Tag Archives: Veteran

Troops sleeping disorders….problem? YES!

Memories, so hard to stop them flooding my mind when I am trying to sleep at night. I try to quiet their persistent noise in my  head with telling myself to relax. Fortunately, for myself, I have discovered the benefit of using “white noise” which in my case is a fan that I switch on at night to help me sleep on those “my brain won’t stop thinking nights.

Sadly, being able to sleep and stop the thoughts is not so easy for many of our troops. Here is an article that addresses that issue.

http://www.navytimes.com/article/20141030/BENEFITS06/310300047/Troops-sleep-problem-may-new-disorder

PDST and the elephant in the room

Afganistan

It seems the VA is taking seriously the dramatic increase of PSTD in both soldiers/warriors/veteran in the field and at home. Here is an excerpt from the an blog written by Elspeth Cameron Ritchie entitled, “The Importance of Instilling Hope. ”

The 4th Annual Department of Defense-VA suicide-prevention conference was a big deal here in the capital last week, with three days of presentations by top officials from the Pentagon and the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services. I put together the first military suicide-prevention conference, back in 2002. A decade ago, it was done on a shoestring budget (in other words, none), at the Marine Corps’ Henderson Hall near the Pentagon. It had about 100 attendees (some complained there was no coffee!). The keynoter was Kay Redfield Jamison, a great speaker and author of Night Falls Fast,on suicide, and numerous others that delve into the mind.

Since then the military conference has grown, merged with the VA, and routinely draws over 1,000 people to one of downtown Washington, D.C.’s biggest hotels. I have actually grown a little cynical about the conference over the last 10 years.

All this effort and money, but the suicide rate in the military grows every year – despite the Army and DoD task forces.

However I was impressed by this last conference, and want to share a few highlights.

Related articles

 

Your Dear Veteran is home, now what?

Margo was ecstatic. Her soldier/warrior husband, Dean had returned from Afghanistan safe and sound. Her family and friends are greeted him at the airport with signs welcoming him home.  There was a flurry of hugs, tears, laughter and relief from everyone, most especially Margo. Dean was home, he looked wonderful, happy and a bit bewildered.  She was eager to get him home, but was unsure of herself as he had been gone for almost a year, maybe he had changed. Dean was her hero, her husband, her one true love and she couldn’t wait to show him how she decorated their home in flags and flowers. She was proud of her soldier husband and was eager to show him off to her friends at the huge welcome home party she had planned for the coming weekend.

And yet, as they drove home together, Margo’s hand resting lightly upon his khaki-clad and muscular leg, she could feel that Dean’s tenseness.  Wasn’t he glad to be home, did he not love her any more? What was wrong?

The above scenario is not unique. A veteran (a soldier who has been in the armed forces for over 6 mos.) coming home from deployment is understandably, a bit confused and disoriented. He or she has been in an environment where they have had to rely on themselves and their fellow soldiers for support and survival.  They have probably seen friends or acquaintances killed or wounded, perhaps right next to them.  Their life for months has been of order and fairly predictable. Coming home can be for many a very big…culture shock.

I would recommend anyone who is a friend or loved one read this helpful article-> Ten Things You Should Know to Help Bring the OIF/OEF Veteran All the Way Home By Alison Lighthall, RN, MS (Former Captain in the US Army Nurse Corps) Founder, HAND2HAND CONTACT.

Here is a brief excerpt of her pdf article:

10. OIF stands for Operation Iraqi Freedom, also known as the Iraq War, and it began on March 20th, 2003. OEF stands for Operation Enduring Freedom and is a multinational military operation aimed at dismantling terrorist groups, mostly in Afghanistan. It officially commenced on Oct. 7, 2001 in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks;

9. Returning Service Members do not think of themselves as heroes, no matter how extraordinary their skills, courage, or actions may be. Their heroes are the ones still over there or coming home in a flag-draped boxes;

To read more, click (here) and it will take you to the HAND2HANDCONTACT.org webpage, scroll down halfway and click on the article “10 Things You Should Know About Today’s Veteran.

Other sites to visit:

Called to Serve Ministry

Naval Alliance to End Suicide

Soldier’s Angels

Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Wives

 

Returning Home – Veteran Love

Life will be different once the returning service person comes home. The Veteran may demand more of his wife’s for husband‘s time, alot more time. If so, the wife may well begin to resent this. Why? Perhaps now that their Veteran husband is home they find that they cannot spend time with the friends which were made during their soldier’s deployment.

Not surprisingly, spouses may begin to miss the special home-grown support network which were a big part of their life while their soldier was stationed overseas. These non-military relationships have the possibility of seriously challenging the foundation of their marriage.

Spouses, it is important to remember to take things slow with your Veteran and get to know each other again. Why not make special “date” nights to reacquaint with each other again….rekindle that spark that initially brought you both together. Give your Veteran space to readjust to the aspect of no longer living/working in a war zone. Perhaps sleeping in separate beds for a while, might be necessary. When in doubt, consult a professional familiar with military life.

Remember, you are both not the same as you were before he left. It will take time and patience to get to know and appreciate each other again.

Ten Things You Should Know to Help Your Veteran

Ten Things You Should Know to Help Bring the OIF/OEF Veteran
All the Way Home
By Alison Lighthall, RN, MS
(Former Captain in the US Army Nurse Corps)
Founder, HAND2HAND CONTACT
-Reprinted with Permission from Author-

10.   OIF stands for Operation Iraqi Freedom, also known as the Iraq War, and it began on March 20th, 2003. OEF stands for Operation Enduring Freedom and is a multinational military operation aimed at dismantling terrorist groups, mostly in Afghanistan. It officially commenced on Oct. 7, 2001 in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks;

9. Returning Service Members do not think of themselves as heroes, no matter how extraordinary their skills, courage, or actions may be. Their heroes are the ones still over there or coming home in a flag-draped boxes;
8. Service Members are as varied in their political beliefs as everyone else in America.

Some are adamantly against the war, others staunchly support it, and everyone else falls somewhere in between. Assuming that everyone who joins the military is a card-carrying right-winger will only make you look stupid;

7. No matter what his or her opinions about the war are, every Service Member of every branch of the military takes a solemn oath to support and follow our Commander In Chief, the President of the United States, and therefore cannot say anything derogatory about him;

6. No one can describe how hot it was while deployed in a war zone, so don’t ask a returning Vet about the heat. Instead, imagine yourself putting on every piece of winter gear you own, in multiple layers, putting a metal bowl over your head, turning your oven on to 120 degrees, climbing inside, and living there for 6 months;

5. Worse still is asking any Veteran, “Did you kill anyone?” It is an unanswerable question. Perhaps she did and wished she hadn’t. Perhaps he didn’t and wished he had. Perhaps she did, but it wasn’t fast enough to prevent a comrade’s death. Perhaps it was accidental or perhaps it was so many instances of killing, he lost count. War requires things of us and taps into parts of us that are never otherwise touched—things most people need to work through or want to forget. US military personnel do not take killing lightly, and anyone who has not been there simply cannot discuss it with those who have,
much less pass judgment. Listen quietly if they choose to talk about it, but otherwise, leave it alone;

4. OIF/OEF Veterans often want to go back to the war zone. Sometimes it’s because they feel called to go in to finish the mission or support their buddies, sometimes it’s because they feel they can no longer fit in to American society and its frivolous interests and fads;

But regardless of reason, it is fairly common, so if they tell you they’re planning on redeploying, please don’t look at them as if they are insane.

3. They are exhausted when they get home—physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. They often do not have the energy or focus to talk for long periods of time. It will take some time for them to adjust, so follow their lead;

2. There is nothing black-and-white about what has happened to them. Almost always, there are good things that come from a deployment experience. Likewise, there are some pretty difficult things that they face once they are back home. Do not make any assumptions about their experiences;

And the # 1 thing you should know about OIF/OEF Veterans are…

1. They are not the same people they were before they deployed. But do not assume that is a bad thing. The Service Member may come home more confident, with better problem-solving skills. He may return with a deeper sense of gratitude for the comforts that he used to take for granted or she may have found a greater sense of purpose and direction than she ever had before.

Yes, there may be many unseen wounds of the soul and spirit. But there are tremendous resources to help heal those wounds, both for the Service Member and the Service Member’s family, and an ever growing number of people who truly care and want to help.

If every American understood these 10 important facts about our returning Veterans, life would be a lot easier for them. So pass it on.
http://www.hand2handcontact.org

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