‘The Decompression Map': A route for soldiers with PTSD

Decompression Map: A Novella Including a Journal for Soldiers
By Matrix Filia and Claudette Walker

An inspirational novella, “The Decompression Map” revolves around the character Josh Smith as he returns home from Afghanistan. Josh’s family created a plan to help Josh adjust to being a civilian again. His father and brother both served in the military and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and it nearly destroyed their lives. Their war history served as a motivator for the creation of the decompression map in an attempt to show Josh how to cope with PTSD.

Lucy, Josh’s wife, after witnessing the horrible time that Josh’s brother had settling back into civilian life, came up with the plan to create a decompression map for Josh. The decompression map took Josh and his brother, Dave, on a relaxing yet fun journey immediately after Josh landed stateside. They chilled at the beach, surfed, and talked about Dave’s experience returning back to the homeland and what Josh could do to prepare for PTSD symptoms.

The book’s main object is to provide a relatable story to military personnel and their families. The novella depicts a kaleidoscope of emotions that hit a soldier during deployment: anxious to leave the war zone, happy to get out alive, deeply saddened over friends lost and the bloodshed seen, and ecstatic to see loved ones again.

With so many returned soldiers dealing with PTSD, “Decompression Map” attempts to address what soldiers can do after they arrive to alleviate the symptoms. Authors Matrix Filia and Claudette Walker’s purpose is to encourage “the reader to look outside the box for methods to comfort newly returning soldiers and those soldiers who have been home for years.”

After Filia and Walker conducted interviews with veterans, they brainstormed on a method to ease soldiers back into society, which led to the birth of “The Decompression Map.” For those seeking a method to handle PTSD, please bear in mind that the decompression map was not designed by someone in the medical field. A decompression map activity might help a PTSD patient, but do not become discouraged if it doesn’t. Try another method.

At the end of the novella, the authors’ included blank pages for family members to form a decompression map for their own loved one suffering from war-related PTSD.

Overall, the authors’ intent in writing The Decompression Map is commendable.

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