Monday, 12 March 2012

PTSD / Can One Woman and Her Book Make a Difference?

We can do no great things, only small things with great love. 
               ~Mother Teresa

During the 16 years I spent writing my memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, one question kept tumbling around in my mind like marbles in a jar - WHAT can I do to help veteran's suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?  I felt a bond with each of them.  I knew their suffering.

Help is such a tiny word when related to such a BIG issue.  Webster's New World Dictionary used 31 lines to describe this little word - boiled down - "to make things easier."  PTSD is very REAL!  I know how  it feels and what it does to a marriage and family, my heart carries the scars.

I am only one WOMAN, who has spent half-her-life in the shadow of PTSD - either living with my husband's disorder, or writing about living with his PTSD.  I never knew at the time that I had developed PTSD by association.  Few know the heartbreak and terror, until they have lived with someone caught in the strangle-hold of this illness.  To be in the trenches with a ticking time bomb for what seemed like an eternity.  

In sharing my story, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic, I hope to AWAKEN the world to the devastating aftermath of war living among us, and comfort those trapped in the trenches, knowing they are not alone.

But how can my memoir help disarm a veteran's horror buried deep within his MEMORY before it explodes?  How can I help defuse and neutralize it?  How?

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.            ~Edward Everett Hale

One day, I had an AHA moment . . . and I knew what I must do!

My book is the only means I have of reaching other families, and our world, living with this nightmare.  I have no idea how many lives will be TOUCHED by my story, but I knew I wanted to donate a portion of each book sold to help veteran's caught on this crazy merry-go-round called PTSD.

I fervently began a search on the internet.  I was familiar with Wounded Warriors, who provide services to severely injured veterans during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life.  Large corporations donate heavily to large, well-established groups.
My quest was to find a GROUP that deals specifically with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.  ~Norman B. Rice

One afternoon, I Skyped my sister in Ohio to chat.  It was then she told me she had watched a TV program the night before about veteran's with PTSD being rehabilitated using RESCUED dogs. 
"I wrote the name down, so I wouldn't forget to tell you," she said, holding a piece of paper up to the eye of her webcam. 
Here was the organization I had been looking for.  It was PERFECT - and from my sister! xo
"Pets for Vets" - Helping Our Brave Veterans Heal with a little help from Man's Best Friend
Their goal is to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a shelter dog who is specially selected to match his or her personality.  Professional animal trainers rehabilitate the dogs and teach them good manners to fit into the veteran's lifestyle.  Training can also include desensitization to wheel chairs or crutches as well as recognizing panic or anxiety disorder behaviors.

It's a win-win relationship . . .

Needy shelter dogs get a second chance at life while giving our returning soldiers a second chance at health and happiness.  The bonds of friendship formed between man and animal have the power to ease the suffering of our troops when they return from overseas . . .

Pets for Vets is a concrete way to thank U.S. Military Veterans for their service . . .

  • Featured on NPR, CBS2 and CNN
  • Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law
  • Serving Veterans in Southern California, Washington State, Florida and Michigan
  • With each veteran-dog match they provide all the necessary equipment for them to start their new life together

Currently, they're only in four states.  My VISION is to help donate enough so that Pets for Vets can gradually expand into every state in the nation, then into every city in that state.  Our veterans come from every corner of our country - I'd like to reach them all.  I can dream, can't I?

Please check Pets for Vets online, if you have any questions.  You may feel drawn to contribute a single donation dedicated to a veteran in your own life.

My tentative book release date is still set for July 4th, 2012, which gives me less than 4 months to get everything in place.  At this moment that seems impossible . . . but I'm not giving up.

Lessons learned . . . My two cents

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.                                           ~William Penn