“Justin Gourley and his wife, Shawn, have been dealing with the highs and lows brought on by his post-traumatic stress disorder for 10 years. Shawn kept a journal from the time Justin returned home from his military deployment in the Middle East, writing down what was happening to her family and how she was dealing with it. She had no idea when she started the Facebook group “Military With PTSD” that it would grow into a nationwide support group for more than 13,000 people.”
I am pleased to add a new book, The War at Home, by Shawn Gourley, to my website for ordering convenience. The more important reason is the book and story clearly shows how PTSD and moral injury affects the family following a combat veteran’s return home and the challenges of readjustment. Shawn Gourley and her family “served too.” My own personal testimonial and book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, shows very similar patterns of readjustment to civilian life experienced in my post WWII family following my Dad’s return from 66 monhs of continuous combat. My Dad, Vernon H. Sparks, US Navy BMC, was fighting in the South China Sea before WWII, survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor serving aboard the USS West Virginia, and finally came home following 7 bloody campaigns in the Asiatic Pacific Theater while serving aboard the USS Belle Grove. The big difference is my family lived with PTSD for 70 years without really knowing anything about the mental health implications. We were a very angry family for so many years and learned to cope in less than healthy ways. It was when I started researching my own challenges in life and writing our family story that the realities of life after war began to surface. The good news is that life after war and readjustment challenges along with appropriate treatments are well understood today. But it doesn’t make living with PTSD and life after war any easier to be sure. Being aware and well educated does make a huge difference, and has helped my family begin a long healing process.
Reconciliation, A Son’s Story