Welby O'Brien, Portland, Oregon teacher, counselor and author penned "Love our Vets" for the families and loved ones of veterans who suffer from PTSD and TBI, traumatic brain injury. Her marriage to a 100% disabled PTSD veteran and a masters degree in counseling give her an intimate understanding of disabled vets and those who love them.
Her practical, hands-on resource begins with "Reaffirm" where she offers a brief overview of what PTSD is, whether it can be cured and what to expect if you're in relationship with a PTSD vet. In this section she provides brief answers to 63 questions such as how to handle conflict, physical abuse, drug or alcohol addictions, firearms, inability to make decisions, paranoia and more. The questions are numbered for ease of lookup in the table of contents.
Part two, "Replenish," features an inventory of needs caregivers deplete who are usually too busy caring for others to care for themselves. Welby's survey format encourages readers to "think through each need" listed and note where they're deficient in their day-to-day challenges. She warns if personal needs are ignored illness or a complete meltdown can occur.
"Reflect," the third segment contains brief truths of "heart-baring wisdom gleaned from the lives" of those who live with or love a PTSD vet, such as:
"We do not always need an instant solution."
"I have been with him instead of trying to fix him"
"Don't argue with them when they're triggered."
"Truly I can't fix this."
"Don't forget to pray."
"Patience and love are empowering."
"It will never be perfect, but it can be good."
A group discussion guide, section summaries, Purple Star Families Home Preparedness Guide, "vicarious trauma" article (second hand trauma similar to second hand smoke) and thirty-one days of daily prayer complete the book.
Welby's guide is for the average military member, spouse, partner or parent of traumatized veterans and was written without confusing military and medical terminology. The issues and situations she writes about are real and sometimes dangerous. Her suggestions include the importance of boundaries, when dangerous behavior is unacceptable and why it's sometimes best to leave. The book can be read randomly, cover-to-cover or as a reference guide.
I found myself laughing, crying and empathizing with the problems our returning vets deal with. These brave men and women need our thanks, our help and perhaps most of all our gratitude for our ability to live in freedom when the price they pay and continue to pay is so dear. www.LoveOurVets.org
Other websites for veterans include:
Team Rubicon gives veterans a sense of purpose
Make the connection where veterans find encouragement, support and share experiences.
Wounded Warrior Project who encourages vets to thrive instead of just survive.
Veteran PTSD & Service Dog change veteran’s lives.
VA Resources for jobs, careers and internships.
Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD, by Welby O'Brien, Deep River Books, 2012, 216 pages, 978-1937756642, $15.99 www.LoveOurVets.org
Midwest Book Reviews: "Gail's Bookshelf" Feb 2014
LinkedIn: Gail Welborn
FaceBook: Gail Welborn
Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD, by Welby O'Brien
Chances are that if your loved one has seen war, he or she has PTSD at some level, and you who love your veteran will also be deeply and profoundly affected.
Now here is a comprehensive, practical book solely dedicated to addressing the cries and needs of the loved ones. Finally! A book that is geared toward your needs and issues—your cries.
Love Our Vets answers more than 60 heartfelt questions, providing down-to-earth wisdom and much-needed tips for taking care of yourself. Sharing as a counselor and from her personal experience of living with a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, Welby O’Brien gives hope, encouragement, and practical help for families and loved ones who are caught in the wake of the trauma. This book addresses a broad spectrum of issues and concerns and offers realistic wisdom from a wide variety of individuals who share from real hearts and lives.
Welcomed by VA and other counselors, this is not just another book about PTSD; rather, it is a tremendous resource for families and loved ones who struggle heroically along with their vets to face the day-to-day challenges.
Redeployed: How Combat Veterans Can Fight the Battle Within and Win the War at Home, by Brian Fleming, Chad Robichaux PhD
For the first time EVER, a Combat-Infantry Sergeant and a Special Operations Force Recon Marine have joined forces to equip and educate other returning combat-veterans on how to FIGHT and WIN the most common battles they face after returning home from war (PTSD, TBI, Depression, Anxiety, Isolation, Suicide, Divorce, etc).
Fleming and Robichaux's roles as Resiliency Trainers for the U.S. Military have taken them to bases and installations across the globe. Throughout the pages of history, America's warriors have fought several wars abroad, but after coming home many of these warriors REDEPLOYED to a new war: A War Within. The lessons learned through war can change a person's life forever. These lessons may even change yours...
Once a Warrior--Always a Warrior: Navigating the Transition from Combat to Home--Including Combat Stress, PTSD, and mTBI, by Charles W. Hoge M.D.
The essential handbook for anyone who has ever returned from a war zone, and their spouse, partner, or family members.
Being back home can be as difficult, if not more so, than the time spent serving in a combat zone. It’s with this truth that Colonel Charles W. Hoge, MD, a leading advocate for eliminating the stigma of mental health care, presents Once a Warrior—Always a Warrior, a groundbreaking resource with essential new insights for anyone who has ever returned home from a war zone.
In clear practical language, Dr. Hoge explores the latest knowledge in combat stress, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury), other physiological reactions to war, and their treatment options. Recognizing that warriors and family members both change during deployment, he helps them better understand each other’s experience, especially living with enduring survival skills from the combat environment that are often viewed as “symptoms” back home. The heart of this book focuses on what’s necessary to successfully navigate the transition—“LANDNAV” for the home front.
Once a Warrior—Always a Warrior shows how a warrior’s knowledge and skills are vital for living at peace in an insane world.
Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, by Erin P Finley
For many of the 1.6 million U.S. service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the trip home is only the beginning of a longer journey. Many undergo an awkward period of readjustment to civilian life after long deployments. Some veterans may find themselves drinking too much, unable to sleep or waking from unspeakable dreams, lashing out at friends and loved ones. Over time, some will struggle so profoundly that they eventually are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress Disorder (PTSD).
Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Fields of Combat tells the story of how American veterans and their families navigate the return home. Following a group of veterans and their their personal stories of war, trauma, and recovery, Erin P. Finley illustrates the devastating impact PTSD can have on veterans and their families. Finley sensitively explores issues of substance abuse, failed relationships, domestic violence, and even suicide and also challenges popular ideas of PTSD as incurable and permanently debilitating.
Drawing on rich, often searing ethnographic material, Finley examines the cultural, political, and historical influences that shape individual experiences of PTSD and how its sufferers are perceived by the military, medical personnel, and society at large. Despite widespread media coverage and public controversy over the military's response to wounded and traumatized service members, debate continues over how best to provide treatment and compensation for service-related disabilities. Meanwhile, new and highly effective treatments are revolutionizing how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides trauma care, redefining the way PTSD itself is understood in the process. Carefully and compassionately untangling each of these conflicts, Fields of Combat reveals the very real implications they have for veterans living with PTSD and offers recommendations to improve how we care for this vulnerable but resilient population.
The War at Home: One Family's Fight Against PTSD, by Sawan Gurley, Editor, Spring Lea E. Henry
When your soldier returns home to you, it should be a happy and joyful time. You are glad your spouse is safe and sound back home and can't wait to get your life going again. Everything should be great!
But what if the homecoming is anything but great? What if suddenly you can't connect, or you feel worlds apart? What if your vet is no longer interested in going out or being around other people? Maybe your spouse isn't sleeping well, or worse, becoming violent while asleep. Your vet may not be reconnecting with the kids and may seem uninterested in any new additions to the family. What if your spouse gets angry at small things or even becomes violent? What do you do? Do you ignore it and keep thinking it will get better if you give it more time?
In February 2003, Shawn Gourley's husband, Justin, returned home from his tour in the Middle East where his ship was deployed to assist Operation Enduring Freedom. Cracks were already showing in his personality, cracks that would widen dramatically into full-on fractures by the time he returned home in June 2004 from his third tour that marked the end of his military career. For the next 4 1/2 years their relationship was very difficult, and at times, downright terrifying for her and the children.
It wasn't until January 2009 that Justin was able to get treatment. He was finally diagnosed with PTSD in August 2009. Those are the broad strokes of their story, but the details of how Shawn fought to save her family will leave you transfixed until the end
PTSD: A Spouse's Perspective How to Survive in A World of PTSD, by Erica David
Has PTSD invaded your world? Are you always 'walking on eggshells'? Feel like nothing you do is right. Are you the victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse? Are you in a relationship with someone who suffers from PTSD?
Then this book is a must read for you. There is hope! So many spouses of PTSD sufferers have the false belief that nobody can understand what they are going through. Believe me when I say, you are not alone. There are literally thousands of victims just like you. Facing the same issues everyday that you are facing. This book is written for you, the spouse, to offer hope by giving you detailed knowledge of PTSD and Secondary PTSD and also offer you coping mechanisms for living in a world of PTSD
Shock Waves: A Practical Guide to Living with a Loved One's PTSD, by Cynthia Orange
In the United States, about 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women experience, witness, or are affected by a traumatic event in their lifetimes. Many of them (8 percent of men and 20 percent of women) may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—a life-altering anxiety disorder. Once connected mainly with veterans of war, PTSD is now being diagnosed in many situations that cause extreme trauma such as rape, physical attacks or abuse, accidents, terrorist incidents, or natural disasters.
What is not reflected in those statistics are the millions of family and friends who also suffer from the shock wave effects of a loved one's trauma. Feelings—for both trauma survivors and those who love them—can become intense and unpredictable. It is normal to experience fear, anxiety, depression, and a sense of helplessness, but help is available.
Shock Waves is a practical, user-friendly guide for those who love someone whose life has been changed by trauma, whether or not that person has been diagnosed with PTSD. Throughout its pages are the voices of trauma survivors and those affected by a loved one's trauma.
Through her own personal experience, extensive research, advice from mental health professionals, and interviews, Cynthia Orange shows readers how to:
- identify what PTSD symptoms look like in "real life"
- respond to substance abuse and other co-occurring disorders
- Manage their reactions to a loved one's PTSD
- Cope with feelings of grief and loss
- Find effective professional help
- Prevent their children from experiencing secondary trauma
- Practice ongoing care for themselves and other family members
Each section of Shock Waves includes questions and exercises to help readers incorporate the book's lessons into their daily lives and interactions with their traumatized loved ones.
The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship: How to Support Your Partner and Keep Your Relationship Health, by Diane England
War, physical and sexual abuse, and natural disasters. All crises have one thing in common: Victims often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their loved ones suffer right along with them.
In this book, couples will learn how to have a healthy relationship, in spite of a stressful and debilitating disorder. They’ll learn how to:
- Deal with emotions regarding their partner’s PTSD
- Talk about the traumatic event(s)
- Communicate about the effects of PTSD to their children
- Handle sexual relations when a PTSD partner has suffered a traumatic sexual event
- Help their partner cope with everyday life issues
When someone has gone through a traumatic event in his or her life, he or she needs a partner more than ever. This is the complete guide to keeping the relationship strong and helping both partners recover in happy, healthy ways.
Warrior's Children, A Healing Book For The Families Of Veterans, by Trisha Mahi
Not knowing how to handle a veteran while he was sleeping nearly cost the author her life. Three weeks after her wedding, not knowing that a veteran's nightmares can be very dangerous, she tried to shake him awake as he moaned and shrieked. That night her Special Forces husband nearly killed her thinking she was the enemy soldier who had jumped out of a tree in his dream. She came within inches of a broken elbow and a smashed throat. That is when this book began. She didn’t want anyone else to suffer as she had.
Dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) brought on by war is the main focus of this book. This is a global disorder that affects millions of people.
Warrior's Children is for mature children, and relatives and spouses of combat veterans who may have PTSD. Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD are sleeplessness, “edgy” behavior, fear of loud noises, alcohol or drug abuse, and nightmares.
It is the author’s personal mission as a wife of two veterans and a child of two veterans – all deceased – to provide a book that will help families cope with a veteran’s combat related PTSD.
Trisha Mahi brings to this book her personal experiences, interviews with many veterans including family, and a great deal of research. She is not a professional in the field. This is just a high-heels-on-the-ground look at wartime trauma and how it sometimes comes home.
In the back of the book there are resources for veterans and their families to use. The author notes that the veterans have already paid for these counselors, medical doctors, and therapy sessions with their service to their country and to their friends in combat.
As a reminder, one need not have a Kindle Reader. Free Kindle Reader apps are available from Amazon for PC’s, Mac’s, smart phones, tablets and other devices.
WARNING: This book contains graphic descriptions of combat and of the emotional and physical wounds suffered by combatants. These depictions may be disturbing to any reader especially children and veterans. Children should read this book with a parent or adult guardian present.
Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home: Hope and Healing for Families Living with PTSD and TBI, by Marshele Carter Waddell, Kelly K. Orr
For every wounded warrior, there is a wounded home--an immediate and extended family and community impacted by their loved one's war experiences. Every day service members are returning from combat deployments to their families. And every day war comes home with them.
When a combat veteran struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), every member of the family experiences the effects. Spouses, parents, and children must undergo changes on the home front, a process that resembles the phases of grief. Confusion, hurt, anger, guilt, fatigue, and fear lie behind their brave smiles and squared shoulders.
Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home gives hurting families a look inside the minds and hearts of wounded warriors and guides them in developing their own personal plan for physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness in the wake of war. The authors, one the wife of a career US Navy SEAL and the other a clinical psychologist and Vietnam veteran, speak from their own experiences of living with PTSD and TBI. They also share insights from dozens of families and careful research, offering readers a hope-filled way forward.