“You shouldn’t have to lose yourself to save somebody else. I’m sad for him. My main fear was that he isn’t going to get the help he needs. And that’s true, he’s not. I am sad for him because I’m able to get my life back. And I don’t think he is.”
The expectations of caring for veterans with PTSD are intertwined with love, patriotism, fear, abuse, and questions of self-preservation. Culturally and through the V.A.’s caregiver incentives, (mostly) women are asked to stand by their men, to fix the problems of hyper-vigilance, aggression, substance abuse and paranoia, brought on by war. It’s a lonely and terrifying business, and it’s done behind closed doors.
How can we understand and support the families who are dealing with the devastating affects of trauma, often hidden below the surface?
This unpublished portrait series and audio (listen at the top of the page) is currently on exhibit through March as part of Not Alone: Exploring Bonds Between and With Members of the Armed Forces at:
San Francisco Art's Commission Main Gallery401 Van Ness Avenue (War Memorial Veterans Building)San Francisco, CA 94102