Saturday, December 24, 2016

Find What is Strong Within You

If you think for a second that there is something wrong of inside of you, you need to start looking at others to see what is strong inside of you. Once you understand that PTSD hit you because of your ability to feel deeply, then you discover there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of at all. Even above that, once you really understand it, it dawns on you that it meant you changed after trauma, but can also change again.

I'd love to wave a magic wand so you get that message quicker. I'd love to have Santa pack it up, and stick it under your tree or have an angel come to you and give you a hug, but I'm going to let some very blessed leaders share their message to you. All of the following hold rank, so if you had one of the leaders too judgmental to open their hearts, remember all of these and know, you are far from alone in any of this.

For the past six months, Lt. Col. Mount, 43, has commanded Wounded Warrior Battalion West’s glistening $75 million campus at Camp Pendleton, plus satellite detachments at the San Diego Naval Medical Center and the Marines’ air station at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. In the dwindling days of December, as the barracks grow quieter with the sick and injured jetting home on holiday leave, Mount said Christmas can be a lonely season for those left behind. But he pointed to a pair of combat veterans — Master Sgt. Howard Tait and Staff Sgt. Danielle Pothoof — as Marines who help raise morale, in part because their suffering helped to make them compassionate servant leaders.
“You never think about yourself,” Tait said. “You put your life on hold to worry about your Marines.”

Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, Tait said he has “leaned a lot on my faith to pull through this” initial phase of rehabilitation.
Drinking saved Robert ‘Rob’ Reed’s life. Reed, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army who served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was serious as he explained how his inebriation botched his suicide attempt. He was so drunk that fateful night in 2008, he didn’t realize he’d looped the rope with which he intended to hang himself around a rotten tree limb, he said. He jumped. The rope snapped. He was still alive, on the ground of his then-home in Virginia. Reed, 41, who lives in Frederick, had no qualms in a Tuesday interview talking about his attempted suicide, or the depression, anger and alcohol abuse that led him there.

General Carter Ham
PTSD:General's story highlights combat stress
Gen. Carter Ham, to call him a hero would be putting it mildly. He's a hero to the troops not just because he's a high ranking officer, but because he is willing to speak out on having PTSD. That is a kind of courage very few in his position are willing to do.When men like my husband came home from Vietnam, they knew something had changed inside of them but they didn't know what it was. They suffered in silence just as generations before them suffered. When PTSD was first used in 1976 with a study commissioned by the DAV, news was slowly reaching the veterans. While they fought to have it recognized as wound caused by their service, it was very difficult to talk about. The perception that there was something wrong with them kept too many from even seeking help to heal.

General's story puts focus on stress stemming from combatBy Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY
Gen. Carter Ham was among the best of the best, tough, smart and strong, an elite soldier in a battle-hardened Army. At the Pentagon, his star was rising.
In Iraq, he was in command in the north during the early part of the war, when the insurgency became more aggressive. Shortly before he was to return home, on Dec. 21, 2004, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mess hall at a U.S. military base near Mosul and killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. troops. Ham arrived at the scene 20 minutes later to find the devastation.
When Ham returned from Mosul to Fort Lewis, Wash., in February 2005, something in the affable officer was missing. Loud noises startled him. Sleep didn't come easily.
"When he came back, all of him didn't come back. Pieces of him the way he used to be were perhaps left back there," says his wife, Christi. "I didn't get the whole guy I'd sent away."
Today, Ham, 56, is one of only 12 four-star generals in the Army. He commands all U.S. soldiers in Europe. The stress of his combat service could have derailed his career, but Ham says he realized that he needed help transitioning from life on the battlefields of Iraq to the halls of power at the Pentagon. So he sought screening for post-traumatic stress and got counseling from a chaplain. That helped him "get realigned," he says.
"You need somebody to assure you that it's not abnormal," Ham says. "It's not abnormal to have difficulty sleeping. It's not abnormal to be jumpy at loud sounds. It's not abnormal to find yourself with mood swings at seemingly trivial matters. More than anything else, just to be able to say that out loud."
The willingness of Ham, one of the military's top officers, to speak candidly with USA TODAY for the first time about post-traumatic stress represents a tectonic shift for a military system in which seeking such help has long been seen as a sign of weakness.

Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo
PTSD News: Another Army General Fights Stigma by Announcing He Sought PTSD RecoveryPamela Walck
Savannah Morning News (Georgia)
Dec 21, 2008
December 21, 2008, Fort Stewart, Georgia - War changes a person. It's a truth Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo knows all too well from his 29 years of service - and counting - in the U.S. Army.
And it's a truth he tries to share with each new man and woman arriving at Fort Stewart to serve in the 3rd Infantry Division he guides.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews and I try to speak to each newcomers' group," said the commanding general of the 3rd ID. "We get all ranks - from private to colonel - and in part, we try to impress upon them ... it is a point of moral courage to step forward and say you need help."
Cucolo then points to a few examples of soldiers he knows who recognized the classic signs of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in their own behavior - then sought help for it.
"I applaud that behavior," Cucolo said Friday, moments after participating in a groundbreaking at Winn Army Hospital for a new PTSD and TBI clinic.
Cucolo said he then tells his soldiers they are looking at an officer who sought counseling and got help.
"A lot of people think it is a career-ender," Cucolo said in an exclusive interview.
But he's living proof to the contrary.
Cucolo took command of the 3rd ID in July, after serving a two-year tour at the Pentagon as the Army's chief of public affairs.
During a career that spans nearly three decades, he has served 16 of those years in infantry and armor divisions.
"Soldiers return (from war) a slightly different person," Cucolo said. "It's understood ... we all deal with it different."
The general contends that details over when, why or where he personally sought help are not important.
The fact that he sought help, however, is.
click link above for more

Maj. Gen. David Blackledge
PTSD News: After Two Iraq War Deployments, Army Major General Steps Forward, Breaks Culture of Silence on Mental HealthPauline Jelinek
Associated Press
Nov 08, 2008
November 8, 2008, Washington, DC (AP) " It takes a brave soldier to do what Army Maj. Gen. David Blackledge did in Iraq."
It takes as much bravery to do what he did when he got home.
Blackledge got psychiatric counseling to deal with wartime trauma, and now he is defying the military's culture of silence on the subject of mental health problems and treatment.
"It's part of our profession ... nobody wants to admit that they've got a weakness in this area," Blackledge said of mental health problems among troops returning from America's two wars.
"I have dealt with it. I'm dealing with it now," said Blackledge, who came home with post-traumatic stress. "We need to be able to talk about it."
As the nation marks another Veterans Day, thousands of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.
Up to 20 percent of the more than 1.7 million who've served in the wars are estimated to have symptoms. In a sign of how tough it may be to change attitudes, roughly half of those who need help aren't seeking it, studies have found.
click link above for more
  Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc
 “The powerful thing is that I can use myself as an example. And thank goodness not everybody can do that. But I’m able to do it, so that has some sort of different type of credibility to it.”Brig. Gen. Donald C. BolducDespite all the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, it took 12 years from his first battlefield trauma for him to seek care. After all, he thought, he was a Green Beret in the Army’s Special Forces. He needed to be tough.
General Bolduc learned that not only did he suffer from PTSD, but he also had a bullet-size spot on his brain, an injury probably dating to his helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005.Other high-ranking officers have come forward to talk about their struggles with post-combat stress and brain injuries. And in recent years, Special Operations commanders have become more open about urging their soldiers to get more here
Adm. William McRaven 
The story was emotional, one told in order to drive home to his audience of medical professionals the power of compassion in medicine – even when it can’t save a patient’s life.
But in its telling, McRaven was forced to stop in his tracks and take a long pause before he could complete his story. For 10 seconds, the audience sat in silence as he struggled through his own emotions to find his voice. It drove home yet another lesson: No one – not the top warrior nor the highest star admiral - is immune to war’s toll. read more here
You can find stories of Medal of Honor Heroes talking about their own struggles as well. 
Sgt. Kyle J. White,  Staff Sgt. Ty Carter and a lot more. The thing is, you can find what your looking for, but it always depends on what you think you'll find. Now you know you can find a lot more inspirational stories to help you, than you  send the jerks who hurt you some links so they can finally get educated instead of being too foolish to talk to.

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