weight on them, or for showing harm from it? It could be either, depending, of course.

I'd really like to hear from any military people who read this blog, especially if you've been active in war.

Here's an angle that interests me. I see a contradiction in the romance genre. In contemporaries, don't we often have tough-guy heroes who flinch an nothing, and often have to be taught sensitivity by the heroine. I think we also have heroes like that in medievals, and Scottish historical at any period. Yet in the more modern settings, perhaps especially the Regency, we have more traumatized heroes.

Why is that? Do we carry a softer, sweeter vision of Regency Britain in our heads and want heroes to fit that?

Am I right? Examples pro and con? Discussion?

Another question, arising from the mention of Bernard Cornwell — do female writers often want military heroes to hate war and be traumatized by it, whereas male writers are more likely to go with the triumph of defeating evil, no matter what it takes, and admiration of the men who can get the job done.

Over to you! I'll send a copy of The Devil's Heiress, third of the Georges books, to a randomly picked interesting comment.

Jo

145 thoughts on “Ask A Wench, PTSD”

  1. Jo and Marsh, I love this topic! I love the idea of a tortured hero, no matter what time period. In my recent book, Coming Home (Highland Press, April 2011) my hero, Cavan Callaghan, fought with the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War. Although I don’t say it outright, I hint at PTSS. Cavan suffers from nightmares in which he relives the battle of Antietem, where he lost his little brother. He’s also lost his ability to trust.
    I think a large part of why I made Cavan the way he was, is because PTSS isn’t dealt with much in romance. And like I said, I love a tortured hero.

    Reply
  2. Jo and Marsh, I love this topic! I love the idea of a tortured hero, no matter what time period. In my recent book, Coming Home (Highland Press, April 2011) my hero, Cavan Callaghan, fought with the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War. Although I don’t say it outright, I hint at PTSS. Cavan suffers from nightmares in which he relives the battle of Antietem, where he lost his little brother. He’s also lost his ability to trust.
    I think a large part of why I made Cavan the way he was, is because PTSS isn’t dealt with much in romance. And like I said, I love a tortured hero.

    Reply
  3. Jo and Marsh, I love this topic! I love the idea of a tortured hero, no matter what time period. In my recent book, Coming Home (Highland Press, April 2011) my hero, Cavan Callaghan, fought with the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War. Although I don’t say it outright, I hint at PTSS. Cavan suffers from nightmares in which he relives the battle of Antietem, where he lost his little brother. He’s also lost his ability to trust.
    I think a large part of why I made Cavan the way he was, is because PTSS isn’t dealt with much in romance. And like I said, I love a tortured hero.

    Reply
  4. Jo and Marsh, I love this topic! I love the idea of a tortured hero, no matter what time period. In my recent book, Coming Home (Highland Press, April 2011) my hero, Cavan Callaghan, fought with the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War. Although I don’t say it outright, I hint at PTSS. Cavan suffers from nightmares in which he relives the battle of Antietem, where he lost his little brother. He’s also lost his ability to trust.
    I think a large part of why I made Cavan the way he was, is because PTSS isn’t dealt with much in romance. And like I said, I love a tortured hero.

    Reply
  5. Jo and Marsh, I love this topic! I love the idea of a tortured hero, no matter what time period. In my recent book, Coming Home (Highland Press, April 2011) my hero, Cavan Callaghan, fought with the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War. Although I don’t say it outright, I hint at PTSS. Cavan suffers from nightmares in which he relives the battle of Antietem, where he lost his little brother. He’s also lost his ability to trust.
    I think a large part of why I made Cavan the way he was, is because PTSS isn’t dealt with much in romance. And like I said, I love a tortured hero.

    Reply
  6. “when an evil enemy truly does threaten the lives and communities we care for, I think we all hope for warriors with the ability to do what has to be done and keep doing it until evil is vanquished.”
    Pacifists wouldn’t, and pacifism has been around a long time. For example, last year was:
    the 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace Testimony. […] It was on 21st of the 11th month 1660 in the old calendar (21st January 1661 in the modern calendar) that a declaration was given to King Charles II from “the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers against all plotters and fighters in the world…” […] it contained the significant words “All bloody Principles and Practices we… do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward Weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world…” http://www.quaker.org.uk/quaker-peace-testimony-1660-2010-new-exhibition

    Reply
  7. “when an evil enemy truly does threaten the lives and communities we care for, I think we all hope for warriors with the ability to do what has to be done and keep doing it until evil is vanquished.”
    Pacifists wouldn’t, and pacifism has been around a long time. For example, last year was:
    the 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace Testimony. […] It was on 21st of the 11th month 1660 in the old calendar (21st January 1661 in the modern calendar) that a declaration was given to King Charles II from “the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers against all plotters and fighters in the world…” […] it contained the significant words “All bloody Principles and Practices we… do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward Weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world…” http://www.quaker.org.uk/quaker-peace-testimony-1660-2010-new-exhibition

    Reply
  8. “when an evil enemy truly does threaten the lives and communities we care for, I think we all hope for warriors with the ability to do what has to be done and keep doing it until evil is vanquished.”
    Pacifists wouldn’t, and pacifism has been around a long time. For example, last year was:
    the 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace Testimony. […] It was on 21st of the 11th month 1660 in the old calendar (21st January 1661 in the modern calendar) that a declaration was given to King Charles II from “the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers against all plotters and fighters in the world…” […] it contained the significant words “All bloody Principles and Practices we… do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward Weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world…” http://www.quaker.org.uk/quaker-peace-testimony-1660-2010-new-exhibition

    Reply
  9. “when an evil enemy truly does threaten the lives and communities we care for, I think we all hope for warriors with the ability to do what has to be done and keep doing it until evil is vanquished.”
    Pacifists wouldn’t, and pacifism has been around a long time. For example, last year was:
    the 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace Testimony. […] It was on 21st of the 11th month 1660 in the old calendar (21st January 1661 in the modern calendar) that a declaration was given to King Charles II from “the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers against all plotters and fighters in the world…” […] it contained the significant words “All bloody Principles and Practices we… do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward Weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world…” http://www.quaker.org.uk/quaker-peace-testimony-1660-2010-new-exhibition

    Reply
  10. “when an evil enemy truly does threaten the lives and communities we care for, I think we all hope for warriors with the ability to do what has to be done and keep doing it until evil is vanquished.”
    Pacifists wouldn’t, and pacifism has been around a long time. For example, last year was:
    the 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace Testimony. […] It was on 21st of the 11th month 1660 in the old calendar (21st January 1661 in the modern calendar) that a declaration was given to King Charles II from “the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers against all plotters and fighters in the world…” […] it contained the significant words “All bloody Principles and Practices we… do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward Weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world…” http://www.quaker.org.uk/quaker-peace-testimony-1660-2010-new-exhibition

    Reply
  11. Laura, excellent point about pacifists. I think a pacifist hero would be fascinating in a romance.
    I’m very much against war, because so many are pointless and rooted in greed, with powers that be grabbing for a bit of land, or a bit of gold, or wood, or oil, or whatever, but I’m not able to take the stand that I wouldn’t defend against active attack such as invasion, or want someone to do that for me.
    Jo

    Reply
  12. Laura, excellent point about pacifists. I think a pacifist hero would be fascinating in a romance.
    I’m very much against war, because so many are pointless and rooted in greed, with powers that be grabbing for a bit of land, or a bit of gold, or wood, or oil, or whatever, but I’m not able to take the stand that I wouldn’t defend against active attack such as invasion, or want someone to do that for me.
    Jo

    Reply
  13. Laura, excellent point about pacifists. I think a pacifist hero would be fascinating in a romance.
    I’m very much against war, because so many are pointless and rooted in greed, with powers that be grabbing for a bit of land, or a bit of gold, or wood, or oil, or whatever, but I’m not able to take the stand that I wouldn’t defend against active attack such as invasion, or want someone to do that for me.
    Jo

    Reply
  14. Laura, excellent point about pacifists. I think a pacifist hero would be fascinating in a romance.
    I’m very much against war, because so many are pointless and rooted in greed, with powers that be grabbing for a bit of land, or a bit of gold, or wood, or oil, or whatever, but I’m not able to take the stand that I wouldn’t defend against active attack such as invasion, or want someone to do that for me.
    Jo

    Reply
  15. Laura, excellent point about pacifists. I think a pacifist hero would be fascinating in a romance.
    I’m very much against war, because so many are pointless and rooted in greed, with powers that be grabbing for a bit of land, or a bit of gold, or wood, or oil, or whatever, but I’m not able to take the stand that I wouldn’t defend against active attack such as invasion, or want someone to do that for me.
    Jo

    Reply
  16. I think PTSD was probably much rarer for the same reasons so many of the Wenches quoted: life was simply more brutal then, and people had different expectations (and were likely more prepared for the brutal realities than we are today). I liken it to the attitude many people seem to have had to children, the “don’t get too attached when they’re babies, as they may not survive”. The idea of not bonding with your baby, not investing 1000%, not loving it unreservedly is abhorrent today, but pre-20th century it was common sense not to become overly invested before a child survived the rigors and dangers of infancy (though obviously not all parents subscribed to this standoffish practice, e.g. the 5th Duchess of Devonshire was terribly devoted to her children from birth).

    Reply
  17. I think PTSD was probably much rarer for the same reasons so many of the Wenches quoted: life was simply more brutal then, and people had different expectations (and were likely more prepared for the brutal realities than we are today). I liken it to the attitude many people seem to have had to children, the “don’t get too attached when they’re babies, as they may not survive”. The idea of not bonding with your baby, not investing 1000%, not loving it unreservedly is abhorrent today, but pre-20th century it was common sense not to become overly invested before a child survived the rigors and dangers of infancy (though obviously not all parents subscribed to this standoffish practice, e.g. the 5th Duchess of Devonshire was terribly devoted to her children from birth).

    Reply
  18. I think PTSD was probably much rarer for the same reasons so many of the Wenches quoted: life was simply more brutal then, and people had different expectations (and were likely more prepared for the brutal realities than we are today). I liken it to the attitude many people seem to have had to children, the “don’t get too attached when they’re babies, as they may not survive”. The idea of not bonding with your baby, not investing 1000%, not loving it unreservedly is abhorrent today, but pre-20th century it was common sense not to become overly invested before a child survived the rigors and dangers of infancy (though obviously not all parents subscribed to this standoffish practice, e.g. the 5th Duchess of Devonshire was terribly devoted to her children from birth).

    Reply
  19. I think PTSD was probably much rarer for the same reasons so many of the Wenches quoted: life was simply more brutal then, and people had different expectations (and were likely more prepared for the brutal realities than we are today). I liken it to the attitude many people seem to have had to children, the “don’t get too attached when they’re babies, as they may not survive”. The idea of not bonding with your baby, not investing 1000%, not loving it unreservedly is abhorrent today, but pre-20th century it was common sense not to become overly invested before a child survived the rigors and dangers of infancy (though obviously not all parents subscribed to this standoffish practice, e.g. the 5th Duchess of Devonshire was terribly devoted to her children from birth).

    Reply
  20. I think PTSD was probably much rarer for the same reasons so many of the Wenches quoted: life was simply more brutal then, and people had different expectations (and were likely more prepared for the brutal realities than we are today). I liken it to the attitude many people seem to have had to children, the “don’t get too attached when they’re babies, as they may not survive”. The idea of not bonding with your baby, not investing 1000%, not loving it unreservedly is abhorrent today, but pre-20th century it was common sense not to become overly invested before a child survived the rigors and dangers of infancy (though obviously not all parents subscribed to this standoffish practice, e.g. the 5th Duchess of Devonshire was terribly devoted to her children from birth).

    Reply
  21. Thanks, Jo for putting together such a deeply interesting post. The question was such a good one, and I really loved reading the other Wenchly thoughts on the subject. Balancing our modern-day sensibilities and attitudes with what will resonate as true to the period is challenge in many aspects of crafting character, but this one especially relevant right now. For me there are a lot of great thought-provoking points and comments here.

    Reply
  22. Thanks, Jo for putting together such a deeply interesting post. The question was such a good one, and I really loved reading the other Wenchly thoughts on the subject. Balancing our modern-day sensibilities and attitudes with what will resonate as true to the period is challenge in many aspects of crafting character, but this one especially relevant right now. For me there are a lot of great thought-provoking points and comments here.

    Reply
  23. Thanks, Jo for putting together such a deeply interesting post. The question was such a good one, and I really loved reading the other Wenchly thoughts on the subject. Balancing our modern-day sensibilities and attitudes with what will resonate as true to the period is challenge in many aspects of crafting character, but this one especially relevant right now. For me there are a lot of great thought-provoking points and comments here.

    Reply
  24. Thanks, Jo for putting together such a deeply interesting post. The question was such a good one, and I really loved reading the other Wenchly thoughts on the subject. Balancing our modern-day sensibilities and attitudes with what will resonate as true to the period is challenge in many aspects of crafting character, but this one especially relevant right now. For me there are a lot of great thought-provoking points and comments here.

    Reply
  25. Thanks, Jo for putting together such a deeply interesting post. The question was such a good one, and I really loved reading the other Wenchly thoughts on the subject. Balancing our modern-day sensibilities and attitudes with what will resonate as true to the period is challenge in many aspects of crafting character, but this one especially relevant right now. For me there are a lot of great thought-provoking points and comments here.

    Reply
  26. Hi Wenches!
    An interesting topic, to be sure. I once did some research on PTSD to put together backstory on a contemporary hero (SPEC OPS guy) I wanted to write. What I found most interesting in my research is how PTSD doesn’t have its own symptoms per se, but manifests itself in other compulsive or phobic behaviors such as agoraphobia, risk-taking, or even OCD.
    The point that the cognitive dissonance would perhaps not be so drastic for people who were more used to violence and death is an interesting one too. For me that begs the question, though: just because we become inured to something through exposure, does that make a specific traumatic event in our lives any less painful for our minds to process. So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?
    Having spent some time in the Navy, I felt first hand that there is a sort of male code that “feelings” about the business of killing are not really allowed. Women who enter into those roles, I found, take on that male code too. And I have a personal, anecdotal theory that the more emotions get bottled up like that, the more likely they are to come back and bite you in the booty down the road.
    That said, I love Bernard Cornwell’s heros, Sharpe specifically, but I do sometimes roll my eyes at his utter competence at killing with little remorse. I keep reading though, because he is almost like a superhero–gets out of all tough spots, is the best of all fellows, oh, and he gets the girl too. 🙂
    Thanks for the discussion, Jo and all the wenches. Write on! Kecia
    http://www.keciaadams.com

    Reply
  27. Hi Wenches!
    An interesting topic, to be sure. I once did some research on PTSD to put together backstory on a contemporary hero (SPEC OPS guy) I wanted to write. What I found most interesting in my research is how PTSD doesn’t have its own symptoms per se, but manifests itself in other compulsive or phobic behaviors such as agoraphobia, risk-taking, or even OCD.
    The point that the cognitive dissonance would perhaps not be so drastic for people who were more used to violence and death is an interesting one too. For me that begs the question, though: just because we become inured to something through exposure, does that make a specific traumatic event in our lives any less painful for our minds to process. So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?
    Having spent some time in the Navy, I felt first hand that there is a sort of male code that “feelings” about the business of killing are not really allowed. Women who enter into those roles, I found, take on that male code too. And I have a personal, anecdotal theory that the more emotions get bottled up like that, the more likely they are to come back and bite you in the booty down the road.
    That said, I love Bernard Cornwell’s heros, Sharpe specifically, but I do sometimes roll my eyes at his utter competence at killing with little remorse. I keep reading though, because he is almost like a superhero–gets out of all tough spots, is the best of all fellows, oh, and he gets the girl too. 🙂
    Thanks for the discussion, Jo and all the wenches. Write on! Kecia
    http://www.keciaadams.com

    Reply
  28. Hi Wenches!
    An interesting topic, to be sure. I once did some research on PTSD to put together backstory on a contemporary hero (SPEC OPS guy) I wanted to write. What I found most interesting in my research is how PTSD doesn’t have its own symptoms per se, but manifests itself in other compulsive or phobic behaviors such as agoraphobia, risk-taking, or even OCD.
    The point that the cognitive dissonance would perhaps not be so drastic for people who were more used to violence and death is an interesting one too. For me that begs the question, though: just because we become inured to something through exposure, does that make a specific traumatic event in our lives any less painful for our minds to process. So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?
    Having spent some time in the Navy, I felt first hand that there is a sort of male code that “feelings” about the business of killing are not really allowed. Women who enter into those roles, I found, take on that male code too. And I have a personal, anecdotal theory that the more emotions get bottled up like that, the more likely they are to come back and bite you in the booty down the road.
    That said, I love Bernard Cornwell’s heros, Sharpe specifically, but I do sometimes roll my eyes at his utter competence at killing with little remorse. I keep reading though, because he is almost like a superhero–gets out of all tough spots, is the best of all fellows, oh, and he gets the girl too. 🙂
    Thanks for the discussion, Jo and all the wenches. Write on! Kecia
    http://www.keciaadams.com

    Reply
  29. Hi Wenches!
    An interesting topic, to be sure. I once did some research on PTSD to put together backstory on a contemporary hero (SPEC OPS guy) I wanted to write. What I found most interesting in my research is how PTSD doesn’t have its own symptoms per se, but manifests itself in other compulsive or phobic behaviors such as agoraphobia, risk-taking, or even OCD.
    The point that the cognitive dissonance would perhaps not be so drastic for people who were more used to violence and death is an interesting one too. For me that begs the question, though: just because we become inured to something through exposure, does that make a specific traumatic event in our lives any less painful for our minds to process. So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?
    Having spent some time in the Navy, I felt first hand that there is a sort of male code that “feelings” about the business of killing are not really allowed. Women who enter into those roles, I found, take on that male code too. And I have a personal, anecdotal theory that the more emotions get bottled up like that, the more likely they are to come back and bite you in the booty down the road.
    That said, I love Bernard Cornwell’s heros, Sharpe specifically, but I do sometimes roll my eyes at his utter competence at killing with little remorse. I keep reading though, because he is almost like a superhero–gets out of all tough spots, is the best of all fellows, oh, and he gets the girl too. 🙂
    Thanks for the discussion, Jo and all the wenches. Write on! Kecia
    http://www.keciaadams.com

    Reply
  30. Hi Wenches!
    An interesting topic, to be sure. I once did some research on PTSD to put together backstory on a contemporary hero (SPEC OPS guy) I wanted to write. What I found most interesting in my research is how PTSD doesn’t have its own symptoms per se, but manifests itself in other compulsive or phobic behaviors such as agoraphobia, risk-taking, or even OCD.
    The point that the cognitive dissonance would perhaps not be so drastic for people who were more used to violence and death is an interesting one too. For me that begs the question, though: just because we become inured to something through exposure, does that make a specific traumatic event in our lives any less painful for our minds to process. So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?
    Having spent some time in the Navy, I felt first hand that there is a sort of male code that “feelings” about the business of killing are not really allowed. Women who enter into those roles, I found, take on that male code too. And I have a personal, anecdotal theory that the more emotions get bottled up like that, the more likely they are to come back and bite you in the booty down the road.
    That said, I love Bernard Cornwell’s heros, Sharpe specifically, but I do sometimes roll my eyes at his utter competence at killing with little remorse. I keep reading though, because he is almost like a superhero–gets out of all tough spots, is the best of all fellows, oh, and he gets the girl too. 🙂
    Thanks for the discussion, Jo and all the wenches. Write on! Kecia
    http://www.keciaadams.com

    Reply
  31. I posted a comment about PTSD in the 19th century but it’s vanished. Perhaps it went into a spam filter because it was too long or because it included a hyperlink. I’ve found another source written by one of the authors of the original source I quoted, and this article is available in its entirety online. It’s Edgar Jones’s “Historical approaches to post-combat disorders”: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1468/533.full
    Here’s the most relevant bit:
    Because so many soldiers and sailors died of disease, accidents or the effects of wounds, concern about psychological effects was scarcely on the agenda for the eighteenth-century soldier. Nevertheless, during the Napoleonic Wars cases of ‘cerebro-spinal shock’, typified by tingling, twitching and even partial paralysis, were described in soldiers who had been close to the passage of a projectile or its explosion but not suffered a physical wound. Termed ‘wind contusions’, cases were treated with scepticism by military physicians.

    Reply
  32. I posted a comment about PTSD in the 19th century but it’s vanished. Perhaps it went into a spam filter because it was too long or because it included a hyperlink. I’ve found another source written by one of the authors of the original source I quoted, and this article is available in its entirety online. It’s Edgar Jones’s “Historical approaches to post-combat disorders”: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1468/533.full
    Here’s the most relevant bit:
    Because so many soldiers and sailors died of disease, accidents or the effects of wounds, concern about psychological effects was scarcely on the agenda for the eighteenth-century soldier. Nevertheless, during the Napoleonic Wars cases of ‘cerebro-spinal shock’, typified by tingling, twitching and even partial paralysis, were described in soldiers who had been close to the passage of a projectile or its explosion but not suffered a physical wound. Termed ‘wind contusions’, cases were treated with scepticism by military physicians.

    Reply
  33. I posted a comment about PTSD in the 19th century but it’s vanished. Perhaps it went into a spam filter because it was too long or because it included a hyperlink. I’ve found another source written by one of the authors of the original source I quoted, and this article is available in its entirety online. It’s Edgar Jones’s “Historical approaches to post-combat disorders”: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1468/533.full
    Here’s the most relevant bit:
    Because so many soldiers and sailors died of disease, accidents or the effects of wounds, concern about psychological effects was scarcely on the agenda for the eighteenth-century soldier. Nevertheless, during the Napoleonic Wars cases of ‘cerebro-spinal shock’, typified by tingling, twitching and even partial paralysis, were described in soldiers who had been close to the passage of a projectile or its explosion but not suffered a physical wound. Termed ‘wind contusions’, cases were treated with scepticism by military physicians.

    Reply
  34. I posted a comment about PTSD in the 19th century but it’s vanished. Perhaps it went into a spam filter because it was too long or because it included a hyperlink. I’ve found another source written by one of the authors of the original source I quoted, and this article is available in its entirety online. It’s Edgar Jones’s “Historical approaches to post-combat disorders”: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1468/533.full
    Here’s the most relevant bit:
    Because so many soldiers and sailors died of disease, accidents or the effects of wounds, concern about psychological effects was scarcely on the agenda for the eighteenth-century soldier. Nevertheless, during the Napoleonic Wars cases of ‘cerebro-spinal shock’, typified by tingling, twitching and even partial paralysis, were described in soldiers who had been close to the passage of a projectile or its explosion but not suffered a physical wound. Termed ‘wind contusions’, cases were treated with scepticism by military physicians.

    Reply
  35. I posted a comment about PTSD in the 19th century but it’s vanished. Perhaps it went into a spam filter because it was too long or because it included a hyperlink. I’ve found another source written by one of the authors of the original source I quoted, and this article is available in its entirety online. It’s Edgar Jones’s “Historical approaches to post-combat disorders”: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1468/533.full
    Here’s the most relevant bit:
    Because so many soldiers and sailors died of disease, accidents or the effects of wounds, concern about psychological effects was scarcely on the agenda for the eighteenth-century soldier. Nevertheless, during the Napoleonic Wars cases of ‘cerebro-spinal shock’, typified by tingling, twitching and even partial paralysis, were described in soldiers who had been close to the passage of a projectile or its explosion but not suffered a physical wound. Termed ‘wind contusions’, cases were treated with scepticism by military physicians.

    Reply
  36. And in the original piece I quoted, Jones and Wessely’s Shell Shock to PTSD: Military Psychiatry from 1900 to the Gulf War, it also mentions that:
    Discharged servicemen had been a cause for concern after the Napoleonic Wars when their odd behaviour led to the introduction of the Vagrancy Act of 1824. Some veterans may have been flashing but others seem to have exhibited their war wounds either to gain sympathy or even perhaps as a way of expressing a traumatic experience. The legislation prohibited such acts and declared that ‘every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any female … shall be deemed a rogue and a vagabond’ (2)

    Reply
  37. And in the original piece I quoted, Jones and Wessely’s Shell Shock to PTSD: Military Psychiatry from 1900 to the Gulf War, it also mentions that:
    Discharged servicemen had been a cause for concern after the Napoleonic Wars when their odd behaviour led to the introduction of the Vagrancy Act of 1824. Some veterans may have been flashing but others seem to have exhibited their war wounds either to gain sympathy or even perhaps as a way of expressing a traumatic experience. The legislation prohibited such acts and declared that ‘every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any female … shall be deemed a rogue and a vagabond’ (2)

    Reply
  38. And in the original piece I quoted, Jones and Wessely’s Shell Shock to PTSD: Military Psychiatry from 1900 to the Gulf War, it also mentions that:
    Discharged servicemen had been a cause for concern after the Napoleonic Wars when their odd behaviour led to the introduction of the Vagrancy Act of 1824. Some veterans may have been flashing but others seem to have exhibited their war wounds either to gain sympathy or even perhaps as a way of expressing a traumatic experience. The legislation prohibited such acts and declared that ‘every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any female … shall be deemed a rogue and a vagabond’ (2)

    Reply
  39. And in the original piece I quoted, Jones and Wessely’s Shell Shock to PTSD: Military Psychiatry from 1900 to the Gulf War, it also mentions that:
    Discharged servicemen had been a cause for concern after the Napoleonic Wars when their odd behaviour led to the introduction of the Vagrancy Act of 1824. Some veterans may have been flashing but others seem to have exhibited their war wounds either to gain sympathy or even perhaps as a way of expressing a traumatic experience. The legislation prohibited such acts and declared that ‘every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any female … shall be deemed a rogue and a vagabond’ (2)

    Reply
  40. And in the original piece I quoted, Jones and Wessely’s Shell Shock to PTSD: Military Psychiatry from 1900 to the Gulf War, it also mentions that:
    Discharged servicemen had been a cause for concern after the Napoleonic Wars when their odd behaviour led to the introduction of the Vagrancy Act of 1824. Some veterans may have been flashing but others seem to have exhibited their war wounds either to gain sympathy or even perhaps as a way of expressing a traumatic experience. The legislation prohibited such acts and declared that ‘every person wilfully, openly, lewdly and obscenely exposing his person with intent to insult any female … shall be deemed a rogue and a vagabond’ (2)

    Reply
  41. I am pretty much against war myself it just seem so pointless. So many lose their lives and nothing ever comes of it.There has been war since the beginning of time and what is really gained from it but a lot of lives lost. Maybe I just don’t understand it.

    Reply
  42. I am pretty much against war myself it just seem so pointless. So many lose their lives and nothing ever comes of it.There has been war since the beginning of time and what is really gained from it but a lot of lives lost. Maybe I just don’t understand it.

    Reply
  43. I am pretty much against war myself it just seem so pointless. So many lose their lives and nothing ever comes of it.There has been war since the beginning of time and what is really gained from it but a lot of lives lost. Maybe I just don’t understand it.

    Reply
  44. I am pretty much against war myself it just seem so pointless. So many lose their lives and nothing ever comes of it.There has been war since the beginning of time and what is really gained from it but a lot of lives lost. Maybe I just don’t understand it.

    Reply
  45. I am pretty much against war myself it just seem so pointless. So many lose their lives and nothing ever comes of it.There has been war since the beginning of time and what is really gained from it but a lot of lives lost. Maybe I just don’t understand it.

    Reply
  46. “So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?”
    Interesting. I’d say yes (based on the ER nurses I know), but something out of left field and utterly unrelated to their work (esp something they couldn’t fix) could still cause PTSD in them. For example, I don’t think a stranger getting shot in front of my friend would rock her, but I think if she were shot, or raped, or trapped in a pile-up, she’d be just as susceptible to lasting mental trauma as anyone else.

    Reply
  47. “So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?”
    Interesting. I’d say yes (based on the ER nurses I know), but something out of left field and utterly unrelated to their work (esp something they couldn’t fix) could still cause PTSD in them. For example, I don’t think a stranger getting shot in front of my friend would rock her, but I think if she were shot, or raped, or trapped in a pile-up, she’d be just as susceptible to lasting mental trauma as anyone else.

    Reply
  48. “So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?”
    Interesting. I’d say yes (based on the ER nurses I know), but something out of left field and utterly unrelated to their work (esp something they couldn’t fix) could still cause PTSD in them. For example, I don’t think a stranger getting shot in front of my friend would rock her, but I think if she were shot, or raped, or trapped in a pile-up, she’d be just as susceptible to lasting mental trauma as anyone else.

    Reply
  49. “So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?”
    Interesting. I’d say yes (based on the ER nurses I know), but something out of left field and utterly unrelated to their work (esp something they couldn’t fix) could still cause PTSD in them. For example, I don’t think a stranger getting shot in front of my friend would rock her, but I think if she were shot, or raped, or trapped in a pile-up, she’d be just as susceptible to lasting mental trauma as anyone else.

    Reply
  50. “So, for example, is an inner city ER doctor in our own time less susceptible to PTSD?”
    Interesting. I’d say yes (based on the ER nurses I know), but something out of left field and utterly unrelated to their work (esp something they couldn’t fix) could still cause PTSD in them. For example, I don’t think a stranger getting shot in front of my friend would rock her, but I think if she were shot, or raped, or trapped in a pile-up, she’d be just as susceptible to lasting mental trauma as anyone else.

    Reply
  51. I’ve heard that what we’d now call PTSD showed up more in the American Civil War and especially more in WWI than in earlier conflicts because there was such an escalation of weapon lethality from around 1850 onward–and also because WWI trench warfare was especially hellish. I can’t recall where I heard that, so it’s not a solid cite, but it makes sense to me.

    Reply
  52. I’ve heard that what we’d now call PTSD showed up more in the American Civil War and especially more in WWI than in earlier conflicts because there was such an escalation of weapon lethality from around 1850 onward–and also because WWI trench warfare was especially hellish. I can’t recall where I heard that, so it’s not a solid cite, but it makes sense to me.

    Reply
  53. I’ve heard that what we’d now call PTSD showed up more in the American Civil War and especially more in WWI than in earlier conflicts because there was such an escalation of weapon lethality from around 1850 onward–and also because WWI trench warfare was especially hellish. I can’t recall where I heard that, so it’s not a solid cite, but it makes sense to me.

    Reply
  54. I’ve heard that what we’d now call PTSD showed up more in the American Civil War and especially more in WWI than in earlier conflicts because there was such an escalation of weapon lethality from around 1850 onward–and also because WWI trench warfare was especially hellish. I can’t recall where I heard that, so it’s not a solid cite, but it makes sense to me.

    Reply
  55. I’ve heard that what we’d now call PTSD showed up more in the American Civil War and especially more in WWI than in earlier conflicts because there was such an escalation of weapon lethality from around 1850 onward–and also because WWI trench warfare was especially hellish. I can’t recall where I heard that, so it’s not a solid cite, but it makes sense to me.

    Reply
  56. Jo here. Thanks for the link to that paper, Laura. It does seem to start from the thesis that any problem without a wound is caused by PTSD. We know how many micro organisms can cause debilitating diseases, and the conditions of war, especially trench warfare, or in tropical climates, would enable this. I knew someone made strange and sickly by drinking contaminated milk in a primitive country. I think it’s a leap to say if the symptoms occurred after warfare it was because of warfare rather than environment. Sometimes, yes, but not always.
    Interesting points, Kecia.
    Susanna and Isobel, I think that’s a valid point about shock. A man might be braced for war as he understands it, but broken by war that is terrifyingly different. WWI was a very different and very terrible war.
    Jo

    Reply
  57. Jo here. Thanks for the link to that paper, Laura. It does seem to start from the thesis that any problem without a wound is caused by PTSD. We know how many micro organisms can cause debilitating diseases, and the conditions of war, especially trench warfare, or in tropical climates, would enable this. I knew someone made strange and sickly by drinking contaminated milk in a primitive country. I think it’s a leap to say if the symptoms occurred after warfare it was because of warfare rather than environment. Sometimes, yes, but not always.
    Interesting points, Kecia.
    Susanna and Isobel, I think that’s a valid point about shock. A man might be braced for war as he understands it, but broken by war that is terrifyingly different. WWI was a very different and very terrible war.
    Jo

    Reply
  58. Jo here. Thanks for the link to that paper, Laura. It does seem to start from the thesis that any problem without a wound is caused by PTSD. We know how many micro organisms can cause debilitating diseases, and the conditions of war, especially trench warfare, or in tropical climates, would enable this. I knew someone made strange and sickly by drinking contaminated milk in a primitive country. I think it’s a leap to say if the symptoms occurred after warfare it was because of warfare rather than environment. Sometimes, yes, but not always.
    Interesting points, Kecia.
    Susanna and Isobel, I think that’s a valid point about shock. A man might be braced for war as he understands it, but broken by war that is terrifyingly different. WWI was a very different and very terrible war.
    Jo

    Reply
  59. Jo here. Thanks for the link to that paper, Laura. It does seem to start from the thesis that any problem without a wound is caused by PTSD. We know how many micro organisms can cause debilitating diseases, and the conditions of war, especially trench warfare, or in tropical climates, would enable this. I knew someone made strange and sickly by drinking contaminated milk in a primitive country. I think it’s a leap to say if the symptoms occurred after warfare it was because of warfare rather than environment. Sometimes, yes, but not always.
    Interesting points, Kecia.
    Susanna and Isobel, I think that’s a valid point about shock. A man might be braced for war as he understands it, but broken by war that is terrifyingly different. WWI was a very different and very terrible war.
    Jo

    Reply
  60. Jo here. Thanks for the link to that paper, Laura. It does seem to start from the thesis that any problem without a wound is caused by PTSD. We know how many micro organisms can cause debilitating diseases, and the conditions of war, especially trench warfare, or in tropical climates, would enable this. I knew someone made strange and sickly by drinking contaminated milk in a primitive country. I think it’s a leap to say if the symptoms occurred after warfare it was because of warfare rather than environment. Sometimes, yes, but not always.
    Interesting points, Kecia.
    Susanna and Isobel, I think that’s a valid point about shock. A man might be braced for war as he understands it, but broken by war that is terrifyingly different. WWI was a very different and very terrible war.
    Jo

    Reply
  61. This is an excellent topic. I agree with Susanna that the escalation of lethality and the involvement of civilians led to more PTSD. I am reminded of the most famous fictional case of “shell shock” — Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Whimsey, who suffers from it most terribly. Only his gentleman’s gentleman, Bunter, can care for him when it overtakes him. She never really tells what happened to Peter, but he did something with diplomacy for the war dept. in WWI.

    Reply
  62. This is an excellent topic. I agree with Susanna that the escalation of lethality and the involvement of civilians led to more PTSD. I am reminded of the most famous fictional case of “shell shock” — Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Whimsey, who suffers from it most terribly. Only his gentleman’s gentleman, Bunter, can care for him when it overtakes him. She never really tells what happened to Peter, but he did something with diplomacy for the war dept. in WWI.

    Reply
  63. This is an excellent topic. I agree with Susanna that the escalation of lethality and the involvement of civilians led to more PTSD. I am reminded of the most famous fictional case of “shell shock” — Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Whimsey, who suffers from it most terribly. Only his gentleman’s gentleman, Bunter, can care for him when it overtakes him. She never really tells what happened to Peter, but he did something with diplomacy for the war dept. in WWI.

    Reply
  64. This is an excellent topic. I agree with Susanna that the escalation of lethality and the involvement of civilians led to more PTSD. I am reminded of the most famous fictional case of “shell shock” — Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Whimsey, who suffers from it most terribly. Only his gentleman’s gentleman, Bunter, can care for him when it overtakes him. She never really tells what happened to Peter, but he did something with diplomacy for the war dept. in WWI.

    Reply
  65. This is an excellent topic. I agree with Susanna that the escalation of lethality and the involvement of civilians led to more PTSD. I am reminded of the most famous fictional case of “shell shock” — Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Whimsey, who suffers from it most terribly. Only his gentleman’s gentleman, Bunter, can care for him when it overtakes him. She never really tells what happened to Peter, but he did something with diplomacy for the war dept. in WWI.

    Reply
  66. A few thoughts:
    First, in my work in hospice we frequently run across veterans (mostly from WWII, the so-called “good war”) whose wartime memories, long submerged under the work of making a living and raising a family, have “re-emerged” during retirement or old age in the form of depression, dreams, or even full-blown PTSD. I would think this would also be true of historical people–that the struggle for day to day existence after the war would serve to submerge or postpone some of the emotional shock/turmoil of the past war experiences–perhaps for the whole of a life?
    Second, I want to mention Drew Faust’s EXCELLENT book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.” (If you read the Amazon summary and reviews you will get a good idea of the content.) The book is heartbreaking and enlightening as Faust writes about how “the Civil War introduced America to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind—grisly, random and often ending in an unmarked grave far from home.” Personally, I was surprised that so many of our current/modern customs and attitudes toward death and burial find their genesis in changes wrought by the Civil War experience. (Which means, of course, that the customs and attitudes of the previous eras were different from what we might assume or expect.)
    Thank you Jo, Wenches, and commenters, for making me think!

    Reply
  67. A few thoughts:
    First, in my work in hospice we frequently run across veterans (mostly from WWII, the so-called “good war”) whose wartime memories, long submerged under the work of making a living and raising a family, have “re-emerged” during retirement or old age in the form of depression, dreams, or even full-blown PTSD. I would think this would also be true of historical people–that the struggle for day to day existence after the war would serve to submerge or postpone some of the emotional shock/turmoil of the past war experiences–perhaps for the whole of a life?
    Second, I want to mention Drew Faust’s EXCELLENT book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.” (If you read the Amazon summary and reviews you will get a good idea of the content.) The book is heartbreaking and enlightening as Faust writes about how “the Civil War introduced America to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind—grisly, random and often ending in an unmarked grave far from home.” Personally, I was surprised that so many of our current/modern customs and attitudes toward death and burial find their genesis in changes wrought by the Civil War experience. (Which means, of course, that the customs and attitudes of the previous eras were different from what we might assume or expect.)
    Thank you Jo, Wenches, and commenters, for making me think!

    Reply
  68. A few thoughts:
    First, in my work in hospice we frequently run across veterans (mostly from WWII, the so-called “good war”) whose wartime memories, long submerged under the work of making a living and raising a family, have “re-emerged” during retirement or old age in the form of depression, dreams, or even full-blown PTSD. I would think this would also be true of historical people–that the struggle for day to day existence after the war would serve to submerge or postpone some of the emotional shock/turmoil of the past war experiences–perhaps for the whole of a life?
    Second, I want to mention Drew Faust’s EXCELLENT book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.” (If you read the Amazon summary and reviews you will get a good idea of the content.) The book is heartbreaking and enlightening as Faust writes about how “the Civil War introduced America to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind—grisly, random and often ending in an unmarked grave far from home.” Personally, I was surprised that so many of our current/modern customs and attitudes toward death and burial find their genesis in changes wrought by the Civil War experience. (Which means, of course, that the customs and attitudes of the previous eras were different from what we might assume or expect.)
    Thank you Jo, Wenches, and commenters, for making me think!

    Reply
  69. A few thoughts:
    First, in my work in hospice we frequently run across veterans (mostly from WWII, the so-called “good war”) whose wartime memories, long submerged under the work of making a living and raising a family, have “re-emerged” during retirement or old age in the form of depression, dreams, or even full-blown PTSD. I would think this would also be true of historical people–that the struggle for day to day existence after the war would serve to submerge or postpone some of the emotional shock/turmoil of the past war experiences–perhaps for the whole of a life?
    Second, I want to mention Drew Faust’s EXCELLENT book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.” (If you read the Amazon summary and reviews you will get a good idea of the content.) The book is heartbreaking and enlightening as Faust writes about how “the Civil War introduced America to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind—grisly, random and often ending in an unmarked grave far from home.” Personally, I was surprised that so many of our current/modern customs and attitudes toward death and burial find their genesis in changes wrought by the Civil War experience. (Which means, of course, that the customs and attitudes of the previous eras were different from what we might assume or expect.)
    Thank you Jo, Wenches, and commenters, for making me think!

    Reply
  70. A few thoughts:
    First, in my work in hospice we frequently run across veterans (mostly from WWII, the so-called “good war”) whose wartime memories, long submerged under the work of making a living and raising a family, have “re-emerged” during retirement or old age in the form of depression, dreams, or even full-blown PTSD. I would think this would also be true of historical people–that the struggle for day to day existence after the war would serve to submerge or postpone some of the emotional shock/turmoil of the past war experiences–perhaps for the whole of a life?
    Second, I want to mention Drew Faust’s EXCELLENT book “This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.” (If you read the Amazon summary and reviews you will get a good idea of the content.) The book is heartbreaking and enlightening as Faust writes about how “the Civil War introduced America to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind—grisly, random and often ending in an unmarked grave far from home.” Personally, I was surprised that so many of our current/modern customs and attitudes toward death and burial find their genesis in changes wrought by the Civil War experience. (Which means, of course, that the customs and attitudes of the previous eras were different from what we might assume or expect.)
    Thank you Jo, Wenches, and commenters, for making me think!

    Reply
  71. When I told a friend that the hero of my work-in-progress is a Waterloo veteran, she immediately asked if he was suffering PTSD. She was surprised when I said no, the war had affected him in many ways but he wasn’t suffering PTSD. I feel it’s become something of a cliche in historical romance. Not that I would ever tell anyone not to do it, but I’ve read a lot of journals and memoirs of the period, like John Kincaid’s Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and George Simmon’s A British Rifle Man, and haven’t seen them mention anything like PTSD. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and they might not have talked about it. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem as prevalent as it seems to be in fiction.

    Reply
  72. When I told a friend that the hero of my work-in-progress is a Waterloo veteran, she immediately asked if he was suffering PTSD. She was surprised when I said no, the war had affected him in many ways but he wasn’t suffering PTSD. I feel it’s become something of a cliche in historical romance. Not that I would ever tell anyone not to do it, but I’ve read a lot of journals and memoirs of the period, like John Kincaid’s Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and George Simmon’s A British Rifle Man, and haven’t seen them mention anything like PTSD. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and they might not have talked about it. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem as prevalent as it seems to be in fiction.

    Reply
  73. When I told a friend that the hero of my work-in-progress is a Waterloo veteran, she immediately asked if he was suffering PTSD. She was surprised when I said no, the war had affected him in many ways but he wasn’t suffering PTSD. I feel it’s become something of a cliche in historical romance. Not that I would ever tell anyone not to do it, but I’ve read a lot of journals and memoirs of the period, like John Kincaid’s Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and George Simmon’s A British Rifle Man, and haven’t seen them mention anything like PTSD. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and they might not have talked about it. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem as prevalent as it seems to be in fiction.

    Reply
  74. When I told a friend that the hero of my work-in-progress is a Waterloo veteran, she immediately asked if he was suffering PTSD. She was surprised when I said no, the war had affected him in many ways but he wasn’t suffering PTSD. I feel it’s become something of a cliche in historical romance. Not that I would ever tell anyone not to do it, but I’ve read a lot of journals and memoirs of the period, like John Kincaid’s Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and George Simmon’s A British Rifle Man, and haven’t seen them mention anything like PTSD. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and they might not have talked about it. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem as prevalent as it seems to be in fiction.

    Reply
  75. When I told a friend that the hero of my work-in-progress is a Waterloo veteran, she immediately asked if he was suffering PTSD. She was surprised when I said no, the war had affected him in many ways but he wasn’t suffering PTSD. I feel it’s become something of a cliche in historical romance. Not that I would ever tell anyone not to do it, but I’ve read a lot of journals and memoirs of the period, like John Kincaid’s Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and George Simmon’s A British Rifle Man, and haven’t seen them mention anything like PTSD. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and they might not have talked about it. I’m just saying it doesn’t seem as prevalent as it seems to be in fiction.

    Reply
  76. Thank you so much for this article Wenches and especially Jo. Two of my contemporary heroes and one of my heroines are Marine vets and this explains a lot of what I’ve been writing.
    I appreciate the historical information and the contemporary.

    Reply
  77. Thank you so much for this article Wenches and especially Jo. Two of my contemporary heroes and one of my heroines are Marine vets and this explains a lot of what I’ve been writing.
    I appreciate the historical information and the contemporary.

    Reply
  78. Thank you so much for this article Wenches and especially Jo. Two of my contemporary heroes and one of my heroines are Marine vets and this explains a lot of what I’ve been writing.
    I appreciate the historical information and the contemporary.

    Reply
  79. Thank you so much for this article Wenches and especially Jo. Two of my contemporary heroes and one of my heroines are Marine vets and this explains a lot of what I’ve been writing.
    I appreciate the historical information and the contemporary.

    Reply
  80. Thank you so much for this article Wenches and especially Jo. Two of my contemporary heroes and one of my heroines are Marine vets and this explains a lot of what I’ve been writing.
    I appreciate the historical information and the contemporary.

    Reply
  81. Interesting comment, Rev Melinda. That emergence of early memories is very interesting, isn’t it, and seems to be some function of the aging brain. If the early memories are pleasant, it’s one thing, but if young people go through hell of any kind, it’s cruel.
    The thing about wars is that they’re often fought by very young men. That might not have been quite so much so in the earlier periods because of standing armies of men who didn’t have any other life to return to. I don’t know. I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.
    I agree, Elena, I think the PTSD men in Regency historical has become something of a cliche. As I said, it’s why most of my ex military heroes are level headed about it.
    Jo

    Reply
  82. Interesting comment, Rev Melinda. That emergence of early memories is very interesting, isn’t it, and seems to be some function of the aging brain. If the early memories are pleasant, it’s one thing, but if young people go through hell of any kind, it’s cruel.
    The thing about wars is that they’re often fought by very young men. That might not have been quite so much so in the earlier periods because of standing armies of men who didn’t have any other life to return to. I don’t know. I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.
    I agree, Elena, I think the PTSD men in Regency historical has become something of a cliche. As I said, it’s why most of my ex military heroes are level headed about it.
    Jo

    Reply
  83. Interesting comment, Rev Melinda. That emergence of early memories is very interesting, isn’t it, and seems to be some function of the aging brain. If the early memories are pleasant, it’s one thing, but if young people go through hell of any kind, it’s cruel.
    The thing about wars is that they’re often fought by very young men. That might not have been quite so much so in the earlier periods because of standing armies of men who didn’t have any other life to return to. I don’t know. I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.
    I agree, Elena, I think the PTSD men in Regency historical has become something of a cliche. As I said, it’s why most of my ex military heroes are level headed about it.
    Jo

    Reply
  84. Interesting comment, Rev Melinda. That emergence of early memories is very interesting, isn’t it, and seems to be some function of the aging brain. If the early memories are pleasant, it’s one thing, but if young people go through hell of any kind, it’s cruel.
    The thing about wars is that they’re often fought by very young men. That might not have been quite so much so in the earlier periods because of standing armies of men who didn’t have any other life to return to. I don’t know. I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.
    I agree, Elena, I think the PTSD men in Regency historical has become something of a cliche. As I said, it’s why most of my ex military heroes are level headed about it.
    Jo

    Reply
  85. Interesting comment, Rev Melinda. That emergence of early memories is very interesting, isn’t it, and seems to be some function of the aging brain. If the early memories are pleasant, it’s one thing, but if young people go through hell of any kind, it’s cruel.
    The thing about wars is that they’re often fought by very young men. That might not have been quite so much so in the earlier periods because of standing armies of men who didn’t have any other life to return to. I don’t know. I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.
    I agree, Elena, I think the PTSD men in Regency historical has become something of a cliche. As I said, it’s why most of my ex military heroes are level headed about it.
    Jo

    Reply
  86. I think the rise in PTSS is in direct relation to how antiseptic our society has grown. We ‘clean’ everything. The food, the surroundings…even our wars are now cleaned after the initial reactions to the first ‘live’ shots on CNN. Now the war is edited for us by TPTB.
    In the eras the Wenches write, life was far from sterile. People went to hangings and beheadings as entertainment as a couple of you stated. You might have to bear nine children to have two who lived. During the plague as with other times, the death toll was so overwhelming, corpses were tossed out like so much garbage and people tried to live. We don’t even mourn our dead in our homes anymore. Now a funeral home takes care of everything. I think we’ve become inured to it and because of this, our reactions are so much bigger than they were during times past.
    But that’s just my observation.

    Reply
  87. I think the rise in PTSS is in direct relation to how antiseptic our society has grown. We ‘clean’ everything. The food, the surroundings…even our wars are now cleaned after the initial reactions to the first ‘live’ shots on CNN. Now the war is edited for us by TPTB.
    In the eras the Wenches write, life was far from sterile. People went to hangings and beheadings as entertainment as a couple of you stated. You might have to bear nine children to have two who lived. During the plague as with other times, the death toll was so overwhelming, corpses were tossed out like so much garbage and people tried to live. We don’t even mourn our dead in our homes anymore. Now a funeral home takes care of everything. I think we’ve become inured to it and because of this, our reactions are so much bigger than they were during times past.
    But that’s just my observation.

    Reply
  88. I think the rise in PTSS is in direct relation to how antiseptic our society has grown. We ‘clean’ everything. The food, the surroundings…even our wars are now cleaned after the initial reactions to the first ‘live’ shots on CNN. Now the war is edited for us by TPTB.
    In the eras the Wenches write, life was far from sterile. People went to hangings and beheadings as entertainment as a couple of you stated. You might have to bear nine children to have two who lived. During the plague as with other times, the death toll was so overwhelming, corpses were tossed out like so much garbage and people tried to live. We don’t even mourn our dead in our homes anymore. Now a funeral home takes care of everything. I think we’ve become inured to it and because of this, our reactions are so much bigger than they were during times past.
    But that’s just my observation.

    Reply
  89. I think the rise in PTSS is in direct relation to how antiseptic our society has grown. We ‘clean’ everything. The food, the surroundings…even our wars are now cleaned after the initial reactions to the first ‘live’ shots on CNN. Now the war is edited for us by TPTB.
    In the eras the Wenches write, life was far from sterile. People went to hangings and beheadings as entertainment as a couple of you stated. You might have to bear nine children to have two who lived. During the plague as with other times, the death toll was so overwhelming, corpses were tossed out like so much garbage and people tried to live. We don’t even mourn our dead in our homes anymore. Now a funeral home takes care of everything. I think we’ve become inured to it and because of this, our reactions are so much bigger than they were during times past.
    But that’s just my observation.

    Reply
  90. I think the rise in PTSS is in direct relation to how antiseptic our society has grown. We ‘clean’ everything. The food, the surroundings…even our wars are now cleaned after the initial reactions to the first ‘live’ shots on CNN. Now the war is edited for us by TPTB.
    In the eras the Wenches write, life was far from sterile. People went to hangings and beheadings as entertainment as a couple of you stated. You might have to bear nine children to have two who lived. During the plague as with other times, the death toll was so overwhelming, corpses were tossed out like so much garbage and people tried to live. We don’t even mourn our dead in our homes anymore. Now a funeral home takes care of everything. I think we’ve become inured to it and because of this, our reactions are so much bigger than they were during times past.
    But that’s just my observation.

    Reply
  91. “I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.”
    This isn’t quite what you were wanting, but I found some data on the ages of the “Military Population at Gibraltar –” where
    On average there were about four or five regiments of  men each […] at any one time, plus additional support and supply staff, making a total of  to  average strength throughout the nineteenth century. (78)
    The figures regarding their ages are as follows:
    In the early portion of the study period, the average age of the men of the garrison was reported as between twenty-six and twenty-eight years of age. The  census shows that  percent of the men were age twenty-five and younger, with a few soldiers as young as fifteen and a few over fifty years, but the majority ( percent) were between twenty and thirty years of age. The census of  shows the same distribution in the younger age categories but shows a reduction of troops above thirty, effectively increasing the proportion (to  percent) of troops between twenty and thirty years. This was a direct and desired result of the introduction of short service in , a reform that reduced the minimum enlistment period to six years from ten. (78-79)
    Padiak, Janet. “The Role of Morbidity in the Mortality Decline of the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from the Military Population at Gibraltar –.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 60.1 (2005): 73-95.

    Reply
  92. “I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.”
    This isn’t quite what you were wanting, but I found some data on the ages of the “Military Population at Gibraltar –” where
    On average there were about four or five regiments of  men each […] at any one time, plus additional support and supply staff, making a total of  to  average strength throughout the nineteenth century. (78)
    The figures regarding their ages are as follows:
    In the early portion of the study period, the average age of the men of the garrison was reported as between twenty-six and twenty-eight years of age. The  census shows that  percent of the men were age twenty-five and younger, with a few soldiers as young as fifteen and a few over fifty years, but the majority ( percent) were between twenty and thirty years of age. The census of  shows the same distribution in the younger age categories but shows a reduction of troops above thirty, effectively increasing the proportion (to  percent) of troops between twenty and thirty years. This was a direct and desired result of the introduction of short service in , a reform that reduced the minimum enlistment period to six years from ten. (78-79)
    Padiak, Janet. “The Role of Morbidity in the Mortality Decline of the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from the Military Population at Gibraltar –.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 60.1 (2005): 73-95.

    Reply
  93. “I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.”
    This isn’t quite what you were wanting, but I found some data on the ages of the “Military Population at Gibraltar –” where
    On average there were about four or five regiments of  men each […] at any one time, plus additional support and supply staff, making a total of  to  average strength throughout the nineteenth century. (78)
    The figures regarding their ages are as follows:
    In the early portion of the study period, the average age of the men of the garrison was reported as between twenty-six and twenty-eight years of age. The  census shows that  percent of the men were age twenty-five and younger, with a few soldiers as young as fifteen and a few over fifty years, but the majority ( percent) were between twenty and thirty years of age. The census of  shows the same distribution in the younger age categories but shows a reduction of troops above thirty, effectively increasing the proportion (to  percent) of troops between twenty and thirty years. This was a direct and desired result of the introduction of short service in , a reform that reduced the minimum enlistment period to six years from ten. (78-79)
    Padiak, Janet. “The Role of Morbidity in the Mortality Decline of the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from the Military Population at Gibraltar –.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 60.1 (2005): 73-95.

    Reply
  94. “I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.”
    This isn’t quite what you were wanting, but I found some data on the ages of the “Military Population at Gibraltar –” where
    On average there were about four or five regiments of  men each […] at any one time, plus additional support and supply staff, making a total of  to  average strength throughout the nineteenth century. (78)
    The figures regarding their ages are as follows:
    In the early portion of the study period, the average age of the men of the garrison was reported as between twenty-six and twenty-eight years of age. The  census shows that  percent of the men were age twenty-five and younger, with a few soldiers as young as fifteen and a few over fifty years, but the majority ( percent) were between twenty and thirty years of age. The census of  shows the same distribution in the younger age categories but shows a reduction of troops above thirty, effectively increasing the proportion (to  percent) of troops between twenty and thirty years. This was a direct and desired result of the introduction of short service in , a reform that reduced the minimum enlistment period to six years from ten. (78-79)
    Padiak, Janet. “The Role of Morbidity in the Mortality Decline of the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from the Military Population at Gibraltar –.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 60.1 (2005): 73-95.

    Reply
  95. “I wonder if anyone’s collected data on the age of front line soldiers in the Napoleonic War.”
    This isn’t quite what you were wanting, but I found some data on the ages of the “Military Population at Gibraltar –” where
    On average there were about four or five regiments of  men each […] at any one time, plus additional support and supply staff, making a total of  to  average strength throughout the nineteenth century. (78)
    The figures regarding their ages are as follows:
    In the early portion of the study period, the average age of the men of the garrison was reported as between twenty-six and twenty-eight years of age. The  census shows that  percent of the men were age twenty-five and younger, with a few soldiers as young as fifteen and a few over fifty years, but the majority ( percent) were between twenty and thirty years of age. The census of  shows the same distribution in the younger age categories but shows a reduction of troops above thirty, effectively increasing the proportion (to  percent) of troops between twenty and thirty years. This was a direct and desired result of the introduction of short service in , a reform that reduced the minimum enlistment period to six years from ten. (78-79)
    Padiak, Janet. “The Role of Morbidity in the Mortality Decline of the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from the Military Population at Gibraltar –.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 60.1 (2005): 73-95.

    Reply
  96. Edward James Coss’s PhD thesis, All for the King’s shilling: an analysis of the campaign and combat experiences of the British Soldier in the Peninsular War, 1808-1814 is available online. I searched inside very briefly and he mentions that:
    Boys as young as 14 appear to have been accepted as recruits in 1806 […] if they were of a minimum height, around five feet tall. The regimental description records on minimum age are sometimes difficult to interpret, as most boys were accepted as drummers and marked as such. Some boys of sufficient height, however, were listed as full recruits in the description books, with 11 being the youngest age in the army sample […]. A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)
    http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Coss%20Edward%20James.pdf?acc_num=osu1117204657

    Reply
  97. Edward James Coss’s PhD thesis, All for the King’s shilling: an analysis of the campaign and combat experiences of the British Soldier in the Peninsular War, 1808-1814 is available online. I searched inside very briefly and he mentions that:
    Boys as young as 14 appear to have been accepted as recruits in 1806 […] if they were of a minimum height, around five feet tall. The regimental description records on minimum age are sometimes difficult to interpret, as most boys were accepted as drummers and marked as such. Some boys of sufficient height, however, were listed as full recruits in the description books, with 11 being the youngest age in the army sample […]. A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)
    http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Coss%20Edward%20James.pdf?acc_num=osu1117204657

    Reply
  98. Edward James Coss’s PhD thesis, All for the King’s shilling: an analysis of the campaign and combat experiences of the British Soldier in the Peninsular War, 1808-1814 is available online. I searched inside very briefly and he mentions that:
    Boys as young as 14 appear to have been accepted as recruits in 1806 […] if they were of a minimum height, around five feet tall. The regimental description records on minimum age are sometimes difficult to interpret, as most boys were accepted as drummers and marked as such. Some boys of sufficient height, however, were listed as full recruits in the description books, with 11 being the youngest age in the army sample […]. A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)
    http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Coss%20Edward%20James.pdf?acc_num=osu1117204657

    Reply
  99. Edward James Coss’s PhD thesis, All for the King’s shilling: an analysis of the campaign and combat experiences of the British Soldier in the Peninsular War, 1808-1814 is available online. I searched inside very briefly and he mentions that:
    Boys as young as 14 appear to have been accepted as recruits in 1806 […] if they were of a minimum height, around five feet tall. The regimental description records on minimum age are sometimes difficult to interpret, as most boys were accepted as drummers and marked as such. Some boys of sufficient height, however, were listed as full recruits in the description books, with 11 being the youngest age in the army sample […]. A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)
    http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Coss%20Edward%20James.pdf?acc_num=osu1117204657

    Reply
  100. Edward James Coss’s PhD thesis, All for the King’s shilling: an analysis of the campaign and combat experiences of the British Soldier in the Peninsular War, 1808-1814 is available online. I searched inside very briefly and he mentions that:
    Boys as young as 14 appear to have been accepted as recruits in 1806 […] if they were of a minimum height, around five feet tall. The regimental description records on minimum age are sometimes difficult to interpret, as most boys were accepted as drummers and marked as such. Some boys of sufficient height, however, were listed as full recruits in the description books, with 11 being the youngest age in the army sample […]. A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)
    http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi/Coss%20Edward%20James.pdf?acc_num=osu1117204657

    Reply
  101. Thanks for digging around, Laura. Your info is coming across a little garbled. Typepad’s up to some funny stuff, including losing comments. We’ve put in a complaint about it.
    I don’t have time today to follow the link, but I’m a bit confused by this. “A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)”
    By the army reforms in, I think, 1805, 16 was the minimum age for a commission, but I can’t remember if that applied to enlisted men. The drummer boy might have been a way of getting younger boys in, as the cabin boy was a way of getting boys into the navy.
    When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic. They would have to start as cornets or ensigns no matter what their age, and do a minimum time at that rank — I think a year.
    Not particularly on topic, but you stirred the dust in the mental filing system.
    I do suspect that large scale conscription of men from reasonably ordinary life directly into intense warfare might particularly contribute to PTSD. As in the American Civil War, WW I, Korea, and Vietnam.
    Jo

    Reply
  102. Thanks for digging around, Laura. Your info is coming across a little garbled. Typepad’s up to some funny stuff, including losing comments. We’ve put in a complaint about it.
    I don’t have time today to follow the link, but I’m a bit confused by this. “A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)”
    By the army reforms in, I think, 1805, 16 was the minimum age for a commission, but I can’t remember if that applied to enlisted men. The drummer boy might have been a way of getting younger boys in, as the cabin boy was a way of getting boys into the navy.
    When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic. They would have to start as cornets or ensigns no matter what their age, and do a minimum time at that rank — I think a year.
    Not particularly on topic, but you stirred the dust in the mental filing system.
    I do suspect that large scale conscription of men from reasonably ordinary life directly into intense warfare might particularly contribute to PTSD. As in the American Civil War, WW I, Korea, and Vietnam.
    Jo

    Reply
  103. Thanks for digging around, Laura. Your info is coming across a little garbled. Typepad’s up to some funny stuff, including losing comments. We’ve put in a complaint about it.
    I don’t have time today to follow the link, but I’m a bit confused by this. “A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)”
    By the army reforms in, I think, 1805, 16 was the minimum age for a commission, but I can’t remember if that applied to enlisted men. The drummer boy might have been a way of getting younger boys in, as the cabin boy was a way of getting boys into the navy.
    When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic. They would have to start as cornets or ensigns no matter what their age, and do a minimum time at that rank — I think a year.
    Not particularly on topic, but you stirred the dust in the mental filing system.
    I do suspect that large scale conscription of men from reasonably ordinary life directly into intense warfare might particularly contribute to PTSD. As in the American Civil War, WW I, Korea, and Vietnam.
    Jo

    Reply
  104. Thanks for digging around, Laura. Your info is coming across a little garbled. Typepad’s up to some funny stuff, including losing comments. We’ve put in a complaint about it.
    I don’t have time today to follow the link, but I’m a bit confused by this. “A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)”
    By the army reforms in, I think, 1805, 16 was the minimum age for a commission, but I can’t remember if that applied to enlisted men. The drummer boy might have been a way of getting younger boys in, as the cabin boy was a way of getting boys into the navy.
    When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic. They would have to start as cornets or ensigns no matter what their age, and do a minimum time at that rank — I think a year.
    Not particularly on topic, but you stirred the dust in the mental filing system.
    I do suspect that large scale conscription of men from reasonably ordinary life directly into intense warfare might particularly contribute to PTSD. As in the American Civil War, WW I, Korea, and Vietnam.
    Jo

    Reply
  105. Thanks for digging around, Laura. Your info is coming across a little garbled. Typepad’s up to some funny stuff, including losing comments. We’ve put in a complaint about it.
    I don’t have time today to follow the link, but I’m a bit confused by this. “A. W. Cockerill estimates that in 1811, at the peak of the Peninsular campaign, there may have been as many as 3,600 boys in the army under age 16. John Fortescue’s numbers from general army returns show that no fewer than 1,497 boys joined the army each year, with a high of 3,806 in 1807. […] the average age of recruits being between 22 and 23 […], with the most common age for army enlistment being 18. (80-81)”
    By the army reforms in, I think, 1805, 16 was the minimum age for a commission, but I can’t remember if that applied to enlisted men. The drummer boy might have been a way of getting younger boys in, as the cabin boy was a way of getting boys into the navy.
    When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic. They would have to start as cornets or ensigns no matter what their age, and do a minimum time at that rank — I think a year.
    Not particularly on topic, but you stirred the dust in the mental filing system.
    I do suspect that large scale conscription of men from reasonably ordinary life directly into intense warfare might particularly contribute to PTSD. As in the American Civil War, WW I, Korea, and Vietnam.
    Jo

    Reply
  106. When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic.
    The stuff I was digging up seemed to be focused on private soldiers, not officers, so could that perhaps explain the differences in ages? Much of the information about privates might not be particularly relevant to a discussion focused on romance heroes because I have the impression that they tend to be officers (and gentlemen).

    Reply
  107. When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic.
    The stuff I was digging up seemed to be focused on private soldiers, not officers, so could that perhaps explain the differences in ages? Much of the information about privates might not be particularly relevant to a discussion focused on romance heroes because I have the impression that they tend to be officers (and gentlemen).

    Reply
  108. When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic.
    The stuff I was digging up seemed to be focused on private soldiers, not officers, so could that perhaps explain the differences in ages? Much of the information about privates might not be particularly relevant to a discussion focused on romance heroes because I have the impression that they tend to be officers (and gentlemen).

    Reply
  109. When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic.
    The stuff I was digging up seemed to be focused on private soldiers, not officers, so could that perhaps explain the differences in ages? Much of the information about privates might not be particularly relevant to a discussion focused on romance heroes because I have the impression that they tend to be officers (and gentlemen).

    Reply
  110. When I did some military research on the period I remember that the majority of the commissions were between 16 and 20, so the adult males in romance going into the army in their twenties is a bit unrealistic.
    The stuff I was digging up seemed to be focused on private soldiers, not officers, so could that perhaps explain the differences in ages? Much of the information about privates might not be particularly relevant to a discussion focused on romance heroes because I have the impression that they tend to be officers (and gentlemen).

    Reply
  111. I think also the nature of warfare changed in the 20th century which contributes to PTSD. In the Napoleonic wars the men often formed ranks and shot at each other from ranks 3 deep. There was an almost ritual to it.
    Contrast that with the almost 100% guerrilla warfare in Vietnam, where you never knew where the fighting was going to come from next.
    I think the randomness and constantly being on edge waiting for the next attack is also a contributing factor.
    I know there were surprises in the 18th century as well, but it has escalated.
    I love to read about war heroes, whether historical or modern. There’s just something about a hero who has been tested to the limits and made it through (if not whole).

    Reply
  112. I think also the nature of warfare changed in the 20th century which contributes to PTSD. In the Napoleonic wars the men often formed ranks and shot at each other from ranks 3 deep. There was an almost ritual to it.
    Contrast that with the almost 100% guerrilla warfare in Vietnam, where you never knew where the fighting was going to come from next.
    I think the randomness and constantly being on edge waiting for the next attack is also a contributing factor.
    I know there were surprises in the 18th century as well, but it has escalated.
    I love to read about war heroes, whether historical or modern. There’s just something about a hero who has been tested to the limits and made it through (if not whole).

    Reply
  113. I think also the nature of warfare changed in the 20th century which contributes to PTSD. In the Napoleonic wars the men often formed ranks and shot at each other from ranks 3 deep. There was an almost ritual to it.
    Contrast that with the almost 100% guerrilla warfare in Vietnam, where you never knew where the fighting was going to come from next.
    I think the randomness and constantly being on edge waiting for the next attack is also a contributing factor.
    I know there were surprises in the 18th century as well, but it has escalated.
    I love to read about war heroes, whether historical or modern. There’s just something about a hero who has been tested to the limits and made it through (if not whole).

    Reply
  114. I think also the nature of warfare changed in the 20th century which contributes to PTSD. In the Napoleonic wars the men often formed ranks and shot at each other from ranks 3 deep. There was an almost ritual to it.
    Contrast that with the almost 100% guerrilla warfare in Vietnam, where you never knew where the fighting was going to come from next.
    I think the randomness and constantly being on edge waiting for the next attack is also a contributing factor.
    I know there were surprises in the 18th century as well, but it has escalated.
    I love to read about war heroes, whether historical or modern. There’s just something about a hero who has been tested to the limits and made it through (if not whole).

    Reply
  115. I think also the nature of warfare changed in the 20th century which contributes to PTSD. In the Napoleonic wars the men often formed ranks and shot at each other from ranks 3 deep. There was an almost ritual to it.
    Contrast that with the almost 100% guerrilla warfare in Vietnam, where you never knew where the fighting was going to come from next.
    I think the randomness and constantly being on edge waiting for the next attack is also a contributing factor.
    I know there were surprises in the 18th century as well, but it has escalated.
    I love to read about war heroes, whether historical or modern. There’s just something about a hero who has been tested to the limits and made it through (if not whole).

    Reply
  116. I think I prefer ex-military because if the hero is active military, he will most likely have to leave at some point to go to war. It’s no fun to read about the poor heroine pining away for her love, although if she followed him that could get interesting. I like reading about the aftermath of war a bit more though, what they become after the horrors they’ve been through.

    Reply
  117. I think I prefer ex-military because if the hero is active military, he will most likely have to leave at some point to go to war. It’s no fun to read about the poor heroine pining away for her love, although if she followed him that could get interesting. I like reading about the aftermath of war a bit more though, what they become after the horrors they’ve been through.

    Reply
  118. I think I prefer ex-military because if the hero is active military, he will most likely have to leave at some point to go to war. It’s no fun to read about the poor heroine pining away for her love, although if she followed him that could get interesting. I like reading about the aftermath of war a bit more though, what they become after the horrors they’ve been through.

    Reply
  119. I think I prefer ex-military because if the hero is active military, he will most likely have to leave at some point to go to war. It’s no fun to read about the poor heroine pining away for her love, although if she followed him that could get interesting. I like reading about the aftermath of war a bit more though, what they become after the horrors they’ve been through.

    Reply
  120. I think I prefer ex-military because if the hero is active military, he will most likely have to leave at some point to go to war. It’s no fun to read about the poor heroine pining away for her love, although if she followed him that could get interesting. I like reading about the aftermath of war a bit more though, what they become after the horrors they’ve been through.

    Reply
  121. I have just read the word wenches post on PTSD which I found fascinating, given I am trying to write my first attempt at fiction and wanted to use a regency time period with the hero suffering from PTSD!
    I have worked with vietnam vets extensively and read about PTSD. “War Neurosis ” was described after WW2 and “Shell Shock” was described after WW1.
    The question has arisen as to why PTSD was not diagnosed beforehand ie in earlier wars, or was it missed.
    Clinical research suggests that after extremely frightening experiences, only about 30% of people develop PTSD and even then, many recover by themselves. The recent approach of sending in “therapists” after any event deemed to be a potential cause for PTSD is actually counterproductive, given the relative small numbers who do develop PTSD . Some research suggests that by asking people do relive the stressful event immediately after it occured, in the mistaken belief that we are assisting them cope, might well be making things worse as we end up retraumatising them every time they recount what happened.
    What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.” So that if a soldier believed they were defending their county against an evil enemy, and saw their actions in battle being justified, they are less likely to develop PTSD. (Maybe why every side in every battle believes that ” god is with us.” and every enemy is demonised.)
    Taking an different example -a girl who is being sexually molested may not end up with PTSD if she interprets the situation as ” this may be terrible and it is happening to me, but because it is happening to me, I am protecting my sisters..”
    It was of course also seen as weakness for soldiers to admit to nightmares, panic attacks etc.Most veterans never discussed their symptoms with anyone, or if they did, it would only ever be with another veteran. Amost never with their families.Many dealt with their symptoms through alcohol. In the work I did until recently, we ran group programs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
    We ran groups for WW2 veterans until just a few years ago.What was fascinating was that some of the WW2 veterans had never discussed their symtoms with their wives and only by attending a group program, 50 years after the events, did the wives get to hear about their husbands was experiences.
    Further questions are being raised about resilience -we have been very protective of our children and the way we raise them in affluent western countries. We have tried to shield them from harm, or from traumatic events. It seems that we might well have gone overboard in this and in the process removed them from the sorts of expereinces that actually help them develop resilience. Clearly we would not want them to experience what children in Regency London might well ahve expereinced! But we may have gone too far the other way.
    So thankyou for a timelyand fascinating discussion and I hope this bit of clinical information is helpful.
    By way of background, I am a recently retired psychiatrist who spent the last 13 years working with Veterans in a PTSD unit.
    Kind regards

    Reply
  122. I have just read the word wenches post on PTSD which I found fascinating, given I am trying to write my first attempt at fiction and wanted to use a regency time period with the hero suffering from PTSD!
    I have worked with vietnam vets extensively and read about PTSD. “War Neurosis ” was described after WW2 and “Shell Shock” was described after WW1.
    The question has arisen as to why PTSD was not diagnosed beforehand ie in earlier wars, or was it missed.
    Clinical research suggests that after extremely frightening experiences, only about 30% of people develop PTSD and even then, many recover by themselves. The recent approach of sending in “therapists” after any event deemed to be a potential cause for PTSD is actually counterproductive, given the relative small numbers who do develop PTSD . Some research suggests that by asking people do relive the stressful event immediately after it occured, in the mistaken belief that we are assisting them cope, might well be making things worse as we end up retraumatising them every time they recount what happened.
    What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.” So that if a soldier believed they were defending their county against an evil enemy, and saw their actions in battle being justified, they are less likely to develop PTSD. (Maybe why every side in every battle believes that ” god is with us.” and every enemy is demonised.)
    Taking an different example -a girl who is being sexually molested may not end up with PTSD if she interprets the situation as ” this may be terrible and it is happening to me, but because it is happening to me, I am protecting my sisters..”
    It was of course also seen as weakness for soldiers to admit to nightmares, panic attacks etc.Most veterans never discussed their symptoms with anyone, or if they did, it would only ever be with another veteran. Amost never with their families.Many dealt with their symptoms through alcohol. In the work I did until recently, we ran group programs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
    We ran groups for WW2 veterans until just a few years ago.What was fascinating was that some of the WW2 veterans had never discussed their symtoms with their wives and only by attending a group program, 50 years after the events, did the wives get to hear about their husbands was experiences.
    Further questions are being raised about resilience -we have been very protective of our children and the way we raise them in affluent western countries. We have tried to shield them from harm, or from traumatic events. It seems that we might well have gone overboard in this and in the process removed them from the sorts of expereinces that actually help them develop resilience. Clearly we would not want them to experience what children in Regency London might well ahve expereinced! But we may have gone too far the other way.
    So thankyou for a timelyand fascinating discussion and I hope this bit of clinical information is helpful.
    By way of background, I am a recently retired psychiatrist who spent the last 13 years working with Veterans in a PTSD unit.
    Kind regards

    Reply
  123. I have just read the word wenches post on PTSD which I found fascinating, given I am trying to write my first attempt at fiction and wanted to use a regency time period with the hero suffering from PTSD!
    I have worked with vietnam vets extensively and read about PTSD. “War Neurosis ” was described after WW2 and “Shell Shock” was described after WW1.
    The question has arisen as to why PTSD was not diagnosed beforehand ie in earlier wars, or was it missed.
    Clinical research suggests that after extremely frightening experiences, only about 30% of people develop PTSD and even then, many recover by themselves. The recent approach of sending in “therapists” after any event deemed to be a potential cause for PTSD is actually counterproductive, given the relative small numbers who do develop PTSD . Some research suggests that by asking people do relive the stressful event immediately after it occured, in the mistaken belief that we are assisting them cope, might well be making things worse as we end up retraumatising them every time they recount what happened.
    What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.” So that if a soldier believed they were defending their county against an evil enemy, and saw their actions in battle being justified, they are less likely to develop PTSD. (Maybe why every side in every battle believes that ” god is with us.” and every enemy is demonised.)
    Taking an different example -a girl who is being sexually molested may not end up with PTSD if she interprets the situation as ” this may be terrible and it is happening to me, but because it is happening to me, I am protecting my sisters..”
    It was of course also seen as weakness for soldiers to admit to nightmares, panic attacks etc.Most veterans never discussed their symptoms with anyone, or if they did, it would only ever be with another veteran. Amost never with their families.Many dealt with their symptoms through alcohol. In the work I did until recently, we ran group programs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
    We ran groups for WW2 veterans until just a few years ago.What was fascinating was that some of the WW2 veterans had never discussed their symtoms with their wives and only by attending a group program, 50 years after the events, did the wives get to hear about their husbands was experiences.
    Further questions are being raised about resilience -we have been very protective of our children and the way we raise them in affluent western countries. We have tried to shield them from harm, or from traumatic events. It seems that we might well have gone overboard in this and in the process removed them from the sorts of expereinces that actually help them develop resilience. Clearly we would not want them to experience what children in Regency London might well ahve expereinced! But we may have gone too far the other way.
    So thankyou for a timelyand fascinating discussion and I hope this bit of clinical information is helpful.
    By way of background, I am a recently retired psychiatrist who spent the last 13 years working with Veterans in a PTSD unit.
    Kind regards

    Reply
  124. I have just read the word wenches post on PTSD which I found fascinating, given I am trying to write my first attempt at fiction and wanted to use a regency time period with the hero suffering from PTSD!
    I have worked with vietnam vets extensively and read about PTSD. “War Neurosis ” was described after WW2 and “Shell Shock” was described after WW1.
    The question has arisen as to why PTSD was not diagnosed beforehand ie in earlier wars, or was it missed.
    Clinical research suggests that after extremely frightening experiences, only about 30% of people develop PTSD and even then, many recover by themselves. The recent approach of sending in “therapists” after any event deemed to be a potential cause for PTSD is actually counterproductive, given the relative small numbers who do develop PTSD . Some research suggests that by asking people do relive the stressful event immediately after it occured, in the mistaken belief that we are assisting them cope, might well be making things worse as we end up retraumatising them every time they recount what happened.
    What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.” So that if a soldier believed they were defending their county against an evil enemy, and saw their actions in battle being justified, they are less likely to develop PTSD. (Maybe why every side in every battle believes that ” god is with us.” and every enemy is demonised.)
    Taking an different example -a girl who is being sexually molested may not end up with PTSD if she interprets the situation as ” this may be terrible and it is happening to me, but because it is happening to me, I am protecting my sisters..”
    It was of course also seen as weakness for soldiers to admit to nightmares, panic attacks etc.Most veterans never discussed their symptoms with anyone, or if they did, it would only ever be with another veteran. Amost never with their families.Many dealt with their symptoms through alcohol. In the work I did until recently, we ran group programs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
    We ran groups for WW2 veterans until just a few years ago.What was fascinating was that some of the WW2 veterans had never discussed their symtoms with their wives and only by attending a group program, 50 years after the events, did the wives get to hear about their husbands was experiences.
    Further questions are being raised about resilience -we have been very protective of our children and the way we raise them in affluent western countries. We have tried to shield them from harm, or from traumatic events. It seems that we might well have gone overboard in this and in the process removed them from the sorts of expereinces that actually help them develop resilience. Clearly we would not want them to experience what children in Regency London might well ahve expereinced! But we may have gone too far the other way.
    So thankyou for a timelyand fascinating discussion and I hope this bit of clinical information is helpful.
    By way of background, I am a recently retired psychiatrist who spent the last 13 years working with Veterans in a PTSD unit.
    Kind regards

    Reply
  125. I have just read the word wenches post on PTSD which I found fascinating, given I am trying to write my first attempt at fiction and wanted to use a regency time period with the hero suffering from PTSD!
    I have worked with vietnam vets extensively and read about PTSD. “War Neurosis ” was described after WW2 and “Shell Shock” was described after WW1.
    The question has arisen as to why PTSD was not diagnosed beforehand ie in earlier wars, or was it missed.
    Clinical research suggests that after extremely frightening experiences, only about 30% of people develop PTSD and even then, many recover by themselves. The recent approach of sending in “therapists” after any event deemed to be a potential cause for PTSD is actually counterproductive, given the relative small numbers who do develop PTSD . Some research suggests that by asking people do relive the stressful event immediately after it occured, in the mistaken belief that we are assisting them cope, might well be making things worse as we end up retraumatising them every time they recount what happened.
    What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.” So that if a soldier believed they were defending their county against an evil enemy, and saw their actions in battle being justified, they are less likely to develop PTSD. (Maybe why every side in every battle believes that ” god is with us.” and every enemy is demonised.)
    Taking an different example -a girl who is being sexually molested may not end up with PTSD if she interprets the situation as ” this may be terrible and it is happening to me, but because it is happening to me, I am protecting my sisters..”
    It was of course also seen as weakness for soldiers to admit to nightmares, panic attacks etc.Most veterans never discussed their symptoms with anyone, or if they did, it would only ever be with another veteran. Amost never with their families.Many dealt with their symptoms through alcohol. In the work I did until recently, we ran group programs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
    We ran groups for WW2 veterans until just a few years ago.What was fascinating was that some of the WW2 veterans had never discussed their symtoms with their wives and only by attending a group program, 50 years after the events, did the wives get to hear about their husbands was experiences.
    Further questions are being raised about resilience -we have been very protective of our children and the way we raise them in affluent western countries. We have tried to shield them from harm, or from traumatic events. It seems that we might well have gone overboard in this and in the process removed them from the sorts of expereinces that actually help them develop resilience. Clearly we would not want them to experience what children in Regency London might well ahve expereinced! But we may have gone too far the other way.
    So thankyou for a timelyand fascinating discussion and I hope this bit of clinical information is helpful.
    By way of background, I am a recently retired psychiatrist who spent the last 13 years working with Veterans in a PTSD unit.
    Kind regards

    Reply
  126. Ute, thank you so much for your post. It’s very insightful. You wrote, “What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.”
    That makes sense to me.So much of life is about the way we frame the story of it to ourselves. So men fighting in what they see as a noble war could well react differently to those forced to fight in one they saw as pointless or even evil.
    Jo

    Reply
  127. Ute, thank you so much for your post. It’s very insightful. You wrote, “What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.”
    That makes sense to me.So much of life is about the way we frame the story of it to ourselves. So men fighting in what they see as a noble war could well react differently to those forced to fight in one they saw as pointless or even evil.
    Jo

    Reply
  128. Ute, thank you so much for your post. It’s very insightful. You wrote, “What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.”
    That makes sense to me.So much of life is about the way we frame the story of it to ourselves. So men fighting in what they see as a noble war could well react differently to those forced to fight in one they saw as pointless or even evil.
    Jo

    Reply
  129. Ute, thank you so much for your post. It’s very insightful. You wrote, “What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.”
    That makes sense to me.So much of life is about the way we frame the story of it to ourselves. So men fighting in what they see as a noble war could well react differently to those forced to fight in one they saw as pointless or even evil.
    Jo

    Reply
  130. Ute, thank you so much for your post. It’s very insightful. You wrote, “What makes most people resilient and some not? This is being researched extensively and the answer is far from clear but it does seem to be linked to “what message did the person give themselves at the time of the terrifying event.”
    That makes sense to me.So much of life is about the way we frame the story of it to ourselves. So men fighting in what they see as a noble war could well react differently to those forced to fight in one they saw as pointless or even evil.
    Jo

    Reply
  131. Thank you for all your comments. I still think that romance writers see their women heroes as helping men to get over the horrors of war by describing their experiences. By the way, I also see PTSS in the experiences of young boys sent away to boarding schools and their reaction is to bond with other young boys. Most of your heroes have gone through this experience and it has grounded them in friendships that enable them to put their lives at risk for their school friends.
    Marsha

    Reply
  132. Thank you for all your comments. I still think that romance writers see their women heroes as helping men to get over the horrors of war by describing their experiences. By the way, I also see PTSS in the experiences of young boys sent away to boarding schools and their reaction is to bond with other young boys. Most of your heroes have gone through this experience and it has grounded them in friendships that enable them to put their lives at risk for their school friends.
    Marsha

    Reply
  133. Thank you for all your comments. I still think that romance writers see their women heroes as helping men to get over the horrors of war by describing their experiences. By the way, I also see PTSS in the experiences of young boys sent away to boarding schools and their reaction is to bond with other young boys. Most of your heroes have gone through this experience and it has grounded them in friendships that enable them to put their lives at risk for their school friends.
    Marsha

    Reply
  134. Thank you for all your comments. I still think that romance writers see their women heroes as helping men to get over the horrors of war by describing their experiences. By the way, I also see PTSS in the experiences of young boys sent away to boarding schools and their reaction is to bond with other young boys. Most of your heroes have gone through this experience and it has grounded them in friendships that enable them to put their lives at risk for their school friends.
    Marsha

    Reply
  135. Thank you for all your comments. I still think that romance writers see their women heroes as helping men to get over the horrors of war by describing their experiences. By the way, I also see PTSS in the experiences of young boys sent away to boarding schools and their reaction is to bond with other young boys. Most of your heroes have gone through this experience and it has grounded them in friendships that enable them to put their lives at risk for their school friends.
    Marsha

    Reply

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