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Saturday, February 23, 2019

I had a phone call from an angry and desperate wife. She reminded me of myself before I knew about depleted cortisol being the reason Bob would rant on and on once he was mad. (We don't have to live like that anymore.)
She was furious that he didn't seem to care what she said. I realized that like I once did, she was blaming him for a symptom of PTSD, emotional numbing, which is a survivor skill when you have seen and been through the kind of things combat vets see and do. It keeps you alive and doing your job in combat, but numbing bad feelings also numbs the good ones. When you ask someone to un-numb, you are asking them to face an amount of pain that is incomprehensible to us.
Numbness is not personal. It is self protection, but if you don't know that, it sure feels personal.
If this is you, please go read the Post-Traumatic Gazettes # 1 and 2 and After the War at It will help you see the suffering person and not the cloud of things that piss you off.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I just looked myself up on Amazon and saw that some new copies of the Patience Press version of Recovering from the War: A Guide for all Veterans, Family Members, Friends and Therapists in paperback are $33.95 and to $90+.
Only a few of the vendors have it at the cover price of $24.95.
This is bullshit. The list price is $24.95 which you can get through any bookstore, so the people who are selling expensive new copies on Amazon are doing you a disservice, and me too.
You can get it through a bookstore, or ABE books, or at cover price and should not have to pay more. The Viking Penguin version, the one with the helmet full of flowers is very expensive new online because it is no longer published, but the Patience Press version, which is exactly the same except for the subtitle, should not be more than $24.95.
You can also get a kindle for 4.49 and used copies starting at $1.29.
I'd much rather you get it used and get the help it contains, than wait to afford an overpriced paperback sold by some crook on Amazon.

Friday, February 1, 2019


I just read the new diagnostic criteria for PTSD in DSM 5 and I am so horrified I can barely stand it. What a crock of shit. Basically, it says, "Let's express our complete lack of understanding of WHY people have these symptoms and cluster them in an even more randomly ignorant way to make them look like nut jobs."
I fucking hate the American Psychiatric Association.
I lived through DSM II which came out in 1968 and on the basis of opinion, decided that if you were affected by a trauma for more than six months you had to be diagnosed with a preexisting condition like narcissism. Bob was diagnosed with "anxiety," so condescending to a guy who flew into hot LZ's day after day and never once said no to any request for help.
The DSM II actually was published DURING the 1968 TET Offensive and was used to mistreat Vietnam vets and ignore their post-traumatic reactions and pretend they were whiners and nut jobs.
It was not till 1980 that the diagnosis of PTSD was forced into the DSM III by people who had worked with veterans of all wars, Holocaust survivors, rape, incest and battering survivors, and survivors of disasters, natural and man made. That's a long time to be stigmatizing and misdiagnosing people.
So no wonder the women on the PTSD wives groups I joined have absolutely no understanding of what is going on. I know why they are so mad, because I was too. I took it all personally till I read the DAV pamphlet, "Readjustment Problems of Vietnam Veterans," which made me cry because there was a name for it and other people had it too.
But these women are being fed diagnostic criteria that make their husbands look mentally ill, instead of having a normal reaction to trauma. It is hard to live with but vets are not crazy.

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.