My game plan is to research, condense my findings, and translate it into everyday language for busy people.
Books by Veterans
As a civilian I question, "Why am I the one writing this article? I am not a veteran." But I look around and I see veterans. They are my classmates, my friends, my co-workers, the people that I know, and I know they are suffering. One veteran said, "No one cares about veterans." The words still haunt me.
The book American Sniper, by Chris Kyle, really swept the nation and was made into a movie, as well as the book by Marcus Luttrell, which was also made into the movie, Lone Survivor. In American Sniper, Chris Kyle dies shortly after he comes home from the war. Yet, I find myself wondering what if he had not? What kind of life would this person have had if he had not died so soon? I knew there were other books out there written by and for veterans, and I sought them out.
Freedom Is Not Cheap
Statistics on P.T.S.D. in Veterans
- According to a major research corporation; RAND, at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have P.T.S.D. and/ or depression. (The military counselors who have been interviewed have stated that the percentage of veterans with P.T.S.D. is by far higher than what we know and climbs even higher when combined with Traumatic Brain Injury.)
- In 2014, there was a comprehensive analysis disclosed that, "Among male and female soldiers aged 18 years or older returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, rates range from 9 % shortly after returning from deployment to 31 % a year after deployment....P.T.S.D. is the 3rd most prevalent psychiatric diagnosis among Veterans using the Veteran's Affairs (VA) hospitals,"
- 50% of people with P.T.S.D. do not seek treatment.
- Out of the 50% that do seek treatment, only 50% of them receive "minimally" adequate treatment according to RAND.
- It is estimated 19% of veterans might have traumatic brain injury or T.B.I.
- Rates of post traumatic stress disorder are at a much higher rate for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than wars seen previously in America.
- During any given year during a time of peace only 3.6% of the population has P.T.S.D. (due to car accidents, abuse, and/or natural disasters, etc.).
I would give Unspoken Abandonment, by Bryan A. Wood, a five star rating. The book which was written by a veteran of the army who served in Afghanistan was written about his time spent over there as he kept a journal as well as what it was like coming home from the war. The book starts out with him doing his job as a police officer and having a panic attack. When he gets home he finds a journal he kept while in Afghanistan. It describes the abuse of children and women, going on missions, and having to hold people at gun point. What really upsets the author is the abuse of children he sees. What he finds most difficult is his returning home. He has built up anger that he later deals with in therapy. People reached out to him and he chose to seek help and writing in a journal as a way of dealing with what he had seen and experienced in Afghanistan. He comes to the realization that what happened is not his fault.. He has tremendous guilt and it is something he finally overcomes. I think every American should read this book to know the reality of the Afghanistan people and that of soldiers returning home.
Man in the Arena
"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
Rates of Suicide
- Recently studies have shown that the rate of Veteran suicide is as much as 5 to 8 thousand a year or 22 a day, when it was as low as 18 a year in 2007.
- P.T.S.D. distributes itself in the different divisions of the armed services: 67% of cases are ARMY, 9% Air force, 11% Navy, and 13% Marines, according to the Congressional Research Service published in September of 2010.
- Other disorders have reported that 14% of Veterans have P.T.S.D., 39% alcohol abuse, and 3% drug abuse. Major depression was also noted as a huge problem.
Odysseus in America Trailer
Odysseus in America
Odysseus in America
I would give the book Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming, by Johnathan Shay, a five star rating. I think every veteran and every American should read this book. According to psychiatrist Johnathon Shay the epic poem written 3,000 years ago by Homer about Odysseus coming home from the Trojan War describes much of what combat veterans are going through today. The first part of the book explains the different aspects of the poem and how they correlate to the unhealed wounds that veterans are facing coming home from war. In the book he says that the term "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" is inappropriate because if you had a broken arm you would not say " Broken Arm Disorder". He thinks that they should be referred to as psychologically injured. He claims that many of the veterans not being generals of high ranking people feel a sense of being a play thing of a higher power, which for Odysseus is a god and in America is the government. Despite how much they long for a peaceful, calm, and serene environment they feel unsafe there because when they served they had to be on guard all the time. This was just as true 3,000 years ago as it is today. The Cyclops in the epic poem represents the boredom soldiers feel upon returning home. They purposefully try to do thrill seeking things to alleviate the boredom. The opening lines of the poem "Ulysses (Latin for Odysseus) by Tennyson reveals this,
"It little profits that an idle King
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, sleep, and feed, and know, not me."
There are many more comparison between the epic poem and the wounds of veterans. The cyclops is just one example. The second part of the book has to do with restoration or healing of the wounds that he as a psychiatrist helps facilitate. These people that serve our country are afraid of what the Greek word bie means violent force, and metis, which means fraud, trickery, or being cunning. They take this into civilian life. The poem in the book written by Judee Strott who is neither a veteran or a teacher says a lot of the struggles:
A Prayer for Death and Life
For one I pray that Death will come to take him in the night,
for he no longer wants to live, he's given up the fight.
I pray for Death to take him, and yet he still lives on
while others only half his age have died and now are gone.
He's old, he's lived his life, he's nearly 90 now,
he's weak and frail, he cannot walk, his back is bent, head bowed.
His wife has gone before him, and he cannot figure why
God makes him keep on living, and will not let him die.
For one I pray that Death will come; for one I pray for Life.
For one I pray he overcomes the demons and the dreams
that haunts his sleep and torment him with silent deadly screams,
the memories he can't forget that fill him with such dread,
that daily he decides between the living and the dead.
For one I pray that something can entreat him to remain
to try again for one more day, to live with all his pain;
'till all the sufferings of the past can finally fade away,
and a sweet peace overflows his cup, Lord help him decide to stay."
The third part of the book deals with preventing psychological injury. I think that this is very important. Every politician and every president needs to read this book, because they are ultimately the ones making the decisions as to whether or not we need to go to war. With the way that the world is today and the United States being at war we as a society need to educate ourselves as much as possible about the affairs of veterans, war, and try to make the right decision for the good of the world.
Paws for Veterans
Paws for Veterans
A World War II veteran once said, "A dog's tongue brings healing." With the veteran's trust in social justice among people destroyed, a dog can be a very beneficial thing. With 22 veterans committing suicide every day and 3,288 dogs being euthanized every day, this group, "Paws for Veterans" gives a Veteran a shelter dog that helps with sleep disturbances, pain/anxiety, anger/rage, memory loss, medication reminders, and muscle aches among other things.
Lone Survivor Foundation
What They Do
The Lone Survivor Foundation started by Marcus Luttrell builds nationally recognized therapeutic facilities that are for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.), mild traumatic brain injury (m.T.B.I.), Military Sexual Trauma (M.S.T.), and/or chronic pain. They try to provide education, counseling, support, and collaborate with recognized government and non-profit agencies to help provide wounded service members and their families the right resources that they need.
Why is Dad So Mad?
Why is Dad So Mad?
Explaining Psychological Injury to Your Kids
Retired Army Sgt. Seth Kastle served sixteen years in the Army Reserve and was deployed to Qatar, Afghanistan, and Iraq. When he came home he suffered from P.T.S.D. He would have memory losses like he would go to the bathroom cabinet to get a tooth brush and not remember which one was his among other symptoms. He wanted to explain it to his kids so he wrote a children's book about it. The book describes a family of lions that represents the Kastle family. The father lion is shown with a raging fire in his chest. Seth Kastle said, "In the book I talk about the fire inside dad's chest. To me, that's what it feels like." The image in the book made an impact on his six-year-old daughter, Reagan, who said, "No matter what, when they're mad or sad at you, they still love you. There's always a fire in his chest but no matter what, I know there's love." The father, Seth Kastle, who read this book to his daughter at night also said, "I hope that other military families have a chance to sit down and explain to their kids that it's not always going to be easy, but they'll get through it." Presently, Kastle is working on his second book on military mothers with P.T.S.D. One night during reading the orilginal book to Reagan she wrapped her arm around her father and said, "I like this book. I'm really proud you did it."
Other Websites for Veterans On P.T.S.D,
www.trauma-pages.com - This website contains vast information on on emotional trauma, traumatic stress, and P.T.S.D. or psychological injury.
The National Center for P.T.S.D.
Website that is run by Dr. Johnathan Shay on Medications for P.T.S.D.
Contains access to, "The Posttraumatic Gazette"- a newsletter with many resources and wisdom for veterans and their families.
Veteran Hot Lines
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 or text message 838255 (all support is confidential)
National Center for Homeless Vets: 1-877-424-3838
- 'Why Is Dad So Mad?' Veteran Writes Book to Explain His PTSD to His Daughter - NBC
Retired Army 1st Sgt. Seth Kastle struggled to explain his PTSD to his children, so he wrote a book he hopes can help other military families.
- Veterans PTSD Statistics | Statistics: Depression, TBI and Suicide
- Invisible Wounds: Mental Health and Cognitive Care Needs of America's Returning Veterans | RAND
This research brief summarizes a comprehensive RAND study of the mental health and cognitive needs of returning servicemembers and veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
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