Each day, 22 veterans commit suicide. But you can give them the hope and encouragement they need. Each 22 you post, share or tweet lets them know they have an army behind them. Join the mission at Mission22.com and help us win the war against veteran suicide.
This powerful video triggered memories of my own father, who often had scary nightmares that came suddenly without warning. I remember Dad yelling, “Japs, Japs, Japs!,” and the loud noise of his fists punching holes in the wall of his bedroom. My Dad was suicidal for a long time following WWII and Korean War where he served in hard combat during multiple deployments in the US Navy. My mother’s dedication to his needs at her own risk and sacrifice no doubt saved his life. Many combat veterans find themselves alone without hope and take their own lives…22 veterans of all ages commit this final act each and every day of the year.
Help save the lives of your loved ones and friends who are suffering from moral injury and PTSD. Click on the YouTube video and join Mission22.com. You can make a difference and help save the life of a veteran you know…
“As I reflect on the national conversation we have initiated about military and veteran caregiving, one number continues to ring out in my mind – 5.5 million. The RAND Corporation report my Foundation commissioned revealed that 5.5 million Americans are caring for ill or wounded service members and veterans. When I first heard the figure, it astounded me. To think that so many loved ones have been quietly caring for those who have cared for us…
When I was growing up as a post WWII and Korean War military child, the term “veteran caregiver” was not used nor would the significance or implications be understood. Caregiving was something you heard about in nursing homes or hospitals, not at home. Who would ever think that a WWII hero like my father Vernon, who was training boots at the US Naval Training Center in San Diego in 1948, needed a “caregiver.” Not a chance! But in reality my Dad, like thousands of combat veterans from that time, needed lots of help inside and outside of the home. As a family we were the caregivers at home by default, so to speak. My oldest brother, Jerry, as an example became very much part of the family caregiving team along with Mom. He didn’t ask for it, he had no choice… And we were all affected by the emotional turmoil of my father’s suffering following WWII and the Korean War.
We siblings knew something was out of sorts in our home, but didn’t really understand, so the toxic behavior and struggles as a family were thought to be normal and private…not a word to anyone outside of the home! So we moved forward one day at a time as a family, fearing what each day would bring. It was a blessing for us to get away from home for school and play. We hated to return! When we did return, hiding out in our room, in the basement, or outside close to home when the weather permitted, felt safer. We wanted to stay clear of Dad because he was always angry… The sad part is we took all the emotional baggage with us well into adult life, and needed “caregivers” as the next generation of trauma victims. Reference the “Trauma-Informed Caregiver Practice Guide.”
I am now very encouraged that all the awareness about the needs of the children and families of veterans and those who served in combat is creating a new culture of sensitivity in America and around the globe. Caregiving is no longer a word that belongs to a nurse or doctor in a facility outside of the home. The stigma of mental health will someday be a thing of the past, probably not in my lifetime. What I do see happening, and participate in my own work as an author and blogger, is heartwarming. I have peace of mind now with clear understanding of my own past living in a toxic home following WWII. I am also convinced that the momentum of the new “caregiving” culture for our heroes is taking hold. The “suck up” mentality and “go home and forget about it” coaching from the military is over.
I am especially grateful that the conversation and the work of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation includes the children and families, the primary caregivers of warriors, who served America too…long after the wars of our time are over. The war clearly comes home to the military families to begin another fight to bring peace of mind back into the hearts and souls of the loved ones who served on the battlefield or at sea fighting to protect our freedoms.
The Road Back… The following is a quote from an article on the Research\Articles page of this website. The article, written by Byron Lewis, was first published on my blog as a three-part series: Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories: A New Treatment for PTSD…
“This article is presented in three parts. The first describes research into underlying mechanisms of the brain that result in the formation of the disorder. The second introduces the basis for a unique state-of-the-art treatment based on that research. The third part demonstrates how the technique is applied. Throughout these articles certain words are highlighted with links to additional information if you want to read more.”
The Neurolinguistic Programming Research and Recognition Project (NLP R & R) has recently launched its Facebook page. The current focus is “The Road Back” from PTSD, a treatment research pilot program currently underway in Middletown, NY. The Road Back page has links to articles, resources and videos of the procedure in action as well as short narratives like the one below:
“I am a veteran Marine Officer who was combat decorated in Viet Nam. I have been on meds for decades, but the side-effects have sometimes been very difficult to deal with. My time with VA outpatient clinic was very helpful but never resolved the nightmares, sleep disorder and “combat guilt which the RTM Protocol resolved in two days. Doctor Bourke and his team, in my opinion, have a treatment and counseling methodology which complements the VA approach WITHOUT the ‘meds’.”
Click the following link to join us in exploring this promising short term and cost effective treatment option for those who suffer from symptoms of PTSD:
Byron Lewis and I have been close friends for over 8 years and learned of our mutual interest in PTSD treatment strategies over 3 years ago when starting research for my first non-fiction book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story. Byron assisted me in the research by pointing to a treatment strategy currently gaining popularity in the U.S., NLP…”Neurolinguistic Programming.” Byron Lewis authored his own book, Magic of NLP Demystified and wrote a three-part series (part 1) guest articles on my blog… If you like what you read, click links for part 2 and part 3. Byron also wrote an introduction in my book connecting my own transformational writing therapy to his experience with NLP, “Language is a remarkably powerful instrument for affecting personal change…”
Connecting the dots of my writing therapy and new perceptions to NLP did not resonate with me at first. We can now talk about emotional challenges connected with life after trauma as a journey of healing. Healing is driven by proactive engagement with others and making a difference as a healthy and wholesome way to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance. We can even change the brain chemistry back to a happy place most of the time if we stay engaged, aware, and connected with ourselves. Stay tuned for more detailed posts on the subject of NLP research from guest blogger, Byron Lewis.
Nightmare ends: Korean War veteran finds peace after half-century struggle with PTSD…Jim Purcell
“Casey didn’t live to grow old.
In the muddy, rat-infested trenches of the Korean hills, they had a bunker to sleep in and, like many 18-year-old boys, Casey loved to sleep.
The Chinese shell scored a direct hit on the bunker while he was napping.
“He got his head blown off,” says Purcell. “Casey come out there like a chicken with its head cut off, except it wasn’t quite off. He come to the door of the bunker and just dropped. That stayed with me for years. I’d wake up screaming, ‘Get out of the bunker, Casey. Get out of the bunker.’”
Just like my father, Vernon’s, story of watching his best friend, Ken Powers, get his head blown off while the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Jim Purcell watched his buddy get his head blown off in the trenches of Korea in 1951. While listening to this video clip interview, it was like listening to my Dad talk about a horrific traumatic experience that never leaves your head.
Like my Dad, Jim waited until later in life to seek treatment for the symptoms of PTSD. And in my own case as a PTSD survivor, I waited until age 64 to start my journey of healing. Too many warriors wait and sometimes it can be too late, especially when we look at the almost unbelievable statistics from Vietnam veterans listed above… “Fifty-eight-thousand-plus Americans died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended.”
The stories of emotional pain and tragedy in life after war are too many to fathom. I watched for many years while my father struggled with severe PTSD symptoms each and every day of his life until he was in his 60’s. Dad finally received treatment through a balance of prescribed medications and counseling. He started to calm down in his mid to late 60’s and lived a relatively peaceful life until 1998 when he passed away at 79. I like to remember my Dad as a happy man even if it was just over 10 years of his life as a senior citizen. His treatment was a work in progress but he was into the regimen because it made him feel so much better. He and my mother spent quality time together traveling and enjoying life during those years. Dad especially loved the ocean and beaches where they frequently spent time in Ocean Shores, Washington or walking in the parks overlooking Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
Although the emotional pain and suffering lasted for over 40 years following WWII and Korean War, a few years of the gift of peace of mind was well worth it for my Dad and is true for many warriors who often wait until it is almost too late. Dad’s awareness of PTSD, treatment, and path of healing was also a gift to my mother and other family members who felt more comfortable being around him in his later years. Veterans should not only consider themselves in the process of healing, but remember how much loved ones benefit from seeing a happy camper. Family members will all say that not having to walk on eggs shells at home was a real gift to them as well.