Sunday, October 9, 2016

Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc Opens Up About His Own Battle With PTSD

A General’s New Mission: Leading a Charge Against PTSD
New York Times
The Saturday Profile
By DIONNE SEARCEY
OCT. 7, 2016
“The powerful thing is that I can use myself as an example. And thank goodness not everybody can do that. But I’m able to do it, so that has some sort of different type of credibility to it.”
Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc
Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, commander of American Special
Operations Forces in Africa, tells soldiers that it is all
right to get help for brain injuries and mental health problems.
Credit Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
STUTTGART, Germany — It might have been the 2,000-pound bomb that dropped near him in Afghanistan, killing several comrades. Or maybe it was the helicopter crash he managed to survive. It could have been the battlefield explosions that detonated all around him over eight combat tours.

Whatever the cause, the symptoms were clear. Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc suffered frequent headaches. He was moody. He could not sleep. He was out of sorts; even his balance was off. He realized it every time he walked down the street holding hands with his wife, Sharon, leaning into her just a little too close.

Despite all the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, it took 12 years from his first battlefield trauma for him to seek care. After all, he thought, he was a Green Beret in the Army’s Special Forces. He needed to be tough.

General Bolduc learned that not only did he suffer from PTSD, but he also had a bullet-size spot on his brain, an injury probably dating to his helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005.
Other high-ranking officers have come forward to talk about their struggles with post-combat stress and brain injuries. And in recent years, Special Operations commanders have become more open about urging their soldiers to get treatment.
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He is not alone in talking about having PTSD. Other Generals came out as well so that they could actually care for the men and women they commanded.

Brig. General Gary S. Patton and Gen. Carter Ham have both sought counseling for the emotional trauma of their time in the Iraq war.