Showing posts with label trauma survivor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trauma survivor. Show all posts

Saturday, January 25, 2020

“Bastard Road" turning veterans with PTSD from victims to survivors

Veteran takes a long journey down the road in Slamdance documentary

Park Record
Scott Iwasaki
January 25, 2020

In the opening scene of Brian Morrison’s “Bastard Road,” a documentary feature in this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, Jonathan Hancock, a former Marine and an Iraq War veteran, recounts an incident where he killed a young boy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The boy’s death is part of Hancock’s post-traumatic stress disorder, which has prevented him from transitioning back into civilian life when his service in the Marines ended in 2009.

Six years later, Hancock, after sliding into a pit of depression, anger, substance abuse and a suicide attempt, decided to walk cross-country from Maryland to California to visit some of his 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines brethren, nicknamed the “Magnificent Bastards,” to cope with his PTSD.

Although Morrison didn’t know Hancock personally, the two shared high school friends, and it was one of those friends who put the two in touch with each other.

“The thing is, I wasn’t aware of Jon’s walk until he was a couple thousand miles into it, and he started popping up on local TV reports,” Morrison said. “I knew he was a Marine who was struggling with PTSD, and I was so curious as to why he was walking.”
read it here

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How to Help Mandalay Bay Survivors. Be There!

This morning I posted advice on Google+ about how to help someone after they have survived something like Mandalay Bay shooting. It is really simple advice.
"If you know survivors of the shooting in Las Vegas, be there to listen to them. Do not turn it into a contest or try to "fix them" with any words, other than letting them know you care. Hold their hand and hold your tongue. Be there as they bring what happened as survivors back into the safety of what "normal" life is supposed to be."
Aside from living through many times when my life was on the line as a civilian, (remember, I am not the veteran in the family) this works. My family did it naturally, not knowing they were beginning my healing as a survivor. I also studied it, trained to work with First Responders, because of how much I do believe it works. 

Having seen the worst that can happen after a survivor is suffering without help, I weep more because I know that suffering did not need to happen.

It isn't just me saying this. It is repeated over and over again from the type of experts I learned from. You know, the ones with degrees up the you know what and a proven history of being right.

This is from one of those types of articles that just came out from an interview with Michele Hart.
A place to feel safe
"The first step is safety. Give someone a safe place to be and just be," she said. "Right now the talking isn't the important part."

Hart said the priority should be giving people a place where they can cry and express emotions and begin to process what has happened in a way that is safe and comfortable.  
The rush for 'psychological first aid' in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting
Jessica Mathews
October 3, 2017

The morning after Stephen Paddock opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Resorts promptly opened a crisis center.
What was to be an evening of country music and celebration turned into a night of bloody terror, leaving those affected at risk of severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
Clinical social worker Michele Hart, who specializes in stressor-related disorders, says one of the best measures to treat PTSD is providing a place where those affected can cry and express emotions.

Denise Truscello | Getty Images
People embrace during a vigil on the Las Vegas strip for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017, in Las Vegas.

The morning after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay Resorts promptly opened a crisis center, asking certified trauma counselors to volunteer and go to "Circus Circus – Ballroom D," according to a tweet. The makeshift crisis center was open to all victims, family members and anyone else directly impacted by the events, including Mandalay Bay guests and employees.

"Psychological first aid," or early mental health response, after the aftermath of horror and heartbreak is relatively new. In the first two weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on December 14, 2012, which left 29 people dead, more than 800 people visited the main crisis counseling center in Newtown, Connecticut. Within 24 hours after the June 12, 2016, nightclub shooting in Orlando, which claimed 49 lives, local counselors began circulating a spreadsheet, asking practitioners to sign up for shifts to offer therapy and support to victims, their families and community members. In a few days 650 practitioners signed up.

The Las Vegas shooting on Sunday night turned out to be the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, leaving 59 dead and 527 injured. For nearly 15 minutes shots rained down on the attendees, who had nowhere to escape. What was to be an evening of country music and celebration turned into a night of bloody terror, leaving those affected — whether directly or vicariously — at risk of severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

read more here

But remember, it isn't just about the survivors. It is the First Responders, the families, the friends and the people who just left, will also be changed. Will you be there to help them change again for the better?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

PTSD Awareness Day Something to Beware of

Reporter should be aware of a lot of things beginning with the fact that anyone with PTSD is not a VICTIM, but is a survivor of something that could have killed them. As for the rest, more of the same-old-fluff instead of getting to the real food veterans need to know, like THEY ARE SURVIVORS of something they were willing to die for. Would also be nice to mention the fact that the lives of others meant that much to them, but their own needs to be worthy fighting for as well!
PTSD Awareness Day: Resources for vets ahead of Independence Day celebrations
The Denver Channel
June 27, 2017

DENVER — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day couldn't come at a better time for many veterans who shudder at the sound of fireworks. It helps bring veterans and their struggles to the front of many minds.
Observed on June 27, PTSD Awareness Day is a day to support those veterans who fight a battle with traumatic memories. It also helps other Americans who aren't as familiar with the disorder come to a better understanding of how it impacts veterans. 
According to the National Center for PTSD, it is an issue many develop after life-threatening events, like combat. Experts say it isn't a statement on the mental toughness of those suffering through PTSD, it is a disorder completely out of the control of its victims. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

You Wouldn't Have Combat PTSD if You Stayed Home

I'll be damned if I sit back and let you settle for the load of crap you've been fed over all these years! I am going to keep this short and simple.

Too many have died because they had PTSD but never understood what it was. 

Many have suggested that dropping the D from PTSD will get the stigma out of the way. As if you are afraid of a letter after surviving war. The D is for "Disorder" meaning things in your mind were once in a certain order but after the traumas you survived, things got bumped out of place. You can put it all back in order again, just not in the same way they were before you left home. 

No one is ever the same after combat.

Far too many do not understand that "trauma" is actually Greek for "wound" and if you look at it that way, you understand that it hit you. Any shame in getting wounded for your country? Any shame in risking your life for the sake of those you were with?

As for asking for help, consider combat itself. You had no problem at all asking for help fighting the enemy forces. So why have a problem asking for help because you did all that then? This time you're battling for yourself so that when you are stronger you can battle for your buddy and all the other veterans out there going through the same hell.

If you are veteran over the age of 50, you are among the majority of veterans committing suicide. 

If you do not get the help you are looking for, keep looking until you find it. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Iraq Veteran Committed Murder-Suicide At Flapjack Pub

Sharon Williams is dead, killed by ex-boyfriend. Iraq veteran Arthur Guise is dead after pulling the trigger on her and then himself. It didn't happen in the privacy of a home. It happened on the deck of a pub with lots of strangers left in shock. It left two families in shock.

Guise was fighting the battle after war with PTSD and was seeking help to heal. So why wasn't he helped enough to prevent this? That is the question we should always get answers to but we never seem to get them.

PTSD veterans are mostly non-violent. Pretty much they are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else. So why are more and more seeking help at the same time more and more are committing suicide?

Did Guise end up on one of the medications that does more harm than good? Did he see a VA doctor? Did he get the help he needed at the same time he did all he could to be proactive to heal? Was he told everything he needed to know? Does responsibility end with Guise or does everyone else involved in this tragedy deserve to know the rest of the story?
'He saw a lot in Iraq. It changed him': Father of shooter in York County murder-suicide
By Julianne Mattera
July 03, 2015
Flapjack's Pub reopened for customers to come visit, but did not serve food, after last night's murder-suicide that took place on the deck of the pub in Dillsburg on Friday, July 3 2015. Emily Kask, PennLive
The man who authorities said committed suicide after he shot a woman at a York County bar last night likely suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following military tours in Iraq, according to his father.

Lenard Guise of Mount Holly Springs said Arthur Guise, his son, did two tours in Iraq during his time in the Army.

"I think that affected him," Guise said. "He was going to some counseling to help. He saw a lot in Iraq. It changed him."

County Coroner Pam Gay said Arthur Guise, 31, shot and killed Sharon Williams, 33, of Mount Holly Springs before shooting and killing himself at Flapjacks Pub, on Route 15, just outside Dillsburg.
"He came onto the deck and walked right up to her — she was sitting at a table on the deck — and just walked up right behind her and shot her three times," said Osterhoudt, whose wife manages the bar, which is owned by Osterhoudt's father-in-law.

Osterhoudt said the man then "put the gun to his head and shot himself."
read more here

'It was all quick. No hesitation': Bartender recalls York County murder-suicide
By Julianne Mattera
July 03, 2015

Scotty Osterhoudt barely slept last night after seeing a patron shoot his ex-girlfriend before killing himself on the deck of his family's York County pub.

Osterhoudt, a bartender at Flapjack's Pub just outside of Dillsburg, turned around from making a drink Thursday night after hearing a "pop go off" outside the bar. Through a window, he saw Arthur Guise take one last shot at Sharon Williams, his ex-girlfriend, and then turn the gun on himself.

"It was all quick. No hesitation," said Osterhoudt, who heard at least four or five shots. "... He was just dead set on what he wanted to do."

When he came to the door to the deck, there was "just chaos" and "blood everywhere," Osterhoudt said.
read more here

Monday, February 2, 2015

PTSD changed you for a time, but you can change again!

The list of times I faced traumatic events is long but I can tell you that this report on Salon is not the total truth. Yes, the trauma stays with you just as every other good event in your life. Everything that happens become part of you at this moment in time. Your past tags along.

Yet when you think about the fact that you kept changing up to and including the "big one" setting off PTSD, you can keep changing. You can keep healing, finding peace and live a better quality of life. PTSD changed you for a time, but you can change again! It doesn't have to win.

“There is no cure for trauma. Once it enters the body, it stays there forever”
Survivors say the day of their trauma marks the end of a chapter in their lives.
The IED attack in Iraq was mine
FEB 1, 2015

We are born in debt, owing the world a death. This is the shadow that darkens every cradle. Trauma is what happens when you catch a surprise glimpse of that darkness, the coming annihilation not only of the body and the mind but also, seemingly, of the world. Trauma is the savagery of the universe made manifest within us, and it destroys not only the integrity of consciousness, the myth of self-mastery, and the experience of time but also our ability to live peacefully with others, almost as if it were a virus, a pathogen content to do nothing besides replicate itself in the world, over and over, until only it remains.

Trauma is the glimpse of truth that tells us a lie: the lie that love is impossible, that peace is an illusion. Therapy and medication can ease the pain but neither can suck the venom from the blood, make the survivor unsee the darkness and unknow the secret that lies beneath the surface of life. Despite the quixotic claims of modern neuroscience, there is no cure for trauma.

Once it enters the body, it stays there forever, initiating a complex chemical chain of events that changes not only the physiology of the victims but also the physiology of their offspring. One cannot, as war correspondent Michael Herr testifies in “Dispatches,” simply “run the film backwards out of consciousness.” Trauma is our special legacy as sentient beings, creatures burdened with the knowledge of our own impermanence; our symbolic experience with it is one of the things that separates us from the animal kingdom. As long as we exist, the universe will be scheming to wipe us out. The best we can do is work to contain the pain, draw a line around it, name it, domesticate it, and try to transform what lies on the other side of the line into a kind of knowledge, a knowledge of the mechanics of loss that might be put to use for future generations.
read more here

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Surgeon heals patients and their violent ways

Surgeon heals patients and their violent ways
Story Highlights
Dr. Carnell Cooper's Violence Intervention Program helps trauma victims

The program aims to break the cycle of violence by targeting its root causes

Study: Participants are three times less likely to be arrested for a violent crime

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open at

BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- Dr. Carnell Cooper, a Baltimore surgeon, is saving lives inside and outside the operating room.
Since becoming a trauma surgeon 16 years ago, he has dedicated himself to treating the many young African-American men who've been shot, stabbed or beaten, only to see them return to the ER with another severe injury just months later.
But when one of his patients was readmitted with a fatal gunshot wound to the head in 1996, it changed Cooper's life.
"The night that we pronounced that young man dead and my colleagues said there's really nothing we can do in these situations. ... I just didn't believe that," said Cooper, 54. "From that day forward, I said, 'Let's see what we can do.' "
Cooper created the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at the Shock Trauma Unit of the University of Maryland Medical Center, the state's busiest hospital for violent injuries. It became one of the country's first hospital-based anti-violence programs.
"We approached this problem like any public health crisis, like heart disease or smoking," he said. "We tried to work on the root causes."
Since 1998, VIP has provided substance abuse counseling, job skills training and other support services to nearly 500 trauma victims.
Don't Miss
Get involved: Violence Intervention Program
In Depth: CNN Heroes
"Using that scalpel blade to save their life is the first step," Cooper said. "The next step is to try to keep them from coming back."
A 2006 study by Cooper and his colleagues, published in the Journal of Trauma, showed that people in the program were six times less likely to be readmitted with a violent injury and three times less likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
The issue hits close to home for Cooper. Born to unwed teenagers in Dillon, South Carolina, he grew up in a neighborhood where violent crime was commonplace; he had friends and relatives who ended up dead or in jail.
But his grandparents made sure he stayed on the right path. As a straight-A student, he attended a prestigious high school in Massachusetts, then Yale University and Duke University School of Medicine.
But while Cooper rose above his circumstances, he felt sympathy for the young men who rotated in and out of his operating room.
"They could be my friends, my family," he said.
Cooper's program attempts to help patients from the moment they arrive because victims of violence face a greater risk of receiving another violent injury. Everyone treated for violent wounds at the hospital is seen by a VIP case worker, often at bedside. For Cooper, approaching patients at this early stage is crucial.
"We may get them in a moment when they are thinking, 'I just almost died,' " he said. "We say, 'We're going help you find a way to get out of the game.' "
Watch Cooper talk to a victim of violence at his bedside »
go here for more of this

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DJ AM Says He Was 'Saved For A Reason' after plane crash

Oct 15 2008 1:46 PM EDT

DJ AM Says He Was 'Saved For A Reason' In First Post-Crash Interview'I can't believe I made it,' he tells People magazine.
By James Montgomery

DJ AM considers himself "blessed" to have survived the September 19 plane crash that left him and Travis Barker with second- and third-degree burns and killed four others, including Barker's assistant, Chris Baker, and bodyguard Charles Still.

In his first interview since the crash, AM told People magazine that during his recovery, he grew closer to God and that he now believes he was saved "for a reason."

"I've prayed every night for the past 10 years. There's a lot more to thank God for now. My philosophy is 'live life to the fullest,' [and] I was saved for a reason," he told the magazine. "Maybe I'm going to help someone else. I don't question it. All I know is, I'm thankful I'm still here."

(Click for People Magazine's first post-crash photos of DJ AM.)

He also said that while he's grateful to be alive, he's wrestled with guilt, knowing that four people didn't survive the crash.

"My emotions go back and forth," he said. "At the first hospital, I screamed, 'Thank you!' Then I wondered, 'Why did I live?' I can't believe I made it. Any second, it can all be gone."
go here for more

Why does someone die? I've asked myself this question most of my life. I survived too many times and wondered why I did. Last week I began to ask why my brother died at the age of 56, and again, Tuesday at his funeral. I doubt I will ever know the answers anymore than I will ever know why some veterans survive combat but cannot survive in peace.

We will only understand when God allows us to. For most of us, that day will come when our souls return to Him. Others will be blessed on this earth to discover that they survived to serve others in offering hope, help, stretching out a hand with compassion and understanding. Most of the chaplains I know suffered in their lives, took that pain and reached out to others knowing what it felt like. Almost every person I know working on PTSD has either lived with it or came into contact with someone who touched their lives. We have "skin in the game" and it is far more than a casual observation.

While I was away with my family for my brother's funeral, I didn't watch much TV or read. I was out of contact with what was going on in the world. I didn't know who died of a non-combat death, who committed suicide or anything else that normally I would have been focused on like a lazar. It was stunning to me to understand how so many can be so oblivious to the suffering and trumps of others. They just focus on their own lives, needs, wants and their own trials, unable and unwilling to see any of what we see.

People who read my blog are focused on all of this. We share what we learn in order to find answers through news across the nation and the world. Ask a neighbor if they heard of the suicide of Chris Dana or how his death touched the lives of so many in the Montana National Guard that they came up with their own program to save lives, and they won't have a clue. Ask them if they heard the news about any of the others and they will be shocked. What they are most shocked about is that the government failed to take care of them. It was too easy to assume the government is taking care of all those who serve.

DJ Am, thinks his live was saved for a reason and he plans on doing something about it. Think about your own life and what you can do to make a difference. The beginning is reading blogs like mine. The rest is in your hands. Make sure that when you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, you take it right then and there without trying to find excuses to not do it.

Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington