By Linda Diane Wattley
I come from a military family background. My father, his father and brother and sister all served the United States Army. I and my three brothers joined either the Army or the Marines. Immediately after graduating from high school, I joined the Army, met and married my husband, and we gave birth to two sons. My oldest son joined the United States National Guard and was unexpectedly activated to active duty. He served two terms in Iraq. Almost two years after returning home from his second tour, we learned he had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I cannot begin to describe the heartache a parent experiences while their child is away at war. It is even more painful to learn upon returning home safely, that the war follows them in ways words cannot describe. I will never forget the day when the Akron Police Department called me on my cell phone. They were looking for my son because the threat of suicide was reported to them by the Veterans’ Help Line. For over three hours, I did not know if my son was dead or alive. This was the beginning of my journey of being an advocate for those suffering with PTSD.
As I researched Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I was amazed at the large number of people who are not aware of this continuously growing disorder. They have no clue of its impact on sufferers’ lives. The denial of PTSD is also prominent as well.
I am here to join the civilians and the soldiers together so we can strengthen and encourage one another in our plight with PTSD. What I have to offer are powerful tools acquired over the years as I secretly lived with this disorder. I knew my son returned home different than he was before he left. He had symptoms I have lived with for over forty years. My PTSD was a result of my upbringing as a child in a hostile environment consisting of domestic violence, molestation and sudden death experiences.
Today, I want all PTSD sufferers to know the more conscious we are about the inner struggles the better we can exist in society. Between my research and personal experiences with PTSD, I was able to write a book encouraging and strengthening lives daily. When it was in manuscript form, I told my son it was completed. He told me to send it to him and in less than three hours, he told me I had to publish the book because it was going to help a lot of people and it immediately helped him. “Soldier With A Backpack Living And Dying Simultaneously” is written for us to have more control of our lives and to shine light on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is no respecter of persons. Anyone can be living with this disorder, our loved ones, soldiers, friends, neighbors, co-workers, doctors, police officers, urgent care workers, etc. It is time for us to create a greater conscious awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder so the fragility of humanity will not continue to be crushed. I am now speaking out on behalf of us all suffering with it and I want you to join me by choosing to become more conscious of this reality. Yes, we are our brothers’ keepers. Yes, we need your help and yes, things get a little easier once we understand.
My name is Linda Diane Wattley. I am a United States Army Veteran who is proud to be an Advocator for PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am also an author of “Soldier With A Backpack Living And Dying Simultaneously.” Discover more and order your copy at http://www.lindadianewattley.com/
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.