Monday, February 4, 2013

Who is going to help our warriors with PTSD?

                                                 Image via http://www.personal.psu.edu/

Over the weekend, we all heard the tragic news of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield being shot point blank while trying to help a veteran with PTSD. My mind is reeling trying to figure out why this happened. Why was the sniper with the most confirmed kills, and a bounty over his head from the Taliban, killed in this manner? He was on home turf and trying to help out a fellow veteran.

I can’t answer why this happened. But I can state my fears and concerns about it.

Because of this event, people may be terrified to help our wounded warriors suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Our warriors who suffer with this condition have a hard enough time making friends, fitting into society and coping. Will they be even more isolated because of incidents like these? Will people be afraid to offer help or a listening ear?

I think for some the answer is ‘yes.’ The media doesn’t help when they portray these warriors as monsters. Because of this, warriors that ask for help don’t get it or get arrested if they call 911.

Will our warriors be afraid to ask for help if they are feeling homicidal or suicidal because the media and mainstream America thinks they are crazy? Why isn’t there more help for those suffering with PTSD? Non-profits are trying to help bridge the gap where the military and the VA may be lacking, but it isn’t enough.

I will never forget how we had to seek counseling after Bryan was released from in-patient care at Walter Reed. I thought it would be automatic that, after talking to a counselor when he was lying in a hospital bed, he would continue after he was discharged. It wasn’t easy to find the counselor we saw and she didn’t usually see outpatient warriors. I am glad I had her card and that we pursued consistent counseling once he got out.

What happens to those that come home with their unit? How do they get the courage to ask for help? How long is the waiting list to see a therapist?

While my husband suffered a long time with his PTSD, we were proactive about getting the right treatment to make him successful. Violence was never accepted in this house and if he was feeling overly angry he would walk out of the room.

There were times I did the wrong things. It was hard seeing him completely numb and void of emotion and I would press him for his feelings. This was the wrong thing to do.  At times I had to sit and wait for him to come to me to share his feelings or ask for help. For someone that is a social worker, and always trying to find solutions, this didn’t bode well for me. However, I knew his limits and waited.

It took years of therapy and doctor’s appointments to find the right dose of medication to help. But we didn’t give up. I am sure many do because it is such a long process and very hard to get help. If warriors don’t have an advocate or cheerleader to guide them through the process, their care just falls to the wayside.

I hope and pray that the media doesn’t paint the picture that veterans with PTSD are monsters. How can the military train them to fight and kill the enemy and expect them to be normal once they’ve hit American soil? It is impossible. War comes with consequences. We have to be ready to help and not chastise them for needing it.

“People tell me I saved hundreds and hundreds of people. But I have to tell you: it’s not the people you saved that you remember. It’s the ones you couldn’t save. Those are the ones you talk about. Those are the faces and situations that stay with you forever.” Chris Kyle, Rest in Peace 

9 comments:

Shannon Stinson said...

I'm with you on this. 100%.

Warren said...

This is a tough story, one more in a long list of stories that rip a the heart. Thank you for continuing to keep us abreast of what is going on with our returned veterans, and with your family.

I've read a couple of posts on this visit, and our family (and church) will continue to be in prayer for you and our veterans (you guys are mentioned each week in our church bulletin. Even though no one here knows you personally, the Lord certainly does).

Warren

Anonymous said...

The Healing Word Of God -

Exodus 23:25-26 - I(God) will take away sickness from among you......I will give you a full life span..

Psalm 103:1-4 - Bless the Lord all my soul......Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction...

Psalm 107:20 - He(God) sent forth His Word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.

Proverbs 4:20-22 - Attend to My Words....Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life, to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh..

Jeremiah 30:17 - For I(God) will restore health to you, and I will heal your wounds..

1 Peter 2:24 - By His(Jesus) wounds you have been healed.

Matthew 8:17 - He(Jesus) took up our sicknesses and carried away our diseases.

Matthew 4:23 - Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogue, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every dissease and sickness among the people.

God's Will to heal (Part 1 - 20) By Keith Moore
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI6ZBhy1cCU

The Protection Word Of God
- http://www.deathandlife.org/protection.html

Carrie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband came back from a year deployment in 2010 and he has been getting help for a couple of years now. Since he is out of te Marines now it seems so hard I relate to the gerenal public. It's a wound that no one sees and i hard to explain. As a wife it's lonely because you don't have that support like you did when all you use to do is talk to military wives. Please keep us in your prayers has we keep traveling this PTSD journey. Everyday is a blessing, he's still here with me and that's all that counts :)

skaz said...

My husband was supposed to be back in August, but he was injured so he hasn't made it home yet. We have had our differences in the past but this last year he has become one of the crulest people I know. I feel as his wife I should be his priority, but he treats people he meets off the streets better. He claims he has PTSD and I believe it. In all honesty the pain he has caused our family, ( I know its harsh) but I'm starting to believe id be better if he was no longer here. Are there are resourses where a councelor can speak with both husband and wife over a 3 way call? Anything? This is the worst feeling in the world.

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

Skaz, can you email me and I can share lots of resources with you? Cheryl.Gansner@operationhomefront.net

Anonymous said...

I also ask, where do you go for help? Please list some point of contact. My husband has had almost three years of being medically treated in the Community Based Wounded Warrior program. They have yet treated his original injury from a mortor blast. They are retiring him one year early despite his National Guard retention letter forms one year. He finally thru a crisis admitted he has been suicidel for 7 months. The V.A. work up required speaking to a physiciatrist who told him to "man up" you will be in pain the rest of your life so deal with it. Where the hell do you turn for help? I have only left him four days out of three years with all the surgeries and recoveries. Now I am on heightened alert 24/7.
We are truely blessed to have such a caring God to turn to in our darkest times. But would love a non~narcotic way to cope…

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

To anon: You can use www.giveanhour.org for counseling. There are plenty of yoga based programs for vets I would simply google for that in your area. There is Project Odyssey with Wounded Warrior Project. Wounded Warrior Project offers tons of things to do in the great outdoors,etc to promote healing. They have a peer mentorship program as well. My husband doesn't do well without medications but is on a lower dose and does adaptive sports.

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We know that wounded veterans have paid a huge price while protecting our freedom and liberty. H2O Distributors says, "Thank you for your sacrifice and your service to our country."