Continuing my post of several days ago:
In my attempts to cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), I even wrote a novel on the subject. The Trion Syndrome is the story of a Vietnam vet and his struggle to come to terms with his memories. The book, in effect, is my own story told as fiction.
Over time, I came to realize that I could help others by speaking publicly about PTSI. I could inform people that PTSI is not a sign of cowardice or weakness. Most important, I could let my brothers in arms know that they are not alone. I could encourage them to take pride in their service, an important way to counter PTSI.
The prospect was daunting. I’ve been giving presentations on my writing and my experiences in Vietnam for many years. But this was different. Now I’d be talking about a deeply personal and private matter, something I instinctively find embarrassing. It feels like putting my dirty laundry on display.
Then, a few weeks ago, United States Post Office brought out a postal stamp with the words “Healing PTSD” above a picture of a plant opening its leaves. The issue was now so public that the U.S. government was commemorating it with a stamp.
I understood that for my own good, I had to overcome my fear and speak out. It would be another way to vent my anxieties. Most important, it could help others.
So I have prepared a presentation with slides on PTSI. I’m already scheduled to do it twice in the next two months. I’ll have to practice it so that I can keep my emotions I check while I talk. That will take some doing.
As I grow older, it becomes more and more apparent to me that my purpose in life is to help others. I now have found one more way to do that, through speaking publicly of my own affliction.