I’m pleased today to share Don Burton’s words on his long and arduous journey with PTSD after serving in combat during the Vietnam War, three tours. I’m looking forward to reading his book soon and I’ll be posting a review here thereafter.
I believe the thoughts he shares in this introspective piece can bring new insights to those of us struggling with the disorder, or as Don so aptly refers to it as, The Beast.
Combat PTSD – One Veterans’ Journey to Control the Beast
I thought January 9, 1970 was the end of my involvement with the military and the Vietnam War. That was the day I was discharged from the US Navy after having completed three tours to Vietnam, two of which took me “in-country” often with various Marine elements. Now 44 years later, at times, I am back there. PTSD, or PTSS as it was called then, takes me there instantly. To me, PTSD isn’t what many people believe. From first hand, I know it is an insidious thing, a beast that is opportunistic and nearly impossible to kill completely. Weird things can awaken it, sounds, smell, visuals and even moods, especially depression. It is hard to guard against and impossible to predict when it will raise its head. So what do you do about it? Here is what I did.
I spent many years at Vet Centers in group counseling, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. It helped. My wife of nearly 40 years has probably been the best healing agent as she is a good detached listener when the beast is present. But recognizing what the beast we call PTSD is and its power over us or more precisely the power we allow it to have over us is a key. Another major key is to give it a path out. For many years I kept it all inside. Nobody knew I had any problems. As the saying goes, I just sucked it up. It was killing me. One evening after a frightful bout with the trauma nearly breaking me, my wife suggested that I write it down. I did, slowly. Over the next ten plus years, when it raised its head, I wrote it down. Over time writing it down made me begin to feel like I was in control. Then I read and read and re-read my journal. Continue reading 'Don Burton, Vietnam Combat Vet, Tells His PTSD Story'»