I can fully identify with the suffering of Kyle, and I can also identify with his desire to help others. I think that this must be one of the common results of PTSD. As PTSD sufferers agonize repeatedly over the years from our symptoms, we become more aware of the suffering of those around us and tend to have very soft hearts for those who do suffer in life from whatever source. That’s why I can fully understand Kyle’s actions in trying to help this disturbed young man, Eddie Ray Routh. But I do not believe that it is accurate to label Routh as a PTSD sufferer because he had symptoms that do not sound much like PTSD. For instance, he apparently had displayed violent tendencies for quite a while, even threatening his own family. This selfish tendency to make others suffer rather than to suffer in silence sounds more like psychosis than PTSD. I’m sure that there are times when a PTSD sufferer might turn violent against others, but from what I’ve read and experienced, this is very rare. Anyone who has a continued pattern of violence against others most likely is suffering from other mental ailments and not from PTSD.
I’ve written before about PTSD. From what I’ve studied, I would venture to guess that most combat veterans suffer from this malady eventually. About 20 to 30 percent succumb to it shortly after their combat tour ends, but this percentage goes much higher over time. For whatever reason, many veterans don’t succumb to the symptoms until years later. But eventually, something triggers it. Of course, it is not only combat veterans that suffer from PTSD. There are so many others in our population that suffer from it after having experienced some kind of great trauma in their lives. I would guess that many who suffer from PTSD have had childhood trauma of some type. We are so vulnerable in those years such that any violation of our innocence can have very deep and long lasting effects, basically wounding us for life. Another source of PTSD that I know of is abortion survivors. Many women suffer PTSD after having had an abortion, with the trauma of this experience lasting years afterwards. I have personally known women who suffer from their abortions. This is why, even though I know abortion is wrong, I do not harbor any judgment in my heart for these women. I know that it is too easy in this life to stumble into sin, even great sin. We are all, unfortunately, inherently flawed without God’s intervention in our lives.
If you suffer from PTSD, I pray for God’s Peace to come into your life, and I pray that you will seek Him out so that He can heal you of your suffering. But this may require for you to lay this burden at His feet every day for years, as you experience a small bit of healing each time, with the pain growing smaller by the day. Remember that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), but for love to be perfected in you, you must spend many hours with Him in prayer and meditation on His Word over many months. Like me, you may not ever be completely free of your wound, but you can certainly experience enough healing that your wounds do not cripple you in your daily life. If there are others around you suffering, I pray that God will put His Wisdom into you so that you will know how to pray for and minister to them in some way.