Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Soliders and PTSD!

It is upsetting for me to watch the news to see another solider has killed his family, due to his or her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the War.

The army is not doing a good enough job deprograming the soldiers before they go home.  They are trained to kill or be killed. They are just  expected to go home and act like nothing happened. 

What the hell is wrong with the Government?

A lot happened to these poor men and women!  They witnessed killings after killings, they fought for their survival every minute while they were in a war zone and while they tried to keep the innocent people safe.

My dad was in the Vietnam War.  He was blown out of a jeep because the driver ran over a landmine. He was the only survivor. While he is thrown clear and laying with a broken back a Philippines man walked up to him.  My dad thought he was going to be killed but instead this man saved my father's life.  He put a cigarette in his mouth and went for help.

That is more than I can say for the army.  My dad was drafted and had no choice to enlist but he did the Honorable thing and reported for duty. He was given an Honorable discharge and awarded a Purple Heart for his brave service.  He watched alot of his friends die each day. 

My dad came home.  He was married at 21 years of age and started his family of four daughters. He was living his life happy until the Vietnam Syndrome hit him and our family.  It started with the nightmares of the war. He would wake up in a cold sweat while screaming and disoriented.  My mom would calm him down reasurring him he is safe. Then it was anger.  Then flashbacks into the past and he had a hard time separating the two as he pulled knives on my mom and us, children. 

If my mom thought he was going to have a flashback, she would hide us in closets and anywhere she didn't think he would look. We lived in terror as we hear him screaming in the house ordering her to show him where the enemies were, us.

Back then my mom had no support from his family or the Government.  Everyone was in denial of Vietnam Syndrome and no army official would admit it existed.  My mom found a group of women and a counselor that helped her by instructing her on what to do when my dad flashbacked to the Vietnam War.

Somehow my mom was able to walk up to my dad carefully and take the knives out of his hands.  I watched her do this when I was under the age of five years old.  It was a repressed memory that recently surfaced with my therapist and I also have PTSD.

Six years ago my dad was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer and was told he had two months to  live.  They removed one kidney, the head of his pancreas and he also has many tumors on his good kidney and in other parts of his body.  My dad thinks it was from Agent Orange exposure. 
Thank God his tumors are slow growing and for the moment under control.  His red blood cells however are not they are at a four.  His doctor is trying to give him shots to help him raise his red blood cells. If they can't improve the count, then my dad will have to start blood transfusions.

When my dad applied for disability through the army.  They asked if he had proof he was even in the Vietnam War because they couldn't find his records.  My dad took in photos, his orders, draft card, uniform, Purple Heart, proof of medical transport to the US.  After he proved he was there, then he was declined three times saying they didn't believe he had PTSD.

My dad fought for 5 1/2 years and finally this year received 90% of his disability from the army.  That is only because he had a dedicated psychiatrist and Veteran's advocate that helped my dad through the process and never gave up. We all know why they waited so long. It was because they thought my dad would die and then they wouldn't have to pay out the benefits.  My dad is still fighting for the 100% disability.

I wish I knew the man who saved my father because he was brave and kind to risk his life to save my dad's life.

How many more soldiers have to come home unprepared for what they will face and end up killing the family he or she loves?  What is the army doing for our current soldiers?  Is it anything different from the Vietnam War?  It doesn't look like it each time I hear another soldier with PTSD killed his family.

I support each solider and pray for their safety while away at war and for when they come home.

Leslie Raddatz
Suvivor of PTSD

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