Tip #2: Memorial Day is here again and we are still at war. Hopefully many more of our troops will be returning this year, but the longer troops stay and the more tours of duty they have, the more likely it is that they will return with severe post trauma stress and traumatic brain injury.

Today Candy Crowly on CNN  interviewed one of the top military men in the administration who is trying to get more help for returning veterans. He said that one of the greatest blocks to getting assistance to troops who need it, is the continued prejudice that the public and the soldiers still have about emotional issues.  One of the greatest myths (old wives tales) we still perpetrate in society today is that having emotions means we are weak. Men, especially troops believe they must be strong at all times, so they don’t ask for help.

According to him, at least 25% of returning troops will have emotional problems and should see someone. A study in 2007 revealed, 22,000 soldiers were on antidepressants and sleeping pills and 10% are on painkillers such as Oxycoton. Many could be helped as much or more by seeing a psychotherapist but many refuse to seek help.

So what is my tip?

ASK FOR HELP from anyone you trust if you find yourself having difficulty coping. Your emotions are centered in your brain and your brain is a physical organ. It has been programed by nature to respond with constant alertness to danger. In evolution that quick response that is giving you so much trouble now, kept people from being eaten by wild animals. POST TRAUMA STRESS IS NORMAL AFTER ALL THE TRAUMA YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH but when it gets stuck it turns into a disorder which becomes difficult to reverse.

I know a Vietnam veteran who until recently “jumped inside” every time his brain perceived a danger, which happened several times a day. He had continued flashbacks and nightmares of the war. After almost 40 years he finally asked for help and he is doing much better now. He said to me, “Why did I allow myself to suffer like that all these years just to make people think I was okay?”

Don’t forget, you deserve the best. You are our heros and you are the brave ones if you can step out and ask for help. We, the citizens of America want to see you healthy and happy.

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