Finding Positives within the Negatives of War, Part 4

Final guest post by AW Schade, USMC, Vietnam 1966/67

The thought of retirement scared me, because I assumed I would have too much time [boredom] to focus on the past. It was also around the time of the 1st Gulf War, and everywhere you turned were vivid pictures of death, and no way to escape the memories ofVietnam. .At the same time I still didn’t accept I had PTSD, but thankfully my brother-in-law was persistent and talked me into getting a quick check up. Three physiatrists later, I was not only diagnosed with PTSD, but for the first time understood the demons I have been fighting alone for forty years. Today, with the continued help of medications, therapy, outside activities and writing I can still look ahead.

I have also taken on a cause through my story; “The Demons of war are Persistent” to reach out to young and senior veterans to break the stigma of PTSD and seek assistance.  There is a list on my website, www.awschade.com, under the tab “Demons of War” with numerous resources freely looking to help brothers and sisters of war.

Here are a few suggestions from one warrior to another:

  • Break through the stigma of PTSD and get assistance; it is real!
  • The longer you wait for treatment, the harder it will be to handle the demons.
  • Understand it is never too late to begin looking ahead and achieving new objectives.
  • If you do not want to speak about PTSD with your family or friends, then hand them a brochure from the VA that explains what to look for, and why you may need their support. You do not have to go into detail about the tragedies of war.
  • Silence and solitude is not the answer, if you have PTSD you cannot beat it alone
  • If you are concerned about your Military or Civilian job, seek help from the resources mentioned above. They are your peers, and no one will know.
  • Or, if in doubt call a person in a support group. They won’t know you, but will talk for as long as you wish.
  • You can never explain the horrors of war to someone, except a qualified psychologist, that has not experienced it.
  • Get up off your ass and take a serious look into yourself and ask if you have continuous nightmares, flashbacks, depression, bursts of anger, anxiety or thoughts of suicide. If so, talk to someone who can help, they are not going away.

Finally, let your ego or macho image go. There are too many individuals and groups wanting to help. If you do not, you may find yourself alone and bitter for a lifetime.

Semper Fi!

Art Schade

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1

The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.

 
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