97 I am not happy with myself and feel I've let everyone down
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Dear Dr. Smith

I was in Viet Nam assigned with 81 Mortars. I was a Gunner and Squad Leader. I was there in the Da Nang, Viet Nam area from July 1965 thru May of 1966. I had the fear of not coming back home, and there were several incidents that I thought I was a goner. God brought me through this, however, in 2001 I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  I have nightmares and sleep difficulty all the time. I've been to an in house PTSD program that lasted 6-weeks, Monday-Friday in 2003. I was selected for the program due to the severity of my condition. I have a ongoing battle with this. I am not happy with myself and feel I've let everyone down.

Dear War Hero,
Thanks for the added information. I knew something drastically had to have happened in your past for the severity of your PTSD. In doing your treatment back in 2003 did they combine therapy with medication? Were you dismissed with medication? Have you been recently prescribed medication? Are you taking any medication?

I asked you these questions because I know people going through PTSD are sometimes hesitant in taking medication. They carry ambivalent feelings about the drug, hence the refusal. However, if you are given medication, I encourage you to take it. It is a mood stabilizer. Medication, however, should be combined with therapy, when treating PTSD, in order to have effective results. If not, you will become dependent on the drug or it looses its effectiveness.

It is important to keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. You have not let everyone down, you have done a great job in service for your Country and we are proud of you. It is because of your valiancy in battle that we, to a large extent, can enjoy the freedom of America. So, never think that way again, it's of the devil and you must rebuke the devil.
Start feeling proud of your self, you are a hero, and God is pleased with you. As you confront your PTSD, I want you to do the following,

  1.  Explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma
  2.  Work through feelings of guilt, self-blame, and mistrust
  3.  Learn how to cope with and control intrusive memories
  4.  Address problems PTSD has caused in your life and relationships

Keep courage, be strong, keep thinking positively, and may God's blessings be upon you.
Have a great day.

Dr. Smith.