Michael Falk, skilled artist and founder of Rock or Something Foundation for veteran support, was kind enough to share his short story about one of his experiences in the military. Sharing past experiences can help others going through their own difficulties feel a connection to the rest of the world and help them remember that they are not alone. Thank you so much to Michael for writing and sharing his story with us today.
Trigger warning: the full story below includes military vocabulary and situations. Although this short story is humorous in nature, please use caution if military content is a trigger for you.
As always, you are not alone and we will always look for ways to give you hope. If you or a loved one are struggling with PTSD or trauma, look to these resources:
WWP is committed to helping those living with PTSD. WWP has resources on the mental health issues surrounding women in the military with the Women Warrior Initiative. They have great connection programs for families, veterans, and warriors to reach out and speak to someone who can help them progress physically and mentally, as well as help them with life after the military. Their resource center focuses on human connection and finding solutions with options to get involved and donate to help others.
Psych Armor provides webinar and video services to help those who may have trouble understanding how to interact and act as support for those who have served in the military. “Education is the most effective way to initiate conversations and empowers us to collectively support service members, Veterans, and their families so they can thrive in their real life and online communities.” They even have a section dedicated to families who need help discussing trauma with their kids. And their “Invisible Wounds at Home” series is a terrific visual resource for those struggling. All of these lessons and webinars are completely free.
“PTSD isn’t just a veteran’s issue. Over 8 million Americans will experience PTSD symptoms in any given year.” They provide suggestions for managing PTSD such as guided audio, recreational therapy, self-care apps (like Sleep, Calm, headspace, PTSD coach, Spotify, and Alexa connections), and using STEM as a therapy. Lift and Shift loves to share their resources as well, toting such sites as https://ptsdauthority.com/ and this great link to guided audio from Dartmouth College.
The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system. “PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.” (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/index.asp )
On the VA website is the National Center for PTSD, a division dedicated to research and education on trauma and PTSD. “Trauma happens to people of all ages. If diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms in children and teens can look different from those in adults. Children may be more likely to show signs of PTSD in their play while teenagers may be more impulsive.” Their articles on young trauma and trauma in kids & teens are incredibly insightful and offer advice on next steps.
“1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition. So chances are you or someone you know has been affected.” NAMI is an advocacy, education, and support resource that “envisions a world where all people affected by mental illness live healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares.” Not only is their site all-inclusive on any mental health topic, but their extensive section on PTSD contains treatment options, support connections, and addresses common concerns about PTSD.