I was lucky! My Dad, to my to my total surprise back in 1965; as written in my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, was very compassionate and supportive when my US Navy career ended early. Now I know why. Dad’s own US Navy WWII combat “battle fatigue” and PTSD condition challenged him immeasurably for so many years while we were growing up. Dad understood, and no doubt was very critical in my ability and level of confidence to step back into civilian life with enthusiasm for the future. I never thanked Dad, so hope he can hear me now. I know now after all these years that my Dad loved me and cared about my welfare, even though he was severely challenged with his own mental health issues from WWII and Korean War.
Elaina’s following comments from my posting yesterday,“PTSD all too often has the stigma of weakness or cowardice,”are moving and heartbreaking. It is not always the case to have family members and loved ones greet you with open arms and loving support when you return home to life after war. Healing and adjustment back into a healthy, happy, and productive civilian life must include a high level of loving support from family members and loved ones. Without this first line of support, it becomes exponentially harder for our warriors to make the appropriate adjustments outside of the family once returning home. It is at home as well, that family members should be extra vigilant since the symptoms and truama of PTSD can transfer to loved ones, especially children, who then have to deal with their own symptoms of disassociation, anxiety, and depression. Not a good combination…
“When my the man who is now my husband came back from Vietnam in 1972, society’s prevailing antagonism against war veterans was so bad, that for many years he denied ever having been in the service. He actually told people that he had gone to Canada to dodge the draft. For many years, his severely life-crippling PTSD went undiagnosed and untreated, because he didn’t want anything to do with the VA, nor did he want to admit that he needed help. He didn’t want the PTSD label, because of society’s stigma against the “Crazy Vietnam Vets.”
Although I was never in the military, and never in a war zone, I also have severe PTSD, caused by extreme domestic trauma and abuse. Ever since my diagnosis, I, too, have been ostracized by people who mistakenly think that I must be weak, or crazy, or somehow dangerous. The majority in my own family of origin have shunned me because of my PTSD. It’s not only an ignorant attitude, it’s incredibly cruel.
Thank you for what you are doing to get the message out! PTSD is a normal reaction to extreme trauma, just as bleeding is a normal reaction to being stabbed.”