Thursday, May 31, 2012

WWII veteran with PTSD says "We were taught to be quiet"

If you have watched Ken Burns documentary The War you understand that when veterans came home before Vietnam, this is what they were all told. "We were taught to be quiet." and that is exactly what they did.

Vietnam veterans decided to do something about Combat PTSD. It is because of them we now have psychologists, mental health clinics, crisis responders along with over 40 years of research in trauma. It is not that they were the first to experience the residual effects of war, but they were the first to take a stand and have it acknowledged as a price they paid.

Here's a story about a WWII veteran and what he has lived with all these years in silence.

War leaves PTSD scars on Native American vets
By David Freed
CHCF Center for Health Reporting
May 30, 2012

Ruben Ramirez earned a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts as a World War II infantryman fighting Nazi troops in North Africa and Italy. The physical wounds he sustained in combat eventually healed. Not so his emotional injuries.

To this day, Ramirez, 86, a retired diesel mechanic and American Indian who traces his roots to the Apache nation, is tormented by recurrent nightmares of having witnessed his buddies being blown apart. He gets out of bed every few hours to patrol the perimeter of his house in Fresno.

However, it was not until 2008, after a broken marriage, a spotty employment record and more than 60 years of suffering, that Ramirez, one of an estimated 2,000 American Indian military veterans living in the Central Valley, finally sought treatment. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and received disability from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"We were taught to be quiet," Ramirez said when asked to explain why it took him so long to seek counseling, which he continues to undergo weekly.
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