I would like to take this moment to approach the mental health topic in another manner. I think that in order to progress forward, it is important to look backwards.

If you look into the history books, there are so many examples of mental health and stress. There are stories of ancient warriors that would have night terrors after battles. Some of the earliest writings of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurred in the ancient Greek times in the forms of poems.

In 490 BCE the Greek historian Herodotus described the Athenian fighters as ‘seeing the faces of those they killed.’ There are even reports of otherwise healthy individuals becoming blind due to the images they witnessed. Now these ancient texts potentially exclude other issues that could have happened – medical diagnoses were not top notch back then. These symptoms do strongly resemble modern day PTSD though.

With all of these years of evidence and knowledge of PTSD, why is it only recently becoming more prevalent? Some people think that it is a new construct, but it seems to be more complicated than that.

I think that some look at this as a masculinity issue where the perception of weakness scares the affected individuals, so they decide not to report it. Some think they are the only ones affected and they are just defective. I think that we should look to the Greeks for the answers.

I myself am a huge history buff especially when it falls into the realm of mythology. I would like to look at the mythological pinnacle of masculinity in the story of Heracles (or Hurcules depending on the translation). Over the next 12 columns, I would like to discuss the 12 labors of Heracles on his road to redemption from tragedy. In each column, I will talk about the labor and my interpretation of the meaning. Stay Tuned.

Jeramiah Wisdom is a firefighter for Fort Riley Fire & Emergency Services and the outreach coordinator for CASA of the 8th Judicial District.

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