The goal of my book and this blog since the beginning has been to raise awareness of PTSD. I spent the first 64 years of my life not knowing about moral injury and combat stress, especially how it affects the families of warriors returning home. During my childhood we lived in a chaotic and abusive home. Even after leaving home, it appeared convenient to push all the bad stuff under the rug and move on. For so many years there was a knot in my stomach that never went away. I always felt troubled emotionally, but never understood why… I used intense exercise, adventure, and my professional life to channel all this hyper-vigilance and anxiety. My home life was the most challenging when there was a little free time on my hands. With the help of my courageous and devoted wife I took small steps over the years to rid myself of anxiety and depression, but never knew or understood the root cause. It was following retirement that, with continued support from loved ones and friends, it became more urgent to revisit my childhood and early adulthood to put my own life experiences in perspective.
Since researching and publishing my book in November 2011, my life has been transformed. I no longer have a knot in my stomach and there is very little anger left in my heart. Much of my time, in these joyful later years in life, is spent helping others and making a difference in my community as a major part of my own journey of healing. It is in the spirit of my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, and writing this blog daily that my goal is to help others take the first step toward healing by becoming aware of moral injury and PTSD. Please take some quality time this month and learn more about PTSD. Then start your own conversation with others and perhaps your own journey of healing. It is not easy, and continues to be a work in progress. For me, it has been worth all the sweat equity and time ten fold to finally have peace of mind. My life has been transformed and each day is now a blessing and full of promise for the future…
Be well and help others who suffer from post-trauma stress, especially the children and families who are the caregivers of our heroes both military and 1st responders.
Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2…
P.S. Take a look at these helpful ideas below from the National Center for PTSD.
Do you think treatment is only for people with extreme problems? Have you ever felt that you just don’t have time for treatment with all the other things in your life? The truth is that trauma can happen to anyone, and getting help is taking a step forward, not weakness. Making PTSD treatment a priority will help you get back control of your life.
This week’s step challenges you to think about all the benefits of getting help for PTSD, supporting someone in treatment, or learning how to offer the best care for your clients.
- Meet Veterans who faced PTSD and turned their lives around at AboutFace.
- Learn to problem solve: What’s stopping you? Overcome barriers to care.
- Share the basics about PTSD treatment. Print the booklet or watch the video Understanding PTSD Treatment.
- Providers can find resources to increase patient engagement. Learn about our treatment companion mobile apps and how to use AboutFace with clients.
- Researchers and providers can stay up to date with the latest relevant PTSD information: Sign up for our Clinician’s Trauma Update-Online and PTSD Research Quarterly.
- Clinicians can offer flexibility in evidence-based treatment to benefit patients: PTSD 101: Overview of the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD.
- VA providers can use the VA PTSD Consultation Program to get peer support for clinical practice, assessment, improving care, or programmatic issues.
Take the Step: Explore the options.
What can you do if you need help for PTSD? Whether you are learning to manage your own symptoms or you are a caregiver looking for resources, you have options. The steps you take to get care should be the ones that are best for you.
This week’s step gives you information about options for care and support resources to help you make the best choices for yourself or your clients.
- Thursday, June 20th is PTSD Screening Day. Take the time to learn about PTSD assessments, get screened, or volunteer to help others.
- Know Where to Get Help for PTSD and how to choose a therapist.
- Veterans can explore options specific to their needs: PTSD Treatment Programs in the VA and Women’s Mental Health Services in the VA
- Discover ways of self-help and coping to help manage PTSD symptoms, like lifestyle changes, peer support or mobile apps.
- Consider resources for family and friends. Being a good caregiver means getting support for yourself too.
- Follow our PTSD information on Twitter or become a Facebook fan.
- Providers can learn about assessment tools and treatment resources that use technology to overcome barriers, like our mobile apps and telemental health.
- VA providers and staff can investigate treatment, education, and administrative resources specific to VA.