Monday, May 19, 2014

Medal of Honor, PTSD and the Wisdom to Know the Difference

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 19, 2014

"Wisdom. Let us be attentive." It is a call before a bible passage is read during church services at a Greek Orthodox Church. Wisdom comes from what others have learned and shared. We take their experiences, couple them with our own and if there is a connection to what we understand, we gain more from them. If you think something is real but are wrong, you'll still think it until someone proves you are.
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12)

Over 30 years ago I needed to know what "shell shock" was because my Dad said he saw it in my husband the day they met. That led to understanding what became Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has been a learning experience ever since.

I have read experts and research papers but gained far more knowledge from average people learning from them. There are things experts talk about that are much different from what we experience. They say marriages fail but they don't say why that happens far too often in veteran families. We know why.

We know it is very hard to stay married under normal circumstances. When PTSD is tossed into the issues, it is almost impossible to overcome unless we are committed to each other, yet time and time again I meet couples married far longer than I have been. Melvin and Mary have been married for 53 years.

Melvin Morris, Vietnam Veteran Medal of Honor
Morris became one of the first soldiers to don a "green beret" in 1961 and volunteered twice for deployments to Vietnam during the war. After his Sept 17, 1969, ordeal, the then-Staff Sgt. Morris received a Distinguished Service Cross in 1970. He said he never realized that being black might have kept the higher honor from him.

I met them at a fundraiser for Homes for Our Troops at the Orlando Nam Knights when they teamed u with Orlando Semper Fidelis America. Very special couple and they are trying to make sure that all veterans get treated for PTSD.

Then there is another Vietnam veteran Medal of Honor Hero Sammy Davis and his wife Dixie. They want veterans treated for PTSD.

It isn't just Vietnam veterans with the Medal of Honor coming forward to prove that courage does not prevent PTSD. All that is required is that they had the courage to act on caring for others to the point where they were willing to die for someone else.

Sgt. Kyle White Medal of Honor for Afghanistan, talks about PTSD and getting help.
Sgt. Kyle White reflects on receiving Medal of Honor Last week, retired Sgt. Kyle White received the Medal of Honor for saving the life of a fellow soldier during an ambush in Afghanistan. Sgt. White joins Morning Joe to discuss. Col. Jack Jacobs also joins the conversation.

Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, Medal of Honor, Afghanistan also fights for PTSD veterans
For 33-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, it seemed only natural to thank his support group, including mental health professionals, which helped him cope with psychological wounds he suffered after surviving one of the most intense firefights in the Afghan war.

Carter was a guest speaker at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1 114th annual Founders Day Banquet on Sunday evening at the Brown Palace Hotel. In an interview before the banquet, Carter spoke about his work in removing the stigma associated with post- traumatic stress disorder.

He has toured the country and spoken to countless media outlets since Obama placed the medal around his neck Aug. 26. He wants to see the D removed from PTSD.

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, Medal of Honor Afghanistan
Adversity “is not best dealt with by oneself; it’s overcome by the help of others and hard work and the will to get through it,” Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, the Army’s most recent Medal of Honor recipient, told an audience of nearly 750 behavioral health experts and military leaders.

Petry discussed his recovery and the people who helped pull him through during the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury’s Warrior Resilience Conference. This conference, in its fourth year, is intended to equip service members, units, families and communities with resilience-building techniques and tools.

The list of Medal of Honor Heroes proving that even the courageous have to fight PTSD can go on and on.

Maybe now we can start to talk about the other facts of PTSD and stop people from saying that only weak minded veterans get PTSD? The younger generation can learn from the experience of the older, wiser ones.

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