The December 20 Warrior connection was a discussion on how to make the best of the Christmas – New Years holidays given the unique stressors military families encounter.
Life After Trauma #22 – Effects of living in a war zone
Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan are civil wars that are different from each other in many ways, but similar in others. They may be different in tactics, weaponry and terrain, but the traumatic scale they bring to our troops are the same. Everyone who has gone there has been effected in some way. Physically, emotionally and even morally through the trauma of warfare.
In a civil war, there is no real way to tell the good guys from the bad. There will be times when you get into a battle and find the enemy you killed were people you thought were your friends. You realize you are living among an unseen enemy where you can never trust anyone other than those in your own unit. (P. 68,69 TNEW.)
This kind of revelation causes unit cohesion, but it also causes you to become hyper-vigilant. You never know when or where the enemy will show up again as it tends to put you on high alert all of the time. It is hard to turn hyper-vigilance off once you’ve used it.
Upon returning home, you will watch people more carefully, sit in Restaurants with your back to the wall whenever possible and even show caution when seeing a dead animal or a cardboard box on the side of the road, never knowing if it is an IED that‘s about to explode.
The friendships you make in combat zones are good and necessary for troop cohesion, but they can work against close family relationships, if you’re not careful. You need to keep in touch with your loved ones back home who are supporting you. Remember…“They who stand and wait are also serving.” If it were not for my dad praying for me through my days of close calls and near misses in the “meat grinder” area of Vietnam, I would have never made it back home again. P. 177, 223-224 TNEW.
Upon returning home, you may experience nightmares, keeping distance and mistrust of everyone, depression, hypertension, difficulty sleeping, a need for isolation and irritation over the smallest of matters. Divorce rate for Vietnam veterans is well over 90%. That’s not a good record to hold. A good marriage is not a 50% – 50% partnership. It is a 100% – 100% full participation if it is going to work and thrive. A good spouse is the best thing you’ve got working for you. I also take my family to church . It’s a great place to worship God, and a good place to hang around good, decent, honest people, for the most part! I’ve found that who I hang around has a lot to do with my habits and lifestyle.
All of these symptoms can cause a miserable life, along with problems to your marriage, career and basic happiness.
You are an American Patriot and you deserve better than that. Those I served with did not study the concepts of “no greater love than this…that a man would lay down his life for his friend, They lived it. Many continue to suffer today because they served their country yesterday. They can never escape their past, in the future and some things will be with us forever. We’ll just have to do the best we can, and vigorously fight an enemy we can’t see.
First admit you might have a problem and you might need to seek help.
Involve your spouse in your recovery. They supported you while you were gone, they want to help and support you now.
Inquire for help through Vet Centers 910-703-0699, the local Veterans Administration Office and other caring Health Care Professionals.
Most problems I have experienced since Vietnam are caused by my adrenalin disorder. When something “triggers” an adrenalin rush, I have a panic attack. Increased heart rate, nervousness, tunnel vision, ect.
I have to use my “Coping Skills” (P.234 TNEW) I’ve developed over the years to help me calm back down. Some things like using a nasal inhaler will help neutralize the adrenalin effects. I have written about these Coping Skills in my book “The Never Ending War” (L M Clark) because they help. They have been instrumental in saving my life, marriage, and sanity. It’s not about selling a book as much as it is about getting help to hurting people. It’s getting information and tools to help them obtain a healthy and productive life for them and their family. This book is helping change lives for the good everywhere, I know because they tell me through phone calls and e-mails. It is reaching people with help and hope.
We with PTSD are mentally wounded, bleeding and beat down. We feel like lying down and playing dead so everyone will leave us alone. We can’t stop or give up because our enemy will have no mercy on us. We have to remember that there are many people fighting for us, and we can’t let them fight alone. We have to get ourselves up and rejoin the fight. There is still some warrior spirit left in us, and we can’t help ourselves or anyone else if we give up and retreat from the battle. Get the tools, resources, and the will we need to beat PTSD, and we can do this thing if we will push on.
Life after Trauma #26 – Suicide prevention
The holiday season usually brings an increase in suicides or attempts. It is a sad commentary that we have so many suicides among our Military personnel , Veterans and their families. There is a lot of discussion as to what the cause and effects suicide has on the individual and their families and I thought I‘d give you mine.
As a Marine combat veteran who has fought suicidal thoughts for more than forty years, I think I have some ideas on how to cut down on the loss of so many of our national hero’s.
1. One of the contributing factors associated with suicide is the consumption of “substance .” What is the related Substance I’m talking about? It is alcohol and drugs. Special significance must be placed on pharmaceutical drugs. Weather they come from the V.A. or purchased over the counter, mixing drugs and alcohol can be a deadly combination. Drugs are for a specific purpose and come with a prescribed usage. Abusing the directions or mixing them with other substance can have a damaging or deadly effect.
Substance “abuse” may or may not be a contributing factor in the persons life, but just the mere fact that alcohol is being consumed by the depressed person is one of the major culprits that causes the person to think irrationally. They become more depressed, lonely and disconnected from society. The potential for suicide is drastically increased when you mix alcohol and drugs. When you are consuming alcohol and drugs of any amount, you begin to fall “under the influence“ of what you are consuming. You will say and do things that you would not do under normal circumstances. There is also the risk of auto accidents, tickets and increased insurance premiums causing more problems to your career, marriage and self esteem.
This kind of “mixing” substance may push you over the edge as you become more depressed and detached from those around you.
Suicide is undoubtedly the most selfish thing you can do to those you love, and who love you the most. It slams the door shut in the face of everyone who cares about you and leaves them with a lifetime of wondering why you left without first reaching out to someone who could help you.
When Americas Foreign and Domestic enemies read about our military dropping out on the fight against terrorism, I’m sure they are pleased and smile because they will never have to worry about you again. You have actually contributed to their success by eliminating yourself from the battle.
P. 125 TNEW
If you are depressed or discouraged, please reach out for help. There are a lot of people waiting to hear from you. They want to help, but you must make the call. Many of us have wanted to drop out of the race at one time or another, but didn’t. We pushed on in spite of our pain because we knew there were a lot of young people coming behind us and they were looking for us to set a good example for them. They’re now looking at you.
I was taught as a Marine to attack the attacker. When the enemy shows up and attacks you, hit him back twice as hard. It’s simply what good warrior’s do. Semper Fidelis means Always Faithful. (Always) That’s not a cute little saying, it’s a way of life. Stay faithful to God, Country and Corps.
- Leave a legacy for someone to follow.
- Nothing is too bad that it can’t be fixed.
To call for help…
Jacksonville Vet Center 910-577-1100
Durham V.A. 888-870-6890
Boots on the Ground 919-907-0577
Danville Illinois VA chaplains emergency response team 1 800-320-8387 then “0” for operator and request on duty chaplain.
or 1 800- 273 – TALK then press “1”
We also discussed brand new medical data report just issued. (IT IS ATTACHED FIR POSTNG TO WEB SITE)