Although not officially diagnosed until the 1980s, the mental disorder had been terrorizing its victims throughout history.
One will understand Billy Pilgrim inevitably suffers from this disorder when one discovers what it is to have PTSD: “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
The aftermath of these events is catastrophic throughout the life of Billy Pilgrim. Because of the war he failed to have a relationship with his wife or his son and did not try to deter him from going to war despite his own experiences.
Furthermore, what Billy perceives as time travelling is merely “frightening thoughts and memories” from the war from which he seems emotionally detached.
Billy constantly refuses to talk bout the war despite his wife’s best efforts.
Billy’s symptoms of PTSD are also evident when he sleeps.
The murder of his mentor and leader had an equivalent effect on his mental health as the bombing of Dresden.
Billy was unable to cope with the loss of Derby with whom he had become good friends.
In order to calm his anxiety Billy has to use “Magic Fingers”(62), a vibrating electrical blanket that helps him fall asleep.
Billy also gets nightmares, because when he falls asleep in the boxcar in Germany that is taking him to a prisoner’s camp, the other prisoners refuse to sleep next to him due to his whimpering and kicking. When a siren went off “that was simply announcing high noon” (57) and “scared the hell out of him”(57), ‘he was expecting World War Three at any time”(57).