Sunday, January 21, 2018

See a female veteran as one of you

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 21, 2018

When I was growing up getting sassy was something bad. I heard that remark from my Mom probably more than a thousand times. (Gee, I'm sure no one was shocked by that.)

It is defined as "Lively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky." Safe bet there are times when you are feeling like you are the only one feeling miserable, it would be comforting to know someone else felt the same way. Makes it even better to know that feeling that way is not all there is. 

The best comedy shows we watch have something most of us go through and then spin it around to make us laugh. Seeing it in a different way, especially in a funny way, makes it seem less like a burden we'll never be free of, to something that is part of our past.

For some reason when I was channel surfing I thought about how few movies there are with female soldiers, or even veterans as the lead character. I thought about all the Civil War movies and how Dr. Mary Edwards Walker did not manage to deserve a movie script even though she is the only female to have received the Medal of Honor. Yes, the Medal of Honor.

I searched for more reminders of women who fought for this country, right along side of men, even though sometimes, they had no clue the soldier next to them was female.

"More than 400 women disguised themselves as men and fought in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War."

Most of the time when women are gathered at veterans events, the males are thanked for their service, but females are lucky if the same person acknowledges them with a simple "hello."

Keeping with slamming-shaming suicide awareness as fake news, when was the last time you saw any of them talking about female veteran suicides?

The Department of Veterans Affairs put out "Facts About Suicide Among Women Veterans" August 2017
"From 2001 through 2014, the suicide rate among women Veterans increased to a greater degree (62.4 percent) than the suicide rate among male Veterans (29.7 percent)."
As you just read, yet one more group that has been left out of all the "awareness" being picky on who they want you to care about. Most of the groups talk about OEF and OIF veterans, failing to mention that the largest group needing help are over the age of 50...older veterans waiting longer for help. I don't know when the last time I read anything about any awareness being raised for female veterans.

If you are a female veteran and found help to heal, please share it with other female veterans. PTSD does not just hit females like too many assume, with sexual assaults, but the same way males are hit by it...combat zones chaos. It can hit you as a nurse, as much as it can hit you as a truck driver. It can hit you even if you did not deploy overseas but did your duty at Dover or in any of the military hospitals. Only you can understand them and it is very unlikely you will minimize anything they try to open up about.

If you SEE a female veteran looking lost in a crowd, go over and ASK her where she served, or what branch, or anything that will let her know that someone just acknowledged she serve too. SPEAK about your own service and SHARE something about YOURSELF with a good attitude and let her find some hope in what you are standing as an example of as a survivor.

Females may be the smallest group of veterans in the country but you are worth a lot more attention than anyone gives you credit doing.