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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

28 March 2012

I thought that when I got my Master's degree I would be finished with school for a while. For a short time last year I played with the idea of working on my doctorate and even researched it somewhat. I had it narrowed down to a couple of schools (Stanford being at the top of my list if they would have me because their programs are fully funded!) but I let myself get talked out of it pretty easily: too much work, time commitment, and money! So why am I on the Internet searching for current event articles about Marine Science topics tonight? Do I look like I need to write a 5-page paper on submersibles and the recent record set while exploring the Mariana Trench? The things one will do for their kids!!  ....especially one whose goal it is to get A's in all of his college classes this semester and has no Internet access from prison. :-)  Nate has just finished his midterms and has lofty goals for himself! 

We are fortunate that Nate is really appreciative of all that we do for him. For many families affected by PTS, that is simply not the case. Many times our heroes push their loved ones away, whether from guilt or misplaced need to "distance" themselves from their loved ones, or simply because they feel safe enough to lash out at their families, it's a difficult complication to deal with. 

This week in the news was the story of a veteran near us who reached out for help but then did not follow through with the offers of help he was given. He killed his younger sister and his mom. My heart is aching for their family. When the media coverage of these incidents is so intense, it sometimes makes it harder to convince those with milder cases of Post Traumatic Stress to seek help because they are afraid they will be classified in the same category as those with extreme, untreated symptoms.  We need to continue spreading the word that PTS is a highly treatable, normal reaction to combat! It's OK to seek help or talk to someone if you or someone you love is having difficulty coping with the stress of combat. The extreme cases should not be the ones that define Post Traumatic Stress.

I was asked this week to participate in a project to educate families about when and how to ask for help for their veteran. I will be serving on the district attorney's task force for prevention of justice-related incidents for our veterans starting this spring. I'm also waiting for a return call from someone at the Marine Wounded Warrior Regiment to discuss ways that they might improve their services to our veterans since I recently received a very hurtful call on Nate's phone asking how he was doing and offering to help. (A day late and a dollar short!)

I'll do all that sometime after I've researched any other Internet articles Nate might need....he comes first!

Charilyn


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