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Point 1 – Continuing the “Fight”
As Veterans, espiecially if they have seen combat, is that they have walked through their own “Valleys of death” in some way. Now that they are here home again, I want you to encourage this clear message to Veterans: for them to continue the “fight” to live beyond all they have experienced or seen.
They have been, like me, called “survivors”, yet I want to them to choose to live this life fuller and deeper. Like me, they have arrived home and my prayer is that their progression and goal is resolve, as with myself, let what was given to me in Vietnam be forgotten nor wasted by my lack of effort or decisions. It was my new starting place, another opportunity I had to begin again to live this life. One I never want to waste away.
The transition home can be a difficult one and I am so saddened when I hear that a returned veteran has taken their life! It is reported that over 25 soldiers a day committ suicide. The only words I had for one soldier I met and greeted home lately was “You made it home; now please choose to make it through this!” Most have had different experiences, types of shock, distress, and reactions and are looking for help or suggestions on how to begin or continue their walk towards wholeness.
Bible scriptures you can have Veterans read: Psalm 23; Psalm 91 (the soldier's prayer); Ephesians 6: 10 -18
Point 2 – Admittance
I believe that anyone can never begin the “healing process until they see and share where we are. Like “AA”, it is the point where I would say: “Hi, I am Gary Tate and I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran with PTSD symptoms”. Then begin to understand and take correction steps I need to take. These are familiar experiences among Vietnam veterans, like me, that have had some similar reactions and feelings that are called P.T.S.D. (post-traumatic stress disorder). Through my studies in this subject matter I have realized that in the last place of our stress and trauma we were “frozen”, trapped in that moment and we cannot grow or mature beyond it.
Point 3 - Mom's
I remembered thinking, of the promise I had made my mother a few months previously that I would return home from Vietnam, I believe now that I would not have, without that. Though we each have our own walk in this life we all experience similar situations, feelings and thoughts that we must deal with as I have shared on. And I have found hope! My hope is in the Lord, Who helps my soul find and have rest. Was it that easy - far from it! That can be because the answers we seek are difficult at times to find, however we ask questions or seek help.
After I had walked through the virtual “valley of death” in Vietnam, after having being severely wounded, kneeling on foreign soil and bleeding severely I took the first step towards a new life.
Common Emotional, Vietnam and Current Veteran Responses with Statistics – Common Emotional Responses
Tension, Trails or Tribulations
Characteristics in Vietnam era veterans and our current Veterans
INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS AND FLASHBACKS:
ANXIETY OR NERVOUSNESS
GUILT-SUICIDAL FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS:
10 Ways to Recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(1) Re-experiencing traumatic events through vivid memories or flash backs.
(2) Feeling “emotionally numb.
Feeling overwhelmed by what would normally be considered everyday situations and feeling diminished interest in performing normal tasks or pursuing your usual interests.
(4) Crying uncontrollably. This was one of my most common fears for a long time.
(5) Isolating oneself from family and friends and avoiding social situations.
(6) Relying increasingly on alcohol or drugs to get through the day.
(7) Feeling extremely moody, irritable, angry, suspicious or frightened.
(8) Having difficulty falling or staying asleep, sleeping too much and experiencing nightmares.
(9) Feeling guilty about surviving the event or being unable to solve the problem, and harbouring guilt over not being able to change the event or prevent the disaster. Having made it through the night time battle I often asked myself, “Why did I survive?”
(10) Feeling fears and a sense of doom about the future.
I am a Christian father of four grown adults, I have seen God’s grace and mercy in my life. I attend church regularly with my family. I am happily married for 42 years this year (2013), to my wife, Anne.