Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PTSD families still last to know when their battle begins

On June 24, 2012 I had to ask Why did we let Trever Gould die? because after all these years, it was a matter of why they are still committing suicide.

Trever's Mom was asking the same question. She left this comment on the post I did.
Hello I am Sheri Johnson Trever Gould's mother. A person does not know how hard they can ache until they lose a child. It hurts even more knowing my son did not get the help he need when he asked for it. He always acted strong around me because he was trained that way and thought he was my protector. We need to help our soldiers that come home and even the ones that are deployed. They need to be heard we need to be heard. I would give anything to hold my son one more time and tell him how much I love him, but I can't do this anymore and I want to change things so other parents and spouses can hold their loved ones every day.

I tried to comfort her, let her know that it was not her fault and then she left this comment.

I do blame myself and feel I failed him. My son should be sitting here right now with his family not in a urn. I feel I should of forced him to go get help, but I thought he was dealing with things he acted so tough. When I seen those papers and it was in black and white that he did ask for help and I did not know it. It makes me ache even more. I pray that things change so other parents do not need to feel this pain I feel. I do know now there are others out there that want the same thing and together we can make a change. This is my sons memorial site on Facebook I am working on getting the word out there and making a difference.
Trevor Gould Memorial
I am sorry you and your husband lost a nephew to PTSD also and that your husband suffers from it also.
Sheri Johnson

But if this story has any lessons it is the fact that when combat veterans survive combat but cannot survive being back home, the families blame themselves. That's a fact.

Trever's sister Brittney DeBlieck sent me another email about a petition they have to try to prevent other families from suffering the same way.

Trever Gould
by Brittney DeBlieck

(edited email)
On June 21, 2012, our brother, our mom’s one and only son, and a wonderful uncle took his own life. There would be no more family get-togethers, no more holidays, no more parties for him, and no more of us being able to see his great smile. He held the weight of the world on his shoulders and it became too much. Iraq changed him and the military changed him. We didn’t understand how much it had changed him until it was too late.

A week before he took his life our mom tried real hard to help and get him the help that he needed. Unfortunately, justice failed him. But what from what we know now, it would have been hard to save him. We didn’t understand what had been going through his mind and how much he was truly hurting.

We were very shocked and didn’t understand. The day after he was gone, we tried going through his military paperwork he had in his room and what we found was even more shocking. While being stationed in Texas with the U.S. Regular Army he had threatened to attempt suicide multiple times. However, no one was ever told us this, no one told our mom and the military did not follow-up with his condition. We found paperwork stating that he had threatened suicide. However, on the same paperwork it stated he was not suicidal even with him stating he was. He didn’t receive help he needed. We were never aware of this and wished we knew we did, because maybe it would have been possible to help save Trever’s life. We know that he had asked for help, but are unaware how much he really got.

While he was stationed in Texas he wanted to be home with his family and we recently were told by one of his close friends who was stationed with him, that if a soldier said they needed help that they wouldn’t be able to go home. This doesn’t make sense. While give them the choice of either being able to go home and not get the help versus having to stay at the base to get the help. A soldier is going to want to go home to be with his family not many others would want to choose to stay. They have been away from their families for so long, and want to be with them again. He like many soldiers had trouble getting back into the civilian life and never got the full chance to be able too. Many soldiers like Trever, have trouble getting jobs, being able to sleep right, enjoy life, and be the person they used to be. He would keep to himself more.

Since we lost Trever we have learned so much more about him now than we did before. We really didn’t know how much he was truly hurting inside and how much Iraq changed him. My brother wanted others to believe he was strong and didn’t want to be seen as weak and was too proud to ask for help. He didn’t want to be seen as broken. After coming home he never went to anyone to get help. He wanted to be seen as a strong soldier like many of them do. We have learned our soldiers are not getting the help they need and deserve. My brother was suffering inside from many troubles. When my brother came home from Iraq he was different but tried to not let a lot people know. Very few people knew he had troubles. Unfortunately, with him passing we have truly learned how much our soldiers are truly affected. It is just so sad that it takes something like my brothers story to make us realize what we need to change. We miss Trever very deeply and in his honor, our mom and our family and friends hope to help others and save other soldiers by getting my brother’s story out and show how much soldiers need the help and give them a chance at life and show them they are truly loved and cared about.

We didn’t tell Trever as much as we should have how much he was truly loved and I feel like I failed him as a big sister and have helped him like he should have. There are so many of the “what if’s”. What if we were there with him, what if we could have gotten him the help he deserved, what if we knew how much he was truly hurting inside could have we helped save his life. That will probably never change, but we want to get something changed so this does not happen to others.

Our soldiers are changed in the military and the Purple Star Veterans and Families Organization couldn’t have said it any better. They explain, “Military training does a thorough job of conforming and compressing the hearts and minds of young adults entering the armed forces...Because Veterans are trained to be self-reliant and to “complete the mission” at all cost, it is unacceptable for many of them to ask for help or to receive assistance when offered. Historically, this has been a major barrier to receiving care and continues to be the case with present day Veterans”Veterans Families.org.

We wish to help other soldier’s who helped protect and serve for our country, especially the regular Army. We believe they deserve to have more help given to them. This needs to be stopped. More military related suicides are occurring more than ever. Many like Trever, are proud and do not want to admit they need the help. And when we spoke to a VSO we were told it is the soldier’s responsibility to get the help. This is wrong. Many soldiers’ feel they need to be strong and do not want to accept they need help. However, if we can show them and help them get the help they need, maybe we may be able to help save a soldier’s life that helps to defend and protect our lives. We do not want this to happen to other parent’s or significant others, to have them lose their loved one from taking their own life. They have the right to know if their soldier is thinking about hurting themselves and are hurting inside. By family members knowing of their soldier’s condition, they have a chance to help and possibly save their loved one.

Families are the last to know how much they are hurting but they are also the last to know what they need to in order to avoid losing them after war. So why did we let Trever Gould die? Because families have been the last ones given the weapons to fight for the warriors.