Talk to and learn from Vietnam combat veterans.

http://warretreat.org/2012/04/11/vet-to-vet-help-its-a-completion-of-a-circle/

The above site and resource makes great points about discussing life after war experience with past generations of combat veterans from Vietnam and even those who are still available to talk about WWII.  Although I did not see direct combat while serving in the US Navy my experience with the consequences of life after war and post war PTSD was as a son of a WWII US Navy combat veteran who survived 66 months of continuous combat duty beginning before the war in the South China Sea, as a Pearl Harbor survivor, and in the Asiatic Pacific Theater.  My research and book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, became my way of talking to my Dad, Vernon, and starting my own journey of healing from growing up in a highly toxic home culture. 

These days my Vietnam veteran friends of my own generation and service in the US Navy are a great resource in learning how each has managed and mitigated painful memories of the past.  My favorite resource is a close friend, and former Vietnam combat veteran who had the opportunity to learn about PTSD very early following Vietnam while getting his college education.  From this research and in writing his doctoral dissertation on PTSD, he concluded that the ideal treatment for him was to make a difference for others each day of his life.  My friend found that while he focused on helping others each day, the pain and memories of combat in Vietnam were minimized by all the positive feelings and rewards one receives in helping others achieve their dreams and aspirations.  My friend rarely thinks about the past.  His life is all about helping others each and every day.  For me, knowing this is highly inspirational and reinforces my own belief that making a difference for others in our daily lives is the best medicine for long term healing from experiencing traumatic events in life.  Take the “me and I” out of your daily conversation and see how it feels.

Steve Sparks
Author
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

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