By Stormy Davis
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event, set of events, or on-going events (like war), in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
PTSD is not limited to soldiers. It can be experienced by anyone who has been through a violent personal assault (rape, robbed at gun/knife point, domestic violence-whether themselves or witnessed among parents), and automobile accidents.
People with PTSD may have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal. They may feel emotionally numb; especially with people they were once close to (why returning veterans isolate themselves). I've heard stories of combat veterans digging bunkers in their backyard and residing there.
Other signs and symptoms may be flashbacks (reliving and visualizing the trauma over and over) as well as re-occurring nightmares, depression (whether it's continuous or SAD-seasonal affective disorder----when leaves and time change). Others signs are being easily startled, feeling on the edge (jumpy) and being unable to sleep and easily bored.
Combat medics in Vietnam during the sixties are among the highest candidates for PTSD. It was my unit that went up “Hamburger Hill” in 1969. Today, I cannot remember how I got off that hill. Today, it is not that important.
Like many returning veterans during that time, I suffered from alcoholism, deep depression, and finally homelessness until I saw bottom. I battled to overcome these setbacks. First I had to fight the alcoholism, which I had used to cover my PTSD.
With a sober brain (like a sponge-soaking up everything I read), I enrolled in Nursing School and worked as an LPN for many years. I enjoyed working with the elderly and children.
I became an indefinite volunteer in the Connecticut State prison system where I counseled young people about the demons of substance abuse. As therapy for myself, I started to write my memoirs of Vietnam experiences. I saw a humorous side to my experiences and wanted to share that with others. I had trouble getting that book published because if you're not famous like-OJ Simpson-it's hard getting an autobiography published. So, I started my own Publishing Company—RACCO PRODUCTION.
While searching for a publisher, I found a lot of interested publishers wanting children's books. Therefore, I wrote and published-”CJ and the Pencil' and “The Adventures of Sir Laugh-a Lot.”
I'm sorry. I almost forgot what I was writing about.
In late December of 2007, after being under tremendous stress, I suffered a PTSD breakdown. After years of covering the PTSD, it broke through with a vengeance.
However, I finally got the diagnosis of PTSD for my combat services. I have retired as a nurse, and NVCC has helped me to cope with being around people again. I can almost deal with sudden/loud noises and am not depressed. I love coming to school, and getting good grades is a great motivating incentive for me.
For PTSD, you can approach me with questions and you can learn more by reading “Fighting The Elements-a combat medic's story” and “Living In a Shoe Box-the story of one young man's journey back to reality.” These are available on-line @ barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com.
Thank you for listening