There is No Escape by Ron Steinman
I have long believed that PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) can affect anyone who serves in war. This goes especially for reporters, and here I include anyone who covers war— camera operators, sound persons, and field producers, because they are often victims of the unseen consequences of what they encounter. There is no profit for me to name those professional journalists I know who suffer from PTSD in various degrees. I know who they are, as do they. Few if any of them own up to the problems they carry home once they leave a war zone. Journalists by nature are reticent when it comes to telling the outside world what they went through as non-combatants covering combat or its results. Everyone is equal on a battlefield whatever the role they play. Recently I chanced on a story by Dean Yates of Reuters, an Australian who covered Iraq extensively and suffered the seemingly never-ending consequences of PTSD. His story is moving and powerful, a stark reminder that we journalists are not immune to the after effects that come from covering the horrors of war. But most journalists refuse to acknowledge or accept they could be victims of PTSD. It goes against being macho for those who cover conflicts — a misused and weakened term, by the way, a poor euphemism for people who shoot at each other to kill and maim. I have no answer what for me is accepting the obvious, that when you are in war even as a non-combatant, a civilian, the effect on you can be, and often is, deep, disturbing and long lasting.