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Lance Johnson - U.S. Army

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. 


1. Ordinary
2. Dating the class secretary
3. Artillery training
4. Special Forces Camp
5. Firing at anything that moved
6. You're not going ot believe this
7. Asked to accomplish the impossible
8. Welcomed by war protesters
9. Anger
10. Like a trapped schoolboy
11. Dissociative flashback
12. Still in love