Monday, 25 August 2014

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Be Tenacious

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, of which have the potential to turn a life around.   ~ Leo Buscaglia

Yesterday I was stuck in traffic on the way to work. I was running late but it was my own fault. There always seems to be one more thing calling my name before I leave the house. Cars were bumper to bumper in front of me and it took the light forever to change. 

When the traffic finally started to move I noticed a silver utility box on the sidewalk scrawled with graffiti ... or so I thought.

As I pulled up next to it, I saw what it said ... it put a smile on my face!

TODAY DO A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

I planned to take a picture to share on my blog on the way home, but later when I drove by, it appeared the utility company had covered the smile provoking words with silver paint. 

It made me sad because it could have brightened so many more lives as it had mine ...

Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my memoir, has become my mission to reach as many families as possible dealing with the unpredictable chaos this malady plants in the middle of our dreams. I've been there and I know the helplessness that leaves you weak and the endless tears that warm your cheeks at night.

My heartfelt desire is to give you HOPE in the only way I know how ... by sharing my journey and what I've learned through SURVIVAL. It's not a quick fix, but it is POSSIBLE. All I ask is that you read what has happened to me with an open heart and mind. Try to savor the words without judgement and feel the healing begin to fill in the holes.
  
Are you living with PTSD?  The road back may look impossible but remember all the people in your life who love you ... including me because I know where you've been and where you are now.

If you've read Diary of a Vet's Wife, you already know what happened to me. The time has come where I need to begin to alternate my viewpoint from our shared pain to the peace and understanding waiting in the wings.

Today I read something that told me it was time to move forward and begin to share the healing process that continues to amaze and embrace me. I believe the words that are touching me so profoundly will also nourish your heart with love and strength. Please promise to give me a chance ...


BE TENACIOUS

Dr. John Maxwell says one day when he was discouraged and tempted to quit, he took out a dictionary and looked up the word "quit." After spending a few minutes considering that option, in a symbolic act of defiance he took out his scissors and cut the word right out of his dictionary. It didn't make his problems go away, but it sure did strengthen his resolve. 

When every avenue looks like a dead end and you feel like you've exhausted every possibility - you haven't. There are always other ways, other options, other opportunities. Even if you don't see them right now, they are there. So don't give up. Former heavy weight champion Jack Dempsey once said, "A champion is one who gets back up when he can't. People who reach their goal keep going when they think they can't. They're tenacious, and as a result they keep moving closer to their goal day by day. Some days they may be moving only a few inches at a time, but they're moving forward. They believe in their God-given destiny, they believe in themselves, and they say so. 

Now, saying you believe in yourself won't guarantee your success, but saying you don't believe in yourself will guarantee your failure. The truth is you're not alone, God is with you. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" (Isaiah 40:29). So be tenacious!

(Taken from: The Word For You Today - August 25, 2014)

My post today is shorter than usual, but this way I will be motivated to write more often on the spur of the moment. Long posts take time to create like a chapter in a book. This approach with be something new for me and I hope it will be met with your favor. 
Better Things Ahead 

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."  C. S. Lewis (2006)

Monday, 26 May 2014

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Remembering

War has gone on since the beginning of man's creation. And will continue until the end of time. This necessary evil brings death and pain not only to its victims, but also to the warriors and their loved ones covering our small planet. It's not the way we'd like it to be - it is the way it is. 
~ Nancy MacMillan, author

On Memorial Day, we honor all the military personnel who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and freedom. These brave warriors rest in peace not only on American soil, but approximately 125,000 are buried on foreign soil.

Our country is split by war. Each of us longs to live in peace and harmony, but how can this be attained without welcoming terror to our shores with open arms? There is no easy answer.

Memorial Day still ignites an ember I thought had diminished with the years. Yet, memories from the past flood my mind. If I dare close my eyes, I see my husband's handsome face, the twinkle in his eye, and his crooked smile waiting for me as though he never left me behind.

The yearning to step back in time is powerful. If only I could relive just one day of happiness with him. That would be enough. But I'm lying to myself. I know I'd want more. Then reality, like my guardian angel, steps boldly between us with hands on her hips, shaking her head and I know this can never happen ... at least, not in this lifetime.

I share personal thoughts today that live in too many hearts. Yet how do we stop the insanity of war? I may never be whole again, but my life without my husband, the love of my life, is still worth living. He is the reason I now have a mission - Public Awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To share with others who wonder, exactly what PTSD is all about. I have found peace and joy in this new journey I travel, since I found the Lover of my soul ... but there is still this longing like a familiar song, playing over and over in my head ...

The day I finally FACED reality was the day I went to visit "The Moving Wall." I know now, that up until then ... I had been living in a daydream.

"As for all I can tell, the only difference is that what many see we call a real thing, and what only one sees we call a dream."   ~ C.S. Lewis 

I had been writing "Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my memoir, for many years. In doing so, I was still spending time with my husband, the high-highs and the low-lows, through my thousands of words. We were still connected. Most every day I would be at my computer by 4 A.M. with my morning coffee, and begin writing or rewriting until I had to get ready for work. For sixteen years, my husband was with me through every step of this process. My muse. Need I say more?

On September 29, 2011, I was attending a writing/publishing class in Santa Barbara the same day "The Moving Wall" arrived at Chase Palm Park. Was this a coincidence?

An excerpt from: "The Moving Wall" - An Experience I will Never Forget!" ... October 3, 2011

I followed a sidewalk to the street and headed toward the monument. A photographer toting a heavy camera passed by. Towering palms scattered the patchy green grass. The sight of The Wall off in the distance, the sky and the ocean it's backdrop, enfolded me like a loving grandparent I'd never met. I felt timid, yet I knew I belonged . . .

They walk as if on hallowed ground. They touch the stone. They speak with the dead. They come to mourn and to remember, memory mixing with grief, making an old ritual new, creating in this time another timeless moment.                  - 25th Anniversary Commemorative

In the distance, the long narrow black wall appeared to rise out of the ground where people stood like toy soldiers set in groups of two or three. Flags of many countries rose high against the hazy afternoon sky, furling in unison. A large khaki tent stood guard off to the right. As I drew near, the black panels began to reveal meticulous white lettering. Snapping flags overhead muffled the soft murmurs of family members, some clutching framed  photographs to their chest, as they stood solemnly talking with counselors near The Wall.

It was surreal . . . until it hit me.

The avalanche of names washed over me. Dear God, so many names. Too many names. Each called from the wall. I could hardly breathe. 58,226 names including 8 women. The Vietnam war. They all died in battle. This was all that was left of these warriors who were part of us, never again to feel the sun on their faces, or taste the salty air from an ocean breeze.

A train echoed from afar. A lean-muscled man riding a bicycle pulled up. His fluorescent green jacket and trimmed white beard reflect off the shiny black wall like a mirror. He straddled the bike as his eyes eagerly searched the names. One woman wandered a distance from the wall. Maybe fearful as I was to get too close. Afraid of being swallowed alive by the reality before us.

(This entire post is accessible in the sidebar of this blog under 2011).

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” 
        ― C.S. Lewis

Take time today to remember these brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. They deserve so much more. We have freedoms in America that many only dream about. These brave warriors stepped forward to fill the shoes of generations past who fought for these same rights. Let us honor them today, they were each someones child who had dreams of their own ... and please pray for PEACE in all nations.

                        What memories does Memorial Day bring back to you?

Monday, 28 April 2014

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / The War Within

"We want to know whether the universe simply happens to be what it is for no reason or whether there is a power behind it that makes it what it is."               ~ CS Lewis

Today, I pose a question ... WHY do you stop to READ my blog? Are you living in the shadow of PTSD as I once lived? Are you a writer looking for insight? Or simply curious? Readers from seventy-four countries continue to SEEK my blog. What are you hoping to find? 

I can only guess. You want ANSWERS. Yet all I can tell you is what happened to me. And SHARE what I'm LEARNING ...  

SOCIETY markets the idea that happy thoughts and fresh flowers on the table will BRIGHTEN everyone's day. Pursue the GOOD in people and not the bad. Do random acts of KINDNESS. Lighten up. Enjoy life and the people in your life. It sounds IDEAL, but does this work?

Maybe for some, but not for the hundreds of thousands who are living in the uncertainty of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ... the aftermath of war. No one knows these demons unless you've lived with them! We can't ignore their existence or the impact of this disorder on our warriors and society as a whole. We can't hide them in the cellar like they don't exist.

I care deeply for these brave men and women caught in this nightmare. I know their plight. I lived in that menacing shadow too long not to. But how can one woman make a difference? How can I reach them?

That's why I MUST continue to SHARE where I've been and what I've learned. Even if I reach ONLY ONE person before it's too late ... 

Progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.  ~ CS Lewis

As some know, I began to write Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, three years after my husband, the love of my life and a Vietnam vet, committed suicide. There. I said the word. I hate that word and what it does to families. My husband left a hole in my heart the size of Texas. He suffered with PTSD for eighteen years before he LOST the battle. A brave warrior. But I couldn't help him. His counselors thought Prozac was the answer, but mixed with alcohol it was deadly, 

Public Awareness of PTSD is my mission! My memoir shares not only the love and laughter in our relationship, but the heartbreak of this disorder woven throughout. I share LETTERS my husband wrote describing what was happening in his mind. I later learned I had developed PTSD during our fifteen year marriage, through association. The reader will relive my experience much like a fly on the wall.

Two million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA estimates 1 out of 5 suffer with PTSD due to so many going back for a third, fourth and fifth tour. The Veterans Health Administration has been overwhelmed with PTSD patients. Now, with the help of two new therapies thousands of veterans are in the process of getting their lives back.  
                 Psychology Today - November 26, 2013 

My research revealed an article in Psychology Today entitled Two New PTSD Treatments Offer Hope for Veterans, which later viewed on a 60 Minutes broadcast. The treatments are called "Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).

This DISCOVERY is long overdue and the FIRST positive results I've seen since PTSD stepped into my life. It's not a cure but it offers HOPE to those willing to fight back. A MUST SEE for anyone living in the shadow of PTSD. If you have time to watch the 20 minute episode, you can decide for yourself ...  

Click herehttp://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-war-within-treating-ptsd/

Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy works for many people who have experienced trauma. According to the VA, there are three main components:

  1.  Breathing - Controlled breathing is a skill that helps you relax to manage immediate distress.
  2.  Real world, "In Vivo" exposure - Practice approaching situations that are safe which you may have avoided because they are related to the trauma. A veteran may avoid driving since he experienced a roadside bomb while deployed.
  3.  Talking through the trauma and replaying the tape - Talking about your trauma over and over with your therapist, "imaginal exposure." Talking through your trauma will help you get control of your thoughts and feelings about the trauma and helps make sense of what happened.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

The VA is offering this second experimental therapy. This therapy begins by writing an impact statement to share with the group in which the veterans talk about how their lives are still "held in the grip of war."

Participants seem to bond and recreate this sense of camaraderie with other soldiers in a safe environment.

Through CPT veterans begin to consciously make sense of the trauma and 'face the dragon head on' instead of trying to avoid thinking about their memories. CPT makes it easier to cope with traumatic events and get back to living their life to its fullest.

According to the VA, there are four components to CPT:
  1.  Learning About Your PTSD Symptoms
  2.  Becoming Aware of Thoughts and Feelings
  3.  Learning Skills
  4.  Understanding Changes in Beliefs

By CHOOSING to approach your experiences in a NEW and DIFFERENT way, you will be able to decide how your past affects your future ...

Conclusion:  If you have PTSD, "Don't Judge it." Reach out and ask for help.

Across the United States, 77% of vets who go through the program will see a decrease in PTSD symptoms. Though it's a start, it is not a cure. "We have to teach people that they can live with this and live a valued life, a life they want," Dr. Reeder concludes ...

If you, or someone you know, is a veteran suffering from PTSD, please talk to your VA health provider about getting Prolonged Exposure and/or Cognitive Processing Therapy. A list of Veterans Affairs facilities can be found online at: VA Facilities Locator.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, of which have the potential to turn a life around.
     ~ Leo Buscaglia

If you or a loved one seems overwhelmed by PTSD symptoms, please remember, there are many resources available to you. If you need immediate help, please GET IT NOW! PTSD does not go away on it's own ... and will only get worse left unattended.

Below I've listed the number of The Veterans Crisis Line. Please check out Veterans Crisis Line.net, even if you don't think you need it now. Get familiar with the resources available, and save this information for easy access.

PLEASE call ... my husband, the love of my life, never had this option.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs resource that connects Veterans in crisis and their families with qualified, caring VA professionals through a confidential toll-free hotline and on-line chat.

The new VA suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), recently reported that it's received more than 55,000 calls, averaging 120 per day, with about 22,000 callers saying they were veterans.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.   Jeremiah 29:11
     

Friday, 21 February 2014

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / A Gift of Love

"The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why." ― Mark Twain


The day we were born we entered into a story that has been ongoing since the beginning of time. We had no choice as to our parents, our country of origin or the color of our skin. Then much too soon we step out of this story ... again not by choice.

Why is it we pop into existence for a mere seventy, eighty or ninety years, compared to the age of our universe? Believe it or not, there is a living spruce in Sweden said to be carbon dated at 9550 years old.

Are we here merely to propagate the planet, raise a family, make a living and have fun?

Have you ever thought about it?

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes: Your natural life is derived from your parents; that does not mean it will stay there if you do nothing about it. You can lose it by neglect, or  you can drive it away by committing suicide. You have to feed it and look after it: but always remember you are not making it, you are only keeping up a life you got from someone else.

Humans are endowed with natural gifts that no animal possesses nor will any computer ever duplicate ... our inner being, emotions and conscience. We possess the innate ability to love and to laugh ... we feel compassion for others ... we can cry tears of happiness and grief ... and inherently we know right from wrong.

Our non-ending media coverage has allowed society to grow in awareness to the plight of our fellowman both here and abroad. People worldwide are selflessly striving to help those in need, sharing their knowledge and resources to better the lives of others sharing our small planet

Why then is our existence so meager?

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."   - Mother Theresa

Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, my memoir, shows my day to day struggle trying to make craziness appear normal. My husband, the love of my life, battled PTSD and the demons of war, yet I found no way to help him ... and no one to help me. Isolated without hope, I had nothing to cling to and no solution.



Throughout the world other families are living like I did. Never knowing when the left shoe will drop. When will the demons strike again? Pretending becomes commonplace as we travel the maze of confusion like white mice scurrying to find a way out. Our children are being cheated out of the family they deserve.

I understand that helplessness ...

For three years, I fought the need to write this book. I had no idea how to write a book ... nor where to begin. The nagging persisted. The notion that I could help others and show them that they were not alone continued to pound on my heart until ... I gave in.

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”  ― Francis of Assisi 

I've traveled a great distance from the helpless victim of PTSD in my memoir to the compassionate, joy-filled woman I am today. I no longer hide behind the pain of my past as every morsel of my being wants to share what I came to learn through my tragedy. 

If only I had known then what I know now. If only someone had told me, my life would be different today ... but no one did!

That's why I'm so compelled ...  

Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.      C. S. Lewis

Sometimes you have to reach the lowest point to understand who God is, and what He can do for us. And when you do ... you will never be the same again.

For me, it happened one day while I was listening to the radio. My days were like walking in a tunnel through a dark cloud. Bleak, black and white routine without hope or color. The words I heard that day changed my life ...

     "God allows us to go through trials for a purpose . . ."
     "God speaks to us all the time; we have to begin to listen . . ."

And that day I came face to face with the God of the bible, when he stepped into my life and wrapped His arms around me. I had never felt such love.

We've been separated from God. But God loves us. God hasn't turned his back on us. I didn't know He was waiting for me to find him.

From the time I was a little girl I wanted my life to have some sort of meaning, I wanted to make a difference. Now I know what that means.

I came to learn how much God loved me and that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins, so that I could have God's gift of eternal life. 

My heart was hungry and I was touched. I believed what I was hearing. I was tired of living half-a-life in darkness. I knew I was a sinner, selfish, jealous, angry, and so much more. I needed forgiveness. I repented. I asked God into my heart because I  believed Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven ... like we will do one day. 

My life changed when I asked God into my life. He alone filled the hole in my heart left by my husband's love. Now I have a relationship with God I never knew could exist. I am no longer who I was ... I am a new creature in Him. 

Each one of us is created in His image for a purpose. I believe my purpose is to share this journey with you and show you the love and peace God has given me. It takes time. Each day is a new beginning as I absorb the wonders of this amazing new life I found. The bible has come to life and I now understand what I read. 

I believe we've been given just so much time to make this choice. And if we don't choose it, we lose it. Who wouldn't choose life over death? The life we've been given by God is a gift. 

These basic needs are the same the world around. What may be broken in your own heart and life can be made new again in Jesus. This simple prayer can open the door to eternal life. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Updated Cheat Sheet for Vets and Writers

 
Blog of a Vet's Wife portrays the detailed journey of publishing my first book, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorderthe CHALLENGES and LESSONS learned, while pinpointing PTSD and how this disorder is ravaging our men and women returning from war in epidemic proportions.  My main MISSION is to EDUCATE mankind on PTSD and its effect on families and our nation as a whole.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.           
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


The HOLIDAYS have moved in with all their baggage like unexpected house guests who plan to stay a while. With cluttered days and endless commitments, I barely noticed until they jumped off the calendar and splashed into my coffee. Where did this year go??

Tomorrow I fly to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with my sons and their families. I DREAD flying in the WINTER and I HATE being COLD, but this will be the FIRST time we've been together for Thanksgiving since they were little. One of the hardships of modern-day living in different states and countries. My daughter will be missing, but Australia is too far. She'll be in our hearts and thoughts.

My cup over-flows with BLESSINGS. I have so much to be thankful for. As a writer, I hope to capture each moment to save for a rainy day when I can pull them up at random and savor every smile and the laughter once again.

Please remember to GIVE THANKS for our brave WARRIORS who will not be spending Thanksgiving with their families and loved ones.  Their absence is painful but their dedication and SELFLESSNESS is what makes our country strong. Pray for their safety this holiday and that one day soon these wars will end so they can return home to the loving arms waiting for them. 

With time running short, I wanted to post a BLOG before my flight. I decided to update my CHEAT SHEET. It's been two years since my last revision. I know I have many new readers who might be looking for a specific topic. This BLOG concentrates on my exposure to PTSD through my husbands journey, what happened and what I learned.  It also shows how I came to write this book and each step into publishing ... DETAILED.

The list may seem daunting but the descriptions are brief. The dates coincide with those on the right side of the blog.

HAVE A BLESSED THANKSGIVING AND RELISH EVERY MORSEL ...

MY UNCHARTED JOURNEY INTO PUBLISHING . . . UPDATED CHEAT SHEET!

Below is a list of my blogs for those who might be looking for a specific topic: 
     1.  In The Beginning                                                                April 13,  2011
          How my book came to be . . .

     2.  This Closet Writer . . . Goes Public                                  April 16
           My first writing class - posting my blog

     3.  I Never Planned to be a Writer!                                       April 23
          Blogging - my writing class - my free-lance editor   

     4.  Publicize Your Book . . .                                                    May 1
          Publicizing - blogging - writing class - book query
    
     5.  Write Your Heart Out . . .                                                 May 7
          Blogging - why I wrote my book - book proposal excerpt

     6. Q is for Query Letter . . .                                                    May 15
          Posted my original query letter

     7.  B is for Book Proposal . . . Part One                                May 21
          Elements of a book proposal - my proposal table of contents
    
     8.  B is for Book Proposal . . . Part Two                                June 12
          More elements of a book proposal
    
     9.  What Next? . . . Time for an Agent                                  June 19
          Some basic agent information
   
    10.  Marketing in an Electronic World . . .                            June 26
           First steps to marketing my book  
   
    11.  Will Self-Publishing be My Only Option?                      July 3
           Posted excerpt from Chapter One of my book    

    12.  A Platform . . . Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone    July 11
           Start to develop a platform for my book
   
    13.  The Marketing Medusa . . .                                              July 28
           JK Rowling's success - more marketing
   
    14.  2011 Agents . . . What Do They Really Want?              August 7
           Identify agent's most asked for requirements
   
    15.  What is a Synopsis and Why? . . . Part One                  August 27
           Details to begin synopsis process
   
    16.  One Writer's Journey into Publishing Cheat Sheet     September 4
           Lists previous blogs and subject matter

    17.  What is a Synopsis and Why? . . . Part Two                 September 11
           What to include in a synopsis

    18.  Ebooks . . . A Contemporary "David and Goliath"     September 19
           Show why authors are choosing to self-publish
   
    19.  The #1 Question: Who is Your Audience? . . . plus Excerpt
            Importance of locating your specific audience                September 26
   
    20.  "The Moving Wall" . . . An Experience I Will Never Forget!
             An emotional visit that squeezed my heart                     October 3

    21.  Traditional Publish or Self-Publish . . . My Decision plus Excerpt
            What direction I chose and why                                       October 10
   
    22.  Public Speaking 101 . . . Fight or Flight?                               
           Terror and my first class . . .                                              October 17

    23.  My First Speech . . . plus Revised Cheat Sheet into Publishing
            First speech panic plus . . .                                               October 24

    24.  Africa's Beauty Being Strangled / One Person Making a Difference
            Unique story about Africa                                                November 23

    25.  Has PTSD Touched You? / Chapter 26 Excerpt . . .
           What is PTSD?                                                                  December 3

    26.  Our Soldiers are returning / Write Your Heart Out
           Warriors from Iraq and reality                                           December 14

    27.  Ghost of Christmas Past / Chapter 15 Excerpt
            Memories of Christmas                                                     December 24

    28.  The Self-Publishing Jitters of a Perfectionist
           Trials of self-publishing                                                    January 7, 2012

    29.   Wounded Warriors Walk Among Us / Chapter 24
             Reality and PTSD symptoms                                           February 8

    30.  Self-Publishing Nitty-Gritty / Copyright / Excerpt
           Copyrighting and song lyrics                                             February 19

    31.  PTSD / Can One Woman and Her Book Make a Difference?
           How my story helps our warriors with PTSD                    March 12

    32.  Self-Publishing / PTSD - A Passage of Passion
           Print-on-demand - song lyric trials                                      April 6

    33.  PTSD / Vet's Wife Self-Publishing / Chapter 33 Excerpt
           Formatting anguish                                                              June 13

    34.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Sneak Peek at the Cover
            The dawning of my book cover                                          July 16

    35.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Where's the Book??
           Reveal my self-publisher and perfect cover                        November 6

    36.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife Appeared on My Doorstep!
           Seeing my book for the first time                                      December 6

    37.  Diary of a Vet's Wife Reveals PTSD / Marketing / Reviews
           Suicide increase and my marketing plan                           February 18, 2013

    38.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / The Truth and Vulnerability
           What you should know about PTSD                                  April 13

    39.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife and Memorial Day Memories
            My first encounter with the Moving Wall                         May 27

    40.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife goes to The White House
           How my book got to the White House                               July 4

    41.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife and Michelle Obama
           A surprise from Washington                                              October 6

    42.  PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Bittersweet is November
           Veterans Day meaning and memories                             November 10

Did you find something of interest for your own Journey?



   
           
           
 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Bittersweet is November


“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.”   Robert A. Heinlein
November 11, 1919, was the first anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended World War I.  Celebrated as Armistice Day, it was dedicated to the cause of world peace.  The day was commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving, filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who selflessly served our country.  In 1954, the word Armistice was stricken and Veterans Day took its place in history.  Each year, November 11th is a national holiday to ensure that ALL our veterans know how deeply we appreciate the sacrifices they have made in their lives with parades and speeches. Yet we owe them so much more . . .

I have seen it in your face
I am sure you have noticed it in mine;
that thousand-yard stare
that does not look out --
it looks in --
at the unutterable,
unalterable truth of our war
.   ~ The Wall Within

This may not be the best time.  My blog is heading in a direction that I had not planned.  But I'm on a roll and words are flooding my computer screen.  It wants be written . . .  
Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July are the holidays that grab me by the ankles. My senses are on high alert, certain images bring flashbacks, and tears simply break loose at the strangest times.  My memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows my journey with the love of my life as we battle his PTSD.  It wasn't until years later, when I began to research this disorder for my book, that I learned I had PTSD as well . . . through association.  I now know that this is why I react to certain stimuli the way I do. The dreams are less often, but I can't watch a war movie or war news without tears. Nor can I sing patriotic songs without blubbering.  The homeless veterans rip my heart.  And I have yet to be able to thank a veteran for his service at the airport or out in public without stammering over the searing lump in my throat, tears embarrassing us both.
Does anyone else go through this after so many years . . . or is it just me?

I stood there one fall
ankle deep in leaves
and looked up at the night sky
through a hole in a ceiling of trees
wondering how much better the world
might look from up there.   ~ The Wall Within
Most of my days hum effortlessly with a plethora of activity tossing me from one hour to the next. My energy level soars as I juggle the shiny balls overhead.  But then comes November swooping down on me like an eagle preparing to snatch me away.
Each November arrives with poignant promptings of the past intertwined with the present, like a finely woven sterling chain around my neck. Veteran's Day is in November, stirring up vivid memories of love and pain from long ago. No matter how long, no one ever forgets!  My husbands birthday is in November.  The 18th.  In 2001, after years scattered with tears, I received an amazing GIFT on Lorne's birthday.  My youngest granddaughter was born!  Was it a coincidence?  No ... I know it was a GIFT to help heal my heart.  
Bittersweet is the taste of November.
Veterans Facts
There are approximately 23.2 million veterans in the United States.
These brave men and women who serve and protect our country come from all walks of life; they are parents, children and grandparents.  They are friends, neighbors and coworkers, and an important part of their communities.  Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.
  • 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
  • 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
  • 1.8 million veterans are women. (For another post)
  • 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
  • 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • 2.6 veterans served during World War II (1941-1945)
  • 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953)
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • 5 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas ( 1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.
U.S. Census Bureau and United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Note: I was unable to locate veteran statistics beyond 2010.  These numbers would increase greatly with that information.  

The SADDEST question of all:  How many of these BRAVE and HONORABLE men and women live on the STREETS?  This must end!  We MUST take care of our own!

God bless America and the honorable men and women at her beacon call.
 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife and Michelle Obama

My last post, July 4, 2013, showed me waiting for a postal confirmation that Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder had reached THE WHITE HOUSE.  After that the bottom fell out . . .

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.    ~ Anais Nin

The life of a computer is not infinite.  REALITY hit when I could no longer type in my BLOG!  Disbelief turned to despair.  Most know I'm a techno-neophyte, yet NO ONE could fix it!  It was like losing my best friend.  I was heartsick.

Three days later, I flew to OHIO to attend our annual family reunion.  I returned to California the end of August with one mission seared into the gray matter between my pierced ears - I MUST find a new BEST FRIEND!  And FAST. 

But there were way too many CHOICES! 

One final consultation with Geek Squad and I was primed to make a decision ... which still HAUNTS me!  My new HP computer and best friend? arrived with WINDOWS 8 and its cheeky ATTITUDE.  Not to mention the TEMPERAMENT of a multi-tasking ten year old on a sugar high, taking me down gopher holes with no way back.  Navigating a cornfield maze with a box of matches would be simpler. 
I Want You to Care About PTSD
PATIENCE.  I've been told I must remember to breathe . . . 

This too shall pass, if I don't heave the darn thing off a bridge first.  My love and concern for our military far outweighs the learning curve I must conquer to be able to ENLIGHTEN the world to my PASSION . . . Public Awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that's why we decide we're done. It's getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.      
                                                           ~ Natalie Goldberg
 
My last post on July 4, 2013 showed me waiting for a confirmation that my book, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder had reached The White House.  This was confirmed July 8th, the same day I left for Ohio.  The small green postcard was stamped "THE WHITE HOUSE."  Floating on a cloud, I headed for the airport. 
 
During my visit, my friendly mail collector informed me that I had received a large brown envelope from the WHITE HOUSE.  Wow, that was fast!  I asked for it to be held until I returned.  Everyone thought I was deranged for waiting.  But I like SURPRISES.  It was probably a photograph of the First Lady, but I decided to bathe in the mystery and let my imagination run wild with outrageous possibilities.  That's me. 
 
As soon as my luggage was loaded into the house, I made a dash for my mail. Bags of it!  A plethora of junk mail!  I found the big brown envelope from the WHITE HOUSE, stamped FIRST CLASS, DO NOT BEND.  It felt stiff as my trembling letter opener sliced along the top.  Inside a piece of cardboard protected a typewritten letter on formal 6 x 9 crème-colored stationary embossed with the Presidential Seal addressed to me.  It began, "Dear Nancy:"  Needless to say, I was THRILLED.  And even more special, it was signed by Michelle Obama herself.  The pen she used bled through to the other side at three different points.  
 
 
I may not agree with all the battles that are taking place in Washington DC at this time, but I was honored that our First Lady took time to acknowledge my book, and the plight our military has been dealing with for decades.
 
Definition of a veteran:  A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including my life."       ~ Author unknown
 
 loyal-pet-looking-out-window
Photo by Scott King / gryht on flickr.
 
MAN'S BEST FRIEND is lending a helping paw to aid military personnel and veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 
 
The number of veterans being diagnosed with PTSD continues to grow. It wasn't until after the Vietnam War in the '60s and '70s that PTSD was even recognized as an actual psychiatric syndrome by the Veterans Administration. 
 
Nationwide from 2002 through 2012 more than 256,000 veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have been treated for PTSD.  And the numbers continue to climb as time away from the war zone passes.          by Mark Leland - Fox 11
 
I recently read this interview online describing one veteran's experience with his SERVICE DOG ... 
 
Steve, a US Army veteran, says his dog, Whiskey, provides him with a sense of much needed comfort and security.  And that Whiskey saved his life.
 
"I was suicidal every single day.  I couldn't get out of the house.  I was in such deep depression.  The simplest tasks were very difficult for me but two days into the canine program a light came on and changed my life.  Whiskey provides comfort and security whenever I have a panic attack.  I'll call her up on my lap and start petting her.  She brings my blood pressure down and brings me back down to reality.  If I have a flashback and things of that nature, she's right there nudging me.  "Hey, it's okay, dad."  Whiskey's right there."
 
When you hear and read about what's happening throughout the country with veterans returning from war, our warriors dealing with this disabling disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, do you ever think ... "But what can I do to help?"
 
Most know I chose PETS FOR VETS to donate a portion of the proceeds from my book.  This national organization helps heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with shelter dogs.  Their selfless dedication in this field shows compassion and understanding to this issue that has been minimized far too long.  Their approach gives veterans a way to defuse their PTSD without the use of drugs, and gives a shelter dog a loving home and purpose. 
 
Know that THERE IS A WAY each one of us can help these warriors who bravely fought for what they were asked to do.  Every donation helps.  Let your heart be your guide.  We owe them more than we could ever REPAY.
 
Who is eligible for a Pets for Vets companion animal?  Please see information and Pets for Vets Veterans Application located on their website at pets-for-vets.com for more details. 
 
They carried comrades, they carried guns, and they carried letters from home.  Their dog tags carried their name and rank.  Would they wear them home, or would they be handed to a family member?  None knew the answer, yet they served our country, the United States of America, with their very heart and soul.   
 
God Bless America and all her brave WARRIORS.
 
Do you know someone who is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
 
(Please read post from April 2013 for more detailed information).