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“Nothing in my army training had prepared me for what happened in Jerusalem in February 1965.”
In Chris McQuaid’s stunning memoir, Elegy for a Broken Soldier, a traumatic event led to his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Music became the only respite that provides him solace.
Chris was a member of the Irish Army guard of honour for the visit of US President John F. Kennedy to Dublin in June 1963. With the cheers of the crowds lining the presidential route still ringing in his ears, he felt “ten feet tall” as he prepared for his first UN peacekeeping mission to the Congo.
On a UN mission to Cyprus in 1965, trauma changed Chris’s life forever, marking the beginning of his PTSD. In Lebanon in 1980, his life was threatened, and the shock effectively ended his military career. Neither event originated on the battlefield, but from within the Irish Army.
Despite severe depression and suicidal thoughts, Chris continued his education and returned to the service to become a commissioned officer. He left the army in 1986 with a glowing service record.
A long legal wrangle and a succession of psychiatric and psychological assessments have led to even greater health problems, but Chris has survived it all.
Keywords:- PTSD, Depersonalisation, Trauma, Music, Parsifal, Solace, Anxiety.