Guest Blog: Hidden Pain

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By: Ana Yelen, Healing Warriors Program When we first launched Healing Warriors Program, one of our staunchest supporters, told us the reason our program was so important for her.  This woman, a teacher, mentor and medical professional, shared with us a story she had been unable to share in over 30 years: the anguish of her dad’s death, over what they called shell-shock and we call PTSD, quietly trickled out.  It was a heart-wrenching story, made even more tragic by the fact that thirty years later, we continue to lose veterans at alarming rates because of pain and post traumatic stress. But the problem is complex and finds expression in a multitude of ways, from the homeless veterans living day to day, to the veteran who has transitioned back to civilian life and is seemingly reintegrated into their prior life. 

GUEST BLOG: Healing and Empowering Military Families to Thrive

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Project Sanctuary works with DVNF to support heroes in need Not an hour goes by for Jim* without reliving the horrors of that day. One moment he was on a fairly typical mission in Iraq. The next he lay trying to clear the dust from his eyes and inventory the full extent of his injuries. The months that followed seemed like a series of snapshots, each one building upon the last to ensure Jim’s survival. Doctors had prepared him that the odds were against his walking again. After three surgeries, recovery became Jim’s new mission and perhaps the most grueling of all, trying to make his body move as it had before. Post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury induced nightmares, flashbacks and migraines. Jim often found it ironic that the virtues of freedom and independence for which he had

Are You Sleeping?

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By Ana Yelen, Executive Director, Healing Warriors Program A good night’s sleep is more elusive than we think. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services studies assert that sleep disorders affect between 50 – 70 million Americans, or about 20% of the population. In the armed services, sleep issues are the de facto norm because of training, job schedules, and the need for a military force that is on-call and available at a moment’s notice. But the cost of long-term sleep deprivation is high and linked to depression, anxiety and worsening of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “More so than even the amputations and traumatic brain injuries that have come to define the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, insomnia is the hidden wound that America’s warriors are bringing home. It’s largely unnoticed, under-prevented and untreated.”1 At Fort Hood, Texas, Dr. Vincent Mysliwiec,

Guest Blog: Honoring a Military Family

After reading They Marched Into Sunlight, a powerful book about two days during the Vietnam War, written by Pulitzer Prize Winning journalist David Maraniss, Robin Becker, Artistic Director of Robin Becker Dance, felt compelled to create an evening-length dance. Deeply moved by the integrity, honor, and commitment of both those who fought the war, and those who fought against it, Robin Becker embarked upon the creation of this dance hoping that the universal language of the body would reflect and offer the same sense of healing that David’s words evoked in her. In the audience during the company’s performance at Georgetown University was Lieutenant Clark Welch, one of the featured veterans in David’s book. Lieutenant Clark Welch was one of the most decorated soldiers during Vietnam. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for his action at the battle of Ong

Guest Blog: Finding Restoration and Hope

The Healing Warriors Program team understands that managing pain, and the anxiety of Post Traumatic Stress, is critical for restoration of quality of life. For this reason, we work in partnership with the veteran’s medical team to provide an integrative approach to healing, one that includes restoration, wellness and hope. (more…)

Guest Blog: 3 Beneficial Activities for PTSD

Life with PTSD can be tricky. You have to learn to cope with the symptoms and learn new tactics for feeling better. While treatment is a very important part of living with PTSD, there are a few things you can do to improve your quality of life at home such as form a routine. Every human being does better if they cultivate a routine to follow. This is especially true for those with mental illness. The orderly existence prevents triggers for a number of disorders, including PTSD. So, if you have PTSD, you may want to consider a few of these activities to work into your daily schedule. (more…)

It’s Not Just About the Fishing

  Photo: Ed Kashi Plans do not always work out. For some Veterans this deviation from the plan is often the result of an unforecasted, traumatic event that leaves many wondering, “What am I going to do now?” The Veterans that make their way to Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing programs find that the multifaceted nature of fly fishing helps in answering that question. (more…)

Guest Blog: Tips for Veterans to Become Entrepreneurs

  Contributed by: Amy Ridgway Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program Traditionally, the first step an entrepreneur would take is to conduct extensive research and build a concrete business plan complete with all the details of running a business. Although this method teaches a comprehensive way to help entrepreneurs envision issues and a concrete method for developing the business plan for investors, the fact remains that at least 9 out of 10 startups will fail. (more…)

Guest Blog: Supporting Veterans with Mental Health Issues

Contributor: Helios Warriors, Marsha Bennett, Executive Director & Gulf War Veteran The statistics concerning veterans with mental health issues are startling. According to the National Center for PTSD, between 11 and 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress and nearly 20% of soldiers involved in these wars have experienced a traumatic brain injury. These issues are certainly not new to those who have served in the armed forces. Veterans from every conflict throughout history have suffered from symptoms ranging from sleep disturbances, apathy, exaggerated startle response and personality changes to extreme anger and suicidal thoughts. An alarming 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to a 2011 VA statistic. (more…)

Signs of PTSD and What to Do Next

“Stay busy, stay focused on what’s up ahead. Keep going. No matter what, don’t think. Don’t talk about it. Can’t sleep. Brain is a spinning top that turns and jumps, try to quiet it and the invisible hand hits the reset button, round and round we go again. Drink. Drugs. Anything to numb it out. Can’t deal with your BS right now. Avoid That! No point going there. No, pull back. Push those guys away. Nobody needs me in their lives, I’m too messed up. The world is better off without me. I can’t turn my brain off. Can’t sleep. Avoid. Push them away…” (more…)