AP photo by Jae C. Hong

There’s no need to reiterate the common platitudes about post-traumatic stress disorder that we’ve all heard before, focusing on demystifying the “invisible wounds of war.” The conversation has moved beyond that now, and post-traumatic stress is no longer being looked at as a “disorder” but as a normal reaction to abnormally stressful circumstances.

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DoD photo by Donna Miles

In his 20-year career as a Navy SEAL, Brian “Iron Ed” Hiner rose through the ranks to become one of the most experienced SEAL trainers in the history of the organization. This month, he released his first book, “First, Fast, Fearless: How to Lead Like a Navy SEAL,” a detailed account of the leadership lessons that he both learned and taught while serving as head of all basic and advanced SEAL training on both coasts.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. John Tucker

When a civilian like me starts asking a veteran certain questions, things can get awkward, fast. The reality is, though, that even if we have enough tact not to ask, we’re still going to wonder. Let’s face it; in many ways, veterans and civilians are from different planets. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to speak each other’s language, appreciate each other’s culture, and even inhabit one another’s worlds. Here’s what your civilian friends are really wondering about you and what they really mean when some of these uncomfortable questions inevitably slip out.

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