September 25, 2008

A PTSD Tool Box: Suggestions in Help for a Combat PTSD Vet

For now concentrate on three things; your thoughts, feelings and behavior. Today the only thing you can change or control is your behavior, by doing so you can change your thinking and feelings over time. With concentration on your own thoughts and feelings you can begin to reconnect with yourself and better control your behavior.
  • Get into counseling-to help with choices, services and direction of care
  • Find a therapist you can trust-therapy for PTSD and the integration of thoughts, feelings and behavior
  • Find a psychiatrist you trust-medications may help to manage anxiety, depression, etc
  • Get a "Tool Box" for coping with PTSD
  • Find some people who you can identify with who have PTSD to talk with-a link on how I put these things together, What I Did to Battle PTSD
  • Educate yourself on PTSD and identify the symptoms of your particular case
  • Tool Box,
Most of all, learn to forgive yourself. Take your time, learning new things about our situation generally does not translate into sweeping changes. Our expectations can sometimes overshadow the accomplishments we have achieved. Count your victories in the battle of PTSD recovery in incremental steps. Give yourself credit for the small things in life that we as survivors seldom do, you deserve to be alive and happy.


  1. I'm a clinical psychologist who spent many years working with Vietnam vets with PTSD and doing research on PTSD. I have a son fighting in Afghanistan. One concept I found universally helpful in working with veterans with PTSD is to realize that you develop coping styles that are important survival skills in your combat environment. The problem is when you get back to the rest of the world the environment is different and those skills no longer work. Recognizing the now-past survival value of those coping styles often helps. The problem is then finding new ones to take their place while realizing your "symptoms" are just ways of expressing habits you developed to survive, that are now harmful instead of helpful.

  2. The attachment to my combat survival skill was hard for me to let go of, I unknowingly thought I would die if I gave them up. Seemingly my senses and body would hijack my mind and I could only be a witness looking out as I reflexively reacted to apparent hostility.

    I honestly feel if I had not learned about values, social skills, and identifying the habits of survival that you speak of I would have wound up in prison, dead or some other way institutionalized.

    Thank you for your comments and for your work and research with our veterans of Vietnam. I look forward to becoming a clinical social worker and therapist helping our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

    May God bless you and your son's safe return home.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee