A Journey From Mythology to Reality: The Impacts of PTSD on Identity

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A pilot walks away from her Blackhawk.
From and

This week we're exploring the individual and collective experience of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD in America as we enter the long aftermath of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

More than 1 in 5 of the more than 2 million combat veterans from those wars has some symptoms of PTSD. While it's a complicated and mysterious phenomenon, it's also tantalizing: The Jason Bourne movies were all about a soldier who is deliberately given symptoms of PTSD to make him an effective killing machine, but he can't fight the flashbacks of who he really is.

But PTSD is not about movie plots and mind control—it is about identity. For screenwriter Matt Cook, his identity changed after the 9/11 attacks, after serving in the war in Iraq and then going back to the battlefield as a civilian.

He recently wrote about his experiences in Afghanistan for Texas Monthy magazine which showcases a journey from movie mythology to his own grim reality.