When trauma occurs to one person in the family, do the rest of the members remain immune? The fact is, when one family member struggles with posttraumatic stress disorder or any type of post-trauma symptoms the whole family remains involved. In the wake of Veteran’s day this past weekend, this week on YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA we’ll explore how one veteran’s war wounds impacted his daughter – and how she’s dealt with it.
Author, Christal Presley’s new book, THIRTY DAYS WITH MY FATHER (Health Communications, 2012) is a terrific look behind the scenes of life in a home where the past not only shadows but threatens the future. I’ll be chatting with Christal, the founder of United Children of Veterans , about her experiences and the book, plus Dr. Frank Ochberg about how posttraumatic stress impacts families and what you can do about it.
In the meantime, I asked Christal to share with me why she wrote this intimate memoir. Here’s what she said:
Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran, and author of The Things They Carried, once wrote: “Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”
I believe stories can change the world. I always have and I always will. As a child, reading and writing saved my life. It’s why I became an English teacher. It’s why I wrote Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD. I believe stories have the power to help us face our truths, to make us better understand each other, and to teach us the morality by which to live.
Stories can make the unseen seen. They can make the intangible tangible, the general specific. They can strike a chord in people and make them changemake them take action, and even help them healthe way nothing else ever could.
I didn’t write my book to throw around the terms “post-traumatic stress disorder” or “traumatic brain injury,” or to give you statistics on how many veterans commit suicide. Nor did I write this memoir to talk in general terms about Vietnamor even to say, simply, that war affects families.
I wrote my book to share with you a different kind of war story–a story to make you feel something deep within your stomach because I need you to truly believe how the invisible wounds of war can go on and on, and how there can be peace and healing. I’m asking you to take a journey with mea journey through a thick forest of family secrets, war trauma, and stigmasa forest where everything’s really quiet, except for a sound that’s been impossible to hear until now: The sound of a little girl named Christal who is still trying to save herself with a story.