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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

My veteran friend emailed me about having a bad time

I got an email from an old friend who flew with Bob and his unit in the First Cav in Vietnam. He said he was having problems again and didn't like it, so he had been reading through his old copies of The Post-Traumatic Gazette and they helped a lot. I suggested he might be having an anniversary reaction to New Year's Day, since people were killed in the Cav because troops were shooting at the troops on "Hong Kong" hill and they shot back. Then he remembered we are coming up on the anniversary of one of the pilots being killed, the first one in their tour. Good insight.
One of the most interesting things to me about PTSD is that the reptile brain, where it resides, can't speak English and can't tell time. It never knows you have been home for years and are safe, yet it does know what time of year it is, so you get anniversary reactions.
For those of you who don't know, I wrote The Post-Traumatic Gazette for 7 years, and all the newsletters are free online at

The Uh huh method

I posted about the problem of endless rages earlier and got a comment to my latest post on the email from my friend.
She used my Uh huh method, so here it is
The Uh huh Method.
Vets with chronic PTSD can't calm down after they get mad because they have depleted cortisol. I used to keep the fight going by trying to get him to see my point and it would go on and on, him yelling and me trying to make him see "reason", i.e. my point of view. When I found out about depleted cortisol, I stopped trying to get my point across and started saying "Uh huh" or even "You may be right" (notice not are right but may be right, and often adding the thought in my mind, 'on Mars') and letting it go. As a result our fighting stopped for the most part.
Veterans are not raging sh*ts on purpose because they are selfish jerks. They literally do not have the chemical that calms regular people down. I would not be lighting matches around someone on oxygen, so that is the image I use when I am mad at him. He did not choose to have PTSD. He served his country and this is the result. It is invisible, sometimes unpleasant and he is worth it.
I no longer have to be right. I would much rather be happy.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

After the War pamphlet.

I wrote this pamphlet during the first Gulf War for wives because I knew there was nothing out there that explained PTSD simply and how we feel about it. The VA system, well, some of the hospitals used to buy it and give it out. One day I got a call from a Vietnam vet. He said that his therapist at the VA had given him the pamphlet to give to his wife, so of course he read it first, and it was the first time he ever realized that his PTSD could affect his wife! He was blown away. I was so happy to hear that it helped him understand too. I hope it did them some good. Here is the link to "After the War"

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

It is getting close to holiday time, so I am going to mention my articles in the Post-Traumatic Gazette. They are all online at under the tab that says PTSD help.
#10 and #16 both have versions of the article "PTSD and Holidays." One of my therapist subscribers wrote me that some of her vets had their first good Christmas since Vietnam after reading that article.
The next one I wrote is in #22, "Can't you just be normal for one day?" a pretty common and also unreasonable request around this time of year. The article talks about why this is hard and how to accept that and take care of yourself.
in #34 there is an article, "When Holidays Hurt" which might be helpful. if you read the whole issue there is a lovely letter called Welcome to PTSD land in reply to my article in issue #33 also called "Welcome to PTSDland," which is one of my favorites.
#28 has an article on a different kind of New Year's Resolution. #1 has a clear explanation of PTSD in plain English which makes sense. #2 ditto for effects on the family. There are also issues on guilt, dealing with anger in effective ways, grief, feelings, etc. Please check it out if you feel stressed or just want information.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


I have been posting on a couple of Facebook groups that deal with PTSD. On one I can link to stuff I have written already. On the other, I don't think it is allowed so I don't.
I am really finding it so wonderful to be able to help encourage people to look at PTSD as normal and not weird but definitely unusual. For instance, vets with PTSD get enraged by waiting because they are not waiting for whatever it is the person with them is waiting for. For them waiting is dangerous and can get you killed, so while you are waiting to be served, they are waiting for death. It is a really different perspective and makes their reactions more understandable.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Solace for the Self

Here is one of my gazettes with a bunch of ways to practice self-care including learning the HEALS technique developed by Dr Stephen Stosny which was one of the things that changed my life.
For some reason the link does not want to post correctly:, (Rev) Solace.pdf
as a link so I hope you can copy and paste.
You can also reach it from this page where all the Gazettes are listed. It is No. 7, Solace for the Self.…/PTSD_Help-Gazettes.html

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

KIckass book

Just read a book that kicked my a**, Civilianized by Michael Anthony, who also wrote Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq. Both are well written and hard to put down. Civilianized is a post deployment story, sad, funny, upsetting and inspiring. I am very glad this guy made it back and sorry he went through the hell of his own particular war. I highly recommend the book if you would like a taste of reality.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Are you having a hard time with the Holidays?

Please go to my website if the holidays are bothering you, or if you are totally numb about them, and look for PTSD and Holidays, Can't you Just Be Normal for One Day, When Holidays Hurt, and any other articles that interest or touch you. I wrote the Gazette for 7 years and much of it is still helpful if you have lived through war or other trauma, or live with a trauma survivor.
Some of the available topics:
PTSD and Holidays
Can't you just be normal for one day?
When Holidays Hurt
PTSD and Physical health, also New Years Resolutions
The war at home
 Why is Daddy Like He is?