Saturday, January 14, 2012

Second Testimonial - Thank You Bonnie Toews!

This is a very nice testimonial I wanted to share with all of you.

Testimonial for Leslie Raddatz
Leslie Raddatz and her father have done something very courageous. They have exposed their frightening world dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as both father and daughter suffer from the same condition.

Returning soldiers feel shame because they’ve been trained to be tough. They are not cowards. They should be able to overcome this … on their own. They certainly don’t ask for help and let everyone think they are needy. This is why it has been so difficult over the years to get our mentally suffering vets into effective rehabilitation programs for PTSD. Their own military culture shuns them. Veterans Affairs has downplayed the seriousness of PTSD for years by refusing to understand the condition and disallowing veterans’ claims, leaving many to a shiftless, homeless life. Even worse, some in utter despair have committed suicide. Could these tragedies not be overcome if we choose as a society to recognize it and support treatment?

Scientists studying PTSD believe that the brain, when it is subjected to repeated and extended surges of adrenalin, short circuits – like an overloaded socket – or goes into defense mode to protect itself from breakdown. Thus, when episodes are triggered, the brain keeps replaying scenes from the moment the short circuit happened, like a broken record, because it doesn’t know how to repair the fissure in its neural network.

This helps explain why civilians suffer the same “shell-shock” symptoms as soldiers. Trauma that overloads the brain comes in many forms, not just in combat. PTSD is never caused because your character isn’t strong enough. No one knows his or her genetic limitation until it happens, and then it is too late. The only way to circumvent this wall of “silent” suffering is to face it and talk about it with others going through the same horror. Talking about it reduces the fear that you are the only one going insane.

In writing her book, Flashbacks in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Surviving Through the Flood, Leslie Raddatz pulls us into her world of nightmares and humiliation. It’s not a sob story. It’s straight forward talk. She does not want you the reader to feel sorry for her, or her father. She wants you to understand what it is like to live in their shoes. It’s also to help you see that anyone can suffer from PTSD if put under “breaking-point” conditions. “There but by the grace of God go I!

By writing about her experiences, Leslie is not just doing an exercise to help her heal. She is inviting her readers to heal with her. She is providing you with an opening conversation with someone you feel may be living with PTSD. She is also sharing the steps she took to find sanity and serenity.

Bonnie Toews, former journalist

Canadian Veterans Advocate

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