A Vietnam veteran and career veterans’ counselor who struggles with post-traumatic stress (PTS) tells how to recognize the symptoms of PTS and how to begin the healing process. The veteran and those who care about him/her must understand that:
- he/she is not alone in this struggle
- and that he/she is not crazy.
Post-traumatic stress is a sane person’s reaction to intense or protracted violence. We learn to control the anxiety, hypervigilance and behaviors that tend to interfere with making a living, studying and social functioning.
Making peace with post-traumatic stress means understanding the nature of the beast that followed you home, and knowing what triggers PTS symptoms in you. Making peace means seeking help from Department of Veterans Affairs caregivers who will give you the tools to deal with PTS. The author tells you what to expect from VA Vet Centers, VA Mental Health Clinics, and the trained people who are there to help you.
Additionally, we find that we must make peace with those who love us, with the buddies we left behind, and even with ourselves. The author gives personal insights into these issues. He also draws from personal experience to give practical advice to younger veterans on job searches, education, family financial management, and the veteran’s role in the American political process.
Although money is not a cure for post-traumatic stress, the author walks you through the process of claiming PTS (and other conditions) as VA-recognized disabilities for VA compensation. Examples of stressor statement forms that resulted in successful compensation claims are provided. For Vietnam veterans, an appendix provides information on Agent Orange claims.