P. T. S. D.

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

This disorder developes in those who have experienced a shocking or dangerous event. But not all who experience those events develop P. T. S. D.  I, unfortunately, am one who did develop this disorder.

BUT  in my case,  and many fellow veterans as well,  it took years to strike. I believe the reason for that delayed development, especially Vietnam vets, was that we were not welcomed home. We were not encouraged to talk about our experiences. So we just buried it somewhere deep in our memories, so deep in fact,  we forgot. Until an event triggered the release of those memories.

In my case that trigger came one day as i walked by a hospital heliport on a very hot, humid summers day as a medevac helicopter was landing. And,  for whatever reason,  i was transported  back in time to Vietnam 1968.  A busy heliport where the sounds and wind opened all my memories from the Tet Offensive. It was 1978, almost ten years from those events.

I became an angry young man on that day. Nightmares, that were mostly not remembered, filled my nights. I would be up and alone in our kitchen drawing clowns !? I became a loner not even wanting friends. I had no Vietnam veterans i could talk to ( that points to how few of our population actually went and served in Vietnam ) I did not want to talk to my wife about Vietnam because i did not want to scare her. But she became my island in the storm. 

One night she found me in my studio in a corner holding my dress uniform tightly to my body. She then convinced me to seek counsel. I had devolved into a sacred, crying heap of fears. Most of my sessions were constant crying events, until i could no longer afford the medications and therapy.

I was eventually blessed to connect with an active Vietnam vets group through a fellow artist at a dual exhibition. I had used my art as a therapy tool to deal with my P. T. S. D. . Half of my work were dealing with Vietnam and the artist sharing the gallery was a Vietnam veteran too ! He directed me to that  group.

For years after i thought i was doing fine, but the nightmares came again. It was then i reached out to the V.A.. It could not have been a better choice for me. To this day the V.A. has worked honestly with me and i could not be happier.

 

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