June 29, 2010

William Henley: INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Henley 1875

June 27, 2010

Casualties from the Battle of Wanat

By Richard Engel, Chief foreign correspondent, NBC News. This report airs Dateline NBC Sunday, June 27, 7 p.m./6 C,
DAVE BROSTROM: When you send your son off to war, you expect that they will get everything that this great country can provide to protect them.

CARLENE CROSS: This situation was pure recklessness. You just have to say, "This is wrong.”

KURT ZWILLING: Bad things happen in war. But our boys are not cannon fodder. The United States has to protect these men. And, in this case, it was not done.

Every parent who sends a son or daughter to war knows the worst can happen. But that deep, often unspoken fear is tempered by a faith that the military won't needlessly risk the lives of their loved ones.

MARY JO BROSTROM: Your son takes off. But, he's coming home. I never imagined that he wouldn't. I always thought that Jonathan would always be coming home. He was Jonathan.

Jonathan — Jonathan P. Brostrom, a 24-year-old Army second lieutenant from Honolulu, Hawaii.

DAVE BROSTROM: He was your typical American boy. Very athletic. Had lots of friends.

You might say the Army was in Jon Brostrom's DNA. His father, Dave, was “Army strong” long before the ad campaign.

Quote Me

We are all conquered men in the eyes of God~~Scott A. Lee

Cynosure the Gift of Faith

Photo by Scott Lee
I was so overwhelmed by the time the WWII veterans arrived I could no longer concentrate on the camera settings or my job there. So I tried to take pictures but most did not take of their return, but should that be that may. I got many contacts and wonderful photos, met some incredible people and have interviews in waiting. So many veterans want to share their stories, I am so blessed to have the gift of cynosure (please read the whole definition, I'm not as narcissistic as the first few lines might indicate...lol).

Every time I listen to that inner voice that says, "I must for I act." Today that means the mobilization of our communities to help our returning veterans come home safely. They need not end up homeless, incarcerated, suicidal or homicidal and thrown away in the increasing numbers we see today. We must as communities organize ourselves, we cannot afford to wait. The time has come to mobilize the most massive civilian relief effort within our homeland since we first asked our American Natives for help.

Today I carry that warrior spirit with me, my grandmother was Cherokee here in Kentucky. She was a child on the trail of tears, when my mother (I just worked through an issue with my mom, thank you God) would tell that story she could not help but weep as I do today. I have not confirmed, but my father told me that we were related to the local legend Robert E. Lee and have been impacted in from this side of the family. A local 'Hatfield and McCoy' merger, lol, man I'm a true Kentucky Colonel.

June 25, 2010

Daddy Has PTSD

How do I explain PTSD to an elementary school age kid who is clearly frustrated by the dramatic change of pace from his home life to that of weekends with his father?

Dear Stepson,

You were too young to remember when your dad went to Iraq to fight in the war. While he was overseas he saw many bad things and needed to protect himself and others from danger. He couldn't just run away and hide, he had to be very brave and not show any sign of fear even if at times he was scared inside. Now he is back home, having to cope with danger all the time has made him quiet and not very playful, but he had to learn to be strong and silent. He's like that all the time not just when you're around so don't think it's your fault.

You know how your dad "jumps" when you drop a toy on the floor or fire your cap gun? That's because there were many explosions and gun shots in Iraq which made deafening noises and meant he could be seriously hurt or even killed. When your dad hears loud noises now it still makes him jump because he is reminded how deadly bombs and bullets are. Just for a second it makes him think he is back in Iraq until he remembers he is home with us.

When he was on duty he sometimes had to patrol in a vehicle or on foot and when there were lots of people around it threatened his safety, that is why he does not like to be around crowds. He still thinks he has to watch all the faces and their movements in case they are getting ready to hurt him. Pax helps your dad feel safe when he goes out in public, he can help him watch all the people when there are too many for your dad to keep track of.

Sometimes when you ask your dad a question and he tells you he has to think about it, it's because his head was injured by bomb blasts. You know when you watch a movie and there is an explosion and people are thrown through the air? That's what happened to your dad and now he sometimes has trouble remembering things or answering your questions right away. That is called TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), his brain was injured when it got banged around inside his head.

Do you remember the other day when you asked your dad if he would play hockey and he said "we'll see, maybe later"? Remember how I made him go outside and play with you? Your dad did not like playing out in the driveway because cars drive past the house. During the war he had to stop cars at roadside checkpoints and search them for bombs and guns so he and his fellow soldiers would be safe and come home to their family. He also had to concentrate and watch traffic very carefully from high up in a tower, so he doesn't like being distracted when there are cars around, even if it is to play a game.

Sometimes people can be hurt deep down on the inside where you can't see it but it is there. Your dad has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Post means after the war, Traumatic means bad things happened during the war and his life was in danger, Stress means his body is reacting to the bad things... kinda like how you get hives, and Disorder means he will never be the same man he was before he went into combat.

Your Stepmother.

Anyone else had to try and explain PTSD and/or TBI to their kids?

June 24, 2010

Local Veterans Resource in Louisville KY: Interlink Counseling Services Inc

Photo by Scott Lee
Interlink Counseling Services at 8311 Preston Highway, Louisville, Kentucky 40219, phone 502-964-7147, E-mail support@interlinkservices.org. Interlink is a long-term residential treatment center for homeless veterans to meet their needs in achieving and maintaining a productive and meaningful life beyond substance abuse and homelessness. Issues such as chemical dependency, mental health problems, housing needs, and job placement, as needed can be addressed through a case manager in addition to assistance with filing for disability benefits through Social Security and the Veterans Administration.

Medications for a Combat Veterans Treatment of PTSD

One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small,

And the ones that mother gives you

Don't do anything at all.

-White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane 1967

I awoke this morning with a list of items I needed to tackle today. The real trick for me is trying to balance all my work around my family and husband. Today's list consists of running to the post office to mail off many candles, make some phone calls for FRG and our upcoming Family Day, write an article for our unit newsletter, and get my husband's medications in order. So armed with my extra large cup of coffee and my Vietnam Era music playing in the background, I hit the ground running. I had to buy my husband one of those seven day a week pill reminder boxes, or as we lovingly refer to it as, the Old Man Pill Box. Once a week I must refill it for twice to three times a day, and then double check myself as I can be forgetful sometimes. Once completed, I must then go through and double check all the original bottles they came in just to make sure he has plenty in supply or begin the refill process. I wondered how many others are on the same meds and what do all these do for my husband? Thought the White Rabbit song reference really played well with my blog this morning!

June 18, 2010

Ex-wife and Combat Vet Talk 20 Years Later

Lotus flower and om symbolImage via Wikipedia
Positive said,
Scott, please don't misunderstand that I only fear that you may regress. I'm very concerned that when you get angry you may regress into what you were. I'm sorry if I offended you in any way. It wasn't meant to. I'm just concerned. When you get angry, you tend to spiral in a downhill motion that lasts days, weeks, or sometimes months and years. I just don't want to see that again. Being aware of some of the things you have done when you're in that state of mind, I truly don't think I can be at fault for being concerned about your frame of mind when your that angry. You were angry-and told me you were very pissed, I told you to get on your blog and let it out-that's why I was so concerned. I just don't want all of us to have a remake of what once was.

When you and [Our son] had the argument, it hurt me. I knew it was bound to happen. [Our son] has had so many emotions built up inside him for so long, it was inevitable he was going to explode one day. In time he will come around. Until he does, let's just try to continue what we're trying to do. I'm trying to help him threw this to the best of my ability. Its not easy but, it is things he needs to hear. He has to deal with it in his own way. We are all different and, all of us handle situations differently. Yes, he is back with his girlfriend now. I'm happy about that. If the blow-up hadn't happened he may not have been. In saying that maybe it needed to happen. At some point, however; it was destined to happen anyway.

I sincerely hope that you never let yourself regress as far as you did in the past. Its my fear that one day you will. I hope it never happens, not ever.

The boys and you have finally been talking for about 3 straight years. I'm happy about that. They always needed you-even if they didn't know it. This is just something that had to happen between you and [Our son]. I'm deeply sorry it happened the way it did.
My response,

Combat Vet Guided by Rights, Responsibilities and Principles

Almost every bay of the communication sap from...
Image by National Media Museum via Flickr
Wow, the fallout from war is staggering, 15 years after the first Gulf War ended I begin the healing process and people I thought were friends attack me almost 20 years later? Really? Yes I did horrible things when I got home to my family, I did hurt the people around me. Can you live with the vision of 20,000 mangled enemy bodes and not have some fallout? Count yourself blessed if you do. After driving for 172 hours or 7 days?

I will engage anyone who wants to have a real conversation about my life and share in a mutual discussion. I challenge people to do the same, your right I do not have to like what others say. But, should you behave in an aggressive manor and force me to act because you do not like what I have to say then I will end the engagement with the objective of keeping my character in tact.

First you must check yourself, I cannot and will not do it for you. I can chose to end a conversation if I so choose. My rights, responsibilities and principles will guard my actions, words and deeds as they have for the last five years. I am not who I used to be and I will never apologize for who I used to be again, I've said that enough.

Can you say the same?

June 17, 2010


Belisaire demandant l'aumone Jacques-Louis de ...
Image via Wikipedia
Altruism is the race to balance between our passions and purpose to effect social change, against one's own self-interest. A calling that was not of our choosing, but a gift from God to do his bidding. When we hear it and obey, then we find that life begins to unfold as never before.

No, altruism is not a word nor deed or the sum thereof. It is the efficient use of generosity, community and organization with holistic implications and impacts on lives for the better.

Altruism, is the thread that holds the weave of everything.

June 16, 2010

Media Release: Combat Relief Helps Returning Combat Troops Reconnect With Society


Combat Relief Helps Returning Combat Troops Reconnect With Society

The Grant Humanitarian Foundation announces new programs to care for America’s military men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

San Francisco, California, June 15, 2010. The cost of war to American men, women, and children is hard to measure. Troops not only put their own lives at risk, but face further challenges after long military deployments that can tear apart the fabric of their families. After coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, unemployment, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol addiction are issues that too many of our troops face. Returning troops, including the broader communities they inhabit, all suffer the effects of war-related stress, which requires support to assist returning veterans in readjusting to civilian life.

Elena Grant, President of the Grant Humanitarian Foundation, states that America doesn’t have sufficient resources to help troops reintegrate into society and recover from their psychological wounds, especially those experiencing stress disorders. "American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have made a immeasurable contribution, and undergone a tremendous sacrifice, on behalf of our country,” says Ms. Grant. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to help these brave men and women.”

The Grant Humanitarian Foundation offers several Combat Relief programs that support America’s military men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

June 15, 2010

Time Running Out for PTSD Sufferers to Claim Benefits

Markham Evans with Virginia News Channel 8,
WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has agreed to pay millions of dollars to veterans who were discharged from the service for post-traumatic stress disorder with lower disability ratings than they are entitled to. But time is running out for those who are eligible.

The law says that veterans whose PTSD was serious enough to result in discharge from the military are entitled to 50-percent disability, which would give them and their families lifetime medical care, and, if the PTSD is combat-related, tax-free retirement payments, as well. But for some reason, Iraq (web | news) war veteran Ryan Peck and more than 4,000 others did not receive the 50-percent rating.

June 14, 2010

When a Combat Vet Asks For Help: To the Struggling Combat PTSD Vet

I Want YOU to Care About PTSD
Ilona Meagher via Flickr
When a Combat Vet asks for help, what does he receive?

Our loved ones do not understand us, we were trained to filter out many things that would not get us killed. Today we filter out speech, actions, intentions, expectations and the subtly of it begins to enchain the Combat Vets mind. The Combat Values structure tells him to question, to suspect, and to interrogate and that they hold a license to do what needs to be done. We become that which brought us home, the one thing she feared the most.

They call this being a good soldier in combat, but at home they call it Combat PTSD.
I am here, I have been where you are. You can find help from the many resources we have listed in the right column (Scott A. Lee).
From another conversation I had tonight where I was just refereed to as a professional blogger!!

My answer,
Shesh, don't give me to much credit, lol. I stumble along because I feel compelled to help others through what I have been through just as you. I may know how to stumble better, but stumble none the less I do...lol.
Follow the conversation as the Mistress gives a SGT in the military some sound advice and her opinion on searching for help when a Combat Vet asks for help.

June 12, 2010

Resource Seal of Approval: Family of a Vet

From the desk of Combat PTSDnews...

I am happy to announce that I will be updating our Resource Seal of Approval to include Family of a Vet to recognize the hard work they do and would like to extend an offer to join the Coalition of Combat PTSD Bloggers.

Over the years I have sent many women to Family of a Vet to seek out the knowledge to help shape the safe return of our modern warriors. Help in their latest project Congressional Survey to share your Combat PTSD story.

Family of a Vet welcomes those who seek real help in dealing with Combat PTSD,
Welcome, dear friends! Thanks for visiting Family Of a Vet (FOV). This site is dedicated to you... whether you're a Veteran or someone who loves a Veteran.

It was created trying to figure out how to handle the "after shocks" of combat including PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We're here to help you find your way, find the information you need, and find a way not only to cope with life after combat... but to survive and thrive!

Our most important current project is our Congressional Survey. If you're visiting this site, please, please, please take time to fill it out. It's one way we're trying our best to get all Veterans and their families the help and support the need and deserve. It will only work, though, if we have LOTS of responses!!!!

Communicating with Deployed Combat PTSD Soldier

Panic Attack or Anxiety PTSD
Image viaWikipedia
I received this email just about 30 minutes ago from a woman whose fiancée is deployed in a war zone with PTSD that he has had since 2005!

Diagnosed with PTSD and still in combat? Really? To some of the general public this will be a surprise, but to those of us who live it. It has always been a reality. Hello world, wake up and smell the gunpowder in the air. I want to encourage our readers to research this site and copy and paste those links here and I will add them in a new resources button 'Communicating with Deployed Soldier.' Here is her email as it came to me,
I came across your blog while researching out PTSD. My fiancé is actively deployed and been dealing with this condition since 2005. I found your blog to have a wealth of information especially the posts relating to communicating with a loved one with PTSD. I searched through your blog for information on understanding and communicating with a spouse or partner who is deployed but was not successful. Any insight you may have or resources you know of that you could give me would be greatly appreciated. My fiancé is really having a hard time and I am at a loss on what to say to comfort him since I am doing this from a distance and I am really wanting to understand PTSD and the effect it has on a person.

Thank you for your time
My response,
Right below the Dr. Jay's ad you will find a box that says 'Resources and My Favorites.' You will find several articles that I wrote along with others whom I thought were relevant to the conversation of . The rest of the information you need to better communicate with him comes from your soon to be education on Combat PTSD, thats where the rest of the website comes in. Two of my writers are Combat veteran wives who can give you a wealth of knowledge in understanding their Combat Vet, which may have some insight for you and your situation.

The writing at my websites comes from a clinical perspective with a 'been there, done that' kind of attitude. Sound familiar? Well, now we are connecting. I can help you understand how he thinks, the other writers can help you with getting through it how they got through it.

Hope this helps and I will be posting this response at my website. Can I have your permission to use your email? I will change the names and will post soon

June 11, 2010

New Look at Combat PTSD News Headquarters

Photo by Scott Lee
Hello Everyone!

Sitting here and want to dedicate this new look here at PASP, a redesigned mission required a redesigned website. We are gathering more forces and resources here at PASP I was getting overwhelmed with trying to keep track of it. Now, it is mostly finished. Polished enough to say WELCOME to PASP(1)'s new and redesigned look.

Its all about building on teamwork, information gathering, networking and pooling resources to institute a lasting foundation to help our loved ones who have returned in body return in spirit.

Don't panic! All the resources that I had plastered everywhere are still here. I moved them in the top right column under Resources and My Favorites. The PASP Resource Seal of Approval list the resources that I list as having effecting change on a social scale for veterans in their communities.
I love photography, so I am going to embark further upon my journalistic journey and will posting more of my photos. Interestingly enough, if you can believe it. I took this picture of the hand-seemed tin roof I put on this building 15 years ago, me and another guy over the summer. It will last 100 years.~~Scott
To those of you readers get this information from a feed, please if you find the information stimulating. Please, come to the site, its all new and join the conversation. We need your input to amass enough experience to help our returning veterans.

Photo by Scott A. Lee

June 9, 2010

Resource Seal of Approval: The A to Z Guide to VA Disability Benefits

The A to Z Guide to VA Disability Benefits

How My Internet Collection Works Best For You: My only goal is to ensure you have the knowledge available to make the most of the benefits you've earned with your honorable military service. There are a series of sites that work together to keep you informed.
This site, The A to Z Guide to VA Benefits is a benefits data clearinghouse and is arranged so that you may find the benefits facts you need quickly and easily.

June 7, 2010

Do We Ask a Combat Vet About His or Her Experiences?

PTSD, Boundaries and a Welcome Home

If someone asks you to do something that you do not feel comfortable with, do not, you have no higher obligation than the one you have to yourself. You will not be able to meet the needs of others if you do not take care of yourself first, even if it seems that others needs may outweigh yours. In combat we had to learn how to take care of everyone at the cost of ourselves if need be, today here in civilization this can no longer be, as this world does not work in the way of a brotherhood born of blood.

Most do not understand that a person with PTSD, through no choice of their own has to deal with phantoms of their past encroaching upon every consideration and choice we make. Some more so than others to the point of crippling indecision that can trigger dissociative states, emotional numbing, anger and even possible blind rage. If someone thinks that asking us about our war experiences to get to know us has no consequences other than polite conversation, then they do not see us at all.

We can think about nothing more, than what we experinced, saw and lost, we think greatly on the person who we used to be and want nothing more than to have that person back. We want to speak freely again of the things we used to dream about, but we have lost that part of us to. We consider ourselves to be the lucky ones who have somehow learned to suppress that part of the night, where the unlucky of us find the terrors of the dark as they can no longer fight these enemies who have no feel or flight.

The next time you consider addressing a soldier or veteran about their combat experiences, or asking them if they killed anyone, or what it was like over there, consider what you just read. We all need to maintain and respect proper boundaries. No need to feel intimidated either, if you feel the need to say something tell them this:

Welcome Home

PTSD: Two Components Memory and Psychiatric

Longitudinal Investigation of PTSD

Watch this video from a PhD candidate Erin Dickie as she describes PTSD with a two fold condition, one memory and the other psychiatric. She used modern fMRI imaging to point out the strong correlates within her research. The video and power point is 20 minutes long, but if you want to know more from a research standpoint then this will help. Keep in  mind that this video was presented at her university, so it is intended for mental health professionals.


June 4, 2010

PTSD and Depression, In Bed Together

The clock read 1:20pm and my stomach notified me it was long overdue for some lunch, but I'd been holding out hoping momentarily Bill would make his way downstairs.  Last night... correction, this morning he came to bed shortly after 4am, but that's normal for him, however remaining in bed past 1pm is not.

I made my way upstairs and sat on the edge of the bed, he wasn't really sleeping, just suspended in that portal through which we all emerge when waking.  "Are you doing okay?" I inquired, knowing he wasn't but wanting to give him the opportunity to explain what was going on and not lead in with "Look at the time, man you must be depressed!"

"I guess I better get up huh?' he said in a barely audible faltering voice.

"In your own time." I replied, getting up and kissing him on the forehead before making my way downstairs.  About 15 minutes later I heard him in the shower, which made me happy as he's neglected to both shave and shower for several days.

Depression.... pack your bags and go haunt someone else for a while, you've outstayed your welcome!