We All Face Challenges

Atop the mountainMy husband doesn’t really enjoy accolades and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t handle compliments very well, to which I respond, “Get over it, because in this family you’re going to get both!” ūüôā This week my husband joined a group of 14 other combat veterans to participate in the Save a Warrior Project hosted here in Kentucky! For those of you who have not heard of this program, in a nutshell it is basically an awesome, tried & proven PTSD Detox program…

Reboot-Refresh: Invisible Wounds Support Group

 

This month, Reboot-Refresh is taking a “field trip”. ¬†We have found out that the documentary, Hell and Back Again, will be coming to Lexington, Kentucky, for one night only. Since the documentary is being presented at the same time we normally meet, we have decided to attend the showing of Hell and Back Again, and then meet afterwards to discuss the film.

We hope you will join us. Here are the details:

The movie is 90 minutes. It is being shown at LexArts, 161 N. Mill Street, Lexington, 40507.  It is free and open to the public. It is being presented by KET as part of the ITVS nationwide Community Cinema program.  We will meet in front of LexArts at 6:00 pm, Thursday, April 19.

Here is some information about our Invisible Wounds Care Group, Reboot-Refresh.   We meet on the third Thursday of each month.  We meet at Southland Christian Church, in Room B133.

Our focus is to support one another and learn to help one another through life after combat.  Many of us are playing a role of primary support for someone who has served in combat at some point in their past.

If you know your loved one is dealing with PTSD or a mild TBI, this group is for you.  If your loved one doesn’t have a diagnosis, but you know life is simply not the same anymore since their return from war, this group is for you.  Statistically, at least 20% of returning troops will have PTSD.  Realistically, everyone who serves will come back changed.

PTSD carries a stigma that we don’t speak of outside our homes. The symptomatic behaviors are often nothing to brag about and we prefer to keep problems to ourselves, hoping and praying that the situation will resolve itself in time. Thousands of veterans return home from war finding themselves unable to fit back into society. These men and women now face a battle on the homefront which can result in broken relationships, substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, and suicide.

Even if your loved one is seeking treatment, there is much that we, as caregivers, need to learn so that we can help our loved one work towards health and healing.  Often times, our emotional reaction to what is happening will make the situation far worse.  You may even find that you are exhibiting symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress and you probably feel overwhelmed and at a loss as to how to get any help for yourself.

We are not experts, but we are survivors.  The purpose of this care group is to provide a safe atmosphere in which participants can share their hearts and their struggles. We have all experienced the spiritual, mental, and emotional battles that come with supporting and loving a combat veteran living with war’s invisible wounds.

We welcome anyone who has already walked this path in supporting a combat veteran.  You can show us some of the lessons and techniques you have learned and teach us to be a better support for our own combat veteran.

If you are a veteran who is willing to share your perspective about living with PTSD, we would welcome your participation and suggestions for helping family members learn to be a better support for their combat veteran.

If you are the parent, spouse, family member, or close friend to one of our nation’s veterans suffering with PTSD and TBI, we hope you will join us on the first and third Thursday nights of each month.  The group will meet monthly, on the third Thursday evening of the month from 6:30 Р8:00 pm.  Childcare is provided.  We will be meeting at Southland Christian Church, Room B133, located at 5001 Harrodsburg Rd., Nicholasville, KY For driving directions, click here.  For a building map, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth at beth@military-missions.org.

Ask Dr Diaz about Secondary PTSD

Military Missions and Voice of Warriors join together each Tuesday night at 7:00 pm to bring you VOW Talk Radio.

When men and women return from combat, family members step up to care for them.  With ten years of war, thousands are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress.  When PTSD is brought into the home, the family is going to be directly affected.  Many family members find themselves experiencing their own symptoms of what is known as Secondary PTSD.

Dr. Rolando Diaz  joins VOW Talk Radio on Tuesday, April 10, at 7:00 pm (EDT) to answer your questions about Secondary PTSD.  Dr. Diaz, a Give an Hour provider, and clinical psychologist with an independent practice in Arlington, Virginia, joins our show on the second Tuesday of each month to answer your questions about surviving life after combat.

Dr. Diaz will be clarifying the distinction between true PTSD, secondary experiences that are tied to the trauma that the service member experienced (e.g., a wife having nightmares of her husband’s accident), and the experiences that result from living with someone with PTSD.¬† All of these get labeled the same way but represent very different circumstances and need different treatment approaches.

Listen live by clicking here or calling the show at 424-258-9240. Don’t forget to join our live chat during the show.

Signs and symptoms that may indicate Secondary PTSD

  • The survivor may lose interest in family or intimate activities and may become emotionally isolated or detached. ¬†Family members may feel hurt, alienated, frustrated and discouraged.
  • The survivor may exhibit behaviors that indicate he is irritable, tense, anxious, worried, distractible, startled, enraged, controlling, overprotective, and demanding. Family members may feel like they live in a war zone, often reacting in anger, or purposely distancing themselves from the trauma survivor.
  • Even if the trauma occurred decades ago, the survivor may act feel as if the trauma is still happening.¬† Family members may also feel as if their secondary trauma is still happening.¬† As time passes, the family may begin to avoid activities with others, and become isolated from friends outside the family.¬† They may feel that no one outside the family could possibly understand their situation.
  • The trauma survivor often feels there is no future for which to look forward. Family members may find it very difficult to have a cooperative discussion with the survivor about important plans and decisions for the future.
  • The survivor may have difficulty listening and concentrating. He may become easily distracted, tense, or anxious. He may become hyper vigilant, displaying angry and overly suspicious behavior toward family members. The trauma survivor may become fearful about problems becoming terrible catastrophes.¬†As well, the family may find it difficult to discuss personal or family problems because the survivor may become controlling, demanding, overprotective, and anxious.
  • Family members may become over involved with the lives of healthy family members due to need for positive emotional feedback, or they may ignore the healthy members of the family giving all of their attention to the trauma survivor.
  • Family members may find their sleep disrupted by the survivor‚Äôs sleep problems (reluctance to sleep at night, restlessness, severe nightmares or episodes of violent sleepwalking).¬† Family members also often find themselves having terrifying nightmares, leading to a fear of going to sleep, or difficulty getting a restful night‚Äôs sleep.
  • Ordinary activities, such as shopping, driving or attending a movie may trigger traumatic memories and flashbacks throwing one into ‚Äúsurvival mode‚ÄĚ suddenly and without explanation.¬† The survivor may shut down emotionally, or leave abruptly leaving family members feeling stranded, helpless, and worried.
  • Trauma survivors with PTSD often struggle with intense anger or rage and often have difficulty coping with the impulse to lash out verbally or physically. Family members can easily feel frightened and betrayed by the survivor, despite feeling love and concern for their loved one.
  • Family members are also frequently exposed to emotional, financial, and domestic problems. Survivors experiencing PTSD may seek relief and escape with alcohol or other drugs.¬† Addictive behaviors such as gambling and eating disorders are common.¬† Addictions offer false hope to the survivor by seeming to help for a short time.¬† Soon these addictions increase the fear, anxiety, tension, anger and emotional numbness which go hand in hand with PTSD.
  • When suicide is a danger, family members face the unavoidable strains of worry, guilt, grief, fear, and anger.

Warfighter Mindset

Did you know that Military Missions Inc partners with Voice of Warriors each week to bring VOW Talk Radio to the airwaves?  Military Missions founder, Beth Pennington, joins Patti Katter, founder of Voice of Warriors and Christian Military Wives each Tuesday night to bring you VOW Talk Radio. The show airs via BlogTalk Radio so you can tune in each Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm (EDT) right from your computer or using your phone no matter where you live in the great USA!

We have a great show coming up tonight. Boone Cutler  and Shawn Gourley  will be joining VOW Talk Radio us. The warfighter mindset will be our focus as we discuss the role that education plays in the law enforcement community.  We are referring, of course, to education about Post Traumatic Stress experienced by our combat veterans.

Boone and Shawn will be sharing about their upcoming participation at the Western States Hostage Negotiation Association’s conference  in June.

Warfighter Boone Cutler is an author and Veteran‚Äôs Rights leader who has become the first nationally recognized on-air personality who is also a Warfighter from the current war. ‚ÄėTipping Point with Boone Cutler‚Äô airs Saturday mornings on Fox News Radio.

Shawn is the author of The War at Home: One Family’s Fight Against PTSD.   In her book, Shawn and her husband, Justin, share their personal experiences living life with Post Traumatic Stress. Best known for starting Military with PTSD on Facebook, Shawn leads a unique community of veterans and their family members who offer support to one another. Shawn joins the VOW team on the third Tuesday of each month to discuss issues relevant to families facing life after combat.

 

Secondary PTSD discussed on VOW Talk Radio

Have you heard of Secondary PTSD?  If you haven’t, it’s time that you did. If your Veteran has PTSD, there is a good chance that you may develop Secondary PTSD.  You may already have symptoms and not even realize that you do.  Secondary PTSD can affect spouses, children, parents, and any other significant person involved in the lives of our nation’s combat veterans.

Click here to listen to our latest VOW Talk Radio show airing tonight at 9:00 pm. Shawn Gourley, author of The War at Home: One Family’s Fight Against PTSD, talks about her book and how Secondary PTSD has affected her family. During the interview, VOW Radio hostess, Beth Pennington, will also be sharing about her own battle with Secondary PTSD.  If you think this is something that can only happen to someone else, you are wrong.

Click here to read more.

 

Hidden Wounds are a burden to soldiers and their families

Join Military Missions and Voice of Warriors for VOW Talk Radio on Monday, October 31, 2011. Author, Nate Brookshire, will be our special guest. Nate is calling us straight from his base overseas to share about the upcoming release of the book he cowrote with Marius Tecoanta, Hidden Wounds: A Soldier’s Burden, which is being released on November 15, 2011.

Hidden Wounds: A Soldier‚Äôs Burden, is ‚Äúthe story of two soldiers robbed of their happiness, yet both clinging fiercely to the Honor; and the stories of their wives, as strong in heart as any warrior.‚ÄĚ

Carl Prine, military veteran and reporter for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, states the following about the book.

“Because their first book sprawls across continents and generations, some readers might assume Captains Nathan Brookshire and Marius Tecoanta have written popular fiction. But their words really speak to men fresh from combat and returning for more. Rather than trying to understand “Hidden Wounds: A Soldier’s Burden” as a timeless study of pain, loss and regret, readers should think of it as a testament to an American military suffering through nearly a decade at war. There’s an abiding decency to this novel, which I suspect was animated by the authors’ shared strength of character and commitment to help others.”

Nate is currently serving as an active duty commissioned officer with the US Army. He has served for over 20 years with multiple deployments to numerous combat zones.  Marius is a commissioned officer with the Oregon National Guard. His has a diverse career in manufacturing and law enforcement, as well as the military.

You can listen live to our interview with Nate Brookshire on Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm, or download the interview from our Blog Talk Radio page or directly from iTunes after the show has aired.