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).
  


5 comments:

  1. Dear Nancy.
    One of my children suffers from PTSD . After serving in Iraq in 2003 to 2004
    Served in the Arny in Psyop . The PTSD is becoming more and more Prevalent. There is NO Continuity Of Care for these Vets . Having to counsel with a 60 something Social Worker with her own agenda. Really only wanting to know about sexual function and asking if there was ever a gang rape. The Veteran shocked and more traumatized. There is no protocol. Then having to wait for 2 more weeks to see the Psychiatrist.
    I will do what I can to help. Please tell me what to do.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Shabby and Frills,
      I sent a reply to the email address at your blog site, but I don't think that email is active.

      First of all, there are compassionate people with the VA waiting to help. It doesn't sound like the psychiatrist you used is with the VA. You need to help your son find another counselor. VA has hotlines where he can talk with other vets who have been where he has been and who will direct him the best way to go.

      VA has many different resources to choose from, men who will walk side by side with your son. Please check out my blog dated April 13, 2013, entitled PTSD/Diary of a Vet's Wife/Truth and Vulnerability, where I've listed some of these numbers. So much is on the internet that wasn't available when my husband suffered with PTSD. You're blessed because people are there to help. And rather than wait 2 weeks for an appointment, call the hotline and tell them the problem.

      Please do this for your son's sake. He needs your love and guidance at this time. I'd love to hear back from you. I put my email address on the other message I left, or reply again here.

      You're in my thoughts and prayers,
      Nancy

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  2. Dearest Nancy & friend....
    Within 30 days of each other I have been notified of 2 serviceman who could no longer fight their demons....suicide was their only way out. The first was a Soldier of the Army...the 2nd & most recent of only a few days...a Marine. As I fight the struggle of being told to stay away because of who I am & what I stand for & wanting to be there as a 'person who cares'....I can't help but realize all too many say they understand, they want to help the family, the mother, etc...maybe they really don't. I've been told recent that I want to make things about 'me' but yet....they're not allowing me 'in' to reach out to the family to see how they truly feel. Our government does not recognize these 'Fallen Heroes' so their death is never noted on the DoD websites....a tragedy because those that are close to them don't think the general public cares. How can we educate the 'civilians of this Country' when the families are so afraid of them being referred to as 'cowards' or 'sick' that they don't announce their loved ones died by suicide? It's as if they're ashamed because this is what 'society' has taught us. They don't have the plaque, leprosy, a contagious disease, etc...they're not crazy! They're troubled....demons that live inside of their minds that won't go away....demons caused by many, many different issues in life...among our Armed Forces...it's usually a War. My heart breaks for those that have lost a loved one that was a victim of suicide....for they themselves are victims that are left behind. If only one day....everyone will one day be able to stand tall & tell the world what you have ......it's a struggle, it's pain, it's emotional pain, it's hard way of life for them...& to those that are left behind. Never be ashamed.... Pray for a better world...a better understanding for those that could not fight any longer.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Dawn,

      I'm so sorry to hear that you've had two more deaths related to PTSD in a month. This is more than heartbreaking, it should never get this far. Sons and daughters all over the country are caught up in this epidemic because they went to war, ordered by our government. It must be stopped.

      I don't know how, other than to help the public understand what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is, and what it does to family and friends of our warriors all over this country. This disorder is nothing shameful, no more than having cancer. But it must be caught and treated early because the longer it goes the worse it gets. I know, I've been there.

      Dawn, thank you again for loving our vets and their families, and the long days, weeks and months you've spent sharing, consoling and grieving with these families. You're an amazing woman.

      God bless you and your dedication to this cause.
      Love, Nancy

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  3. Sounds like you deserve congratulations on several levels. Congratulations on getting your computer problem solved and getting back to blogging. Congratulations on the letter from the first lady! And most of all, congratulations for your involvement with Pets for Vets. A dog can be the best stress reliever known to Man, better than any medication. I am touched by the story of Steve and Whiskey. Thanks for making me aware of this wonderful program.

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