Tuesday, February 11, 2014

PTSD is not only effecting our military

Our service men and women that are diagnosed and suffering with PTSD are not the only ones suffering.  Have you ever stopped to think what this does to their family and close friends?  Moms and dads have to watch their child suffer and feel there is nothing they can do.  Spouses watch and many times are pushed away and feel helpless and abandoned.  The children of these service men and women don't understand.  All they know is mommy or daddy is different now and they just can't figure out why and there is always that chance they may even blame themselves.

We as a Nation owe it to these service men and women and their families to do all we can do to help them.  It could be a simple card/letter, an encouraging word, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, anything.  It doesn't even have to cost you money or that much time.  It would be amazing to these folks that are suffering just to know there are people out there that do really care about what they are going through.

I can only imagine how alone each of these people must feel at times and I think that is what breaks my heart the most.  I would never want them to think they have no one to turn to.

It has been my experience so far that many of our service men and women suffering chose to suffer in silence for several reasons (I believe).  One, I believe they don't want to burden their families any more than they feel they may have already done.  Second, I'm not sure they know how to take that first step and just open up.  Third and probably most importantly, I believe they view this as a weakness and they have been trained not to show weakness and to be brave and strong at all times.  This makes me sad.

They have been trained physically and emotionally to be protectors.  How can they lean on someone else, especially family and friends, if they continue to feel it is their "duty" to protect them?  I believe many of them feel this way.  I could be wrong, but based on the ones I've talked to, I don't think I am.

Stop and think how these parents must feel.  I will speak specifically about the moms as those are the ones I've actually spoken to so far.  They not only feel helpless, but they feel a since of failure and abandonment.  You might ask yourself why since they didn't cause this.  Well, speaking as a mom, it is our job to protect and care for your child regardless his/her age.  I know for me, it wouldn't have matter how old Chad was or if he were married (which he was) or how many children he had (which were none), I would have still done anything and everything to take care of him and make sure he was healthy, happy, and just ok.  I believe all moms have that in them, always.

As for spouses, can you imagine?  First, the love of their life is different and sometimes very different than the man or woman they married.  They want to continue to love them and help them through this and feel helpless I'm sure.  Think about it, they know their spouse is different and sometimes someone with PTSD can be mean, certainly angry at times and depressed.  It may take them months or years to figure out this is the issue.  Can you imagine what a toll this would take on a marriage and sadly, I'm afraid, most don't make it through this.  It takes a mighty strong couple who are determined despite anything thrown their way, they will make this marriage work.  However, I can tell you, that is easier said than done when you feel there is no way out or no help for the situation. 

There is hope and there is a way out.  There are so many organizations out there willing and waiting to help.  There are support groups not only for the service member, but for the families as well.  Please take advantage of these resources.  If these organizations are anything like our Wings for Our Troops, they are desperate to help.  We long for the next service member to send home and when we go months without one request it gets disheartening.  I am certain that is how these other organizations must feel.

I was recently told that there is a military veteran that is looking into a business to train dogs that can sense when someone is about to have an episode or show symptoms of PTSD and will prompt the service member to take his/her medication.  Now I also have to tell you that I have yet to find such an organization out there, but I will continue to look.  I did, however, find that there are PTSD dogs that have been trained to be companions and they are seeing that it helps the patient cope when he/she has one of these dogs.  I'm not much of a dog lover (ok, not at all), but if this is something that helps our service men/women suffering with PTSD, I'm all for it.  I have a few links below that you are welcome to check out and see if any of these are a fit for you. 

By all means, if you are a service member and you have been diagnosed or feel you may be having symptoms of PTSD, talk to someone.  If you don't want to speak to your family or friends then find someone else.  I am an email or post away and there are so many out there with open arms ready to help lift you up.  That is certainly the first step in truly getting the help you need to live a long, healthy, and happy life.  You deserve it!






Please do not suffer in silence any longer and do not allow PTSD rob you of the life you deserve. 

Pain in a little boy's eyes that has to watch someone he loves suffer with PTSD (picture courtesy of easyreadsystem.com)

Picture courtesy of photo bucket

The look of a wife or mother that feels helpless in helping their child or spouse (picture courtesy of urbanchristiannews.com)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Eye of the Tiger

I'm actually working on a more serious blog, but decided last night that I was too mentally tired to complete it and I felt it deserved my undivided attention.  Then today I was trying to stay motivated to keep working as it has been a long and rough few weeks at the office.  I was playing my music on my phone and the song by Katy Perry "Roar" came on and I'm hoping she doesn't mind me using her YouTube link and image of her album to hopefully provide you with some motivation.  If you haven't listened to it yet, I encourage you to do so.  I believe when you listen to it and apply the words to your own situation, you will see quickly that it applies to most all of us.  Whether you are a veteran or active service member or the family or loved one of one that is suffering with PTSD, I believe it will apply.  Just take a few moments and listen to it...  I will wait.


I believe anyone fighting through anything, regardless what it is (I include myself in this) that once you get the "eye of the tiger", you can do anything.
Yes, I am a huge Rocky fan (I know), but that is always my favorite part of all his movies (yes, I realize there are a lot) when they play that song "The Eye of The Tiger".  It gets you pumped up and motivates you to keep fighting. 

That's what I want for each of you.  Keep fighting.  You can do this and if it takes Katy Perry or anyone else to pump you up and keep you motivated, then use it! 

You owe it not only to yourself, but to your families, your children (if you have them), your fellow brothers/friends, and your fallen brothers to keep up the fight. 

None of us want to lose another one regardless if on the battle field overseas or on their own battle field at home.  If they can't get "the eye of the tiger" for themselves, you get it for them and keep helping them and push when you need to and make sure they know that we are cheering them on and will help them fight this fight if they will just let us in.  If you have someone not letting you in, keep at it.  They will eventually.  I just have to believe that.  You might have to find sly little ways to get in there, but you can do it.

There are so many inspirational people out there that live every day despite their situations, but they didn't do it along most likely.  They had people around them that encouraged them and kept them focused and helped them fight.  There may be a day you have to fight for them and that's ok too.  Just show them we will not give up on them.

So get out there everyone and "ROAR" and get the Eye of the Tiger and lets help the ones struggling and hurting.  I'm ready to fight, are you?

Picture courtesy of www.vibe.com/article/katy-perry-roar

Saturday, February 1, 2014

As for my family, we will never forget...

We continue to have young men and women on the front lines in battle.  They are experiencing things young people their ages should not have to experience.  I can't speak for all branches of the military, but I can speak for the U.S. Marine Corps.  These men and women are the essence of the Band of Brothers.  It doesn't stop just with each other.  The young men in my son's unit continue to not only honor Chad in every way they possibly can, but they continue to make sure my family is ok.  After 3 years I rarely have a week go by that I don't hear from at least one of them just checking in and making sure we are ok.  This is a life long bond people.  It isn't something they did right after Chad's passing and shortly after their returned home from Afghanistan, it is something they have obviously committed to do for the remainder of their days on this earth.  I can't give this gesture justice as there truly are not words to describe this efficiently.

I've met more friends through this journey that have lifted us up and encouraged us on a regular basis.  We continue to come in contact with even more of Chad's battle buddies who we have adopted as well and hope to not only help through their own journey, but to take something from them to help us learn more about how to help more veterans and their families.

Someone shared this with me today and I thought it might be helpful to someone to know we are not forgetting about what you and your brothers in arms are living with.  I hope this isn't painful for my "bonus sons" to see and read, but rather encouragement to see how far they have come and how proud we are to call them family and see how they are overcoming something that I am sure felt impossible on December 1, 2010.  We have not forgotten what you went through and we will never be able to repay all you do for us daily to make sure we are ok and carrying on Chad's name and honoring him along with our family with all you do.


It is not only my promise, but my commitment to all who are suffering with PTSD or living with or love someone with PTSD to help and encourage if it is just with words, prayers, or a shoulder to lean on.  I'm not a doctor and I'm not formally trained in counseling or helping with PTSD, I'm just a mom who lost her son and is watching her "bonus sons" (both military and civilian) suffer as a result of losing her son.

I just want to help in any way possible no matter how big or small.  I know I won't make a huge impact on the world and I'm not trying to.  However, I would like to at least make one person feel better and if I can help more than that I will consider that a bonus.

Thank you for reading and if you have encouraging words or anything that might bring a smile to someones face that is suffering silently please visit our newest Face Book pagehttps://www.facebook.com/PTSDihelp?ref=hl and post your kindness and words of love and support to our troops, veterans, and their loved ones.

The more we reach out and the more we get the word out, the better chance we have of helping these young men and women.  It is the very least we can do for all they have done and continue to do for us.