I can remember being in Arizona this summer and having conversations with people I met there about the kind of work I do through "Peaceful Warriors". Not only did I meet people who did not know what PTSD was, but I also met people who shared that they weren't even really aware that there was still a war going on. It would be easy to take offense and react to that, especially since there are so many lives involved in these conflicts, but then again, this was an opportunity to share with someone who wasn't as connected to all of this as I have been.
What ended up happening was that these people did actually know veterans who were exhibiting strange behavior that they couldn't understand. They just didn't know what the behavior was called or why they acted the way that they did. They knew something was wrong but weren't sure how to help or what to say because when they did try to reach out, they were often times either shut down or the veteran just disappeared for a bit, only to reappear again days or weeks later.
It brings me to the point I've made a number of times that you won't always be totally aware of who has PTSD. People with it don't wear signs or banners that tell you that's what is going on. They certainly won't announce it to you or sit you down to explain it to you. Although I have become very open with the discussion of it and try to share as much as I can with other people about my experiences with it, it still isn't easy to discuss it when things get triggered or bubble up. The best defense for a situation as I described above is to educate yourself about it first. There are lots of resources out there that can help you to understand it before you approach it with someone, because again if they don't feel safe and they are being triggered, they are either going to put up a fight or they are going to disappear for a bit.