National PTSD Awareness Day 2011


Today is National PTSD Awareness day. I started my day by sending my husband a heartfelt message. This is what it said; “Today is National PTSD Awareness Day, and I just want to thank you for the things you have been through, and for continuing to fight every day. I am so proud of you, and how far you have come. I love you baby.”  For me, knowing was half the battle. When my husband first got home, things got really ugly, really fast. I was quick to jump to the conclusion that he hated me and didn’t want to be with me, but it took me a while to realize that there was more going on.

I was always the girl who thought PTSD was a joke, something people made up to get out of things, and maybe that is why I have been chosen for the life I now have. Or, maybe it’s just because like a good percentage of other people my age, I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know it was a diagnosable thing. I didn’t know that it effected just about everything you do, everyday. People suffering from PTSD can experience flashbacks, nightmares, a feeling of detachment from those they care about most. They can also have a general lack of interest in things that used to matter to them. It can affect their ability to concentrate, their sleeping patterns, and their desire to leave places that are most comfortable to them.

You may be shocked to know that not only do individuals suffer emotionally, but PTSD can present itself physically as well. Some of the things that we have experienced in our home are fatigue, vomiting or nausea, chest pain, weakness, breathing difficulty, muscle spasms, grinding of teeth, profuse sweating, pounding heart, diarrhea or intestinal upsets and headaches. I had to learn the hard way that PTSD is VERY REAL. I know that if I didn’t know about PTSD there are probably others who don’t know as well, so lets change that! My challenge to you today is to educate yourself and others on PTSD. Learn something about it and share it with your friends and family. The more aware and educated the world is as a whole, the more support we can provide for these men and women who are suffering! Not sure where to start? Here are a few links that might be of interest.

Forgetthedognotthebaby – This is my personal blog, and while it is not clinical, it can provide you some insight into the life of a wounded warrior and his family.

VA’s PTSD Page – The Center aims to help U.S. Veterans and others through research, education, and training on trauma and PTSD.

Family of a Vet – A site is dedicated trying to figure out how to handle the “after shocks” of combat.

About the Author

Kristle Helmuth is a 26 year-old Army veteran, wife of a wounded warrior, and mother of two children. She is currently working toward her B.S in Communications and digital media. Kristle is the author of, a blog that chronicles her journey through healing and self-discovery. Kristle has used her broad skill-set to increase awareness of the issues facing our nations wounded heroes, share resources, and provide hope for Military Families. Kristle is always there to offer support, encouraging words, and a kind open heart to all Military Spouses.
  • gil

    This is great for the new troops and their wives and families, and they deserve everything they can get. We old Viet vets got no such help and our wives left in droves, as did our jobs, friends, and some times even our syblings and parents. Even if we did go for help with something that seemed not quite right, they just blew us off until the 90’s. Unless you were missing an arm, a leg, or more. We just had “a bad attitiude” or had turned murderer from our complete runamuck killings of anything that moved in SE Asia. Even today the VA will call us out of the blue from obtuse questionaires filled out while waiting for other services and run us through the PTSD prelim and total course. Certify us as with severe PTSD trauma Then, it is dump us on some retired Officer running a Vet Center, when he is not playing golf or at the local Tand A bar. Or a local civilian Psyhic who will immediately [prescribe at least one kind of drug that legally will get us arrested if driving under the influence and most definitely take our right to carry permits or even weapon ownership. We were, are, and always will be the screwed up ******** that LOST our war, no police action, only put in this category with our brothers from Korea. Another of Harry S+++head’s foulups. And yet we were under the threat of the draft, even if we did volunteer. VA and the Fed don’t care, we are dying off at over 300 per day so our 1.4 milion “in theatre brothers” will be gone soon enough

    • It always breaks my heart to hear that these sorts of things are still happening. On one hand it is great that they are beginning to get it together, but on the other, that doesn’t fix the problems for all of you. I can’t imagine the rounds of emotions that you must go through when you see the difference in how the Troops are treated now. It certainly isn’t perfect, but your words can be taken as a lesson in grattitude. To be grateful for what we have now instead of continually complaining! Thank you, not just for this reminder, but also for your service to our country!

  • Intense100

    Vietnam? The draft. Yes, it was a debacle, but think – if only we had the draft now with all this internet media – we would have in our ranks soldiers and officers from the elite families who wouldn’t take it, like the all volunteer Army has to “take it”. Sure, the Army and the VA in going to “fix them now” they say. Many should not have even been Recruited in the first place. But, they had to i fill those quotas! Thanks, GEN Martin Dempsey, CG of TRADOC over USAAC and U S Army Recruiting Command, 2008 – 2011, and now, our President’s nominee for Chair of Joint Chiefs. POTUS – please pull back this nomination.

  • Kristy

    As a military wife I am needing some advice. I need Ideas of what I can do with my family on the 4th of July weekend, something to ease the PTSD symptoms from his deployments. Not being able to control the ignorance of the people around me and their lack of respect is disgusting, everyone is so supportive of the troops but when situations come around that are causing flashbacks for our veterans they can care less because it’s for their own personal enjoyment! The response I got tonight was ” it’s the fourth of July what do you expect?” and ” your asking us to stop having fun just because your husbands been deployed?” We live in Oregon and people like to go to Washington and buy Illegal fireworks and a lot of them, but when your sitting in the living room and the boom is so loud our car alarms go off, that’s pretty freaking loud and my husband hits the ground and starts shaking, I’d say that’s something to respect! So I need some idea’s for activities that are more controlled in situations like this. Thank you

    • Kristy,I sent you an email! I am working on some alternative activities that those suffering with PTSD can partake in.

  • Laura a. Ausborn

    I just lost my husband on June 28th 2011. He had gotten home from his second deployment just a month and a half ago and we just moved to fort Benning Ga so he could be an instructor as he was a marine. We have two amazing children. I had our first, a boy two weeks before his first deployment. I had our second one a girl during this last deployment. So they are two and 7 months old. Our first year of marriage was a great but hard because in one day my grandma past away and his father committed suicide.

  • Laura, I am so sorry for your loss, I can not begin to imagine how devastating this must all be for you. I agree with you completely, it is time to get real, and the more of us that are talking about it, the easier and easier it is going to get for them to be that way. We need to make it known that this stuff is “normal” and that they are not the only one going through the things that they are. I am proud of you for speaking up, and if you ever need someone to talk to, to laugh, to cry, just someone who gets it, you can email me anytime!

  • Absolutely! Feel free to use anything I post here!

  • PTSD is a hard thing to deal with. I just got together with my boyfriend several months back. We grew up together and reconnected in our home town before I had to relocate for a job. I knew he had served military time and it effected him greatly, but I was unaware of the extent of the PTSD and brain injuries from Iraq and how it had actually burdened his life so much. I’m struggling to find resources to deal with his trauma, and also how I should deal with him in certain scenarios. I know sometimes he can get very detached, angry, depressed, ect and I’m starting to pick up on some of these patterns as well. I plan on being with him for the rest of my life, so being able to cope and help him cope so we can grow together is well needed on my end. If anyone has any information for me (outside of the VA we start counseling next week) that would be great!

  • bill

    PTSD??? How about spelling out these things for the rest of us? I dont know what it is or what the issue here is.

    • Theresa

      Post Traumatic Stress Disorder