This is a special edition of Best Tweets for Trauma Survivors, focusing today on Veterans’ issues. Every resource listed below was found via tweets posted yesterday, Veterans Day (in the U.S.), November 11, 2010.
I ask you the special favor to retweet this post (button at bottom of post) to a vet you know, or to a veterans’ organization. Thank you for supporting our troops!
In the late 1990s, when I created The Survivors Forum on CompuServe, I included a private forum section for war veterans. I could plainly see then that PTSD — and its devastating symptoms — looks a lot the same to a war veteran or a child abuse survivor or a victim of violent crime. Or to a survivor of a plane or car crash, or industrial accident, or to the first responders who deal with all these things in immediate aftermath. The causality is different but the symptoms and feelings resonate.
I have watched our government — regardless of party — stutter step in sloooow recognition that veterans with PTSD and TBI need to be addressed in ways that go well beyond pep talks, and that do not lay stigma upon the veteran. We’ve seen improvements, but that attitude is still far too prevalent.
Now that the government is stepping up PTSD research, I keep up with it because it’s high time for those commitments to be made and honored. But also, as a child abuse survivor, I recognize that whatever advancements are made and benefits derived in the PTSD field on behalf of veterans will, in turn, become available to “the rest of us”. Meanwhile, we can all learn from each other. We are more alike than we know.
@loveisthecure5 “Each time we face our fear, we gain
strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”
@jolo219 Veterans mental health resources: hotline 800-273-8255 (press 1) and reach out for help
[SEO: You can talk with trained counselors at the hotline number above, or click on the "live chat" button at the link to speak with someone online. Also see the Veterans Pages links in the right column of that page for other topics of interest to veterans, including a veterans resource locator.]
@LindsayWilson Utterly stunning: Veterans and Suicide — We Must Overcome (YouTube)
[SEO: A short video made by Vets Prevail offers stunning stats of what PTSD and depression are doing to our returning veterans.]
The Message from the Troops Who Know: It’s Treatable
@beinfluential A Veterans Day Message from Veterans Administration Secretary Shinseki, “PTS and PTSD are treatable. It is not hopeless.”
[SEO: "Our National Center for PTSD is the engine of innovation supporting VA's internationally recognized network of more than 200 specialized programs for the treatment of PTS and PTSD. Every VA medical center has outpatient PTSD specialty capabilities, and all of these programs have an addictions specialist to address the commonly co-occurring problem of substance misuse. ... "
"We have focused our efforts on the early identification and management of stress-related disorders in order to decrease the long-term burden of these problems on returning veterans. It is important to encourage veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to seek an evaluation and treatment, if any evidence of PTS is detected. To prevent PTS from developing into PTSD, VA can help with coping skills and mental health care to avert the more serious condition."]
@realwarriors Medal of Honor Veterans talk about PTSD through the ages
[SEO: A page of Public Service Announcement videos, either 29 or 59 seconds each, made by veterans about PTSD. "Veterans from past wars explain how combat stress has affected service members of every generation, and how reaching out for support is the way to address it."]
Communities Must Step Up, Too
@huffingtonpost Veterans Day: The Misunderstood Mental Health Consequences Of War
[SEO: "Thus far 5,798 men and women have died during these [Iraq and Afghanistan] wars and the number of those who have come home with significant physical injuries is approaching 40,000. In addition to the thousands who must deal with physical injuries, many of our returning troops are coming home with the invisible — but expected — injuries of war including post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety. Some studies suggest that as many as 35 percent of those who experience combat will eventually develop some symptoms of post traumatic stress. In addition, approximately 20 percent of those coming home will experience a traumatic brain injury as a result of their service.” And it goes deeper than that, to the families, to the children, dealing with longterm separations and loss. “Given that the conflict in Iraq has been underway for over seven long years, tens of thousands of military children have only known the experience of war.”]
@BeachHeadHerald PTSD: The invisible wound ~ It affects veterans of all wars, and it’s likely someone you know personally
[SEO: "It's not just soldiers serving since wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began in 2001 who are affected. PTSD -- a term unknown until the 1980s -- has taken a toll on veterans of all wars. ... Thousands of veterans serving in World War II, the Korean War, in Vietnam and other wars are still dealing with the invisible scars, if not open wounds, of their military actions. Recent Army studies found that about 15 percent of all soldiers suffer from PTSD sometime in their lives. The figure is much higher, however, for those who actually saw combat, say mental health care workers. Most cases, they say, will probably never be diagnosed."]
@NAMIMass 7 Ways to Thank National Guard and Reservists
[SEO: "Members of the Guard and Reserve face unique post-deployment challenges that active duty Service members do not experience." This article outlines the reasons for this, and what you can do any day of the year to help them -- and their families -- cope with their reintegration challenges. Turn your gratitude into action.]
SarahEOlson2009 Honoring Soldiers When They Come Home [and thereafter]
[SEO: "“I have trouble distinguishing the mundane from the critical, because everything seems critical. ... What I lack is a community of support. I’ve tried joining existing veterans groups, but I don’t really feel like I fit in with the Korean and Vietnam vets." [Ron] emphasizes the need for not just community with other vets, but with other, ordinary citizens, to help him feel welcomed back home: “The Army can’t do this alone, and nor can the V.A. If we’re going to avoid a public health catastrophe of a half million Americans coming home with mental health trauma, it’s going to take all of us working together within our communities.”]
@SAVE_USOUL Veterans Day: Can Meditation Help Veterans Overcome PTSD?
[SEO: "Inspired by one of the last surviving, decorated World War II fighter pilots, filmmaker David Lynch is teaming up with friends to launch “Operation Warrior Wellness,” a meditation-based program to help veterans overcome stress-related disorders. At the upcoming benefit Change Begins Within, Lynch will be joined by Clint Eastwood, Russell Simmons, Mehmet Oz, Russell Brand, Katy Perry, Donna Karan and others in support of a project to provide Transcendental Meditation instruction to 10,000 veterans and their families. The event will be December 13 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Article continues with discussion of what PTSD is, and how meditation might be part of the answer.]
@LisaCollierCool Virtual Reality Therapy For Veterans With PTSD
[SEO: "The new treatment is a high-tech twist on a widely used type of cognitive behavior therapy for phobias and anxiety disorders, including PTSD, called exposure therapy. It’s based on the idea that patients can gradually gain control of their fear through confronting it repeatedly under the supervision of an experienced therapist. 'The usual approach is for patients to close their eyes and imagine the event is occurring,' says Rothbaum. 'In our study, the patients’ eyes are open and they wear ear phones and a strappy headset with TV screens, allowing the therapist to match what they’re imagining with a virtual reality environment.'”
@barkplace How Dogs Help Veterans Cope with PTSD
[SEO: A five minute video: "Struggling with post-traumatic stress, veteran David Sharpe says he found a dog at a shelter that saved his life. Now, with a group called P2V, he pairs other vets with rescued pets."]
@Zeo In honor of Veterans’ Day ~ PTSD, sleep disorders and what you can do about it
[SEO: "If you think of PTSD as something that creates hyperarousal in the mind and body–the mind thinks a lot or over thinks and the body is overly active–both of these things are not necessarily conducive to sleep. If someone in this state is trying to lay their head down to fall asleep, we have a recipe there for trouble falling asleep or potentially trouble staying asleep."] A good discussion of various aspects of sleep disorders, how they relate to PTSD, and possible treatments.]
@NAMIMass Talking — and Listening — with Your Combat Vet
[SEO: Advice for loved ones of vets with PTSD: "Wanting to listen to someone's stories and 'be there' for him or her is very significant and worthwhile. After all, 'first duty of love is to listen.' But be aware that you need to also be prepared for anything they may say, and count the cost in advance about how that's going to affect you to hear. You may want to line up a therapist or some support of your own."]
A Great Ebook Resource for Combat Veterans
@jmproffitt Thank you veterans! If you or someone you know has PTSD, check out this FREE ebook written by PTSD survivor @akvet
[SEO: "Life After Combat" is a 37 page ebook written by Ken Jones (@akvet), a Vietnam veteran. He's also a great follow on Twitter.]
Because It Matters
@SarahEOlson2009 Goodnight Saigon by Billy Joel, with lyrics (YouTube)
[SEO: Billy Joel captures the Vietnam veteran's experience in this song's tough yet poignant lyrics. If you haven't heard the song or read the actual lyrics, please do. This is 20 years old, and every bit as much still relevant. (Directly below the video box, click on the line that says "Billy Joel: Goodnight Saigon lyrics" to see them.)]
I ask you the special favor to retweet this post to a vet you know, or to a veterans’ organization. Thank you for supporting our troops!