I’m continually amazed by the growing resources for combat veterans and their families.
I’ve recently become aware of “Combat Relief,” which is a mission of “The Grant Humanitarian Foundation” based in San Francisco, California. From the website, we learn:
The Grant Humanitarian Foundation’s mission is to care for America’s military men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Specifically, the Foundation helps nurture back to health American troops suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Continue reading 'PTSD-Affected Returning Combat Vets – Combat Relief'»
More thoughts from Richard Danielson’s article “They Wage a War Far from the Battlefield”:
To count as PTSD, the symptoms such as nightmares, insomnia, or flashbacks, must have lasted more than a month, and must have hurt the patient’s ability to function at work or in relationships. A key factor in the diagnosis is being directly exposed to a traumatic event. This wasn’t the case with psychologist Sunich’s patient, a wife of a deployed soldier.
Tom Berger, a senior analyst for veterans benefits and mental health issues for the Vietnam Vets of America notes, “There’s a lot of research to show that partners and spouses and kids suffer from secondary PTSD.”
A 2005 study of the fmilies of Dutch peacekeepers found that partners of soldiers with PTSD symptoms reported more trouble sleeping and marital problems than partners of soldiers with no symptoms. Dr. Carri-Ann Gibson, director of the PTSD and trauma recovery program at James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida, says “If somebody is with you and they’re constantly hypervigilant … you can sometimes take on that kind of anxiety.” Continue reading 'Military Spouses and Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'»
In an article by Richard Danielson, he writes of an interview with psychologist Michael Sunich. Sunich had a new patient come in one day. She looked so “put together” with her collar-length bob, dark blazer and big diamond ring. She made a good first impression.
Yet within minutes, he saw she was anything but. She wrung her hands and cried easily, recalling nightmares and panic attacks. Six months before, her soldier-husband had returned from a 16-month deployment to Iraq. He was unhurt and untroubled. But she was a wreck. Continue reading 'Spouses of Soldiers Deployed Often Exhibit Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'»
I love it when I find another terrific website for vets. Lest We Forget-PTSD Family and Military Support Group, is a “peer to peer, veteran to veteran, family to family support group with the belief that PTSD is not just your problem nor does it just affect you.” They are based in Charleston, West Virginia, where they offer a safe and private meeting place, complete with free child care.
Even if you are not in the area, you can benefit by visiting the website. They note “PTSD affects everyone around you but most of all the people who love you most, your family and friends. Our belief is that by helping not only the person suffering from PTSD but the family and loved ones, the road to healing will be less difficult by not having to go this alone.”
The site offers excellent articles and resources. But most importantly, it shares real life struggles with combat vets and their families, and how they are navigating their personal PTSD journeys. Two of their statements particularly stood out for me: Continue reading 'Another Great Website for Combat Vets and Their Families'»
I just found this organization today. Taryn Davis, just 23 years young, was looking forward to a happy life with her soul mate, Michael. Then on May 1, 2007, her dreams of their future life together, died. Michael had been killed by a series of roadside bombs just an hour and a half after they’d last spoken.
Lost and alone in the new world she was thrust into, Taryn began traveling around the country to hear other women’s stories of love, tragedy, and survival. She hoped to learn more about her new title, that of a “military widow.” Those first steps in adjusting to her new life, have resulted in a non-profit corporation, a 75 minute documentary film, and a growing website. She has embraced her new life with enthusiam and passion.
Her mission statement reads “ The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter … Military Widow to Military Widow.” Continue reading 'The American Widow Project Offers Hope, Solace, and Sisterhood'»
Toby Rice Drews is one of the best experts on the subject of alcoholism, that I’ve found. Her free newsletter called “Getting Them Sober” is available on www.GettingThemSober.com.
She is an experienced licensed social worker/counselor, who has written numerous articles and best-selling books on alcoholism, and its devasting effects on the alcoholic and their family.
In “Getting Them Sober- Volume 1″ she writes, “Alcoholism isn’t just drinking. It’s a ‘family disease.’ It causes the wife and kids to become as addicted to the alcoholic as the alcoholic is to the booze.
While the alcoholic lies passed out, anesthetized, his family goes through the years of his drinking-stark, raving sober. Their world is like no sane family’s world. They believe lies, expect miracles, have him locked up, bail him out, wish he were dead, and pray that he gets home safely.” Continue reading 'Loved One Drinking Too Much? Educate Yourself with a Top-Notch Expert, and She’s Free!'»
Read some interesting stuff today, from Matthew Tull, PhD, on About.com. In an article on “The Benefits of Group Therapy for PTSD,” he talks about the benefits of “validation.” He notes that in a group setting, other people with PTSD (or loved ones with PTSD) may be able to recognize and “validate” what you are going through, because they have had similar experiences.
It reminded me of an experience I had, that I believe is worth sharing. Many years after my divorce from my Nam vet, I was still hurting and wondering what I had done wrong in the relationship. Logically, I knew I’d been a loyal partner. But there was still that lingering feeling that I’d failed somehow.
I read about a lecture and workshop that was coming up. Patience Mason, the wife of Robert Mason, who flew helicopters in Nam (and wrote the bestseller, Chickenhawk) was giving a speech about combat-related PTSD. I went to hear her, and heard first-hand, that she knows her stuff. Unfortunately, I only found her book Recovering from the War- A Guide for All Veterans, Family Members. Friends and Therapists, long after my divorce. Continue reading 'Validation and Recognition Helps Heal PTSD'»