June 18, 2013

Why the Mount Dessert Island Historical (MDI) Society Matters for PTSD: Another Fundraising Opportunity

As I have indicated before, I use running to manage my anger, to keep my weight down while taking miztazapine, to help me stay present, and to connect with others who like to push themselves further everyday. Occasionally I am asked to run in order to raise money for a worthy charity and I am compelled to do what I can. Also, it is great to support established charities in order to gain more experience fundraising. I hope I can carry the lessons learned into fundraisers for the The Military Experience and Arts and Team Red, White and Blue in the future. With all the cognitive problems I have with mTBI, I need to practice things a few times before I can get the hang of them and these charities both help worthy causes and teaching me the ropes of fundraising.

In addition to my running I try to hit the trail every weekend with my wife and our dog Darby, because I think making new memories and observing beauty is as valuable as therapy. I used to think you could replace old memories with new ones, but I think that is impossible with trauma. However, getting out on mountains, pushing myself physically and being rewarded with their beautiful summits centers me as well as anything else. Living less than two hours away from Acadia National Park, has made MDI one of the most significant places in my life and for my family. I proposed to my wife on Cadillac Mountain, we were married in Northeast Harbor, and out favorite post hike restaurant knows us by name-it helps to bring a giant Rhodesian Ridgeback every visit.

Darby on Cadillac Mountain

While it is great that this location is significant for my life and my renegotiation of place following Iraq, it may seem unimportant to others suffering from PTSD, and the family members that support them. Nothing could be further from the truth. My colleague, Tim Garrrity, who works there is exploring a topic vital to our understanding of the difficulties suffered by military spouses. His research explores a spike in women's deaths during the Civil War and popular notions of death as a result of broken hearts. While MDI's population was far to small to justify general claims about military spousal deaths after Civil War it provides local context for a phenomenon that could have occurred more broadly. His small study, if emulated by other scholars, has a lot of potential to broaden our understandings of the difficulties suffered by military spouses. This coupled with the research of Erick Dean Jr, and Diane Miller Sommerville on Nostalgia and Confederate suicides as a forerunners to PTSD has the potential to provide deeper understanding of how trauma affected Civil War actors.

My wife is raising funds too.
For me it was a no brainer to support this cause. I love local history, I think the exploration of war's affect on the home is as important as its affect on the fighters, I love MDI, I love running, and I love helping out friends when they ask for it. For you it may be harder to justify helping the MDI Historical Society, but history is important and there is such a narrow field of scholars, and a slimmer number of historians, that value the study war's affect on the home. These posts can average over 500 views and if everyone gave a couple of dollars it would reach the society's goal and really make a difference. I know money is tight for vets, but just $2.62 (donate here) from several people will go along way to support such a worthy cause led by a scholar committed to studying women's history in relationship to war. If you can't support it financially share the post with others and maybe others can help. For me I have found that supporting worthy causes reminds me that my life was always committed to service, and that I should not change just because of the burdens caused by previous service. If nothing else find a cause to support and raise some money for it or give it your time and effort. Giving makes you feel good no matter how hard life gets. Sometimes I get so stuck on my own baggage that I forget to do the basic things that bring you the most joy, like charity and helping others.


  1. This is fascinating. I have wondered for a while what the suicide rate for family members of returning vets is -- it's not reported and really should be.

  2. You should really read Miller Sommerville's work. She started with rape and now is doing veterans. I hope to start with veterans issues and do rape later in my career.


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