As the Author of the #1 Amazon National-International Best Seller War Memoir “Battling the Storm Within” about living 20 years undiagnosed with PTSD, MST and the GWI. My mission is to empower others to address their own personal traumas, be healed, restored and live again. I believe in telling the truth, living the truth and being the truth. I will share the truth for it sets you free. I have battled my storm that was within me and won, so can you! Peace and blessings Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon
Many survivors can’t find the words to express what they’re feeling. Even when they do, it’s very normal for them not to be comfortable sharing their experience. Elements of shame, fear, anger, guilt and grief often get in the way of a calm, focused discussion.
Friends and family (and anyone else who is not the source of the PTSD but is standing by while someone attempts to heal) need something that translates PTSD language. Armed with knowledge, insight and awareness you’ll have an easier time knowing how to react, respond and relate to your PTSD loved one during the healing process. The more you appreciate things from the PTSD perspective the more helpful and supportive you can be. Now is the time for empathy, compassion and patience.
To mark the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, the 188th Infantry Brigade held a potluck luncheon here at the largest Army installation east of the Mississippi River. The deputy commander reminded his soldiers they were all “responsible for bringing an end to sexual assault and harassment,” according to the brigade’s Facebook account.
What most of the soldiers didn’t know was that the deputy commander, Lt. Col. Michael Kepner II, was himself facing court-martial on charges that he had sexually harassed and assaulted a female lieutenant on his staff.
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/local/military/article50775415.html#storylink=cpy
A new study may change the way the scientific community thinks about PTSD.
New research is turning current understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on its head.
A surprising new study indicates that PTSD can suddenly spike five years after a person leaves the battlefield, even when PTSD levels had declined to normal, according to a Reuters report.
It’s an indication that soldiers may need to be screened for PTSD long after getting back from a deployment, as the disorder can lie dormant for a while before suddenly reemerging.
Happy Holidays Everyone! Please share this gift to the women Veteran population in Michigan! It's an opportunity for women veterans voices to be heard through the "Our Voices United" Women Veteran Anthology Book Project.
THE MILITARY’S effort to combat sexual assault in its ranks has been handicapped by the reluctance, even refusal, of victims to come forward and report abuse. Who can blame them given instances in which those who are supposed to be leading the fight against abuse are often themselves guilty of misconduct? If there ever is to be real progress, sexual assault crimes need to be removed from a chain of command that is more inclined to protect than prosecute wrongdoers.
ATLANTA -- Moving from combat to coding school is the goal for one army veteran who is using a new crowd funding tool to learn the skills to start a new career. It is called Gofundveterans.com.
Army veteran, Andrew Kroll, is already about half way through a new program teaching him the language of coding.
"This is the basis for pretty much all the webpages that you'll use," he said pointing to his computer screen.
Whenever there's a war, you always picture families back home worried sick about the kid they sent off to fight, imagining all of the terrible things that can happen to them at the hands of Al Qaeda or the Taliban. You don't think of them fretting over said kid getting sexually assaulted in the barracks by their own comrades ... even though that is far, far more common.
Anxiety is tough, isn’t it? Not just for the people that have it, but for you – the people that stick with them – while they’re going through it. It’s emotionally taxing on both ends, it’s physically demanding at times, and of course mentally demanding most of the time.
Plans have to be changed to accommodate the anxiety. Situations have to be avoided at times. Planning has to be just that bit more thorough. Emotional needs can change daily. It’s a lot to work through, and it can be hard to get in their head to understand on top of that.
It’s understandably confusing at times, so consider this your cheat sheet. 13 things for you to remember when loving someone with anxiety.
Gulf War veterans face an uphill battle when trying to get presumptive service connection under the regulation 38 CFR § 3.317. In fact, a study released by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2014 showed that 80% of Gulf War related claims get denied by the VA. One situation in particular that presents a frustrating experience comes into play with Gulf War veterans suffering from a “medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness.
The U.S. Army's top officer is planning to more than double the number of required annual training days for some National Guard units to reinforce the service's shrinking active force.
The service's current strategy of reducing the active force from 490,000 to 450,000 by 2018 is forcing leaders to depend on the National Guard to assist with potential future contingency missions, according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Holidays shaping up to be more stressful than joyful? If Thanksgiving weekend wasn't all you imagined it would be, it might be time to rethink certain family relationships.
Sometimes we "spend years sacrificing our mental and emotional health in abusive relationships under the notion that we have to" because these people are our family,” said Sherrie Campbell, a licensed California psychologist and author of the book “Loving Yourself : The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.”
"Cutting ties with family members is one of the hardest decisions we may face in life.”
Several servicewomen share their advice and experiences from their time in the military.
The opportunity to lead others — whether a small fire team or an aircraft carrier — is one of the few guarantees of military service. While gender has no impact on the ability to lead, an occupational hazard of being a woman in the military is that your superiors, peers, and subordinates — both men and women — perceive you differently because of their own ingrained biases. Learning how to navigate these biases and perceptions is an inherent challenge to leading as a woman.
basic combat training, women are injured at twice the rate of men. For example,
among the fastest groups of men and women in a 2-mile run, the male injury rate
is 10 percent and the female rate is 26 percent...
New legislation affecting sexual assault policy - and related courts-martial procedures - are part of the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama, Nov. 25, 2015.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 8, 2015) -- The Special Victims' Counsel, or SVC program, designed to help victims of sexual assault, has been expanded.
That, along with several other changes that affect sexual assault policy and related courts-martial procedures, are part of the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, signed into law by President Barack Obama, Nov. 25.
Having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder changes a person, not only the way they think, but also the way they act and how they love. It can be challenging, most of the time with PTSD a few other things come along such as anxiety, depression and panic which can change a lot about how a person sees the world and other people.
Brian Zimmermann joined the Army soon after quitting college. School just wasn't his thing.
"You don't think you'll have to fight when going into the Army," he said.
He was deployed for seven months during the first gulf war.
The men in the U.S. most dangerous jobs care little about political correctness or gender equality. And they have a message for their political leadership.
When they are fighting in the shadows or bleeding on the battlefield, women have no place on their teams.
Sergeant Major Lehew, a 27 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, speaks the honest truth that no one wants to hear about women in combat.
Sergeant Major Justin Lehew is a beast among men. At a time where the entire military is absolutely terrified of speaking their minds, he personified moral courage. This man is a leader of Marines, and when it comes to protecting the combat effectiveness of the United States Marine Corps, he let his words speak without the fear of repercussion.
Happy Holidays Everyone! Please share this FREE gift to the women Veteran population in Michigan! It's an opportunity for women veterans voices to be heard through the "Our Voices United" Women Veteran Anthology Book Project.
It was written by a United States Marine, and a MST Survivor and Advocate – Stephanie Schroeder.
She became an advocate in 2010 and with the launch of Cioca v. Rumsfeld, she came to the forefront as a national advocate for MST Survivors.
City leaders and veterans’ groups responsible for Veterans Memorial Park in Las Cruces have done an admirable job of trying to include all deserving local service members who fought for our nation in foreign wars.
The Veterans Memorial Wall contains the names of 8,188 veterans from Doña Ana County who served during every major war, dating all the way back to the Civil War.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday that he is opening all jobs in combat units to women, a landmark decision that would for the first time allow female service members to join the country’s most elite military forces.
Women will now be eligible to join the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. It also opens the Marine Corps infantry, a battle-hardened force that many service officials had openly advocated keeping closed to female service members.
A recent news article revealed staggering statistics of female veterans committing suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women. Reading this, I could not help but feel pain and sadness for my fellow sisters-in-arms.
As an Air Force officer for nearly six years, I enjoyed serving my country, protecting our freedoms and knowing that my family was safe because of the work I did each day. Yet, I also experienced how unwelcoming the military can be for women at times.
More than half of sexual assault victims in the military are men, according to numbers provided by the Pentagon. The fact that more men than women are being raped and sexually assaulted in the military highlights the need to implement more safeguards and resources for servicemen who fall victim to sexual abuse.
WASHINGTON — Reports of sexual assaults by members of the military rose 50 percent after the Pentagon began a vigorous campaign to get more victims to come forward, prompting defense officials to order a greater focus on prevention programs, including plans to review alcohol sales and policies.
But officials are still unhappy with the low number of male victims who reported sexual assault, and they say there will be a greater emphasis in the months ahead on getting men to come forward and seek help. Final data obtained by The Associated Press show that about 14 percent of the reports filed last year involved male victims.
Recently I went hiking with my friends in Algonquin Park. We were walking on a trail. It was a beautiful day and I had been looking forward to it.
Then I looked behind me, and I thought I saw the two guys who raped me. I had a panic attack and I started freaking out. It was unbearable. My heart rate went up. I felt shaky and sweaty and extremely overwhelmed.
It didn’t feel like I was in Algonquin Park. It felt like I was in the same scenario as I was when I was 14, when it all happened. Every feeling and every emotion I had came back and it was happening all over again. I was lucky I was with two friends. But when you’re, say, working or at a mall and you experience a flashback, you’re back in this whole different state of mind. You kind of feel like you’re crazy and you’re being looked at. It’s not a pleasant feeling to start with, for obvious reasons, but you’re also forced to relive something that you never wanted to live in the first place.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, on September 30, 2015, the population of women veterans numbered 2,035,213.
The stories of female vets don't always get traction. In recent years, awareness of concerns like Military Sexual Trauma (MST) have received recognition, particularly through the documentary, The Invisible War.
‘I typed “rape, body image, can’t go to doctor” into Google’ – years after being raped, student nurse Pavan Amara found it difficult to be touched or look in the mirror. Now, with the NHS, she has helped set up the UK’s first specialist clinic for women trying to overcome similar problems
"THERE WERE SO MANY THINGS I COULDN'T CONTROL. LOSING CLUMPS OF HAIR WAS JUST ONE MORE THING."
I signed up for the army in June 2001, when I was 17. They were offering to pay for some of my college education. I wasn't concerned about the possibility of going to war; I just kept thinking, This is going to be cool.
A former Army captain reflects on learning to connect with civilian parents.
I left my job in 2011 to care full time for my 3-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son. My days are now filled with crafts at the kitchen table, soggy diapers, Disney movies and playdates. I am so incredibly lucky to be able to spend this time with my kids everyday, but have discovered an unexpected challenge that I am still coming to terms with: connecting with other parents.
A study from the American Psychological Association claims that the incidence of male-on-male sexual assault in the military is vastly higher than what the Pentagon reports. In fact, the authors suggest “rates of military sexual trauma among men who served in the military may be as much as 15 times higher than has been previously reported.”
A study found that the rate of sexual assault among men in the military could be 15 times greater than originally believed. The study, which was published in a Nov. 4 special issue of the journal of Psychological Services, included two different surveys administered to a sample of 180 male combat veterans, reports Vocativ.
Two months after attempting suicide and receiving a less than honorable discharge from the Army, Kristofer Goldsmith received a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Military sexual trauma (MST) is sexual harassment that is threatening or physical assault of a sexual nature. Both men and women serving in the military can suffer from MST. MST is an experience, not a diagnosis. MST may cause disabling conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and sexual arousal disorder. Your claim for VA Disability Compensation (“VA benefits”) must identify at least one “disabling condition.” The VA addresses MST differently than other issues because of its severity and complexity.
1. Our brains no longer work the same. We have cognitive deficiencies that don’t make sense, even to us. Some of us struggle to find the right word, while others can’t remember what they ate for breakfast. People who don’t understand, including some close to us, get annoyed with us and think we’re being “flaky” or not paying attention. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, we have to try even harder to pay attention to things because we know we have deficiencies.
Women face numerous military transition challenges on top of the misconceptions closely tied to being a female veteran.
In 1966, at 26 years old, decorated nurse and Vietnam veteran Sarah Blum joined the U.S. Army, drawn to serve by the daily news reports on the radio.
The Atlantic City, New Jersey, native joined as an operating room nurse and was eventually assigned to the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Củ Chi, a district outside Ho Chi Minh City — the location of several military campaigns, and most notably, the base of operations for the Viet Cong’s violent Tét Offensive in 1968.
Despite serving oversees with honor and courage, women veterans continue to face challenges such as health care, unemployment, lack of financial stability, housing and sexual trauma during service and in transitioning to life after the military.
The Disabled American Veterans in a new report “Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home,” documenting the challenges women face in the military, further underscores the need to address issues women veterans are dealing with.
WASHINGTON - Women veterans who try to take their own lives are often successful at a far higher rate than their female non-veteran counterparts because of one reason: They use guns.Female veterans die by suicide at nearly six times the rate of female civilians, such an alarming number that mental-health experts at the Department of Veterans Affairs say the agency is reaching out to former servicewomen to talk about gun safety.Their suicide rate is also surprising because men generally are far more likely than women to die by suicide.
Sexual assaults reported by military personnel rose by 11 percent last year but the overall trend on assaults and unwanted sexual contacts decreased, Pentagon officials said Friday.
In addition, "men are less likely to report and more likely to experience" sexual assault, and men were also more likely to view the assault as hazing rather than a crime, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.
Carter spoke at a Pentagon briefing for the release of the Defense Department's annual Sexual Assault and Response Program Office (SAPRO) report to Congress which showed that in Fiscal Year 2014 the military received a total of 6,131 reports of sexual assault.
This review article will investigate the issue of resiliency and spirituality in relation to trauma in particular Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder based on current and available literature. With the epidemic suicide rates of veterans, we cannot just look at one aspect or side and expect an answer on how to treat the injuries from war. People are unique as individuals, and thus there is no one size fits all treatment or answer for helping our military and veterans. This paper will discuss multiple components such as PTSD, symptoms, and the neural circuits in PTSD. These resilience programs, the Army in particular, are said to make a military member more resilient. What the military considers components of a resilient warrior, and “Bounce.” This paper will also look at the studies on military resilience and the expected outcomes of these programs. And also discuss treatments, both spiritually and professionally and how they help to build resiliency and encourage Post Traumatic Growth.
The tragic act of taking one’s own life happens too often among every group of people, young and old, sick and healthy, religious or non-religious, eastern, western, northern or southern — all parts of humanity feel the pain of this type of irreversible loss. In the United States, however, it seems military veterans take their own lives at a much more alarming rate than any other demographic. We can perhaps learn part of the reason for this from a very famous American war veteran and suicide victim, Ernest Hemingway, who confessed to F. Scott Fitzgerald that war was his favorite subject to write about: “It groups the maximum of material and speeds up the action and brings out all sorts of stuff that normally you have to wait a lifetime to get.” It seems life brings all kinds of people to such extreme grief that they contemplate ending theirs unnaturally, but war or even just being trained for war brings people there much faster.
MINNEAPOLIS — The prevalence of insomnia is "extremely" high in female veterans in the United States, according to a new national survey that confirms and extends a prior study from a single Veterans Affairs (VA) center.
"Studies are needed to identify best practice models of care for this considerable segment of the women veteran population with insomnia disorders," the authors say.
As National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month draws to a close, it’s worth repeating that every month should be a suicide awareness month—but especially for women veterans, who experience a suicide rate fast approaching their male counterparts.
The latest statistics on women veteran suicide from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs are quite sobering:
For women ages 18 to 29, veterans kill themselves at nearly 12 times the rate of non-veterans
40% of women veterans who committed suicide used guns, compared with 34% of other women
In every other age group, including women who served as far back as the 1950s, the veteran rates are between four and eight times higher, indicating that the causes extend far beyond the psychological effects of the recent wars
May 24, 2015. Washington. (ONN) With this being Memorial Day weekend, many Americans will spend their time barbecuing, watching old war movies and some just relaxing or working in the garden. But hundreds of thousands of Americans will be doing something more appropriate for the holiday. They’ll be memorializing not the countless American soldiers who gave all fighting for their country over the years, but instead a lost loved one who was one of the 35 veterans who commits suicide every day.
WASHINGTON -- A new study could provide new clues for doctors struggling to treat a mysterious illness that has affected tens of thousands of Gulf War veterans for decades.
The study, done with Department of Veterans Affairs funding in conjunction with Rutgers University, found that veterans suffering from Gulf War illness have damaged mitochondria, which can lead to chronic fatigue, one of the main symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans.
One in four Gulf War veterans suffers from Gulf War Illness, a condition characterized by unexplainable chronic fatigue, muscle pain and cognitive dysfunction. New research finds for the first time direct evidence that the cells of Gulf War veterans cannot produce enough energy to run the body, explaining the fatigue and slow down of the body.
After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.
He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.