Striving to Live a New Normal

Striving to Live a New Normal

May 2, 2011 ~ Post Traumatic Stress – It’s spreading like an epidemic in our society.  If it hasn’t affected you yet, it won’t be long.  With so many of our combat veterans returning from multiple deployments, it should come as no surprise that there is a high percentage of Post Traumatic Stress, commonly referred to as PTSD, amongst these men and women. For each one affected with PTSD, there are a many others such as family and friends, who are dramatically affected as well.  It goes without saying that the spouse and children are going to be affected, but when the combat veteran is single, it is the parent of that individual who often finds themselves in a life altering situation.

If you are a parent of someone who has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress or a mild Traumatic Brain Injury, you may very likely find yourself in a difficult position and you probably don’t have much, if any, support.  As much as our wounded warrior needs help, we as parents need support as well.  Whether we like it or not, Post Traumatic Stress has just redefined and claimed our lives and we are going to need all the help we can get to enable us to be the strong support that our child needs to move forward to recovery.

The existing health care system for our military and our veterans is not set up to accomodate the overwhelming numbers of troops returning from multiple deployments with mental health issues.  The first ones to fall through the cracks are those who are unmarried.  With parents kept at arm’s length since day one of Boot Camp, the soldier is trained to keep Mom and Dad out of it.  This means that the unmarried combat veterans, making up 45 to 50% of our military, are basically “on their own” without an advocate.

Often, by the time the “next of kin” is aware that there is a problem, it’s too late to undo the damage that has already taken place. Many families are desperately trying to figure out how to help their child, but end up throwing their hands up in frustration because HIPAA laws bar them from accessing services which are readily given to spouses and children of those who are married.

If you’ve been walking down this path, know that you are not alone.  When I first found myself thrown onto the path, I was certain I was by myself.  Over two and half years later, I find that there are many others walking alongside me.  The support systems still aren’t available, but we do have one another.

We have all learned some valuable lessons about Post Traumatic Stress, but almost all of our lessons have been learned through adversity.  Basically, we have learned best from our mistakes and our parent’s resource handbook is made up of a long list of what “not” to do.

If you are the parent of a combat veteran who suffers with the Invisible Wounds of War we hope you will join us as we support one another and advocate for our adult children. As adults, they may think they don’t need us anymore, but the reality is that they need us more than ever before. It’s our responsibility to learn as much as we can so we can help them regain their lives.  No one else out there is ever going to advocate for your child as well as you can do it.  You know them best and you love them most.

Originally published at


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