Tag Archives: vietnam

PTSD Support Give-Away from Quynn

ashes cover phoenixIt has been 11 years since I wrote “Accepting the Ashes- A Daughter’s Look at PTSD”. Unfortunately, the situation for veterans who have returned from war has gotten worse, not better. Many men and women who have served the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan for one, two, five, or more deployments, are suffering from PTSD, and every day we are losing valuable citizens to suicide.

Iit is now time to share the audio version of my book.
I have uploaded the full 58 minute book (narrated by me), with music by Rainbow Didge, into YouTube.  If this story helps one more person understand that they are not weak, they can ask for help, and they are a worthy part of our community, I am grateful.

Please share this story with anyone who might benefit.

A Veteran Speaks to his Son

At the end of 2012 I received an email from a Vietnam veteran,  an ER physician, who had received my book, and wanted to order another one for his son.  Below is the string of emails back and forth.  I am so grateful that my story helped this veteran father share with his son after all these years.

Dear Quynn,

Your book appeared on my desk one day.

I just received treatment for PTSD which I thought I might have
mildly, until I became unable to practice as a physician in July
and suicidal in December, at which I went to the VA and they
secured a spot for me in the Six Week In-patient PTSD program
at the Memphis VA.

Four of the kindest people in the world there helped me see that
I’d actually been carrying a heavy load and I was OK.

I’m getting a divorce, final soon. I was angry all the time, isolated, all
the classic symptoms.  For some reason my ex-wife refuses to accept I
have PTSD, even though I was a rifleman for a full year with the
9th Infantry Division, have a Purple Heart, witnessed children
being killed. She says my deeper problem is a poor relationship
with my mother who admittedly was not a good person.

I tell her watching all your friends die, and children, is worse
than a bad mom but she just walks away.

I can never figure that out. Do you have any idea why she wouldn’t
want to believe I have PTSD?

I’m reading your book in little bits and doses (I already have a
copy, that’s how I knew to write you) because it is so powerful it’s
all I can stand.

Thanks for writing your exceptional book.

R,

Thank you for sharing a bit of your experience, and thank you for your kind words about my book. Maybe someone put the book on your desk because they thought you needed it. I have had books at the Memphis VA I think.
Regarding your wife’s feeling about your situation, I would imagine that there are issues that you might still have with your mother, who doesn’t? I find that all these issues can bundle together into a big knot, but once the PTSD is in the light, it can possibly be easier to see and understand any issues that were created during childhood.  Wives often have a very hard time of it in this situation, the hardest actually.  Just keep moving towards healing. I mentioned this issue (divorce) in my book. “Everyone has a place, even if it isn’t with you.”
I am curious, when did you serve?

Thank you for reaching out,

 

Quynn,

I was with E/6/31st in the 9th Inf. Div. from April 1968 to 12/68,
and then C/4/47th in the Mobile Riverine Force of the 9th 12/68-4/5/69.

I happily give you permission to use any or all of what I said.

I sent a copy of your book to my son and then had a
nearly two hour talk with him last week, first I’ve talked with him since June 2011.
He’s a junior in HS so had a front row seat to see my anger and isolationism and it occurred to me
after reading your book that he probably didn’t know I had five
entrance and exit holes in my helmet or that I witnessed children
being executed by the VC or that I think I’m the only guy from my
squad to survive.

He didn’t. He just knew I’d been wounded.

I told him I didn’t expect him to forgive me but that knowing the
horrific things that happened to me might give him some under-
standing, which sometimes helps a bit.

Oddly enough, seeing those children killed didn’t harden my
heart exactly, although it put me on the other side of a glass wall,
the rest of the world being on the other. But it did make me really
good with caring for children as patients, and various nurses have
told me  I should have been a pediatrician, and as an ER doc I
have saved the lives of a few kids who were in the final stages of
dying which isn’t as easy as it sounds, believe me.

So maybe those awful incidents helped in a way.

I really owe you so much for your book, as I never would have
talked with him had it not been for your book.

Thank you.

Anonymous, MD

Children of PTSD

I have been thinking about all the adult children around the country (and the world) who grew up in a home with a veteran affected by PTSD.  For adult children today, we grew up before the times of understanding about that which we call Post Traumatic Stress.  As a culture we are now moving away from calling PTS a ‘disorder’, because we have come to see that when people (men and women) experience one more more traumatic events, it is common, even normal, that such experiences affect the human spirit in a negative way.

However, back in the day, even through the Vietnam war, people did not talk that way about war/combat trauma of the emotional/mental kind.  So, there are many, many adults living their lives today, still trying to understand why their parent (most often a father) was ‘the way he was’.  Recent generations have become familiar with being an adult child of an alcoholic, and now I feel that we have to call a spade a spade, which is that there is a reality in being an adult child of PTSD (specifically caused by war experiences).   I have been thinking specifically about a man I knew once, a man about my own age, and his father too was a veteran of the Vietnam war.  A number of years ago he listened to my audio book and told me that until hearing my story, he thought that his father’s behavior while growing up (as he put it ‘lying on the couch, smoking cigarettes and not talking’) was just his dad. After hearing about my father, he realized that his dad had PTSD from his war experiences.

So, yesterday morning I was thinking about how many adult children of PTSD there are now, and how many children of vets returned from OIF, and returning from OEF, will also grow up in a PTSD household.  I made some calls to some of the 23 networks of the Veteran’s Administration (called VISNs) to connect with each VISNs “Designated Learning Officer” to send them one of my books.  Then I decided to take a walk  with my dog to clear my head.  I rounded the corner on my block, and a bicyclist was riding the opposite way.  Dressed in his riding outfit, he said ‘Hi Quynn’ as he rode by.  I looked at him , trying to figure out who he was. ‘Who are you’ I asked him. He turned around and spoke his name.  My jaw dropped.  It was the exact man who I had been thinking about. The adult child of PTSD who I had not seen in a number of years.  We spoke for a few minutes, catching up, and then I told him I had just been thinking about him and his story, and I asked him if I remembered it correctly.  I recounted my memory of his experience and he said it was correct.  ‘However’ he said ‘I think I knew, even at 7 years old, that what was wrong with my dad was PTSD, even though I didn’t know about PTSD then.’  He knew there was something in him that didn’t belong.  He went on to say that his relationship with his father is not at all close, that there is nothing to say.  He said his father has much power, and if his dad directed it in a good way, he would be a powerful man.  ‘I have the same power’ he said.

We said goodbye for now, and I walked away feeling that a message had just been sent my way.  Adult Children of PTSD is something, and there are many of us, going on with life, getting along, doing the best we can. Every day.   I came home and started a facebook group called PTSD Daughter.  If you are in FB, come join me there.

losing a father to ptsd

Image included in message- "Beautiful Day"

I received an email from a woman the other day. It had been a long time since I heard from her.  She wrote me to say that she met a woman who had once met me, and read my book Accepting the Ashes- A Daughter’s Look at PTSD.  The email said that the woman told her she…

shared a very healing talk with you about “coming out of the ashes of her dad’s PTSD from Desert Storm.”  She wanted you to know that your book and story helped her a lot to “get over my anger and disappointment at not having a healthy relationship with a dad who retreated into drugs and alcohol when I needed him most.  She said meeting you helped her “let go of the bitterness.”

It was moving to receive this message because it reminded me of the original reason I wrote my book. While today (8 years after writing it) I think about getting my book in the hands of veterans and their families from OIF and OEF, people who are recently learning to understand the new feelings of PTSD.  However, I originally wrote the story from my own experience that mirrored the woman quoted above.  I wanted to reach out to other children of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, adult children who are trying to be healed adults, while feeling the pain of their fathers.

I know that a whole new generation of children are growing up right now, who are living with PTSD in their home.  I also know that a good number of these ‘children of PTSD’ are all grown up now, being mothers and fathers, grandparents, sisters and partners, and they are still trying to understand, and come to terms with, what happened.  I am one of these ‘children’. There are many of us from a number of ‘wars’.  No matter how much time passes, our healing continues.  Hopefully our healing can help the younger ones who will need understanding.

The woman who wrote the message closed by saying “So thank you Quynn from all of us in this life who work with families who are, in one way or the other, dealing with the sad debris of addiction, depression, and anger come from war.”  I am touched that my little book has helped anyone see through their pain and know that they are not alone.  War is a cultural pain.  As each of us heal our wounds, we help others heal theirs.

Here is a link of a similar story http://www.sidran.org/sub.cfm?contentID=67&sectionid=4

 

ver, 8 years ago