Saturday, December 6, 2014

Helping soldiers and understanding PTSD

I recently was able to attend a meeting with a veteran and act as a mediator. It turns out his son's elementary school teacher heard the term PTSD from his wife during parent-teacher conference and the teacher took some drastic measures.

The teacher called the police and had them come to his home for a welfare check on the children.  The veteran told me the cop rolled his eyes after seeing the young boys and left.  There was no reason for this ignorant teacher to call the cops. There was no bruising, not injury -- nothing. The boy said he wanted to stay at school instead of going home because he was sick one day and all of a sudden, this teacher felt the veteran was a threat. The wife only innocently said the word in casual conversation. After all, care givers can have challenges, too, from living with someone who never forgets the hell of war.

This teacher even had the audacity to tell this veteran that he was not to come to the school anymore unless he told the principal. Are you kidding me?!

This male elementary school teacher had absolutely no idea what being a veteran is all about.  He has no idea what war and PTSD are. He labeled this good veteran as a killer and, in so many words, felt just because he may have PTSD that he's a threat to the school and everyone around him.

It's ignorant for anyone to think that a veteran with PTSD will one day flip out and murder everyone. It's totally offense.  If I hadn't been there to hear it myself, I wouldn't have believed it.

The teacher even invited the police school resource officer to sit in and listen.  Of course, there was absolutely nothing criminal that took place.  The only thing that happened was two veterans became upset -- myself included.  I think the teacher was scared and so he wanted a police officer there. Well, unbeknownst to the teacher (but the SRO knew it), I'm a police officer.

I just don't understand how people can be so ignorant and offensive.

...And then I think of those who served in Vietnam.

Recently I was able to go on an incredible guided hunting trip sponsored by great people who appreciate veterans. To my great delight and surprise, my guide was a Vietnam veteran. We had some things in common and after hanging out together for just a day, I feel I have a lifelong friend and confidant.  He gave me a hug at the end of the hunt. That meant the world to me. We're brothers and friends -- brothers-in-arms who understand one another.  I was completely and totally honored to be able to go on that hunting trip.

Of course, I have no idea the horrible things my friend faced, especially after returning from Vietnam. The political climate back then was horrific.  He even told me he had some friends who never spoke to him again after the war.  Well, it wasn't his fault.  He did the honorable thing.  There was a draft.  He answered the call of his nation.

Thankfully, his generation have done wonderful things for my generation.  The VA care is so much better than it was. The political climate is so much better than it was when he came home from war.  I'm reminded of Bill Dahl who wrote a chapter in my book, Warrior SOS. He said he came home in uniform and a girl he thought was cute, walked over to him and spat in his face.

I'm so grateful for the veterans who've gone before me. They've done all they can to make sure veterans would never be treated so horribly again.

Unfortunately, there are still people who will just never get it.  There are people who will never understand.  Sometimes, only veterans can help other veterans because no matter how hard others might try, there are somethings they'll never understand.  And, thank God for that.  Some things are just too horrible to have to live through.  War is one of them.

For more about PTSD and warrior help, visit my other blog:

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