Saturday, March 19, 2016

Internet Left PTSD Pioneers Behind

PTSD Pioneers Paved The Way We Lost
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 19, 2016

There was a time in this country when what was learned came from a library stocked with hardcover books written by experts in their fields along with a magical key containing meanings of words they used called a dictionary. That's how I learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and what combat did in all the generations of war fighters. 

My Dad was a Korean War veteran and my uncles fought during WWII.  I heard a lot of stories growing up but there was one term I had not heard until the night my Dad met my then boyfriend, a Vietnam veteran.  He said "Well, he seems like a nice guy but he's got shell shock."

I asked my Dad to explain it but he couldn't, so I went to the library and began to understand PTSD so that I could understand this man I had fallen in love with.

That time was almost 34 years ago. 
It was also a time when others had laid the maps of how the human mind worked years ahead of the first time I heard about any of it.

Forgotten Warrior Project: Identity, Ideology and Crisis - The Vietnam Veteran in Transition Paperback – 1977 by John P. Ph.D. Wilson was written when I was in still in highschool.
CSU professor John P. Wilson, 69, was pioneering PTSD expert
The Plain Dealer
By Tom Feran
July 09, 2015

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- John P. Wilson, an internationally recognized expert on post-traumatic stress disorder who was a pioneer in its identification and treatment, died at home on Monday. He was 69 and a resident of East Cleveland.

Retired since 2013 as a psychology professor at Cleveland State University, he was revered within his specialty and held in particular regard by Vietnam War veterans.

His "Forgotten Warrior" project, initiated in 1976 -- years before PTSD was defined as a psychiatric diagnosis -- was one of the first formal studies of returning Vietnam veterans. Presented in testimony before the U.S. Senate, it led to a comprehensive stress inventory of veterans and a Veterans Administration counseling program.

Wilson started the project after coming to CSU in 1973 and finding classrooms teeming with Vietnam veterans who told of problems sleeping, of nightmares and of flashbacks from the war. The work earned him a commendation from President Jimmy Carter. His expertise put him in demand.
read more here
The Forgotten Warrior Project led to Readjustment Problems Among Vietnam Veterans: The Etiology of Combat-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorders by Jim Goodwin Psy.D in 1981. I have a copy of the pamphlet from the DAV hanging on my wall as a reminder of those I learned from, what we knew for decades and how little is remembered today.

We have forgotten how much was being done on PTSD because far too many folks have been getting the attention for doing a lot of talking but very little researching.

Janis Joplin sang about feeling good being good enough,
And, feelin' good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues. You know, feelin' good was good enough for me.
How did we end up with having the ability to know even more now about PTSD yet knowing so much less? Is it more about feeling good about thinking we're doing some good or actually doing good with good results?

From what I see, there are far too many doing something that makes them feel good as long as they don't have to actually do the work to help veterans understand the problems they face are more due to the lack of efforts from others and not something the veterans are lacking within themselves.

I lost count on how many of the conversations I've had with folks thinking that they are the ones to change what is happening to veterans with their claims of raising awareness, yet failed to even bother to do the research to know anything worthy of making veterans aware of anything beyond the fact they want their money.

Best case out there is what we saw when millions of Americans opened their checkbooks to donate to a famous group with very little being said on what they were planning on doing with the money they were given.  Hey, it felt good to write a check and then get back to their own lives, so nothing else really mattered until CBS did a report about them and then hell fell on the heads of the charity.  They only got away with it because other reporters failed to spend anytime checking them out before they were publicized.

The founder started it with a simply mission and that was supplying backpacks to wounded service members in the hospital.
“They did good work for a long time, but organizations need a conscience. I think in my tenure, while I was there, I was the conscience of the organization.” John Melia

It isn't as if they were the only ones raising awareness for themselves while veterans we left behind. We're seeing that in every state as more and more folks learn about PTSD from a simple internet search without ever doing the real research into what has been done that worked.

So what are they looking for? Some way of deluding themselves into thinking they are the ones to fix it without having to invest the time in understanding any of this? Seriously?

We keep hearing about the VA Suicide Study and what the reporters snagged on as "22 a day" because reading page 14 was just too hard to report on. You'd think that something as serious as veterans surviving combat yet ending their own lives back home would require some serious thought and reporting but hey, it was "just a number" after all, so why bother?

The technology we have today is fabulous but the users fail to understand that none of this is new and it won't improve until they actually get serious about knowing what they are talking about before they start screaming about how much good they can do when they haven't even bothered to learn from the pioneers who mapped all the roads toward healing because they were tired of the road that led to failure.

My generation had to learn the hard way but we learned the best way simply because others were out there doing all the work for the right reasons.  The experts I learned from helped me save my marriage and a lot of lives afterwards.  Everything I know was because I learned from them and by living with PTSD all these years.  We've been married for over 32 years!

Wish I could say the same about all the folks out there wanting publicity over wanting to actually do something they didn't even care enough about to learn the facts because that would just take too much time.

Veterans ran out of time because feeling too was just too easy for those who claimed to be helping instead of doing more harm than good.