Fred Doucette served his country with honour and distinction until he was wounded in Sarajevo in the 1980s.
In his new book, Better Off Dead, he profiles soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and says they are often exposed to PTSD because they are trying to save lives.
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“They’re the guy that runs to the burning car,” Doucette said. “The fireman that decides to go in to find the person. The soldier that lays down to protect somebody who’s wounded, and they’re getting the injury because they did something right.”
Doucette said there is often also a sense of guilt among sufferers of PTSD.
“I felt guilty because I left the country not knowing what was going to happen. I left Bosnia and Sarajevo and you’re thinking, geez, I hope that old lady who lived down the street that waved to me every day, I hope she’s okay. I hope that kid that used to stand on that corner asking for food is okay,” he said.
“With the guys in Afghanistan, too, I think it’s the ‘I survived and three guys died on my tour, five guys, ten guys, my buddy from my unit.’”
Doucette said the government needs to do a better job educating soldiers about mental health and delivering services to them when needed. Watch Tom Clark’s full interview with Doucette above.