I’m an ordinary guy, somebody people don’t give a second look. I never did anything for attention, and I never wanted the spotlight. Dave knew that and saw something in me completely foreign to my nature – anger. A change so gradual I didn’t notice, during the year and a half since I returned from Vietnam, I developed
a mighty short fuse. I became hopelessly impatient with the slightest
inconvenience, became furious standing in line at the supermarket, blew up
at the boy who washed my car and missed a spot. I road raged innocent
motorists and school crossing guards. I argued with my supervisors at
work. It seemed I was happiest when angry, and that wasn’t the
way I was brought up. Nor was I that way while serving in Vietnam.
- The DSM-IV manual types these symptoms of PTSD as irritability
or outbursts of anger. However defined, it was foreign and uncomfortable behavior
for Lance. Because Lance’s amygdala was impaired, he experienced
difficulty adapting to social life, a condition that occurs because a healthy
amygdala regulates not just emotions like fear and aggression but also models
and quickly recognizes the presence of these emotions in others.