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“A crucial tool for the men and women who have been serving our country so VALIANTLY during these past years.”
—Senator Bob Dole, from the foreword
“This extraordinary work will help the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan find the COURAGE to rebuild their lives and be successful.” —Honorable Anthony J. Principi, Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Posted April 13, 2006
My husband deployed for Baghdad in April '03, spending 6 months there. We are both active duty, but having not deployed myself at that time, I never knew the extent of how effected he would be by the daily events. He came home a completely different man: not sleeping, waking up with nightmares when he did sleep, drinking & smoking more heavily, and just jumpy overall. He was diagnosed with PTSD immediately upon return...and tried many times to explain the things he was feeling, and how detached he felt from the things he used to know before the war. He found this book in the store and brought it home, suggesting that I read it. I could not put it down...it totally hit home! It put everything that a veteran and PTSD sufferer thinks, feels, and experiences...things my husband had tried so hard to talk about, but often couldn't. It is very well written, and gives you every example of the things our deployed soldiers experienced abroad, as well as upon their return. It also has seperate exercises for the veterans and their loved ones, to help each one get thru this, step-by-step. I fully recommend this book to anyone who has come home from Iraq, as well as their loved ones helping them cope with the remaining fragments that war has left embedded in their memory.
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Posted August 2, 2011
This book was written by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and two PhD psychologists. All three have provided therapy for those who have been exposed to traumatic events such as war and for the families and friends who love them. As Major Andy Jackson of the US Army Special Forces stated in the introduction "it is essential reading for all combat veterans, their families and friends, military chaplains, employers and clinicians at VA Hospitals and vet centers." It has often been said that knowledge is power. As the book points out "it's natural for people who have experienced trauma to avoid anything that might remind them of the event, because these memories make them feel uncomfortable or distressed. But this kind of avoidance reinforces the symptoms of posttraumatic stress because it prevents them from learning a vital lesson: These reminders are not dangerous. They are merely "triggers" to uncomfortable memories of posttraumtic stress. " Learning that one can learn to control their reaction to the triggers can be very empowering. In Chapter 1 Reactions to War the authors describe both Positive and Negative Effects of War. Under Negative Effects such problems as anxiety, posttraumatic stress, panic attacks, phobias, anger, substance abuse and depression are clearly defined with examples of most given. Chapter 2 Strengthening Your Mind and Body reinforces the survival skills and strengths veterans of war already have to help them with combat related stress. It gives an overview of relaxation drills to help reduce anxiety in the readjustment to stateside living. One special section of this chapter is the Sleep Tips:19 Ways to Get Better ZZZZs area. When I myself briefly worked with returning National Guardsmen from Iraq, I noted that one of their most frequent complaints had to do with insomnia. Many seemed to be willing to do just about anything just to get a decent night's sleep. Effective recommendations in this area were always welcome. Chapter 3 Coping Strategies explains to combat veterans HOW their avoidance of certain activities, places, people or situations actually reinforces their posttraumatic stress. This chapter presents a gradual way for the body and mind to learn that the trauma is, in fact, over. It further details HOW to cope with unwanted images and memories, and HOW to combat panic, anger, alcohol or drug abuse, depression and negative thinking. It contains a section with anger management tips entitled "Combat Strategies for Ruling Anger". I like that this chapter also explains to returning veterans what exactly "professional help" is, what are therapists and what is therapy." Tn our culture seeking help for emotional problems is too often discouraged.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2011
As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, and someone who lives with PTSD and depression, I appreciate the sensitivity with which COURAGE AFTER FIRE is written. My affiliation with the military is based solely on the work I do within the Department of Veteran Affairs, giving suicide prevention workshops at veteran medical centers throughout the country. Troops clearly need what this book has to offer: a compassionate voice offering clear, non-judgmental direction, that acknowledges the fact that war can be traumatic, and that there are positive ways to cope with the challenges. Most importantly, this book stresses that asking for help is a sign of courage and strength. This is such an important message -- for all of us, really -- but particularly for those in the armed forces. The days of mental health challenges being a secret are over.
I particularly appreciate the comprehensive approach of COURAGE AFTER FIRE; it addresses all facets of life that may be affected by the traumas of war, and encourages readers to focus on the information that works for them, recognizing that not everything will work for everyone. I tell readers the same thing in my book, "How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention."
COURAGE AFTER FIRE has a layout and design that promotes easy reading and retention. The narrative approach is welcoming and encouraging. Exercises and tasks are organized and presented in applicable ways. Flip to any page and find valuable kernels of information; the resource section offers a vast array of information, pertaining to both the troops and their loved ones.
COURAGE AFTER FIRE is a must-read for anyone returning home from war, and for their family and friends, even men and women who feel fine and are adjusting well. Having COURAGE AFTER FIRE on hand will prove useful, perhaps for future challenges or to better understand their comrades.
Susan Rose Blauner is the award-winning author of HOW I STAYED ALIVE WHEN MY BRAIN WAS TRYING TO KILL ME: ONE PERSON'S GUIDE TO SUICIDE PREVENTION.
Posted February 20, 2011
No text was provided for this review.