OPINION – November could justifiably be designated as “Veterans Month.” There are literally dozens of events and activities that involve, are intended for, or pay respects to the American veteran.
I want to recommend one particular event: “An Evening with Bridget Cantrell: Rebuilding a Life, a Family, a Future; Living with PTSD” on Saturday at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins at 6 p.m. The event is free to the public but reservations are requested.
I am a “Readjustment Counselor” for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I work with veterans who have been deployed to places where there are active American combat operations; Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, San Juan Hill, and so on.
Not only do I have the opportunity to support these veterans in readjusting to life after war, I also get to work with their partners and spouses, their children, their parents, and their siblings; everyone who is part of their family. My guys and gals are those afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder as a result of traumatic experiences from being in war, being sexually assaulted while on active duty, or surviving some other type of life-threatening, horrifying, or mind-breaking incident or circumstance.
Cantrell is the daughter of a Korean War veteran who grew up, like my kids, in a family whose parent survived war and earned a doctorate in PTSD. Warriors’ families are quite typically afflicted with secondary PTSD because of the “emotional minefield” that hypervigilance, reactive behavior, avoidance, isolation, and sleeplessness plants in the household of the warrior.
I use Cantrell’s books to teach the families of warriors about PTSD; where it comes from, what it looks like, what it does to the warrior, how it shows up in a family, and how to work together to manage the wounded spirit. It doesn’t matter how the PTSD took root; war, automobile accident, violent assault, watching or witnessing someone’s death or dismemberment, or surviving an earthquake.
What you need to know is that if left untreated it will not go away, it is malignant and someone you know has PTSD! Come spend an evening with Bridget. It will be informative, it will be entertaining, and it may even be fun, but it is FREE and the information will be priceless.
Among the myths surrounding those afflicted with PTSD is the notion that people with PTSD are a danger to individuals and to society; the primary threat that those with PTSD pose is to themselves. Intimate family members can be in a danger zone but a little knowledge and teamwork virtually eliminates that threat; come learn what you can do and how you can do it.
Bruce Solomon is an opinion columnist, a Vietnam Veteran and chairman of the Mayor’s Veteran Action Council for the City of St. George. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
- What: Lecture by noted PTSD expert and author Bridget Cantrell
- When: Saturday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m.
- Where: Southern Utah Veterans Home, 160 North 200 East, Ivins
- How: Reserve a seat
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