Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) Article

A young Marine hero of Iraq is being called “the author of the most important psychological memoir of 2009” by a Miami counselor

 Jeremiah Workman is a certified hero. Marine. Winner of The Navy Cross – the second highest medal of valor.

 But, Jeremiah Workman is a hero not because of anything he did in battle – he’ll be the first to tell you that. He’s a hero because he survived Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has produced a gripping account of the incident that his PTSD and his struggle to overcome the emotional trauma

 “It’s a masterful work that gives hope not just to those traumatized by battle but to everyone who’s ever struggled with PTSD,” notes Francis J. Flynn, Psy. D., CAP, director of the Brain Training Centers of Florida, and himself a PTSD survivor.

Workman writes to Iraq and Afghan war vets – and to anyone with PTSD – with an eloquence that would make Shakespeare jealous and is still absolutely down to earth.

 Five years after his battlefield experience, he tells them

 The campaign continues…I have my good days and bad ones. Sometimes it looks like I’ve made a lot of progress. Other days, I slip and fall. That’s the nature of the game now, and the point is to keep playing to win for yourself and your family.

 [PTSD] affects us in different ways, but ultimately some of us develop the worse symptoms of PTSD: rage, overheated emotions, flashbacks, and overwhelming guilt. Our brains have been chemically altered by the trauma the war inflicted.

 We’re proud men and women who don’t like to admit we’re hurting. To do so is a sign of weakness that in our warrior profession we normally revile. Your pain is my pain. We share that as a bond, as do our families who have endured so much. 

 The truth is cold and harsh. Everyone one of us combat veterans who attempts suicide, every one of us who wakes up one day running empty on hope is a casualty of war just as sure as the men who died over there around us. If you are at that point, like I once was, all I can say is this: Don’t give the Muj the satisfaction. You pull that trigger, you swallow those pills, and they win. I can’t think of anything worse after seeing what barbarians they are…

 Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. This is a war nobody can wage alone. There is no shame in PTSD, it is a human response to trauma that is a natural part of our composition. The shame lies is submission.

 “Jeremiah Workman has produced a dynamic page-turner description of PTSD that is almost too painful to read,” says Flynn. “Anyone, absolutely anyone who works with an Iraq or Afghan vet who’s experiencing symptoms of PTSD has to read it,” said Flynn, who has already recommended Workman’s book to a number of his clients.

Flynn, who traces his PTSD to his experience as a political prisoner in Latin America in the early 1970s, notes that PTSD affects more than war vets. “Parents and children who provide long term care for family members going through chronic death, firefighters – especially EMTs, and intensive care nurses and staff members, even members of the clergy who spend years listening to others’ problems can experience caretakers fatigue that manifests itself as PTSD,” notes Flynn.

 “In many cases, it manifests as an abiding sense of physical exhaustion and, no matter how many hours you sleep, there’s a sense of never waking refreshed.”

 “Trauma upsets the natural balances of the brain, whether from care-giving or childhood physical/emotional/sexual abuse or from being ‘boots on the ground’ in Afghanistan and Iraq,” notes Flynn. “That imbalance will manifest itself in a thousand ways – from fear and startle responses to depression and alcohol and drug abuse.” The Brain Training Centers of Florida has specialized in assisting clients to achieve a new balance of brain wave energies and, in many cases, experiencing dramatic or complete relief from their PTSD symptoms.

 “No one can erase the memories or trauma, but we can help to take away their life-limiting power,” says Flynn.

Posted in: Brain Training, PTSD

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