This book includes journal entries of my time during the war and the highs and lows that I went through. At the start I was so excited to fight for my country and thought the war was a great thing. Little did I know about the terrible things that were in store for me and how badly I would end up hating the war. Shell shock during World War I caused negative psychological effects on soldiers.
Here is a picture of my buds and I off to war! Cannot wait to get there!!
Day 1: The war has finally begun!! My troop and I are headed overseas and are ready to fight. We all just know this is going to be a quick and easy war. I will definitely be back home with my family by Christmas! It is going to be a cool experience and will not be bad at all. I am very excited to get to experience this and have wonderful stories to tell my family. Us Germans are so strong and our troops are just amazing! We are for sure going to destroy our opponents. GERMANS WILL WIN! GO GERMANY GO! WE ROCK!!
Here is a picture of my friend and I just chilling.
Day 2: My troop and I have finally arrived to our station. We are all so pumped to get the fighting started. We have been training for this for so long and are continuing to train while we wait. My first duty is to continue to train with my buddies and help fix things so when it is my turn to go I will be ready. Apparently many of our men our currently on their way to the trenches. My group does not have to go into the trenches for a few days. I wish I could just go there now!! I am so ready to be involved in this war and cannot wait to get the win.
Here is a picture of my group and I on the move.
Day 5: It is finally my group's turn to go to the trenches. I have waited so long for this and am ready to start and end this war to show the world we are not a group to mess with! I am not really sure what to expect of the trenches, but assume they must be nice considering we have to stay in them for 7 days without a break!
Here is a picture of my good friend and I in the trenches
Day 8: Oh my gosh my group and I have only been in the trenches for 3 days, but that is long enough for me!! The trenches are terrible and are absolutely disgusting. I have no idea how I am suppose to spend 4 more days in here. We are constantly standing in water and are constantly being shelled at. This is ridiculous and no one should have to be in these conditions. This is not at all what I thought I was signing up!!
Here is a picture of my friend and I still suffering in these stupid trenches!!
Day 10: I have now been in the trenches for 5 days and there is no way I can make it through two more. Everything here is awful and I am starting to feel very weird. For some reason I am hardly eating anymore, but am not at all hungry. I am experiencing a lot of confusion and am having terrible nightmares and can hardly sleep anymore. No one believes me and everyone says I am being a wimp, but I see other soldiers in my group acting the same way.. I am on the verge of a mental breakdown and need out of here ASAP!!!
Here is a picture of me in the trenches after 1 week.
Day 12: This is finally my last day in the trenches and then I get a break for a few days. I could not be happier. I have had the worst experience ever. I have not slept in days and every time I try I wake up from nightmares. I have had several mental breakdowns in the last couple days and am starting to walk funny. I have no clue why and am not sure how to fix it. I can't believe we have only been in here 7 days. It feels like we have been in here for years! My whole group looks like they are on the verge of going insane. I wonder if I look the same way??
Here is a picture of me in a wheel chair because I can no longer walk and a doctor checking out my legs.
Day 13: I am finally out of the trenches, but I believe something is seriously wrong with me. I can hardly sleep and am having a lot of trouble walking. I am not sure what is going on. My group leader says that me and a few other guys from our troop must go see the doctor tomorrow. He is acting really rude towards me and the others and is acting like we are faking it. Why would I fake something like this? This is so scary and I sure hope I am fixed soon!
Here is a picture of me physically and mentally exhausted
Day 14: Today two other soldiers and I went to the doctor to be checked out. The doctor explained that a lot of other soldiers are having these issues too and they don't know why. One of my other friends is mute and can no longer talk. The other one cannot seem to hear which is quite a problem. At least my only issue is I can't walk, I guess... Meeting with the doctor seemed to get us no where. He said that there was no physical causes for our issues and that he didn't know what to do. I am feeling very scared right now. What am I supposed to do? My group officer is going to think I am faking, but I really am not. All the doctor told us was that we could have a few days rest and then we would have to return to the war front. In the shape we are in there is no possible way for us to return so I hope they figure something out soon.
Here is a picture of my horrible group officer.
Day 15: The other soldiers and I returned to our troop's base yesterday. We explained to our officer what the doctor had said and he was absolutely terrible to us. I had to beg to get a few days of rest in order to try and recuperate. I don't think he quite understood that I literally can walk and that there is something terribly wrong with me and the others. He claimed that we were being emotionally weak and that we were cowards and not brave at all. He even went as far to say that we were unpatriotic. What the heck does that mean?? I literally joined this war to fight for my country I am not unpatriotic. This guy is crazy!! He said that we should be shot faking and that we are on worthy of fighting. I am scared for my life. There is something wrong with me and just wait until he gets whatever it is. Then he will see this is nothing to joke or be rude about.
Here I am so upset, I have no idea what to do anymore.
Day 16: I got to rest all day today and try and see if that would help fix me. It did not work. I have just been sitting around waiting and worry for my officer to come back in. I know as soon as he does I will be yelled at and threatened again. Hopefully I get better or the doctors figure something out soon or I will be in big trouble and my life will be endangered because people think I am faking.
Here is a picture of the doctor that came to save me
Day 17: Today something amazing happened. I was resting again and I heard arguing outside. There was a doctor there talking to my officer. The doctor was saying that the others and I have something called shell shock and that we need to go with him to get medical treatment immediately. I have no idea what shell shock is, but at least someone finally believes me! The doctor then came into where I was and started explaining it to me. He said that at first they believed shell shock was caused by soldiers being exposed to exploding shells in the front lines. After more research they came to the conclusion that it was the psychological effects of war and that many people that had were not on the front lines. Once the doctor had explained everything we were taken to a hospital near by that only treated this specific condition. All I can hope for right now is that I will be cured and will be able to go back home!
Here is a picture of the hospital I am staying in
Day 18: While at the hospital the doctors ran many tests on me and the other to make sure none of us were faking. Once they had figured out that we were not faking the doctors started explaining that there were many different treatments to fix us. One treatment was called electric shock therapy. This is a treatment where the doctors shock the part of the body that is not working in order to try and fix it. If I decide to pick this treatment they would shock my spine in order to try and help me walk again. This one sounds very painful to me. He also said that in some cases they find out the patient's dislikes and expose the person to these things. He explained a situation in which a man was afraid to be alone so they isolated him in hopes that it would cure his fear. I sure hope they don't try and use this technique on me!
Here is another technique of treatment called hypnosis.
Day 18 Continued: The doctor continued to explain treatments and kept listing them off. Another treatment was called occupational therapy. This is when the soldier has to do different activities such as writing or taking care of animals in order to take his mind off of what he went through. This doesn't seem like a good treatment either because I don't know I could possibly get my mind off of the things I experienced. He also explained something called hypnosis. This was apparently a good treatment and soldiers were able to face their emotions and terrible experiences. This sounded like an okay option and was one that I would consider. The last treatment he discussed with me was called psychotherapy. This is when the patient sees a doctor every day and discusses the how they feel about the traumatic experiences he faced. This sounded like a good treatment to me, but the doctor didn't seem to like it. It seemed that the doctor wanted whatever treatment would help me the fasted so he could send me back to war. Little did he know I was going to get the best treatment and I would not under any circumstances be returning to that terrible war.
Here is the treatment technique called psychotherapy.
Day 19: After a long night of thinking I have decided I want psychotherapy for my treatment. I believe this is the best treatment because the doctors will have to take time with me each day and discuss all of the things I feel. This will get me to face my emotions and fears from the war so that I will get better. Hopefully I will get better fast so that I can return to my family. There is no way I will go back to this war. I don't care what the doctors say I cannot go back to that terrible place.
Above is a video that shows how I was unable to walk and is what I looked like before treatment started.
Day 35: I have been going through treatment every day for the past couple of weeks and can definitely see a change. I am starting to walk much better and am not having so many nightmares. This treatment is doing wonders on me! The doctor says in a few weeks I will be done with treatment. I did hear some unfortunate news today. The doctor said that I will not be able to home because he thinks I will struggle again and my symptoms will come back. That just seems crazy to me. All I want to do is me home with my family!! Why can't they understand that??
Here is a picture of a village in Germany where people with shell shock could stay
Day 50: After a long month of treatment I am feeling so much better. I am eating and sleeping really well and no longer have trouble walking. I have recently been moved to a village in Germany where I will work until the war is over. If I didn't do this I would have had to return to the war. I felt this was a much better option. While working here I will get paid and will continue to have sessions with the doctor just to make sure I am completely cured. I have met many new friends here and am really enjoying myself. I am so glad I will not return to the front lines and am really hoping this war is over soon so I can go home to my family!
Here is a picture of my family and I finally reunited!
Looking back on the war: Thinking about what I had to do in the short time I was in the war makes me feel sick to my stomach. It was such a terrible situation to be in that will have long lasting effects on me. I can't believe how long the war lasted and some of things I heard about it. Apparently so many soldiers experienced shell shock and it was not just me. In the first year alone 100,000 soldiers from my side (the Germans) that went through field hospitals had shell shock. This is a crazy amount and clearly shows how bad this war was. Not only that but since the war has been over 20,000 men are still suffering from this terrible thing. I am thankful that I hardly suffer from shell shock anymore because it is such a terrible thing. When looking back on my life I realized that I have lived through many wars and can compare what shell shock was like. I got to see World War II and the effects it had on the soldiers They went through something similar to shell shock called Combat Stress Reaction. When a soldier had this their symptoms were usually exhaustion, inability to focus and confusion. These symptoms are clearly very similar what I experienced in World War I known as shell shock. After looking back on all of these wars all I can hope is that conditions will get better and soldiers will not have to suffer from what I did.
As shown throughout these journal entries shell shock was a serious problem during World War I. So many soldiers suffered from this and had numerous symptoms that varied. There were many different treatments that doctors tried in order to cure these soldiers. It was a very horrific and sad condition that too many suffered from because of the terrible conditions of the war.