The PTSD Diary

Two People in Love, Dealing with PTSD/TBI

New Study Focuses on the Children of Severly Wounded Warriors

April 6th, 2014

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The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research at the University of San Diego recently released a study focused on the children of severely wounded warriors. According to the study article, “Over the past decade, thousands of wounded service members have returned home from war, only to struggle to adapt to new lives at home. A new study reveals that their 52,000 children are a highly impacted, but often overlooked, segment of the population directly affected by war. ”

The images below are from the infographic provided by the MCSF to help explain the results of the study, which can be downloaded in full here: MCSF_Infographic_FINAL(1).

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For more information on the study, please see the MCSF website here.

 

Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 6th, 2013

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Via the NAMI.org website:

What One Person Can Do?

Not everyone may be able to participate in a public event. Some people don’t know much about mental illness. Others have limited time to devote to learning more. NAMI suggests a few basic steps that can be informative and to some degree even fun. Friends especially can encourage friends to take them to increase personal awareness during MIAW or any time of the year.

 

NAMI Front Line Support Groups restart in Bakersfield, CA

September 4th, 2013

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We are honored to be asked by the current NAMI Kern County president, William Lester, to co-facilitate NAMI Front Line support groups starting tomorrow, Sept. 5, 2013 at 6pm at the Bakersfield Vet Center. We credit the original Front Line support groups with being a major component in our recovery process and were trained by NAMI to facilitate groups a couple years ago. After taking a brief hiatus and with a change in location, NAMI Front Line support groups are back! We hope that if you’re in the area, you can join us!

Flyer

Our support group flyer

J.R. honored at local high school baseball game

April 27th, 2013

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Yesterday, it was so cool to return to my alma mater Centennial High School for their military appreciation baseball game with Independence High School. J.R. was recommended to be honored at the game for his military service by our friend Chris Allen, a fellow Iraq veteran. The baseball game was the school’s 5th annual “Military Appreciation Game” and we were happy to be included. Centennial High School did a lovely presentation that included speeches, poetry and music, including the National Anthem performed by local veteran Evan Morgan.

One of the presenters, Mike Alexander, wrote a great poem that we thought we would share with you - A Civilian’s Salute to Our Military Heroes

I stand before you feeling unworthy, and a bit nervous,

Because, unlike you, our country I’ve given no service.

Before today’s game, we pause and reflect,

On you, whose duty, it is to serve and protect.

But on the battlefield, our soldier’s, give so much more!

These teams, their goal, to secure a Valley title,

Our soldier’s, your role, is ever so vital!

World Wars I and II, Korea and Viet Nam,

Our Soldiers answered the call of Uncle Sam.

Bosnia, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan,

We’re so proud of you who serve each woman and man!

A soldier’s family waits at home with much concern,

Will their loved one be safe? When will they return?

Our soliders go to foreign lands, and travel across oceans,

And when you come home, there are plenty of emotions!

At times on arrival, something’s different, no not the same,

Some come home healthy, some injured, even some lame.

Some even pay the ultimate sacrifice; they pay with their life,

Someone’s son, someone’s daughter, maybe husband or wife!

But it is you the solider, that serves our country with pride,

You volunteer for this duty, love of country you don’t hid!

You’ll be all that you ca! Aim high, you’re the few, the proud,

Full speed ahead, it’s an adventure, you shout out loud!

Free speech, life, liberty, you protect our rights,

While in faraway lands, through conflicts and fights!

Though you may not always feel it, while the battlefields you roam,

Know that you’re thought of and prayed for, by us at home!

No words that I read her can properly convey,

How proud of you we are, each and every day!

From the past to the present, there are too many to name,

But as I see it, you’re all in our nation’s Hall of Fame!

So for all that you’ve done, and continue to do for our great nation,

Please accept this small token, a civilian’s salute, our standing ovation!!

Here’s a couple pics from the event:

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The MC reading J.R.’s bio.

J.R. with the plaque that was presented to him.

J.R. with the plaque that was presented to him.

~ Nicole

 

Changes – For the Better

April 22nd, 2013
Our current motto.

Our current motto.

As you may or may not have noticed, we haven’t blogged for over a month and posting on our Facebook and Twitter has been sporadic. Life kind of took over and we just went along with the ride. We’ve been through some recent changes and transitions, but we believe it’s for the better and we’re excited for the future. Here’s a few things that have been going on:
- J.R. graduated from California State University Bakersfield with a degree in History and a minor in Political Science. His formal graduation will be in June and we plan on celebrating with a big beach bash.
- Nicole got sick and had to go to the hospital – she’s okay now, but it really put our priorities in check and reminded us that we have to work together to maintain our health. Long story short, Nicole quit her job and found a position that will fit her better: she starts in May as a MSW Care Coordinator with a local hospital.
- J.R. applied to and was accepted to the University of Southern California’s Master of Social Work program. He’s going to study military social work and hopes to work for the military or VA. He will start the program in May.
- We are also focusing on our health, getting back on Weight Watchers. We’ve blogged about our weight issues before, so time to refocus again.
- It’s been 10 years since J.R. was in Iraq and participated in the Invasion on Baghdad. It was surprisingly smooth this year, as other years have been more of a struggle. We still can’t believe it’s been 10 years!

- We’re also prioritizing The PTSD Diary again so expect to see a surge in our Facebook and Twitter posts, and daily posts here again. We will be doing lots of updates on the website and we have some big plans that we hope to start this year.

Thanks for all your support… it means so much to us!

~ Nicole and J.R.

Inspiration Sunday: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17th, 2013

We need some luck of the Irish…we’ve been slow to blog again. J.R. is in finals mode finishing up his last semester before he graduates with his Bachelors and Nicole has been sick. But we are trying to get back in the swing of things and thought that some Irish inspiration might just do the trick. Wishing you all luck in the spring season!

 

 

*All images can be found on our Pinterest page.

~ Nicole & J.R.

 

 

 

Inspiraton Sunday: 2/24/13 – Oscars

February 24th, 2013

As you may have noticed, we are movie fans. Movies are an escape for us. We go to the theaters, we watch them at home and we even watch them on our laptops or Kindle. We love movie discussions and as you can see from our many movie blogs, we can often relate movies to our own experiences. Each year, we try to see all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars. This year, with 9 nominees, we fell a bit short: 6/9. We have blogged about Silver Linings Playbook (HERE) and Zero Dark Thirty (HERE), but we also enjoyed Lincoln, The Beast of Southern Wild, Les Misérables, and Argo. So for today’s Inspiration Sunday, we thought we would share some quotes from the Best Picture nominees. We also want to give a good luck shout out to the Best Documentary nominee The Invisible War – check it out if you haven’t seen it yet! Can’t wait to see who wins tonight!

Silver Linings Playbook:

“The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That’s guaranteed. I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday’s my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy.”

Lincoln:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Argo:

“Argo f*#& yourself!”

Les Misérables:

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Beast of the Southern Wild:

“I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.”

Django Unchained:

“Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention.”

Amour:

“Things will go on, and then one day it will all be over.”

Life of Pi:

“Above all: don’t lose hope.”

Zero Dark Thirty:

“You can’t run a global network of interconnected cells from a cave.”

*You can see all the images on our Pinterest page.

~ Nicole & J.R.

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability & listening to shame

February 11th, 2013

Quote by Brene Brown

I recently became familiar with the social work researcher Brené Brown through her TED talks, where she shares her research, understanding, and experiences with vulnerability and shame. She also shares her experience of going through a breakdown, which we could easily relate to. I am currently reading her first book on my Kindle, I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”, and plan on sharing some of the lessons I take away from that book at a later date.  The videos posted here are a bit academic and lengthy, but my hope is that you can enjoy her honesty and humor and relate to her discussions.

The following video is her first TED talk: The Power of Vulnerability. The website describes the video as follows:

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

In response to her first video, Brené Brown was asked to return and continue her discussion by addressing the issues of Listening to Shame. The website describes her second video as:

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

Don’t you just love her? We can only hope to be as well-spoken as her when we give presentations. What do you think about vulnerability and shame? Do you agree with Brené Brown’s assessment?

~ Nicole

Inspiraton Sunday: Love

February 10th, 2013

We’re just a couple of old romantics. Yes, love hurts and at times love sucks. But we believe in the power of love to provide hope, forgiveness, strength, and comfort. So on today’s blog entry and in pre-celebration for Valentine’s Day on the 14th, here’s some love quotes to enjoy.

*Images can be found on our Pinterest page.

~ Nicole & J.R

 

 

Today, we’ve been together 7 years.

February 9th, 2013

Us in Milwaukee

7 years ago today, we met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you’ve read Our Story, you know that we originally got to know each other after I sent a care package through AnySoldier.com. We communicated via Yahoo messenger and emails during J.R.’s second tour in Iraq. But it wasn’t until Feb. 9, 2006 that we actually met face to face.

Our first picture together in Georgia.

You do crazy things when you’re young. J.R. and his friend Mike drove from Ft. Benning, Georgia, all the way to Milwaukee to meet me. Sounds crazy now, but at the time, it was just exciting to finally meet the pen pal I had been talking to who had been in Iraq. In all honestly, I didn’t really think that we would be where we all today. I figured that we would probably meet once maybe twice and that would be it. But it looks like fate had other plans.

Long story short, we spent the weekend together, surrounded by friends, and got to know each other. It had just snowed, so we even had a chance to go sledding over the weekend. After that, I flew down to Georgia and we went back and forth for six months in a long distance relationship until I moved to Memphis, TN to finish grad school. Later, JR moved to Memphis too, and we’ve been together ever since.

In the 7 years we’ve been together, we’ve had our ups and downs. But over all, it’s been a wonderful adventure and I’m fortunate to say that I’m married to my best friend. I love you J.R. Here’s not just to another 7 years, but 70 :)

~ Nicole

The PTSD Diary

Two People in Love, Dealing with PTSD/TBI