Trauma & PTSD

Do you wonder whether you or a parent, child, or friend is experiencing PTSD? Whether PTSD has specific symptoms? If you can experience trauma second-hand?

Trauma affects people differently. Though we have recognized the existence of PTSD since 1980, the American Medical Association defines it in broad terms, and a wide array of experts continue to develop their understanding of trauma’s long term effects. Methods and approaches to healing are still emerging.

Here are some questions to consider (adapted from Judith Herman’s seminal book, Trauma and Recovery):

Have you ever experienced a feeling of terror or helplessness that overwhelmed your ability to function?

Most everyone agrees that such experiences are common to military combat. But they can result from witnessing the pain and torture of others or even the aftermath of atrocity.

Has the feeling of terror continued since the experience, as though the terrifying event is still occurring?

How PTSD manifests itself

It’s important to remember that the symptoms of PTSD may not show up for months or years after the event and may come and go.

  • Do you remember the experience in minute detail, as if it is still happening? Do you have recurring nightmares about it? Do you try to avoid any reminders whatsoever of the event? Do you often feel irritable, on edge, or jumpy? Are you experiencing panic attacks or insomnia?
  • Does melancholy or depression feel all too familiar?

If you these questions resonate with you, link on to the website below where you can find both more specific information and resources.

VA’s National Center for PTSD

This website includes section for Children of Veterans and Adults with PTSD and covers how a veteran’s PTSD symptoms might affect his or her children. You can also click here for a video on this topic.

Other resources for PTSD

thesoldiersproject.org (a nonprofit group that provides free counseling to veterans and their families)

veteransheartgeorgia.org (a nonprofit group that provides free counseling to veterans and their families)

notalone.com (assists veterans and their families dealing with the trauma of wartime deployment)

www.ptsdspirituality.com (This resource, authored by veteran Dr.John Zemler, brings a spiritual perspective to PTSD, how it wounds the soul, and so healing must attend to the soul)

www.healingcombattrauma.com (extensive listing of resources. Includes blog, discussion of catharsis of writing, ways to create conversation within the family)

www.vetcenter.va.gov (counseling, suicide line, and outreach for veterans)

ptsd.about.com/od/ptsdandthemilitary/a/PTSDvulnerable.htm

www.giveanhour.org (a nonprofit that provides free mental health services to U.S. military personnel and families affected by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan)

www.soldiersheart.net and www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BvdxHdOWsw (both present the work of Dr. Edward Tick who has been an activist working to help veterans)

www.onefreedom.org (focuses on assisting veterans and their families with reintegrating after tours of duty)

www.militaryonesource.com (a 24/7 resource for military members, spouses, and family)

www.vmfp.org (Veterans and Military Families for Progress, a national organization dedicated to ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, active-duty service members and their families are understood by the American public,
endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation, and public policy initiatives)

www.veteransforamerica.org/ (an advocacy and humanitarian organization that seeks to ensure that our country meets the needs of servicemembers and veterans who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_H_mAm4a4s&feature=related (gives a general overview of PTSD)

Sources of information about PTSD

www.jimhopper.com/trauma_and_recovery (presents Judith Herman’s book, Trauma and Recovery

http://www.theinstitute.org/trauma/levine_int.shtml (Peter Levine discusses his work on healing trauma)

www.patiencepress.com Publisher of information on recovering from PTSD

Related Sites

unitedchildrenofveterans.com (the blog of a Vietnam veteran’s daughter who is healing herself and her family of the wounds from PTSD by engaging her father in telling his story)

mysite.verizon.net/bussel/id1.html (the memoir of a former WWII POW whose recognition of his PTSD late in his life has propelled him to become an activist for getting veterans needed resources)

Daughters of Vietnam Veterans

Daughters of D-Day: Finding our Fathers

Resources for Families

www.SeedsofHopeBooks.com For families concerned about the impact of a parent’s deployment, combat, or PTSD on their children.  Two books are available through the site:  My Story: Blogs by Four Military Teens
A series of blogs which gives a voice to the teen experience before, during and after parental deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan

Finding My Way: A Teen’s Guide to Living with a Parent Who Has Experienced Trauma
Examines the teenager’s experience of having a parent who has endured trauma-ranging from military combat to domestic violence to 9/11 to natural disasters.
The mission of these books is to empower teens by:
* Providing essential information
* Normalizing a variety of reactions
* Encouraging open communication
* Supporting healthy coping
* Offering comfort and hope
The  books are highly interactive, containing numerous activities, open-ended sentences, short stories depicting healthy coping, and opportunities for reflection.

Blogs and Chat Rooms

PTSDcombat.blogspot.com (Ilona Meagher, author of Moving a Nation to Care: PTSD and America’s Returning Troops, has created an “online journal” for vets returning to civilian life.)

tearsofawarrior.com/wilderness-and-healing-ptsd/comment-page-1/

www.iboww.org/home.htm

janelvin.blogspot.com/

dutchschultz.blogspot.com/2007/02/organization-for-children-of-world-war.html

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