Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vietnam Veteran's Daughter Struggles to Make Sense of PTSD

A Daughter Struggles to Make Sense of PTSD
The California Report
State of Health

He tried committing suicide when I was 11 years old. And we saw it as a huge cry for help because he did it in the parking lot of the VA hospital in Loma Linda.

Twenty-one-year old Caitlin Bryant lost her father, Richard Lewis Bryant, to a heart attack in 2008. But she and her brother Mitchell had grown up watching him battle a war within himself after returning from serving in Vietnam. As part of our first-person series What’s Your Story, Caitlin Bryant describes what her family’s life was like, living with her father’s illness.

My dad suffered really badly from PTSD -– post-traumatic stress disorder. And that was due to the traumatic things that he had seen in the war and he never really sought proper treatment.

“He tried committing suicide when I was 11 years old. And we saw it as a huge cry for help because he did it in the parking lot of the VA hospital.”He just never seemed comfortable. He never seemed at peace. He always seemed like he was trying to relax and he could never fully relax.

He started doing a lot of drugs –- specifically speed -– to kind of alter his reality and see a different side of things from the war.

They put him in the psychiatric unit of the hospital for a week. He kind of just tried to laugh it off and play it off with me and Mitchell saying, “Do you really think I belong with these crazy people here?” You know like, “Ha, ha ha.”

It was really hard for us. We were really confused. And we knew how much my dad loved us, but we didn’t know that it still wouldn’t be enough for him to not want to go.

He tried to tell us that Mitchell and I were all that was keeping him alive. And I really believed him until that had happened. And he still tried saying even after that, you know, “I’m so sorry that this happened and I know now more than ever that you and Mitchell are my sole reasons to stay alive and to try and make it right in this world.”

But he was struggling. He never got the help that he needed.
read more here

Sunday, July 28, 2013

War fighters justified even when reason for war was not

War fighters justified even when reason for war was not
De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 28, 2013

When humans do something unselfish, end up suffering for it afterwards, we tend to forget why we even tried. We may try to save a life but if they die, we blame ourselves for missing something we should have done. When we try to stop someone from committing suicide, it is even worse. We keep torturing ourselves believing we failed them. We can't see how many other factors contributed to the anguish that made them want to leave.

Doing something for a good reason with a bad outcome eats away at our core. Believe me, I know how that feels. When we act on what our heart tells us to do, end up feeling used and betrayed, we think it is our fault and the next time, we are not so willing to even try again.

For the men and women in the military it is even worse. They have a good reason to want to go into the military. Sometimes it is because someone they admire in their family served. Sometimes it is because they never thought of doing anything else. It is a good reason to want to serve the country and an even better reason when they want to save the lives of others.

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the "moral injury" veterans must face to heal Combat PTSD. Like many before them, the reason they were sent pushes the reason they wanted to serve into the fog of war. This fog goes far beyond the battlefield. It makes it very hard to focus on the beginning when the end brought so much pain.

Here is yet another article on this "moral injury" that shows how people still do not understand this timeless wound.
Stafford: ‘Moral Injury’ follows troops home from war
Metro West
By Meg Stafford
Guest Columnist
Posted Jul 27, 2013

Suicide among veterans now outpaces combat death. This stunning fact is something to be taken seriously and understood if we are to arrest the trend.

Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist who has studied and written extensively about this attributes the deep unrest to a condition he calls “Moral Injury.” He states that this type of injury (not illness) is sustained when “there has been a betrayal of what’s right by someone who holds legitimate authority in a high stakes situation.”

The distinction between Moral Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, another recognized result of time spent around combat, is that PTSD happens TO a soldier. It is not a stretch to imagine witnessing death or dismemberment of comrades being traumatizing. Human beings cannot simply switch off the emotions that arise from this, nor can they shut down the responses that have developed over a period of months as an absolute survival mechanism in an extraordinarily taxing environment.

Moral injury is about the inner conflict that surfaces as veterans examine the role they play in the killing that occurs, whether it is giving the order, relaying communication about where and when to drop bombs, or direct assault of another. This cannot be new. For as long as there have been wars, there must have been some individuals who question their responsibility and grappled with what is right and who defines that.
read more here

Achilles in Vietnam is one of the best books on Combat PTSD and the wound that lives within every man and women sent into combat. Everyone? Yes, everyone. No one ever comes back from combat the same way they entered it. All of them change. They carry it with them and taking off their uniform does not strip away what they went through.

Sometimes it is change in a good way but that depends on how they justify what they did. If they are emotionally mature and have a strong sense of self, they are able to retain the original intent and that overcomes any negative thoughts they have. They stop letting the reasons the war was begun and focus on what they contributed for the sake of the others they were with. In other words, the reasons were above their pay grade. Politicians start wars, congress comes up with the money or debt approval and brass comes up with the plans. The rest is up to the men and women sent to carry all of it out with what the chain of command has provided them with.

A good place to start is with the controversy centering on Vietnam. History has shown the reasons given for sending the troops there were not honorable however the actions of the war fighters were to still honored. 246 Vietnam War heroes earned Medal of Honor with 154 posthumously but while the war itself may have been wrong, the actions of these heroes did not become worth less. The lives of the fallen and the thousands of wounded were not less valuable just because some view their suffering as a waste. They no more wasted their lives than anyone else doing something for a good reason. They didn't risk their lives for any other reason than for the others they were with.

So that you have a better understanding of how rare these men and woman were 3,459 different individuals received the Medal of Honor out of millions in different wars. "Only one woman has received the Medal of Honor. Dr. Mary E. Walker was given the award by President Andrew Johnson on November 11, 1865 for her work as a Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon in a series of battles from First Bull Run in 1861 to the Battle of Atlanta in 1864."

The average age of the G.I. in 'Nam was 19 and 97% of Vietnam era vets were honorably discharged. Larry Smedley was an 18 year old Corporal when he earned the award with his life. Sammy Davis was only 21 and was a Private at the time of his actions to save the lives of others. Here are just a few more of the others.
List of Medal of Honor recipients for the Vietnam War

James Anderson Jr., Richard Anderson, John Baca, Donald Ballard, Jedh Barker, John Barnes III, Ted Belcher, Leslie Bellrichard, Michael R. Blanchfield, Hammett L. Bowen, Jr., Bruce W. Carter, Peter S. Connor, Thomas Creek, Larry Dahl, Rodney Davis, Emilio A. De La Garza, Jr., Douglas E. Dickey, Daniel Fernandez, Charles C. Fleek, Michael F. Folland, Paul H. Foster, Frank R. Fratellenico, Peter M. Guenette, Robert W. Hartsock, Frank A. Herda, Charles E. Hosking, Jr., James D. Howe, George Ingalls, Robert Jenkins, Ralph Johnson, Donald Johnston, Steven Karopczyc, Terry T. Kawamura, Allan Kellogg, Thomas Kinsman, Garfield Langhorn, Robert Law, Donald Long, Garry Miller, Frank Molnar, James Monroe, David Nash, Kenneth Olson, William Perkins Jr., Jimmy Phipps, Larry Pierce, Laszlo Rabel, Anund Roark, Ruppert L. Sargent, Ruppert L. Sargent, William Stout, Robert Stryker, John Warren Jr., Dale Wayrynen, Roy Wheat, Dewayne Williams, Alfred Wilson and Kenneth Worley covered explosive devices with their bodies to save others.

Vincent R. Capodanno a Chaplain, was killed while trying to rescue a wounded corpsman and Angelo Liteky, Chaplain who carried 20 wounded men from the battlefield under heavy fire who later renounced his medal of honor and Charles J. Watters chaplain who sacrificed himself to rescue several wounded men.

Raymond M. Clausen, Jr. went into a minefield to save others.
In every case they were willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of others. Were their lives wasted? Were their lives worth any less because the reasons they had to go into combat were subjected to debate? No, their lives mattered to the men they were with almost as much as they mattered to their families back home.

This is how to justify what the men and women did no matter how worthy or unworthy the cause of war was.

The moral injury comes in many different forms. When you add in the reasons behind the war it adds to what they carry within them.

When they think about what they did and the actual reason they did it, it helps them heal.

The last part is forgiveness. Forgiving their opponents, knowing they are forgiven for whatever they need to be forgiven for and forgiving themselves is how to get out of the darkness. Until experts understand this, many more will suffer needlessly.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Are veterans men or mice?

Are veterans men or mice?
De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 27, 2013

There have been many reports of researchers tackling PTSD using mice. Mice? Yes, mice. Now they are implanting false memories in mice as if that has anything to do with being a veteran with PTSD. "The technique could lead to treatments for phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder in humans."

While the report comes out of Australia, they are doing it here in the US as well, among many other stupid mice tricks that would make even David Letterman blush.

While some researchers have done good work, especially with the brain scans of PTSD veterans along with showing the benefits of the holistic approach addressing the spirituality of veterans, not much else new has come out over the last decade.

That sends chills down the spines of researchers around the world looking toward the US for guidance. They are now sure after over 40 years of mind-numbing money being wasted we are still not using what works. We're seeing the results of our failures in the rise of military suicides, multiple attempted suicides within the military and as veterans go without proper care.

We see the bad numbers rise. The military scratches their heads trying to find excuses when the answer to their failure has been right under their nose for years. "Resilience" training is part of the problem, proven by the devastating rise in suicides, yet they push it pretending it is the solution. The VA has done a better job but when we consider that 57% of suicides tied to military service occurred after seeking treatment, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what they have doesn't work either.

What we know is totally different than what they have managed to consider. It is human nature not rodent.

How can mice know what it is like to have survivor guilt? Feel as if someone's death is their fault? Believe they are unworthy of love? What it is like to feel as if you just don't matter anymore, that what you did didn't mean anything or worse, that what you did was evil?

Do they know what it is like to pray from the pit of their soul? To need to be forgiven? To need to forgive someone else? Or do they know what it is like to carry around guilt because they cannot forgive themselves? Do they know what it is like to have hope slip away? Or to wake up one day when you can't even remember what having hope felt like?

Would a mouse risk life for another mouse? Never seen that done. Do they know what it is like to love strangers so deeply that their lives means more than their own?

While brains are pretty much all the same mechanically, they can only show what researchers are looking for. Under stress brains react. Terrorize a subject and they will react differently to the introduction of that terror again, no matter if it happens of not as long as the threat is there, they fear. Every creature on the planet experiences fear and learns from what they survived. Not every creature on the planet knows what it is like to grieve.

Don't wait for science to study the soul in relationship to Combat PTSD because if they can't see it, it doesn't matter and that, that is the answer they have been missing all along.

Want to see your veteran heal? Then fight the battle for them when they come home. They loved enough to be willing to die. You have to love them enough to fight to keep them alive.

Help them remember why they wanted to serve in the first place and that it was because they loved and that is one of the biggest reasons you still love them. If they did not have the ability to love that much, they wouldn't grieve as much as they do now.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Veterans of Long-Past Wars Find Hope in PTSD Diagnosis

Some seem to want to go on pretending that PTSD is a new injury hitting only Afghanistan and Iraq veterans but the truth is, it is as old as the Bible. They didn't use the words but if you read the words of King David in Psalms along with many others, you will clearly see it. Every war has caused this but it used to be called different names. The outcome has always been the same. We train them to go then leave them on their own coming home.
Veterans of Long-Past Wars Find Hope in PTSD Diagnosis
The California Report
Reporter: Scott Shafer

More than a quarter-million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but younger vets aren’t the only ones dealing with it. Even today, veterans from conflicts as far back as World War II struggle with symptoms.

Donald Foster, an 86-year-old veteran of World War II, only recently began getting treatment for his PTSD. As a soldier in Japan, he worked in a Japanese orphanage. He said it made him feel patriotic -- at first.

“But when you see these little tykes dropping dead from aplastic anemia, and the burns on adults wandering around dazed before they died of radiation sickness -- rather than make me more patriotic I just felt, I just threw up,” Foster said.

After he returned home, he married, had several children and began an impressive career. His work with the United Nations and World Bank took him to dozens of nations. He retired about five years ago.

All that globe-trotting helped mask his struggles with depression and anger, issues he never linked back to his military service. But two years ago, after a massive earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami, the scenes of devastation brought back a flood of memories.

He had an urgent, almost desperate, need to find out what happened to the kids he saw on television.

That incident led him to Grass Valley psychologist Page Brown, who works with veterans. She said PTSD symptoms are very often triggered by scenes of war, violence or devastation.

Foster was diagnosed with PTSD about two years ago. He said he didn't expect to learn that his symptoms were related to his military experience. Brown said that's not an unusual reaction of older vets.
read more here

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Major news stories of PTSD veterans and suicides ignored

On JULY 18th the Army released suicide report totals April and May
Army Releases May 2013 Suicide Information

For April 2013, the Army reported 11 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers: five have been confirmed as suicides and six are under investigation.

The Army released suicide data today for the month of May 2013. During May, among active-duty soldiers, there were 12 potential suicides. None have been confirmed as suicides and 12 remain under investigation.

For calendar year 2013, there have been 64 potential active-duty suicides: 31 have been confirmed as suicides and 33 remain under investigation. Updated active-duty suicide numbers for calendar year (CY) 2012: 183 (162 have been confirmed as suicides and 21 remain under investigation).

For April 2013, among that same group, the Army reported 16 potential suicides; however, subsequent to the report, one more case was added bringing April’s total to 17 (14 Army National Guard and three Army Reserve). None have been confirmed as suicides and 17 cases remain under investigation.

During May 2013, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 10 potential suicides (eight Army National Guard and two Army Reserve). None have been confirmed as suicides and 10 remain under investigation.

For CY 2013, there have been 70 potential not on active duty suicides (45 Army National Guard and 25 Army Reserve): 22 have been confirmed as suicides and 48 remain under investigation. Updated not on active duty suicide numbers for CY 2012: 140 (93 Army National Guard and 47 Army Reserve). Of these, 138 have been confirmed as suicides and two remain under investigation.

This is the 4th week of July yet they have not released the June suicide numbers along with the entire report for 2012 Suicide Event Report This is the data researchers depend on to get the facts. It isn't as if they can really trust what they are told since we've all been told too many things that turned out to not be true too many times before.

While journalists have been focusing on Zimmerman, Anthony Weiner there were two families searching for sons they loved, both with PTSD and both lost their lives.

FORT CAMPBELL, KY. — A family member of Spc. Brandon David Bertolo has confirmed that the body found in a Fort Campbell training area Friday morning is that of the 23-year-old “Strike” Brigade soldier, missing since July 14.

In California it was the family of Erik Jorgenson searching for him. "On Thursday night he sent out a mass text message basically saying he was a waste of oxygen on this earth," said Cindy Crow, Erik’s mother. A message to make a mother's heart stop but their search came to a sad end as well.

You may think you know what is going on if you watch the news but you really don't know what else is happening and that is really sad. Our troops and veterans deserve so much better and so do their families.

Over the next couple of weeks there won't be much posting done here since I had to take a temp job to pay my bills. I'll post as much as I can but if you don't see anything here make sure to to do the tab up top for Wounded Times.

Monday, July 22, 2013

These Generals are not in PTSD denial

If you are new to discovering Combat PTSD, here is a great video report on Generals talking about their own unseen wound.

Uploaded on Mar 9, 2009
Two Army generals talked to CNNs Barbara Starr about their experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in hopes that it will convince more suffering soldiers to come forward.

Brig. General Gary S. Patton and Gen. Carter Ham have both sought counseling for the emotional trauma of their time in the Iraq war.

One of our soldiers in that unit, Spec. Robert Unruh, took a gunshot wound to the torso, I was involved in medevacing him off the battlefield. And in a short period of time, he died before my eyes, Patton told CNN in an exclusive interview. Thats a memory [that] will stay with me the rest of my life.

Ham was the commander in Mosul when a suicide bomber blew up a mess tent. Twenty-two people died.

The 21st of December, 2004, worst day of my life. Ever, Ham said. To this day I still ask myself what should I have done differently, what could I have done as the commander responsible that would have perhaps saved the lives of those soldiers, sailors, civilians.

Both generals have been back from Iraq for years, but still deal with some of the symptoms of the stress they experienced.

This video is from, broadcast Mar. 9, 2009.

General Carter Ham

PTSD:Maj. General David Blackledge shows what courage is back home

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Have you forgiven yet?

Have you forgiven yet?
De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 21, 2013

Some people may tell you "get over it" or forget about it. Totally wrong and unrealistic advice because you are not supposed to forget about it or get over it the way they think you can.

Picture a huge wall. You are standing on the side with a huge dark cloud over your head. On the other side of the wall there is sunshine, green grass, shady trees and wildflowers. You know what you could be living in but that wall is in your way. You try to climb it, but you slip and fall. You try to break it down but it is just built too strongly and withstands anything you try to do. That wall has been built on pain, regrets, hardships and heartaches.

On your side you see hopelessness, friends walking away as you push your family away. You convince yourself you are perfectly fine on your own and don't want anyone in your life anyway. After all, they'll never understand you anyway.

There are still moments when you feel the loneliness. Looking over the wall you see people your age with their families. Holding hands with their spouse. Picking their kids up with a smile on their face and you want what they have. You want to feel love again. To know what it is like to have someone touch your hand and you don't want them to let go. No one is on your side of the wall. Or at least that is the way it seems.

They were there all along. You just didn't notice. Too many other things were taking place. Things were done to you that were bad. You may have done bad things. So what do you do now? Do you stay on that dark side of the wall or do you find a way over to the other side? Are you really happy there in the dark?

The first step is to build stairs to get you over the wall.

The base has to be strong or you'll sink in the mud. The foundation begins with looking backwards. From the start. Ask yourself why you wanted to join the military in the first place. What was training like and what drove you when your body wanted to give up? What caused strangers to become your friends? What was it like when you discovered they would die for you? What did it feel like to think about you may have to die for them?

What was it like when you arrived on your base the first time? What was it like seeing everything for the first time? Believe it or not, you brought along everything that happened in your life to that point in time. All your hopes, dreams, failures and successes went with you. Everyone that did something for you as well as against you is part of you. The good they did makes you happy but the harm done caused harm to the way you see yourself.

Add in combat. Add in the fact people were trying to kill you. Weigh that against the ones willing to die for you. If you focused more on your opponents you were trying to stop, it was hard to be able to see your comrades you were trying to save.

Seeing the good that was there even in horrible moments is the next step to build on. It is so much easier for people to focus on bad. It has a stronger hold on your memories. Much like a horror movie captures your attention more strongly than a comedy does, it works the same way. Newspapers are always filled with the bad for a reason. It is human nature. It is also human nature to look for hope within the stories we read. How did they survive? How did they move on with their lives? Why didn't they just give up?

At the end of a horror movie there is a survivor and that makes the make-believe seem real. If the only survivor was the monster, you'd ask for your money back because it made you feel as if you were ripped off and wasted your time.

Sometimes after deployment you may feel as if you have become a monster. You watched people die. Your enemies as well as your friends. If all you focused on were the bad outcomes, those events become the most powerful. If you have no reminders of the good, then you are left without hope. If you do not know the parts of who you were before survived, then you cannot see how strong you were to go through it in the first place.

Remind yourself of what was good. Did you see one of your buddies do something good? Did you do anything good? Did you shed a tear? Say a prayer? Feel compassion at any point? It is a safe bet that a lot of that happened but you didn't remember it. Much like the reasons you had to join in the first place are forgotten once you are doing what you wanted to do, good intentions didn't change but you did.

The next to the last step is to forgive others.

Look at yourself. Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to forgive your enemies? Do you need to forgive your friends? Your Commanding Officers? Your families? Did someone say something that hurt you? Did they think it was funny to tease you when you needed them to listen instead? Did they judge you or blame you for something? You need to forgive all of them no matter what it was.

A Marine told me the story of how he was sick one night he was supposed to go out on patrol. A buddy took his place. They were ambushed and the buddy died. When the rest of the men came back, one of then blamed him. "It should have been you and not him." He knew he was too sick to go but that didn't ease his judgment against himself for a time. Then anger took over and he was angry at everyone in his unit. Only one blamed him but the others didn't stand up for him, so he blamed all of them.

He had to forgive them before he was able to start to heal. He understood they were trying to make sense out of what happened and wanted an easy answer. Blaming him was just the easy way out for what they went through.

Forgiving others is hard but the last step is the hardest.

If you believe in Christ then you know you are forgiven by God for whatever you feel you need to be forgiven for. You still have to ask others to forgive you if you did intentionally cause them pain. The hardest person to get to forgive you is in fact you.

Look back on what you had for reasons to do what you did and then look at what happened before that.

A National Guardsman was on patrol in Iraq one night when a car started to get too close. The Iraqis were warned to stay away from convoys. It kept getting closer. Suicide car bombers were a constant threat along with bombs planted in the roads. It kept coming closer and faster. He had to open fire. When they went to see who was in the car, it was a Dad driving with his wife and kids in the back seat. He blamed himself for killing that family. It nearly destroyed him. He was wounded and sent back home.

When he came home, he didn't think he deserved his wife or kids. By the time he tried to commit suicide for the second time, it was all gone. His wife and kids went their separate way. His Mom had gotten to the point where she couldn't take it anymore and was sick of his drinking and lies. He ended up sleeping on couches of friends that let him stay the night. Virtually homeless and thinking of suicide for the third time, he was walked back over the whole event.

I asked him what his worse nightmare was and he told me the story with the beginning and end but the middle wasn't mentioned. I started to ask him questions to help him remember what was was missing.

He told me how he shouted, prayed, screamed, threw rocks and fired warning shots in the air.

I asked him what he was thinking. He said all he could think about was that it could be a suicide car bomber and his buddies would get killed.

Then I reminded him there was no way for him to know who was in the car.

A little while later he was able to forgive himself as well as the Dad for making the bad decision that caused him to do what he felt was the only thing he could do. He also forgave him for causing all the pain he had to deal with since that night.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
He was forgiven all the way around. He forgave the people he needed to, including himself and then started to heal. He made it over the wall. You can too.

This isn't magic. It has been known since man first went to war with other nations. It has been recorded in the Bible going back centuries. When we forgive others, it is for our own sake because of all the damage we do to ourselves by refusing to forgive.

So have you forgiven yet?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Seminar aims to help faith-based ministries reach out to returning vets

Seminar aims to help faith-based ministries reach out to returning vets
By Alan Collins
Posted: Jul 19, 2013

A meeting is set for Auburn in August to get the faith-based community involved in helping returning veterans.

A seminar will be sponsored by Governor Robert Bentley's Office of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service.

"We got 2,000 returning veterans coming into our state and we really think they have various issues. Sometimes it's PTSD or just re-entry issues," Jon Mason, Director of Faith-Based and Volunteer Service, said.

It's estimated that 4,000 of the 400,000 returning veterans are affected by post-traumatic stress syndrome and of that number five percent are contemplating suicide.
read more here

Over 30 years ago I began to walk a path that will only end the day I die. If someone asked me when I planned to end this work, I would have expressed the hope that I would return to "normal" life after ten years. Back then I thought if I could figure all this out, so could everyone else and there would be no need for my efforts.

Then it was a matter of the internet taking off. Thousands of veterans started telling their stories online and so did their families. You'd think that would have been enough but as we've seen in the deadly results of suicides and attempted suicides, it doesn't even come close. There is too much disinformation confusing too many.

For as long as I've been doing this, Point Man International Ministries has been there as well. I am very proud to be State Coordinator of Florida for this group. Point Man Ministries, PTSD Moral Code Talkers is based on what Point Man has been doing since 1984.

Researchers are finally understanding the spiritual aspect of PTSD and the moral injury. What they have yet to understand is that there are as many types of PTSD as there are causes and no one size fits all answer. For the combat veterans PTSD is much different. The only thing that comes close is law enforcement because their profession deals with the use of force in order to protect others. For the war fighters, they must use force for the same outcome and that is what causes the deepest level of PTSD. They were willing to lay down their lives for the sake of others but dealing with the results was not in their training manuals. It is in their souls.

On Wounded Times there are over 100 posts on spiritual healing. None of this is new. It is as old as the days when King David wrote in Psalms about the spiritual battles he had to fight. Healing PTSD must include the spiritual part of the war fighter or it will not work to heal. It may get them by from one day to the next but as we have seen, the results are prolonging suffering instead of healing.

If you are able to attend this conference or any in your area, make sure you go so you can learn what has been forgotten about all these years. If you want to really help veterans heal, it has to begin inside where it all started. In my ministering to veterans and their families I suggest The Robe, epic movie on healing Combat PTSD because it covers just about everything veterans are going through and it came out in 1953. It has survivor guilt, flashbacks, hearing things, love, compassion, forgiveness and above all, healing the souls.

Reconnect to the healer within yourself

New Theory of PTSD and Veterans? Not new and not theory

Iraq veteran with PTSD wrote book so his kids would understand him

A Veteran's Piercing True Story Leaps From Page To Stage
July 20, 2013

Iraq veteran Brian Castner wrote a book about his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder for his kids, so they could someday know what he'd been going through when he came home from war.

"The first thing you should know about me is that I'm crazy," Castner writes in the opening passage of his 2012 memoir, The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows. "I haven't always been. Until that one day, the day I went crazy, I was fine. Or I thought I was. Not anymore."

Castner discovered that he'd lost many memories of family life, perhaps from repeated exposure to bomb blasts. The book, a chronicle of making peace with the changed person he's become, was well-received, and Castner is working on another. It also brought some surprises — including an offer to turn his story into an opera.

"The book is very musical," says Stephanie Fleischman, the librettist of the opera version of The Long Walk.

"It's very fragmented in terms of chronology — it's all the interior of Brian Castner's mind. He uses refrain over and over again; that is already a very musical form." read more here

The Long Walk - A New Opera Based on the Book by Brian Castner

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How much does love matter with Combat PTSD?

How much does love matter with Combat PTSD
De-tour PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 18, 2013

This morning I was reading How much does culture matter for PTSD? on the New Yorker by David Morris. It is a good article but it makes two points that have to be understood. The first one is the most important.
But there are a growing number of psychiatrists and researchers who are challenging our understanding of P.T.S.D.—even its very nature as an ailment. Modern psychiatry, they argue, is locked into a mindset that systematically overdiagnoses P.T.S.D. without nurturing veterans’ ability to heal themselves.

That is exactly what has been understood by researchers for the last 40 years but it is also what has been understood by Point Man International Ministries. Our group started in 1984 addressing the spiritual connection to PTSD. It works. What they need to heal is already inside of them. They just need help reconnecting everything else to it.

This is the other part.
As Jonathan Shay, the author of “Achilles in Vietnam,” shows in his follow-up, “Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming,” while the problem of returning from war is one of humanity’s oldest struggles, the use of P.T.S.D. to frame a wide variety of traumatic experiences is a relatively recent development. The growing criticism of our current understanding of P.T.S.D. suggests that what was once ignored or treated as a failure of character—the soldier’s weakness—has now been medicalized to the exclusion of discussing its moral and spiritual dimensions. “It feels to me as if the U.S. civilian population has pathologized the veteran experience,” Elliott Woods, an Iraq veteran-turned-reporter, told me not long ago. read more here

I don't know many I trust more on PTSD than Shay. I have been a big fan of his for years. If they do not address the spiritual aspect of PTSD, they fail the war fighter. The same quality of the human spirit they carry is what causes the deepest wound but God is marvelous. When He created their souls, He put everything they need inside of it. They have the ability to forgive, but need help doing it. They have the ability to forgive themselves, but need help to do it and see that they are not evil. They need to find peace but some want them to just forget. I have been credited with saving a lot of their lives but the truth is, they did it themselves.

All I did was get them to see all of it in a different way and help them find what they lost. I am a just a guide to what they need to find within themselves.

They are able to see that love lived within them, even in war, no matter what they faced. When they grieved, when they shed a tear or reached out to God for help, love was there. It lived in moments of horror and unimaginable turmoil. It is still alive but buried under the pain they feel.

Once they see that, once they are able to make peace with themselves, they heal. They are not cured. They don't need to be forced to forget. It is all part of them but they do need to be reminded of what they forgot. When they see it differently it did not create a delusion but it did help them acknowledge what else was there.

The best way to heal PTSD is to forgive. Forgive other people and yourself. The reason you feel so much pain is because of where you've been and what you had to go through. Trauma is Greek for wound and your wound is deep inside of you. You need to treat your body, your mind and your soul to heal. The hardest thing to do is forgive yourself for whatever you feel you need it for.

If you grieve, if you still care, know that it because you have the strength within your soul. It is why you hurt so much. Love matters more to you because it caused you to be willing to lay down your life for the sake of someone else.

You can give any answer on why you wanted to join the military but when you consider all answers the basic one is you loved. It matters more than anything else when trying to heal yourself.

You can see more of these videos on Vimeo Wounded Times

'Prolonged exposure' therapy may help vets with PTSD

This can help veterans with PTSD but only if they do it right. It has to be based on the cause of the trauma, which often includes survivor guilt. If they just keep rerunning the events, it won't work. If they make peace with the events, what they did and what was done to them, then it works. Otherwise it is salt in the wound.
'Prolonged exposure' therapy may help vets with PTSD
By Genevra Pittman
Wed Jul 17, 2013

(Reuters Health) - Therapy that involves repeatedly processing painful memories and approaching anxiety-provoking situations in a safe way may ease symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans, a new study suggests.

Although there is good evidence so-called prolonged exposure therapy can help people with PTSD, researchers said most of the data come from civilians, including women who have been sexually assaulted.

"One of the important factors in chronic PTSD is avoidance - avoiding thinking about the trauma and avoiding going to places that remind you of the trauma or are similar," said Edna Foa, head of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and a developer of prolonged exposure therapy.

The idea behind prolonged exposure is "helping the patient confront the memories and confront the situations they avoid," added Foa, who wasn't involved in the new study.

"They realize they can talk about this event, and they don't fall apart. It gives them a sense of control over the memory, rather than the memory controlling them."
read more here

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Make Combat PTSD Hurt So Good

Make Combat PTSD Hurt So Good
De-Tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 17, 2013

Last night I had the strangest dream. When I woke up this morning John Mellencamp's song Hurts So Good was stuck in my head. "Sometimes love don't feel like it should. You make it hurt so good."

How can something so terrible hurt good? When you understand it, you can make peace with it. Take childbirth. When my daughter was born I stopped feeling the pain of labor. It stopped hurting. Our bodies are designed that way. We feel pain but the pain goes away afterwards we heal. We don't pretend it didn't happen. We don't try to block it out. We survive it. That pain turns into something wonderful after our lives were on the line.

It is the same with pain in you are living with after combat. Don't try to pretend it didn't happen and whatever you do, don't put off healing from it. The pain you feel right now is probably about as bad as labor. You have a choice to let it live on inside of you, numb it with drugs and alcohol, or deliver it.

First get out of your mind whatever the military told you. There is no way in hell you could have become "resilient" or trained your way out of it. They still don't get it. The reason you feel so much pain is because you can feel everything more deeply. In other words the strength of your emotions is why you hurt so bad.

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness and all the FUBAR programs they have come up with have been slammed since 2007. In 2009 I put up a post declaring if they pushed this program military suicides would increase. Sadly I was right. It prevented far too many from seeking help. After all, would you admit you needed help after you were told you could prevent it by training right? Would you if you were told you could become "mentally tough" enough? Hell no! But then you'd also have to think about all the others you saw kicked out because they asked for help or saw their hopes of staying in turn into a nightmare.

Most of the veterans and families I work with are among my peers. Vietnam veterans and their families went decades without help yet a lot of us have been married for decades as well. We've seen the worst of what PTSD can do but we've also seen the best come out of it. Our husbands for the most part are deeply involved in helping other veterans. Keep in mind that when these guys came home, there was nothing for them or their families. There was nothing there for mine.

Here's what you can do.

Learn what PTSD really is. Right now if you Google "what is PTSD" you end up with over 21 million answers. Read the links from expert sites but then read some of the groups. Watch the videos on PTSD but make sure you're watching the videos on PTSD associated with combat. You need to understand that PTSD is not as rare as you may think but you also have to learn something the military hasn't told you. Combat PTSD is a different type of it. The only type that comes close is law enforcement. Not only did you put your life on the line, you did it with weapons over and over again. Notice how many people have PTSD caused by one event in their lives. Then multiply that by the number of times you not only experienced the event but the times you had to worry about an IED blowing you up when you were on the road.

Once you have a basic understanding of it, move on to addressing it. It is painful and many of you are afraid of reliving it. You have to since what it is doing to you right now is making you relive it and that is why you try to escape it. That doesn't work or you wouldn't be here reading this.

Start by answering the first question. Why did you join the military? Safe bet that there was nothing selfish or evil in the answer. Knowing that, understanding that it was based on what was good inside of you, you have a safe place to start. Keep that in mind as you remember.

It is very easy to forget that when you see the horrible things of combat. Just like a horror movie, it grabs you. While you focus on the horrible, there were wondrous things going on you just didn't notice and most of them were happening right inside of yourself.

You grieved because you still cared. If you shed a tear, reached out a hand to someone else, cared about the pain they were in when you had your own, then know that the goodness within you was alive and well.

Take a look at what happened. Did you cause it? If you believe you did, then ask for forgiveness and then forgive yourself. If someone else caused it, forgive them. Sounds easy but often it is very hard to do. Work on it. It is the reason you feel so angry at times. Holding that in takes over every other good emotion you could be feeling. This is addressing the spiritual part of you and is the most vital in healing it.

Knowing what PTSD really is and forgiving will get you to stop pushing people away.

Take the worst nightmare you have and go back to the start of it. What were you thinking? What was your intent? Then do the forgiveness part. Repeat this for everything that is haunting you no matter how small of an event it may seem like. It mattered to you.

Taking care of your body is part of this too. Everything in you is connected to combat. Your body had to learn to do what you did while deployed. It needs to be taught how to calm down. Try to find what works for you. Music may help your buddy but not you. Yoga, walking, swimming, art, writing, martial arts and a very long list of things that have helped including PTSD service dogs and horses help. Keep trying until you find what helps you.

If you need medication, take it but if it isn't working, talk to your doctor. Everyone is different and they need to change medications based on you. Be totally honest with them. Do not settle for medications being the only answer because they are not intended to be.

Do the talk therapy with someone you trust. Again, be honest. They can't help you if they don't know what the truth is.

Once all that is done, you find peace with yourself and trust me it is a pain that can hurt so good because you arrive on the other side of darkness. Here's a few videos that may help.

You loved enough to risk your life. Sometimes love don't feel like it should, but it can if you work on it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Military suicides from 2012 more than entire Vietnam War?

Military suicides from 2012 more than entire Vietnam War?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 16, 2013

We can pretend all of this is new. That somehow young men and women entering into the military are more prone to suicide, or whatever excuse the military has been offering so far, but excuses do not explain what is going on.
This is a cross post from Wounded Times because it is screaming for attention. When we talk about PTSD and suicides we need to be reminded of what happened before anything else was being done.

Vietnam veterans came home and pushed for all the research done on what combat does to those we send. There was nothing for them just as there was nothing for older generations. Everything available for today's veterans is because of what they did. The frightening thing is, during the entire Vietnam War, the suicides were lower than the number of suicides from last year alone.

That should frighten the crap out of everyone!

read the whole report here

Monday, July 15, 2013

New organization helps vets cope with PTSD

New organization helps vets cope with PTSD
Navy vet deals with PTSD 25 years later
Author: Mariza Mendoza, Reporter
Published On: Jul 14 2013

Kevin Taylor is a disabled navy veteran. Just a few years ago he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

His trauma happened July 3, 1988. That's when he served as a radar controller aboard the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf. His job was to watch for military aircraft coming out of Iran.

Iran air flight 655 was in the air space and never identified itself, despite six radio challenges from him.

Taylor's captain fired the shot that took that plane down. All 290 people were killed. More than 25 years later, the incident still gives him nightmares.

"It's not about stopping the pain, it's about stopping the suffering associated with the pain. The pain is inevitable, suffering is optional," said Taylor.

He may not have fired the fatal shot, but he still has a heavy heart for that plane going down. Now he has a healthier way of dealing with his emotions.

That's why he founded Hope4PTSDVets. It's an organization founded by veterans for veterans wounded by trauma.
read more here

According to the news report this groups seems to be hitting all the key areas many other groups fail to address. First, there is no one size program that helps everyone. The key is to keep looking until you find what works for you.

They are working with families. That is vital because families are on the front line. Support the family and you support the veteran healing. If you leave out the family, you end up with higher suicides, attempted suicides, divorces and homeless veterans. You also see family members suffering because they don't understand.

Think it doesn't hit families? Think about your own family when you come home in a bad mood. How many times does your spouse think it is their fault? How many times do your kids blame themselves?

When it is PTSD and no one in the family understands it, the reactions of everyone factors into making PTSD worse. When they understand it and have support behind them as well, the whole family heals.

Hope4PTSDVets is also working on meditation, key in addressing the need for the body to learn how to calm down again. They are doing equine therapy, shown to help many calm down as well.

All of this seems really good but I didn't see anything on taking care of the spiritual needs. I'll keep checking on this group to learn more about them.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ignoring easy answers on preventing military suicides

Ignoring easy answers on preventing military suicides
De-Tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 14, 2013

The more I read about how little has been figured out on reducing suicides tied to military service, the more I get freaked out. Everyone should be by now because if an average person like me figured it out, the leaders are still scratching their heads.

It isn't that I am smarter than they are but more about paying attention than anything else. In 2008 I was hearing from more and more veterans about what used to be called Battlemind that morphed into Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. They said this approach made them feel as if they were mentally weak and PTSD was their fault because they didn't train right to prevent PTSD. The DOD remains clueless.

Last year after working with families after it was too late to prevent suicide, they asked me to put it all together in a book. I agreed to do it even though I knew it would cause a tremendous emotional price on me. Every time I do anything on suicides, including this report, I think of my husband's nephew. One more suicide story no one thinks about. While I helped my husband, I couldn't get his nephew to listen.

Anyway, I wrote THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR because of all the research on Wounded Times, over 30 years of working with veterans and their families including mine and listening to veterans.

Redeployments do factor in but not as much as what they are told by the military. When they believe it is their fault, they will not open up as soon as they need to about what is going on. Then instead of being able to work it out and make peace with it, they hold it all in as it eats away at everything they believed in including themselves.

My comment on this!
When billions are spent every year on "resilience" and "prevention" resulting in higher attempted and successful suicides, the easy answer is simple. Stop the programs doing more harm than good! How many years do psychiatrists have to scream about Comprehensive Soldier Fitness being a big part of the problem?

Want to know what else they are not telling you? Read it on Kindle and save some money. Everything in it came from news reports posted on Wounded Times, government and congressional reports. Nothing was hidden but most of it was ignored.

No easy answers for military suicide
Deployments, combat, PTSD don't explain majority of cases
Written by
Philip Grey
July 14, 2013

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — She was a well-liked, exemplary Fort Campbell soldier, a loving mother and wife on a clean, upward career trajectory in the Army that she loved. And she was the last person anyone thought was at risk for suicide.

Right up until the moment she plunged a knife into her own neck.

No one saw it coming – not family, friends, fellow soldiers, health professionals or police, or the Fort Campbell Army officer detailed to conduct the 15-6 Line of Duty investigation into her death.

Hers is one of 17 reports on such investigations recently obtained by Leaf-Chronicle news partner WSMV-Channel 4, Nashville, through Freedom of Information Act requests. The reports shed some much-needed light on a problem of great concern to the communities around Fort Campbell, especially since many military suicides, such as the case cited above, take place outside the post gates.

And the reports illustrate the difficulty of addressing the military suicide problem:
• Some victims were driven perfectionists and model soldiers. Some were anything but. Drugs and alcohol show up in some files and not at all in others. The same goes for financial problems.
• Some had not a hint of relationship issues, or criminal conduct or even minor misconduct, while others rode the razor’s edge of trouble all the way down the chute to oblivion.
• Some gave signs or cried out for help, but many did not, and in too many cases, victims were so good at hiding their problems and their pain that their deaths took those closest to them completely by surprise.

Perhaps surprisingly, none of the soldiers who committed suicide had a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Soldier's death by suicide reflects national issue

Soldier's death by suicide reflects national issue
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
By Troy Carter
Jul. 12, 2013

BOZEMAN, MONT. — Wade Christiansen dreamed of being a soldier from a young age. He joined the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division after high school. Being a paratrooper made Wade proud. Jumping from airplanes excited the daredevil from Red Lodge. In 2009, his unit deployed to Afghanistan.

During a mission, Christiansen’s squad was attacked with a string of six improvised explosive devices. The left side of Christiansen’s jaw was so badly injured it was replaced with titanium. His arm, face and neck were peppered with shrapnel, and the retina in his left eye detached. Two of his colleagues were killed. Emotional and physical injuries became a permanent part of his life.

After Christiansen was discharged from the military, he moved to Four Corners and attended Montana State University as a photography student. He began working with Operation Second Chance, a group that helps disabled veterans, first as a client and later as a peer counselor.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, he was his great normal self, but there was that 1 percent of the time he would get off his meds, or there would be a day when he’d be waiting for a shipment from the VA and he’d get very, very down,” said his brother, Matt Christiansen.

On May 28, Wade was with his girlfriend in the living room of the home he shared with his brother. Around 1:30 a.m., Wade reversed his Jeep out of the garage, hitting the door as his girlfriend tried to close it. Wade’s brother and girlfriend frantically tried reaching him on his cellphone, knowing Wade was in trouble.

When Wade finally picked up the phone, he told his girlfriend he was on his way to the hospital’s emergency room to kill himself.

On his way, Wade was pulled over by the police for running a red light. Two minutes later, Wade used his pistol to take his own life in the middle of Main Street in Bozeman. He was 23 years old.

Matthew Kuntz , state director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said his stepbrother, Chris Dana, committed suicide after coming home from Iraq.

“Everybody knew Chris had post-traumatic stress disorder, but no one realized how dangerous it was,” Kuntz said. “I thought I had him lined up to get treatment from the VA, but he never went.”

Kuntz said one of the biggest challenges is with the way potential suicide victims are identified. Mandatory self-screenings before and after deployments are a step forward, but at-risk people are not always showing symptoms or hide their problem.
read more here
Also Marine committed suicide

When you can't find your way home

When you can't find your way home
De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 13, 2013

This video starts out with a veteran wearing an Iraq Veterans Against the War T-shirt.

If you have a problem with that, get past it long enough to watch the whole thing. It is important to hear the rest of it.
Pulling the trigger and being against the reason you are where you are is very hard to deal with, make sense out of and almost impossible to make peace with. I said "almost impossible" because that is the way it is unless you have a different way of seeing it.

Taking off your uniform was the easy part. Making peace with what you did while in it is the hard part.

First, forget whatever the military told you. Forget about whatever they said about the enemy because when you are honest with yourself, you know better than anyone else, that had the opponents you were sent to fight put down their weapons you would have danced for joy. That is the truth you may have forgotten about.

The next thing is thinking about the reason why you wanted to serve in the first place. The easy answer of wanting to serve your country does not really explain it to anyone including yourself. You could have done anything else with your life and still served your country. Why this? Why this choice when you were putting your life in danger? Why this when you knew it would change everything?

Many veterans say they never thought of doing anything else. Does that mean they were looking forward to killing people? Nope. Does it mean they wanted to help the others sent? Most of the time. Nothing evil in that. Is there? Nope.

With that out of the way let's take it to the next step. Why did you do what you did? Was it to kill someone or was it to save someone else? Big difference. Cops have the same issues when they have to kill someone to prevent someone else from dying. It comes with the job. They "protect and serve" not kill and destroy. You didn't risk your life for anything else but to protect the brothers/sisters you with.

You are not much different than any other generation coming home from combat. You are 7% of the population. Do you really expect them to understand you any better than your generation understood Vietnam veterans, or they understood Korean or WWII veterans when they were young? No one really understands until they put the uniform on.

After over 30 years, I will never really totally understand even though I have been around veterans all my life. I never put a uniform on. I don't even know what it is like to worry about someone I love during deployments. My husband had been home for years before we even met. When it comes to coming home with PTSD you are in an even smaller minority than the 7%. Don't expect any civilian to understand much at all and get ready for some really stupid things they say. Even people you love will say stupid things but it doesn't change the fact they love you. They only understand as much as you share with them. You don't have to tell them every detail of your deployment. That would be too hard on you and way more than they will be able to hear.

Keep it simple. Let them know what you are comfortable sharing. If you don't have someone close to talk to, talk to other veterans at Veterans Centers. They have been around since the 70's. Find someone you feel comfortable with so they can listen as you sort things out. As soon as you start talking, PTSD stops getting worse. Help them hear you.

You may be pushing people away when you need them the most. You may not want them to see what you have going on inside your head, but you are not really seeing it either.

Why did you feel pain? Why did you grieve? Do evil people give a damn about anyone but themselves? Do they care about what was done or what they did? Nope. You did. You did and that goodness inside of you is what is causing you so much pain. Surprise! All the good you had all your life is still there. It is trying to reclaim the LZ in your soul.

You cared. Some of you get confused between compassion and courage. Courage is worthless unless you care enough to act on it. You wouldn't risk your life if you didn't care. So why are you forgetting that now? Why forget that when you saw someone die in combat or get wounded, you felt pain? Why forget the times you shed a tear or put your arms around one of the others you were with? Why forget that the reason you were there in the first place came from your soul? Why believe that God was not there with you when you were able to feel such strong emotions based on what is good even in the midst of evil things happening?

The pain is not coming from anything evil. It comes from love and what is good in you. The way "back home" starts when you go back to the beginning.

Making your marriage last even with PTSD

Making your marriage last even with PTSD
De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide
Kathie Costos
July 13, 2013

When I wrote FOR THE LOVE OF JACK HIS WAR MY BATTLE it wasn't about saving marriages of "normal" couples. It was about saving marriages like mine. Being married is hard enough but when you add in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the odds of staying together are pretty slim. We had been together for 20 years by the time it was done so I figured I had a lot to share and more than enough experience to prove that it was not impossible once couples had access to the knowledge I had to learn from clinical books and making plenty of mistakes.

By the time we met, at the age of 23, I was already divorced. My ex-husband tried to kill me. The last thing I wanted was to fall in love again and live with someone else. Jack was getting divorced too. Two failed marriages topped off with what my Dad called "shell shock" back then. While what war did to many war fighters was not new, it was all new to me. I never really paid much attention to my Dad, a Korean War veteran, or to my uncles, all WWII veterans. I didn't plan on paying attention to what he did ten years before we met. Much like his ex-wife, I didn't want to hear him talk about it. That changed when I fell in love and wanted to know about all of it.

In one of the clinical books I read the words Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of the signs were in him. Then I wanted to know more about Vietnam. I figured the more I knew the better our chances of staying married were. After all, by then he was my best friend. The signs of PTSD when it was mild weren't that bad but I had no clue from anything I read it could get worse.

It is hard enough being married but when you add in something no other couple you know are going through it, it makes it worse. You get bad advice. You walk away from conversations when friends are talking about tiny issues as if they are ready to get divorced over. In my mind I was thinking "If they only knew what real problems were they would think they were lucky and stop complaining."

We have been married since 1984. The best advice I can give is marry your best friend. If you can love them and know them for what is best within them and still love them when you notice what you don't like, you are half way there. I could be myself with him and we had a pretty strong foundation when we got married. That got us through the hellish days when PTSD was as bad as it could be.

Then once you know who they are, warts and all, you need to know as much as you can about PTSD. Once you understand why they act and react the way they do, you'll know what you can do to not only help them, but help yourself deal with the worst until you arrive at a point when it all becomes normal to you. You not only help them heal, your marriage will be stronger. Our's is. My husband taught me a lot about what love really is because of all the love he has inside and showed me what courage truly is because no matter what he went through, he fought back for our sake.

The New York Times has a great series started on making marriages last. This one is about being married to a Vietnam veteran.

Marrying a Veteran Was Cool. Then It Got Difficult.
New York Times
Published: July 12, 2013

Booming’s “Making It Last” column profiles baby boomer couples who have been together 25 years or more. Send us your story and photos through our submission form.

Lonni and Sue Leroux met in 1972, shortly after he returned from serving in the Vietnam War, and married a year later. Today they live in Mendon, Vt., where Sue worked for Aetna insurance company and Lonni sells real estate and coaches high school football. They have two adult children. A condensed and edited version of our conversation follows.

How did you meet?

Sue: At a party shortly after I graduated from college in Indiana and moved to Middletown, Conn., to work. Lonni was one of the guys who came to drive my roommate and me — not dates, just a ride. But at the party we started having a really nice conversation. When it wrapped up he said, “I really enjoyed meeting you, you seem like a really nice person, but you’re probably a —” and he used a profanity.

Lonni: I wanted a reaction. I wanted to see if she was really as nice as she seemed, and she was nice about that, too.

How did you begin dating?

Lonni: I was still in school at the University of New Haven, so I wasn’t looking for a relationship. But one of my roommates kept telling me she really liked me, and unbeknownst to me, he was telling her I really liked her.

Sue: I did like him. He was so handsome and a little bit older than my friends because he had just gotten out of the service.

Lonni: I went to Vietnam in 1968 and served for four years. But I came back and the first thing I did was get out of my uniform. I didn’t want anyone to know I was in the service. The public wasn’t exactly greeting us at the airport; they weren’t thanking us for anything. They thought we were just killing babies and burning villages. It was a different world.

Sue: I thought it was cool that he was in the service. My mother was an Army brat and my dad was a veteran, so to me being a veteran was cool.
read more here

If you have been married for a long time, submit to the New York Times and share your story with them. These younger families need all the help they can get. If we show them how to survive with PTSD veterans, they have a better chance of making it work in marriages that are in trouble. Give them hope by telling how you did it.