"Dr. Wirick said many of her clients believed that they couldn’t talk about their experiences because of the hostility surrounding the conflict. They were forced to repress those feelings because they felt like the enemy, which created more complex psychological reactions to their time in combat. Stigma, she noted, was also common among men of the Vietnam generation who were told to “man up” about depression or anxiety. Those repressed feelings later surfaced when they attempted to reintegrate into the lives they led before the war."
The way their parents dealt with PTSD after WWI, WWII and Korea, had more to do with Vietnam veterans silent suffering than anything else. After all, that is the way they "got over it" and got on with their lives. The truth is, they just got too busy to notice what they brought back with them.
My husband's Dad and Uncles were WWII veterans. My father-in-law said he needed to "just get over it." My Dad was a Korean War veteran. He noticed what was called "shell shock" the night they met and then told him to get help. It was the night that set me on this path over 35 years ago.
Read the rest of the article and then maybe you'll understand that some of the Vietnam veterans did a hell of a lot more than settle for what had been acceptable. They fought back!
40 Years Later: Addressing PTSD Among Older Combat Veterans
by Counseling Staff
February 22, 2018
In 1969, after serving 10 months in Vietnam, Tony Viana brought home shrapnel still lodged in his body. He also brought home an altered state of mind.
“I had never been hypertensive or jittery, but after I got out, I’d say to my girlfriend at the time that I feel apprehensive,” Viana said, “like something ominous [was] about to happen.”
Noises startled him. He had ringing in his ears. But aside from acknowledging the evidence of his physical injuries, doctors at the Veterans Administration (VA), which later became the Department of Veterans Affairs, told him there was nothing wrong with him. And while his private doctor prescribed medication to ease his nerves, Viana would wait nearly 40 years before returning to the VA to be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Although symptoms of PTSD usually begin occurring within the first months of experiencing a traumatic incident, it can be years before someone has an accurate diagnosis. For Vietnam veterans who served before the military understood and was prepared to assist with the effects of the condition, being diagnosed with PTSD later in life presents distinct challenges for older veterans and the counselors who serve them.
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