Tag Archives: children and families of warriors

Speaking at Vets for Vets in Pagosa Springs, Colorado about children and families of warriors…

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Veterans for Veterans.org Mission  click on website…

Veterans for Veterans…  Quote from this website…

“Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a volunteer charitable organization, 501 c (3), who are veterans helping other veterans to provide financial assistance to veterans and their families in need, to advocate for veterans, provide education and counseling, and to provide a resource of information and experience.”

Membership shall consist only of veterans from the Armed Forces of the United States of America (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard).

You may join and contribute as an Associate member, but have no voting right.

We meet every Tuesday, 10:00 am at the Quality Resort, 3505 West Hwy 160.

The last Tuesday of the month will be an evening meeting to accommodate those that cannot make the morning meetings.  Location: Same as AM.  Time: 6:00 PM

All Veterans Welcome and Refreshments will be offered.

Our Mission

Vets for Vets of Archuleta COuntyMission:  Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a 501 c (3) organization established exclusively for charitable purposes, more specifically:

  1. For veterans to help veterans.
  2. To provide financial assistance to veterans in need.
  3. To advocate for the veteran with the Veterans Administration.
  4. Provide information and experience resources.

We provide outreach to veterans in our community and assist in a variety of needs such as:

  1. Financial assistance.
  2. Assistance in accessing medical, dental and eye care.
  3. Housing assistance.
  4. Emotional assistance to help overcome the scars of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries and effects of Agent Orange.
  5. Help provide transportation to out-of town VA appointments.
  6. Hold weekly meetings providing the veteran with up to date information and a place for veterans so they can share information and fellowship.
  7. Help provide information and emotional support to family members of veterans.
  8. Ensure veterans receive access to the Veterans Administration (VA) benefits earned through their service in the armed forces.

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While speaking at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Medical Center in Albuquerque last week, I was encouraged to make contact with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, CO, to share my story about intergenerational PTSD.  I received an enthusiastic response when contacting the group, and was made to feel welcome to attend and speak at their regularly scheduled Tuesday 10am meeting.  I came early to the meeting to get a feel for the group to help me with my initial interaction.  I immediately felt right at home with my brothers and sisters who have served America in the Armed Forces, especially the many members who served during the Vietnam War.

Before speaking to the group, I had a chance to  talk to several of the members before the meeting started and to listen to the formal discussion, including reports from the committees who work on community outreach, fund raising, VA updates and support, and programs to engage veterans with veterans.  There are now over 120 veteran members of this lively and active non-profit whose passionate work is devoted solely to Archuleta County veterans of all wars.

I immediately recognized the value of veterans forming their own group and taking ownership for helping each other in rural communities in particular.  I could feel the bonding, camaraderie and fellowship.  I was impressed with the quality of leadership on the board as well.  This is a group that is making a huge difference for veterans and their families close to home.  I have written about the value of veterans groups supported by local communities (click on link) to complete the circle of support starting with the transition to civilian life and the outgoing support needs once our veterans return home.  The Vets for Vets model is exactly the right solution and is showing results evidenced by the support and enthusiasm of the veterans who are members and volunteers.  I could not be more encouraged!

Clearly pumped up with enthusiasm, it came time for me to speak to the group.  Sharing my story by referencing the challenges of a post WWII and Korean War military family life during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, connected immediately with the close to 40 veterans attending this meeting, including spouses and family members.  There was one striking boomer aged lady in attendance who caught my attention because she appeared highly emotional as I talked about forgiving my father and mother once learning about how war comes home and can tear a family apart in life after war.  I also talked about the importance of forgiving ourselves first, paving the way to forgiving others and in making a difference for the greater good.  Trauma survivors have a tough time with forgiveness, especially forgiving yourself.  But we know now that the journey of healing in life after trauma is not possible until self-forgiveness is experienced.  

These are the heartfelt healing moments and experiences that come my way while helping others know more about moral injury and the intergenerational effects of PTSD on children and families of warriors.  Helping one person at a time encourages me everyday to keep on writing and speaking about life after trauma.   I hope to stay in touch with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, and those who purchased my book and came up to chat with me privately following the meeting.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

Maya Angelou on Forgiveness… Healing starts with forgiveness…

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Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey

 

Quotes of Forgiveness…  Quote from this website…”Do One Thing Quotes” 

“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate — thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.” 
 Maya Angelou

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Judy and I turned on the Maya Angelou Memorial Service this morning.  We were inspired by the many speakers, including Oprah Winfrey.  Oprah spoke of Maya in so many special ways as the “most wonderful women she has ever known.”  She also mentioned several times of Maya’s belief that forgiveness of self and others is paramount in living a full life in service to others…a life larger than self…  Only then can we experience our full potential as human beings…

During the last two weeks on our journey to New Mexico to participate in the opening of a museum dedicated to military families, book signings, visits to the memorials of veterans, and talks about children and families in life after trauma, the most important consistent discussion topic has been about forgiveness.  Before it was possible for me to move forward from the pain of a traumatic childhood experience, including learning about the secondary effects of trauma on the children and families of warriors, I was able to forgive myself.  Once learning that forgiving myself was a critical first step, I felt profound forgiveness for my father and mother.  I did not dismiss the abuse and emotional neglect experienced as a child, but embraced it as a way to move forward in my own life, and make a difference for others as part of my journey of healing.  My other favorite quote by Maya Angelou… “There is no greater agony than bearing the untold story inside of you” helps me each day to make the choice to continue on my journey.  I used this quote to help introduce my second book, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…

There was a time not too long ago that I felt that forgiving myself was impossible and not even appropriate.  Little did I know for so much of my adult life that the only way to forgive others, is to forgive yourself first.  Maya Angelou was also one of the greatest teachers on the planet and her legacy will live on forever…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1, and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

The caregivers of our warriors who serve too! Who picks up the fight when our heroes come home?

Hidden Heroes…  Click on this powerful video clip from ABC News! 1.1 million caregivers volunteer and are at risk of their own anxiety and depression…secondary PTS… From ABC News…

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Elizabeth Dole, “Hidden Heroes”

Elizabeth Dole Foundation…  Quote from Elizabeth Dole…

5.5 Million Reasons to Support Military and Veteran Caregivers by Senator Elizabeth Dole

“As I reflect on the national conversation we have initiated about military and veteran caregiving, one number continues to ring out in my mind – 5.5 million. The RAND Corporation report my Foundation commissioned revealed that 5.5 million Americans are caring for ill or wounded service members and veterans. When I first heard the figure, it astounded me. To think that so many loved ones have been quietly caring for those who have cared for us…

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When I was growing up as a post WWII and Korean War military child, the term “veteran caregiver” was not used nor would the significance or implications be understood.  Caregiving was something you heard about in nursing homes or hospitals, not at home.  Who would ever think that a WWII hero like my father Vernon, who was training boots at the US Naval Training Center in San Diego in 1948, needed a “caregiver.”  Not a chance!  But in reality my Dad, like thousands of combat veterans from that time, needed lots of help inside and outside of the home.  As a family we were the caregivers at home by default, so to speak.  My oldest brother, Jerry, as an example became very much part of the family caregiving team along with Mom.  He didn’t ask for it, he had no choice…  And we were all affected by the emotional turmoil of my father’s suffering following WWII and the Korean War.

We siblings knew something was out of sorts in our home, but didn’t really understand, so the toxic behavior and struggles as a family were thought to be normal and private…not a word to anyone outside of the home!  So we moved forward one day at a time as a family, fearing what each day would bring.  It was a blessing for us to get away from home for school and play.  We hated to return!  When we did return, hiding out in our room, in the basement, or outside close to home when the weather permitted, felt safer.  We wanted to stay clear of Dad because he was always angry…  The sad part is we took all the emotional baggage with us well into adult life, and needed “caregivers” as the next generation of trauma victims.  Reference the “Trauma-Informed Caregiver Practice Guide.”

I am now very encouraged that all the awareness about the needs of the children and families of veterans and those who served in combat is creating a new culture of sensitivity in America and around the globe.  Caregiving is no longer a word that belongs to a nurse or doctor in a facility outside of the home.  The stigma of mental health will someday be a thing of the past, probably not in my lifetime.  What I do see happening, and participate in my own work as an author and blogger, is heartwarming.  I have peace of mind now with clear understanding of my own past living in a toxic home following WWII.  I am also convinced that the momentum of the new “caregiving” culture for our heroes is taking hold.  The “suck up” mentality and “go home and forget about it” coaching from the military is over.

I am especially grateful that the conversation and the work of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation includes the children and families, the primary caregivers of warriors, who served America too…long after the wars of our time are over.  The war clearly comes home to the military families to begin another fight to bring peace of mind back into the hearts and souls of the loved ones who served on the battlefield or at sea fighting to protect our freedoms.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

– See more at: http://elizabethdolefoundation.org/#sthash.ODd4gXJM.dpuf

“The Road Back” in life after trauma… Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) research for PTSD treatment is gaining traction in America!

 

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“The Road Back” in life after trauma… Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) research for PTSD treatment is gaining traction in America!

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

The Road Back…  The following is a quote from an article on the Research\Articles page of this website. The article, written by Byron Lewis, was first published on my blog as a three-part series: Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories: A New Treatment for PTSD…

“This article is presented in three parts. The first describes research into underlying mechanisms of the brain that result in the formation of the disorder. The second introduces the basis for a unique state-of-the-art treatment based on that research. The third part demonstrates how the technique is applied. Throughout these articles certain words are highlighted with links to additional information if you want to read more.”

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The Neurolinguistic Programming Research and Recognition Project (NLP R & R) has recently launched its Facebook page. The current focus is “The Road Back” from PTSD, a treatment research pilot program currently underway in Middletown, NY. The Road Back page has links to articles, resources and videos of the procedure in action as well as short narratives like the one below:

“I am a veteran Marine Officer who was combat decorated in Viet Nam. I have been on meds for decades, but the side-effects have sometimes been very difficult to deal with. My time with VA outpatient clinic was very helpful but never resolved the nightmares, sleep disorder and “combat guilt which the RTM Protocol resolved in two days. Doctor Bourke and his team, in my opinion, have a treatment and counseling methodology which complements the VA approach WITHOUT the ‘meds’.”

Click the following link to join us in exploring this promising short term and cost effective treatment option for those who suffer from symptoms of PTSD:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Research-and-Recognition-Project-The-Road-Back/245255995662821

For more information and to watch a short video on the goals of the project, go to an online article by Times Herald-Record writer Nathan Brown’s article at: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20140321%2FNEWS%2F403210336%2F-1%2FNEWS

For more on NLP, visit the NLP Encyclopedia NLP WIKI at http://nlpwiki.org/wiki

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Byron Lewis and I have been close friends for over 8 years and learned of our mutual interest in PTSD treatment strategies over 3 years ago when starting research for my first non-fiction book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Byron assisted me in the research by pointing to a treatment strategy currently gaining popularity in the U.S., NLP…”Neurolinguistic Programming.”  Byron Lewis authored his own book, Magic of NLP Demystified and wrote a three-part series (part 1) guest articles on my blog… If you like what you read, click links for part 2 and part 3.  Byron also wrote an introduction in my book connecting my own transformational writing therapy to his experience with NLP,  “Language is a remarkably powerful instrument for affecting personal change…”

Connecting the dots of my writing therapy and new perceptions to NLP did not resonate with me at first.  We can now talk about emotional challenges connected with life after trauma as a journey of healing.  Healing is driven by proactive engagement with others and making a difference as a healthy and wholesome way to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance.  We can even change the brain chemistry back to a happy place most of the time if we stay engaged, aware, and connected with ourselves.   Stay tuned for more detailed posts on the subject of NLP research from guest blogger, Byron Lewis.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

 

 

May 26: Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family Exhibit opens Memorial Day in Albuquerque…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

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The military family serves too!

Museum of the American Military Family…”We Served Too…”  Quote from this website… “Through this exhibit, the community can see history through a different filter, relive their own military roots, open dialogue between generations, and leave with a deeper appreciation of what it means to serve as a military family. This is an opportunity for visitors to experience a unique part of history, their history, in many cases — their complete story–the joy and pain, the sorrow, and the sacrifice…”

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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History…  Quoting from this website…

“Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family” is a special exhibit that will open Memorial Day, May 26, and run through August 31 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

This inspiring exhibition celebrates America’s rich military history through the voices of America’s military families. Through written word and interactive elements, visitors will experience the joy, the sorrow and the sacrifice of America’s steadfast and unsung heroes, the military family.

There is no additional admission cost to view the exhibit beyond regular Museum admission; $8 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors.

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I am honored as a former US Navy military child and Vietnam era veteran, to participate in the Museum of the American Military Family Memorial Day exhibit “Sacrifice and Service.”  My story as a child of a US Navy WWII and Korean War combat veteran is painful.  America’s combat veterans from all wars up to and including Vietnam were from the “go home and forget about it” and “suck it up” culture.  Not because we wanted to ignore the moral injury and invisible wounds of war sustained by American soldiers and sailors who protected the freedoms of Americans, it was because we were ignorant of the lasting emotional damage in life after war.  Medical science did not define or measure the mental health effects of war until around 1980 following the Vietnam War.  Until recently we did not recognize how war affected the entire military family, especially children, often for a lifetime. 

“We served too” has a special meaning to me.   I am proud of my father’s honorable and heroic service during WWII and the Korean War.  I am proud to have been a military child from a US Navy family where my mother served too as a single mom during all WWII and as the life long caregiver for my father.  I am proud to have served in the US Navy during the Vietnam era.  And, I am especially proud to be an American.   I am also now well aware of how war affects the bodies, minds and souls of warriors like my father, including the families, who served America with honor, duty and pride.  I am especially aware of how the American military family served as caregivers to the men and women who returned home following long and multiple deployments in hard combat.  It is with this knowledge and awareness that my own journey of healing includes helping others become educated on the lingering effects and on-going treatment of moral injury and Post-Traumatic Stress on the military family.

I am looking forward to a full schedule of book readings, discussions, and interaction with visitors attending the Museum of the American Military Family “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit on May 31st and June 1st at the Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque.   It is a high honor and privilege to share my personal experience and body of work to help others know more of their own family’s proud but sometimes painful military history and service to America…

As a gift to the Museum of the American Military Family and the upcoming “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit, following is a short poem reflecting heartfelt thoughts about my post WWII and Korean War experience as a US Navy military child.  “We served too!”

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Steve Sparks, 1956, age 10…click to expand photo…

Mother always told Dad we were bad while he was away at sea.

We were safe and free when Dad sailed away.

Fear and beatings made us cry you see…

Mother seemed happier when Dad was away at sea.

With love, joy, and play,

Dreams of family all together forever.

The fear and beatings came again anyway…

By Steve Sparks 

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Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story 

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A post WWII family's struggle with moral injury and PTSD

Photos on cover of Vernon and Marcella Sparks c1940 and the USS West Virginia in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor…

 

 

 

Traumatic events that can cause PTSD… Why do we tend to connect PTSD primarily to warriors?

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

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Traumatic Events and PTSD…The Cleveland Clinic…

What are the causes of PTSD?

“Any event that is life-threatening or greatly affects a person’s emotional well-being can result in PTSD. Examples of these traumatic events include:

  • rape
  • war
  • natural disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc.)
  • abuse
  • serious accidents
  • captivity

Traumas caused by other people (such as rape or assault) are more likely to cause PTSD. Strong emotions caused by these events can create changes in the brain that can bring about PTSD. People can also have PTSD for traumas they have perpetrated (i.e., soldiers who have shot enemy combatants can have PTSD).”

Who is at risk for PTSD?

Anyone who witnesses or experiences a traumatic event, especially if it is long-term or repeated, is at risk for PTSD. Certain groups, including war veterans and women, may be more likely to develop PTSD. For example, about 8% of men and 20% of women develop PTSD after a traumatic event.

It is not known why some people suffer from PTSD after a traumatic event and some do not. Some factors make you more likely to develop PTSD, including:”

  • Exposure to multiple traumatic events
  • Exposure to long-term or repeated traumas
  • Personal history of mental health problems, especially anxiety disorders
  • Lack of support from family and friends after a trauma

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By far, the public’s first reaction to the acronym, PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is war, warriors, combat veterans, military, soldiers, etc.  The on-set of PTSD is the normal reaction of the human brain’s chemistry to severe trauma.  The public is flooded by the media every day with the term PTSD as it relates to our heroes who serve America in all wars, especially when exposed to combat and injured with visible or invisible wounds.

It is not fair to veterans and their loved ones to isolate PTSD to one cause or one segment of our population.  It is also not fair to the thousands of people of all ages who experience trauma at home in America and elsewhere in the world each and every day, then suffer from the symptoms of PTSD.  Following is a quote from the back cover of my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in November of 2011:

“Approximately 8 Million Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.  Steve has the courage to share his story, hoping it will help others to address their PTSD and break the intergenerational cycle.  Don’t go the journey alone.  As in Steve’s story, it requires the connectedness with others to go down the path of hope and healing…” Beverly Ventura, Marriage Family Therapist and Life Coach, Laguna Counseling. 

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Beverly Ventura, MFT

When I first started to write my childhood and early adult story of my own traumatic experience, Beverly was one of the first of my dear friends I contacted to learn about the symptoms and implications of PTSD.  At first it was a shock to find out that my experience with trauma was not an exception.  I was not alone!  Beverly gave me the confidence and courage to write my story to help me find a path of healing while making a difference for others.   She spoke to me on the phone often, and on Skype with encouragement and friendship.  Bev even read my first manuscript and gave me pointers on character development.  Our conversations showed me the way to an abundance of research on the subject.  My new level of awareness of the roots and symptoms of PTSD, and how it affected my own family for decades, gave me the passion and motivation to write my first non-fiction story, including starting a website and blog.  I will be forever grateful to Beverly’s caring friendship and give her major credit for helping me find peace of mind later in life.  My life was changed forever and for the better as a result of pressing forward to write my book.  I could not have accomplished this huge task without the help from dear friends like, Beverly, and loved ones who pushed me forward.

Trauma leading to PTSD and moral injury compares to an epidemic in my view…  The intergenerational pain and suffering seems endless.  The lack of awareness and stigma connected with mental health challenges discourages treatment and conversation.  Young adults who served America in combat hesitate to admit to a diagnosis of PTSD and treatment for fear they will not find work.  Others who suffer from severe trauma as civilians are often ignored and shunned by family members and must fend for themselves.  My own experience is a testimonial of a post WWII family destroyed by PTSD and decades of emotional challenges that went untreated.

The good news is we are achieving more and more awareness and the conversation is much louder and deeper than it was just 3 years ago when my book was first published.  I continue to have hope and confidence that we are close to achieving critical mass in knowledge and awareness around the subject of trauma and PTSD.   The first step in healing from invisible wounds from war or other traumatic experiences in life is awareness.  My new level of knowledge, human connectedness and healing saved my life.  It is never too late to find your own journey of healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

 

April…National Child Abuse Prevention Month… Make a difference one child at a time!

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National Child Abuse Prevention Month of April Declared in 1983 by Congress…

April 2016…National Child Abuse Awareness…

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  My journey of healing and awareness has allowed me to thrive under some very tough circumstances while growing up in a post WWII toxic home with parents severely affected by the symptoms of PTSD…  I carried the emotional baggage with me as an adult for many decades before realizing it was time to reconcile the pain of my childhood and young adult life.  My work with children and families through writing books, this blog, and participating in appropriate forums as a spokesperson is a labor of love, and opportunity to make a difference one child at a time.

Following is a quote from my blog from April 2013, reflecting on the need to participate in your local community to build awareness during this time…

“In this link, Military Kids with PTSD, I posted about my own observations and experience as a military child growing up with parents who suffered severely from the symptoms of PTSD. As a military parent please take extra time to focus on your children. Use not only this month of April…take your increased awareness forward and help kids understand how war affects families of combat veterans, especially children. Use the resources to educate kids with love and kindness. Do not allow the children in your life grow up feeling isolated and alone with the memories that are often painful and misunderstood. As a parent or teacher you can make a huge difference in the lives of kids on this critical issue. We owe it to our children to give them the opportunity to grow up and live a healthy, happy, and productive life…”

Following is another quote from my blog that is worth repeating today regarding the critical need for local community support in the prevention of child abuse…

“Remember the military child! My own memories as a child of a US Navy veteran shows that we can make a difference by including the military families, especially children, in our thoughts. Children of veterans who are deployed for long periods of time often suffer from the challenges war and parental separation bring home. One parent cares for children for long periods while spouses are deployed. Kids often feel isolated and different from their peers.  Kids can also feel the emotional numbness that comes from the symptoms of PTSD.  Military kids are at risk growing up in a toxic home culture. We can help the children of warriors feel connected by getting them engaged events and activities with peer groups and adult mentors. After-school programs similar to www.neighborsforkids.org in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  Take advantage of special events like the Pinwheels of Prevention, which will go along way to make military families and children feel more connected to the community while parents are deployed and in life after war… It would have made a huge difference for me and my siblings during the 40′s and 50′s if we had felt more connected and a part of our community and schools we attended. It was often a confusing and lonely time growing up as a military child. The emotional baggage can stick around for a life time. Take the extra time to pay attention to the military children and families near you who need our support…”

Please become engaged in community events promoting awareness for the prevention of child abuse.  If there is not an event planned near you, create one using the resources and references in the links provided in this post…. National Children’s Alliance…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2 and Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff on Amazon…Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

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Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

 

It is never too late to seek treatment for the symptoms of PTSD! Relative Peace of Mind is a Spiritual Gift…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

The statistics we don’t here about from post Vietnam War veterans…  Quote from this website article… Listen to the “Wall Song” before you leave this page…

Some Disturbing Facts About Vietnam Veterans

By , June 9, 2010 11:31 pm

I’ve recently been re-reading Chuck Dean’s outstanding book Nam Vet. I think some facts are worth sharing:

  •  Since 1975, nearly three times as many Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in the war.
  • Fifty-eight-thousand-plus Americans died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended.
  • The suicide rate among veterans who have completed the local VA program is estimated at 2.5 per hundred.
  • The national accidental death and suicide rate is fourteen thousand men per year—33 percent above the national average.
  • Of those veterans who were married before going to Vietnam, 38 percent were divorced within six months after returning from Southeast Asia.
  • The divorce rate amongst Vietnam veterans is above 90 percent.
  • Five-hundred thousand Vietnam veterans have been arrested or incarcerated by the law. It is estimated that there are 100,000 Vietnam vets in prison today, and 200,000 on parole.
  • Drug-and-alcohol abuse problems range between 50 percent and 75 percent.
  • Forty percent of Vietnam veterans are unemployed and 25 percent earn less than seven thousand dollars per year.

Korean War veteran finds “peace” later in life is worth it…  Quote from this website article written BY CHRIS COBB, OTTAWA CITIZEN MARCH 29, 2014…  Click to see video clip interview!

PeaceNightmare ends: Korean War veteran finds peace after half-century struggle with PTSD…Jim Purcell 

“Casey didn’t live to grow old.

In the muddy, rat-infested trenches of the Korean hills, they had a bunker to sleep in and, like many 18-year-old boys, Casey loved to sleep.

The Chinese shell scored a direct hit on the bunker while he was napping.

“He got his head blown off,” says Purcell. “Casey come out there like a chicken with its head cut off, except it wasn’t quite off. He come to the door of the bunker and just dropped. That stayed with me for years. I’d wake up screaming, ‘Get out of the bunker, Casey. Get out of the bunker.’”

*****

Just like my father, Vernon’s, story of watching his best friend, Ken Powers, get his head blown off while the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Jim Purcell watched his buddy get his head blown off in the trenches of Korea in 1951.  While listening to this video clip interview, it was like listening to my Dad talk about a horrific traumatic experience that never leaves your head.

Like my Dad, Jim waited until later in life to seek treatment for the symptoms of PTSD.  And in my own case as a PTSD survivor, I waited until age 64 to start my journey of healing.  Too many warriors wait and sometimes it can be too late, especially when we look at the almost unbelievable statistics from Vietnam veterans listed above… “Fifty-eight-thousand-plus Americans died in the Vietnam War. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended.”

The stories of emotional pain and tragedy in life after war are too many to fathom.  I watched for many years while my father struggled with severe PTSD symptoms each and every day of his life until he was in his 60’s.  Dad finally received treatment through a balance of prescribed medications and counseling.  He started to calm down in his mid to late 60’s and lived a relatively peaceful life until 1998 when he passed away at 79.  I like to remember my Dad as a happy man even if it was just over 10 years of his life as a senior citizen.  His treatment was a work in progress but he was into the regimen because it made him feel so much better.  He and my mother spent quality time together traveling and enjoying life during those years.  Dad especially loved the ocean and beaches where they frequently spent time in Ocean Shores, Washington or walking in the parks overlooking Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

Although the emotional pain and suffering lasted for over 40 years following WWII and Korean War, a few years of the gift of peace of mind was well worth it for my Dad and is true for many warriors who often wait until it is almost too late.  Dad’s awareness of PTSD, treatment, and path of healing was also a gift to my mother and other family members who felt more comfortable being around him in his later years.  Veterans should not only consider themselves in the process of healing, but remember how much loved ones benefit from seeing a happy camper.  Family members will all say that not having to walk on eggs shells at home was a real gift to them as well.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…click on my author page to order…

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