Showing posts with label flashbacks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flashbacks. Show all posts

Friday, July 5, 2024

stop being trapped by your past

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 5, 2024

The walls you hide behind to protect you from more pain also protect you from more joys. It is time to remove the walls and stop being trapped by your past.
Have you ever wondered why you push people away, especially those you love? I know I did. After all the times I survived, my family saw right through me and got me to talk about what was going on in my head. Being able to talk kept the walls of #PTSD from closing me in. It was not until my first husband tried to kill me that I hid the pain well enough that they didn't suspect more than I was willing to share.

They assumed I would open up if I needed to, but the pain of betrayal from someone I loved was far more than what he caused. It involved everyone around me. I no longer trusted anyone who loved me. They did nothing wrong to me, but the walls were built to protect me even from them. Years later, I realized I was the only one harming myself. 

I didn't trust anyone. While I was making friends and dating after what my first husband did, I never felt close to anyone. That is until I met my second husband. I saw such deep pain in his eyes, and I knew he must have seen it in mine. 

He's a Vietnam veteran. The more I got to know him, he trusted me enough to share what being in Vietnam did to him. He was so young in that dark time of his life. His WWII veteran father kept telling him to get over it. After all, that's what his generation was told. I was the first to tell him it wasn't something he could just get over. He had to get through it. He needed to break down the walls built to protect him from more pain getting inside of him.

I gave great advice but failed to take my own. It took a long time for me to open up about the times I faced death. I felt as if his times were much more severe than mine were. I made it into a contest I believed I'd never win. How could my times be more significant than his? He was in Vietnam facing the fact he could have been killed every day. My times were over, and it was done, and I was safely back home within hours.

I couldn't tell him that I had flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, panic attacks, and felt as if I could never take down my walls enough to really let him in. About fourteen years after our marriage, we moved thousands of miles from my ex-husband. I was still being haunted, although it never made sense to me. I was able to love my husband and our daughter. I wasn't able to feel their love. It was not until my cousin sent me his obituary notice from the newspaper back home that the nightmares, along with everything else, stopped haunting me. I was free. Free to finally take down the walls and believe other people could love me. It was a fantastic feeling. It also left me confused.

Many years later, we moved again, and COVID hit. I explained to my daughter how all the stress and fear would last much longer than the pandemic. I told her what my ex-husband did to me. While she knew what happened, I never told her about the lingering pain I had. She looked at me and said that I never told her I had PTSD. I was shocked!

I was an expert, but I didn't see it. I saw two therapists to help me heal from experiences I had, and they didn't see it. I contacted a couple of psychologists I knew over the years. Both of them said I had a rare case of PTSD because of all the times throughout my life I faced death. The first two times happened on the same night when I was just five years old. Long story short, a doctor told my mother I not only could have died but that I should have died twice the night before. He said it was a miracle I was still alive. I was admitted for five days to heal. My skull was fractured, and I had a concussion.

Knowing what I know now, it is never about what caused PTSD in any of us. It is what we do about our lives as survivors. 

Open up to people you trust in your life. You don't have to tell them everything, but you must let them know the basics. Trust me, because they are as confused as you are. They have no way of knowing what's behind the changes in you. They can only make assumptions. Those assumptions cause conflict between you. Don't blame them because you will have the same reaction if you look at what they are seeing in you. 

The more you talk about it and share what you're going through, the more the walls will come down. If you can't speak to your family, try a friend. If you can't talk to a friend, find a group trying to heal. If you can't find a group you feel comfortable in, find a therapist. If you don't feel comfortable with that therapist, find another one. 

You will see the world and yourself more clearly. Seeing the world without walls in the way is fantastic when you can let joy back in.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Gulf War Veteran fined for having flashback while parking?

Navy veteran with PTSD is fined £100 for 'overstaying' in a parking space while recovering from a flashback - before car park firm reject his appeal and threaten to sue him
Daily Mail
Rory Tingle
February 25, 2018

Mr Clamp received a penalty charge notice from Euro Car Parks for overstaying in a 20-minute maximum stay space. His is pictured embracing his son, David, on the deck of HMS Hecla after returning from the Gulf War in September 1991
EXCLUSIVE: Tim Clamp, 60, had a PTSD flashback at petrol station near Gatwick
He explained incident to shop assistant before driving off to pick up a taxi client
Five days later Euro Car Parks demanded £100 for overstaying 20-minute limit
Firm rejected Gulf War veteran's appeal even after hearing evidence of condition
Subsequently increased fine to £160 and threatened to take Mr Clamp to court
Local MP Nick Herbert slammed the parking company for its lack of 'empathy'
A Gulf War veteran with PTSD was fined for overstaying by 20 minutes in a parking space while recovering from a flashback before having his appeal rejected despite providing medical evidence for his condition.

Tim Clamp, 60, had parked his Ford taxi at Gatwick North Shell petrol station while waiting to pick up a customer when a minor argument with another motorist sparked a 'very distressing' mental episode that left him immobilised.

After he recovered, the Royal Navy veteran and Sussex Police crime investigator explained what had happened to a shop assistant before driving off and 'blanking' the incident from his mind.
read more here

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Five Finger Death Punch Support of PTSD Veterans "Not Gone Away"

Five Finger Death Punch Chronicle Plight of the American Soldier in 'Gone Away' Offspring Cover Video
Loud Wire
Joe DiVita
December 22, 2017

Throughout their career, Five Finger Death Punch have aligned themselves with the U.S. military, supporting the troops in a number of ways. Their latest homage to the brave men and women who serve in the armed forces comes via an emotional gut check of a video for their cover of The Offspring's "Gone Away."

The incredibly somber take on the song works in conjunction with the imagery as we first witness a service member surrounded by billowing smoke and the scene of a fatal wreckage. Throughout the video, we see the toll the loss of life takes on family members as they grieve, clutching picture frames and embracing one another. 

Flashbacks provide the background as a group of friends enjoy a day at home. A news break reveals an attack, spurring the male friends to enlist in the military. During active combat, one of their vehicles rolls over a trip wire, killing those inside as one man looks back in horror and disbelief.
He struggles to process what has happened and even contemplates suicide at home, but he eventually he channels his inner strength and returns to war, ready to lead a young new group.
read more here
Five Finger Death Punch - Gone Away (Official Video)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Two Tours Of Duty, Veteran Faces Homicide Charges After Car Accident?

Reports Say Suspect in Fatal Shooting Was Veteran With PTSD
Aug 30, 2016

A man charged with murder for fatally shooting a woman after a traffic accident near Cleveland served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, records show.

Matthew Desha, 29, of North Ridgeville, is being held on a $1 million bond in Solon, where the slaying occurred. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Bedford Municipal Court.

Solon police said Desha ran a red light at an intersection on Saturday morning and struck a car driven by 53-year-old Deborah Pearl, of Twinsburg, who was headed to work. The impact caused Desha's sport utility vehicle to roll over several times. Police said Desha fired multiple rounds at Pearl with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

A witness who saw the crash said Pearl's arms were raised when she was shot. A Solon police lieutenant said there are no indications that Pearl and Desha knew each other.

Desha's court-appointed attorney didn't return telephone messages on Tuesday.

A minister from Pearl's church attended Desha's initial court appearance on Monday and spoke for her family.

"We're baffled that something as basic as a car crash could turn into a homicide," Pastor Mel Kendall McCray told after the hearing. "It's just beyond our comprehension."
read more here

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Why is July 4th Weekend Worse For Some Veterans?

Neighborhood Fun For Some Agony For Others
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 3, 2016

I live in the Orlando area and many nearby events have huge fireworks displays.

In Altamonte Springs there is Red Hot and Boom
The City of Altamonte Springs and XL 106.7 FM are hosting yet another spectacular Independence Day celebration to honor the birthday of America! Come rain or shine, Red Hot and Boom will deliver an unforgettable night of great performances, mouthwatering eats and beautifully synchronized fireworks. Join one of Central Florida’s most patriotic traditions and come on out for a night filled with good old-fashioned fun!
Veterans have a choice to go and watch them burst in the air or stay home. What they do not have a choice on is if their neighborhood fills up with booms and gunpowder smoke.

It started Friday night and will go on until Monday, if not longer. Normally I address what veterans should do to prepare their minds for this weekend but with all the shortcomings of "PTSD Awareness" it is time to address this to civilians.

Your fun celebrating our Independence came with a price veterans paid.  To you, watching the twinkle in the sky is pretty, but to them, when they saw the twinkle it meant tracers rounds and bombs bursting in the air.  It meant lives could be lost, many could be wounded and yes, it also meant that they may not be going home.  They remember all that.

They do not want you to give up having fun even if it comes at their expense, but at least be considerate.  

Stop shooting them off for hours at a time! 

Stop shooting them off as if you intend to fill your whole street with think smoke. 

Most veterans are prepared for this "celebration" of freedom they paid for but they should not be subjected to endless memories of what they had to do so that you could celebrate your freedom.
PTSD Hero After War 2006
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. It is because you put your life on the line and felt it more than others that you suffer today. The good news is, you can change again and heal to live a better life. I am uploading some of my older videos and pray they help you too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Veteran Arrested After Fireworks Caused Flashback

EXCLUSIVE: Fireworks Trigger Waukesha Veteran's PTSD Leading to Arrest

By Amanda Porterfield, Anchor/Reporter
Updated: Jun 28, 2016

CBS 58's Amanda Porterfield has the exclusive interview. Fireworks going off at a nearby festival over the weekend scared the vet.

His wife said he fired shots into the air and that ended with him in jail. This couple says - this incident has been scary. We're not naming them to maintain their privacy.

However, they wanted to tell their story - to highlight the struggles many veterans have around fireworks and especially the 4th of July.

She says - her husband was a combat veteran in Afghanistan. He is in the reserves and has suffered from PTSD for years.

"When the fireworks went off it triggered him."

She says for her husband hearing those fireworks was like being in the war all over again.

"It just sounded really loud and really close and he's told me before the fireworks sound like the guns over in Afghanistan."

She says on Friday, he was working on his truck outside when the booms went off. He ran upstairs - grabbed his rifle - then crouched on the side of his car - gun in the air as if he were hiding from the enemy.

"I called 911 and as I was on the phone with the operator I heard five gunshots. He shot the gun off as he was sitting by his vehicle. He was so upset he hyperventilated and passed out. He didn't hurt anyone. He thought he was being attacked."
read more here

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence Night Of Flashback Avoidance

If you are among the over 400,000 veterans right here in Central Florida, you may be heading off to Red Hot and Boom to celebrate Independence Day. According to predictions they are expecting at least 150,000, like they had in 2014. It is a fun time with great music and fireworks.

Red Hot and Boom 2014
But it isn't fun for all, especially when you are part of the reason we still have independence.

You have a choice to go or not. To watch from Cranes Roost Park or Lake Eola Fireworks At The Fountain or any of the other events to celebrate. To watch from the privacy of home the National Capitol Celebration for a star studded patriotic event.

What you do not have a choice on is what your neighbors do. It is still illegal to send bombs bursting in air on your street and any other street in Florida.
While fireworks are sold in Florida, and it is legal to buy them, it is illegal for people without a permit to set off fireworks other than sparklers.

You can't control them.

There is a push on all over the internet for veterans to put up signs about being a veteran and asking folks to be respectful of that. Nice thought and can be helpful however the majority of veterans don't want their neighbors to know and they want to retain their privacy. So what do you do?

The same thing other veterans have done for decades. They improvised, adapted and overcame others having too much fun to remember the price you paid. (Yes Gunny, your voice is reverberating in my head)

If you live alone.
Change what you normally do at night for several days, since they will be blowing stuff up for about a week. If you can, get some headphones and plug them into your TV or stereo to block out some of the noise. If you are comfortable doing it, go out and watch some of your neighbors acting like little kids. You may get some laughs. Otherwise, stay near your home and don't drive since you don't know what you'll be driving near, usually the smell of gunpowder and some yahoo blowing up enough fireworks to light up an entire neighborhood. That can trigger a flashback and you will be in an unfamiliar area.

If you live with family members, try playing games to take your mind off what is going on and remind yourself that you are safe. When you start to think about being in combat, shut it down and replace the thought. If you have prepared yourself for the inevitable noise, it makes it a bit easier to do.

Hero After War is a video that was up on Youtube years ago and has been uploaded again. (yes it is mine)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. It is because you put your life on the line and felt it more than others that you suffer today. The good news is, you can change again and heal to live a better life.
If it helps, then show it to your family so they will understand what you are seeing and thinking about.

Don't expect your neighbors to fully understand that you are different from them. How could they? Veterans are only about 7% of the US population. Combat veterans are even less than that. There are almost 17 million combat veterans from WWII to Desert Storm scattered all over the US according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Living War Veterans 16,962,000
Living Veterans (Periods of War and Peace) 23,234,000

Your neighbors don't mean you any harm and have no clue about the real fireworks you saw intended to kill and not for entertainment. They are celebrating freedom without really thinking about what came with it.

Don't watch war movies especially if your house is being filled with the smell of gunpowder. Try cooking something that reminds you of happier times to replace the fumes. The smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies can remind you of when you were young.

If you among the younger generation then talk to the 3,403,000 Vietnam Veterans Deployed to Southeast Asia to find out how they did it all these years. Contrary to popular reports dismissing the majority of veterans in this country, they have been through everything you are going through right now. They just did it all before the internet and Facebook. Before reporters decided that they would jump on the bandwagon of covering what has been going on all this time yet pretending they just discovered something new.

When it comes to PTSD, these veterans didn't invent it, since all other generations came home with same wounds, but they started everything to be in place for all generations.

Try to do what they did and that is to spend time with other veterans. You will discover that while you no longer feel you fit in with civilians, you fit perfectly with them. You will gain support and be understood. You will find strength in their numbers.

UPDATE July 4, 2015 a link to the following story from New York was sent this morning and shows exactly what I was saying.
Sign designed to help veterans with PTSD on the 4th of July is not welcomed by all veterans
July 2, 2015

We don't want to be looked at as broken people,” said Earl Fontenot, a veteran who believes the signs cast a negative shadow on the military. “If that's something they want to do they should go door to door.”

Fontenot is Chief of Staff at Clear Path for Veterans, an organization helping service men and women adjust to civilian life.

“We can't expect our community to mold for our needs, we need to mold back into the community successfully and I don't think the signs are helping that,” said Fontenot.
read more here

UPDATE from Kansas City
'About twilight, I'm back in the house hunkered down;' Vietnam veteran prepares for Fourth of July
Every year, Ebert has to mentally prepare for the Fourth of July. During the day, he's usually grilling out, undisturbed by fireworks.

"But at night, the starbursts and the bigger fireworks going off, that bothered me," Ebert said.

"Along about twilight, I'm back in the house hunkered down."

Dr. George Dent, a psychologist with the Department of Veteran Affairs, works with thousands of veterans who also have PTSD.

"For a person who has encountered a boom or a flash with risk to their life, it's (fireworks) not just a boom, it's not just a flash," Dent said. "It's a signal that they may be on the verge of death."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

St. Paul Police Officers Learn How To Help PTSD Veterans

Bill would pay for police training to help veterans 
SC Times
Kirsti Marohn
March 5, 2015

For veterans who are disoriented or experiencing war-related flashbacks they aren't able to process, "that can be dangerous to them to others in the area and to law enforcement," O'Driscoll said.

ST. PAUL – The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stretched on for 10 years and left some of its veterans with invisible scars, from post-traumatic stress to traumatic brain injuries.

While the majority of veterans have returned civilian life successfully, some have struggled, and a few have ended up in the legal system.

In recent years, there's been an effort to better educate law enforcement officers on the characteristics of veterans and how to deescalate a crisis to avoid a potential deadly result.

A bipartisan bill authored by Rep. Tim O'Driscoll, R-Sartell, aims to provide funding for more police officers to receive such training. The House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee held a hearing on the bill Thursday.

About 10 percent Minnesota's of law enforcement has received deescalation training, O'Driscoll said. He hopes to boost that number to 25 percent.
read more here

Monday, July 14, 2014

National Guardsman writes of PTSD struggle

News: A Soldier’s struggle with PTSD
Wyoming National Guard
Story by Capt. Thomas Blackburn
July 14, 2014
Tom Blackburn with his wife Bethany. The couple still work together in counseling to help Tom adapt to life with his PTSD.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – My first nightmare occurred right before I came home from Iraq for my mid-tour leave.

As I slept, my dream sent me out on to the streets of Mosul, Iraq, a place I was very familiar with after seven months of patrolling there.

In this inaugural terror, I was doing my job, leading my platoon on a combat patrol through a neighborhood. After passing a checkpoint manned by the Iraqi Army, I stopped my truck, and got out to talk to one of the soldiers. As I exited my vehicle, a man approached me, lifted his hand to shake mine, smiled, and blew up.

I jolted awake in my bed back on Forward Operating Base Marez, sweating, shaking, and terrified.

That was the beginning of a non-stop, multi-round boxing match with my sleep. I returned home in January 2009, and still suffer through what many other comrades share: restless sleep, anger, heightened awareness, and incredible discomfort in crowds, to name a few.

It’s called combat stress, shell shock, battle fatigue, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Whatever the names, it's all the same in relation to its effect on a combat vet.

And it’s common.

In my family alone, I have two people who suffer from the disorder. My father, who was present when I got home from Iraq, told me that he still had nightmares from his one year tour in Vietnam in 1969. That was 40 years before my deployment! Even more shocking, he told me he had a nightmare not more than three days before I got back home.

I also had a brother who participated in the initial Thunder Run to Baghdad in 2003. He suffers from several symptoms of PTSD, and we shared war stories over lunch countless times while I was stationed in Indianapolis, our hometown. Some of his strongest nightmares that grip him relate to the United Nations bombing, where his unit was one of the first on the scene after the explosion.

As for me, I spent 15 months in a city that had become labeled by media as the "Last Stronghold of Al-Qaeda in Iraq."
read more here

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

'I had a flashback:' PTSD common among troops

'I had a flashback:' PTSD common among troops
Posted 5:30 p.m. today

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Ask anyone one who has been in combat, and they'll say there is nothing pretty, organized or fair about war. Some troops bring visible battle scars home. Others have silent battlefield wounds that can haunt them for the rest of their lives.

After more than a decade of war, the military is scrambling to provide care for thousands of men and women returning with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Senior Airman Aubrey Hand was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. While undergoing therapy at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, he recalled a frightening experience at home after hearing fireworks on New Year's Eve.

“(I) had a flashback, came to about an hour and a half away from my house in full battle-rattle,” Hand said. “I don’t remember leaving. I don’t remember anything, didn’t know where I was. I was off the highway in the woods.”
read more here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Iraq veteran getting help after pointing unloaded rifle

Ex-Navy man who pointed rifle at policeman sentenced to probation, ordered to continue treatment
CBS 8 News
Posted: February 11, 2014

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A retired Navy petty officer who was shot by a San Diego policeman after raising a military assault rifle in his direction was sentenced Tuesday to probation and ordered to continue counseling and treatment for mental health issues, including a form of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Esteban Nandin, 25, pleaded guilty last July to a felony charge of brandishing a firearm in the presence of a peace officer. Judge Timothy Walsh suspended a yearlong jail term as long as Nandin successfully completes three years of probation.

A motion to reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor was denied.

Defense attorney Jeremiah Sullivan told reporters that Nandin spent quite a bit of time serving as a guard at one of Iraq's most dangerous prisons.

Sullivan said Nandin heard noises and wanted to secure his apartment building -- flashing back to his time in Iraq -- when the gun-pointing incident in San Diego happened on Oct. 14, 2012.

"He has no recollection of the actual event. But having gone through this process over the past year, he is someone who has a strong moral compass and he feels terrible that he would actually endanger the public or endanger an officer, for that matter," Sullivan said.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said the rifle raised by Nandin at the officer wasn't loaded.
read more here

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Vet With PTSD

A Day in the Life of a Vet With PTSD

Soldiers Heart, a song written and performed by The Tosspints, is one that hits close to home for many soldiers who suffer with PTSD, including guitarist and vocalist for the band, Don Zuzula. As a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Zuzula, by way of the song, gives the perspective of a soldier returning home dealing with things like flashbacks and depression, which Zuzula says was difficult to face and relive for the video.
see interview here

Full video on YouTube
The Tosspints - "Soldiers Heart"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The lesser known risk to OEF and OIF veterans is when they crash

This is one of the reasons why we will never know the true price of war and what the lack of care does.
Motor vehicle crashes: A little-known risk to returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan
Washington Post
By David Brown
Published: May 5
Andy Manis/For The Washington Post
Steven Acheson, an Iraq War veteran, at his apartment in Platteville, Wis., May 3, 2013.
For men and women who have fought in the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, death behind the wheel is becoming another lethal aftereffect of combat.

After they leave military service, veterans of the two wars have a 75 percent higher rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents than do civilians. Troops still in uniform have a higher risk of crashing their cars in the months immediately after returning from deployment than in the months immediately before. People who have had multiple tours in combat zones are at highest risk for traffic accidents.

The phenomenon has been revealed by various pieces of evidence — research as well as observations of service members, veterans and counselors.

The most common explanation is that troops bring back driving habits that were lifesaving in war zones but are dangerous on America’s roads. They include racing through intersections, straddling lanes, swerving on bridges and, for some, not wearing seat belts because they hinder a rapid escape.

That’s probably not the whole story, however. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suffered by thousands of veterans, increases aggressive driving. Drunken driving and thrill-seeking also are more common after combat, according to a few studies and the testimony of many veterans.
read more here

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Former Marine shot by police after having flashback is laid to rest

Former Marine shot by police after having flashback is laid to rest
Posted: Apr 05, 2013
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A former marine and war veteran killed by police during a shootout in Maryville was laid to rest Friday.

Theodore Jones IV, 27, was shot multiple times by police back on March 21. His family says he suffered from PTSD and was having a war flashback when he was killed.

Police say Jones fired multiple times at a car driving down the road, then he shot at police cruiser and then a police officer. Jones allegedly refused police orders to drop his gun that's when officers say they had no choice but to use lethal force.

The funeral was at Tennessee Veteran's Cemetery on John Sevier Highway with close friends and family in attendance.

Jones received full military funeral honors for being a veteran who has defended our nation.
Kirk says the night her brother started shooting at a stranger's car and law enforcement, he was suffering from a flashback. She hopes others who are suffering from PTSD seek treatment.
read more here

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Army veteran still thinks about Iraq War 'every single day'

Army veteran still thinks about Iraq War 'every single day'
Published: March 16, 2013
By Michelle Dupler
Tri-City Herald

It’s taken Joel Robertson of West Richland five years to reconcile himself to the permanent ways his life was changed by serving in Iraq.

The former Army infantryman came home from two tours, totaling 28 months of combat, with injuries to his brain, back, shoulder and knees, and post-traumatic stress that gave him nightmares.

He came home to a divorce and non-military friends who didn’t want to hear about the horrors he had seen, even though he needed to tell someone — needed for someone to understand.

A decade after it started on March 19, 2003, the Iraq War likely isn’t on the minds of many people not directly touched by it. Troops have been withdrawn, news coverage has dropped off, life has moved on.

After struggling — having trouble with jobs, relationships and even a few run-ins with the law — Robertson has rebuilt his life and reached a point where he can think about a future.

But the war remains with him and always will.

“Every single day, I am thinking about something that went on in Iraq,” he said.
read more here

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Iraq veteran with PTSD getting help after shooting

Back home, veterans battle to shake horrors of war
The Bulletin
Posted Feb 01, 2013

Shortly after 1 a.m. on May 9, two state troopers entered a basement apartment in a Lebanon home in a rural neighborhood.

There, according to an arrest warrant, they found Jason Durr, a recently returned veteran of the Iraq War, standing in front of a kitchen counter. Durr’s girlfriend was lying on a bed in Durr’s bedroom, bleeding from a bullet wound in her chest.

Durr has been charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault and illegal possession of an assault weapon. More than eight months later, he remains held on a $1 million bond.

While the victim was rushed to the hospital for surgery that saved her life, police started questioning Durr. Police said Durr told them that after drinking heavily with his girlfriend and a friend, he blacked out and didn’t remember the shooting. He said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and three days earlier had run out of Xanax he was prescribed for anxiety, a symptom of his condition.

Unable to speak when police questioned her after her surgery, the victim, from her hospital bed, wrote that “There was a loud noise outside that startled Jason … he had a weird glassed over look in his eyes,” and “He started having flash backs of Iraq.”

“I feel he’s a victim of war just as much as his friend (the victim) was,” said Pia Strobel, Durr’s landlady and friend. She said Durr told her as well that he blacked out that night. “When he learned what happened, he was beside himself,” she said.

“He was a very proud soldier,” Strobel said of Durr. “He’s a great guy. I can’t say enough good about him.”
read more here

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Flashbacks and fireworks

Flashbacks and fireworks
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
July 3, 2012

We hear the haunting sound of taps played and we get sad. They remember the friends and others "for which they gave the last full measure of devotion" as President Lincoln said. We jump even after seeing the honor guard raise their rifles into the air, then fire the shots. They remember the weapons fired at them.

We get angry sitting in traffic and afraid we're going to get hit when a car is coming too close too fast. They remember the suicide car bombers and bombs planted in the road.

On the 4th of July, we pack up the car, head out to see the fireworks and are willing to sit for hours until it gets dark enough for bursts to light up the sky. For combat veterans, it is waiting for the darkness surrounded by a bunch of strangers they don't feel safe around, waiting for the dark to make their anxiety stronger. When the sky turns black, they hear the sound and smell the burnt gunpowder, and they remember when the night came while they were at war.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wedding fireworks trigger stress attack in Vietnam vet

Wedding fireworks trigger stress attack in Vietnam vet
Banquet facility adjoins his yard

By Barbara O’Brien
October 8, 2011, 6:32 AM
Denise Woods stands in her backyard, which adjoins the Avanti Mansion, a banquet facility where recent weddings had fireworks.
Derek Gee / Buffalo News
Booming fireworks celebrating a wedding in August signaled the return to the nightmare of the Vietnam War for a Hamburg veteran.

Wedding couples adding an extra zing to their special day contracted for the fireworks Aug. 20, and Sept. 4. at the Avanti Mansion, a banquet facility on South Park Avenue.

But for Bill and Denise Woods, whose backyard on West Highland Parkway adjoins the Avanti property, the unexpected explosions were anything but fun. They and their neighbors had no idea the fireworks would be set off so close to their homes.

Woods served in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in 1968 and 1969, and nearly lost his leg when a booby trap exploded. He will be 62 next month, and has had other health problems.

He would be the first to say “I buried Vietnam 40 years ago.”

But as he found out in August, some things don’t stay buried.
read more here

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Because they cared so much

You may hear a Marine say they joined to kill some bad guys, and you can walk away believing all they wanted to do was kill without ever wondering what would make them want to risk their lives to do it. If you wonder, you'll find the answer soon enough. They wanted to "kill the bad guys" to save others.

The talk now is about Osama and how he was killed. If Osama had not ordered the deaths of as many people as possible, innocent people just showing up for work, the day he was killed would not have been an issue. Osama was not satisfied with what he had done. He wanted more innocent people to die. The SEALS stopped him from being able to kill more. The evidence found with Osama told a story of more attacks planned. Not on military targets but on civilians.

The troops were sent into Afghanistan because of him. They were sent into Iraq for? It didn't matter to the men and women sent because most of them joined because of September 11th. They were told it was because of our security. In other words, to save the lives of us.

The National Guards sent are another example of why they do what they do. When a natural disaster hits their community, they are the among the first people showing up to help.

Some people can't understand why so many of these men and women end up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What they see, what they have to do, what hardships they have to endure, stays with them. These are not selfish people. They do what they do because they care. It is because they care so much they end up paying a price for the rest of their lives.

A soldier deployed for a year becomes a veteran for their lifetime. They come home profoundly changed even if they are not haunted by PTSD. This is very clear when you listen to older veterans, especially Vietnam Veterans.

At the Veterans Reunion in Melbourne FL, yesterday it was more clear listening to these veterans talk. They walked around looking at patches on vest and hats telling a story. They'd stop, reach out a hand and say "welcome home" as memories took them back 40 years. Where were you? When were you in? They knew what happened and when it happened just as they remembered what happened to them.

They came home, returned to the world the rest of us live in. Working jobs, having families and carry the same worries the rest of us have, but these men and women carried the burden the nation put on their shoulders everyday. Just because they were back home, it didn't mean they were back home all the way. Too many came home so changed by what they had to do they find a piece of themselves is still back there. It comes back to them in their dreams and flashbacks, in the hearing of a name or reading it on the Wall.

How you see them depends on what you know of them. If you honor what they did for us, then make sure they have what they need because veterans carry the burden for the rest of us all their lives. Some carry it deeper because they cared so much.