I have PTSD

I was a Marine and I was a soldier

I served my country with honor, both in peacetime as well as in war

I’ve been called “hero” but I simply followed orders

I did so voluntarily, for tradition and to serve our great nation

The “heroes” are my fallen brothers and sisters who will never return home

Not a day goes by that I don’t see their faces and hear their voices

Not a night goes by without the same

I scream the same question, over and over every day, yet no one can hear

Why did i get to come back? I’m nobody special

I see the pain in the faces of families of the fallen

They are sons, daughters, wives and husbands

They will never again get to see their loved ones, as I get to do every day

What makes me so special?

I want so bad to take their pain away, but there is nothing i can do

I can’t help but constantly remember….that could’ve been me

I used to love to sleep at night

But now i know that’s when the demons come

My wife, she loves me, yet cannot sleep with me at night

I wake startled in the middle of the night…….it’s so dark and quiet and no one to say…”It’s all right”

I have to take a pill every night and hope….will I sleep well tonight?

I already know the answer…it’s going to be a fight.

I try to talk about it, but the words are hard to come by

I push the ones who love me away and think I’m protecting them

All the while screaming for their loving embrace

This thing I have, it strains my marriage

it threatens to take what little I have

I want to scream “Please help me!”

But i don’t know how to do that

I have been laughed at for having this, even by those I thought I could trust

When people ask and I tell them I’m a disabled veteran, I see their eyes gaze up and down

I wonder what they are thinking, so then I explain it yet again

Not all wounds are visible; this one is hardest to treat

I see my counselors and talk to other vets, those who will understand

I know i will have this for the rest of my life

And so i cope with it, morning, noon and night

I hope everyone reads this, and maybe someone it will help

Because it takes a lot of courage to stand up and say……

“I have PTSD….can someone please help?”

Wesley Perkins is an Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran. In his free time, he speaks to students and others about PTSD and its effects on Veterans and their families.

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Published on Dec. 21, 2011

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 138


  1. Glen Miller January 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Hi Wesley. Your words are encouraging and helpful.
    Candor and poetry will help many cope with PTSD. I go to the VA tomorrow to seek some help. It has taken 42 years to ask.

    I want to bear witness to the mental wounds of combat. Only by expressing the doubts, fears, and honor of combat can the killing be questioned. More veterans need to speak out. At least the nation should hear the side of the warrior. My hope is that our individual but supporting candor will help others began to comprehend the full price of war.
    About 2 years ago Edward Tick, author of “War and the Soul” told me to wear my Combat Infantry Badge. It is my eagle feather in the tradition of the American Indian warrior. I will wear the CIB and continue to speak up about the life of the warrior in America “after the parade”.
    I write poetry also, perhaps we could share some thoughts and poetry through email. Glen

  2. rc January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I truely believe that my husband cant heal until he feels in his heart that the VA does care and understand what they endure while serving this country. He tells me all the time they dont care and i say yes they do but in my heart i dont feel that way now. I sometimes wonder if these so called VA doctors making statments like that have served in the battle grounds of the vietnam war. Yes i get very upset when i read these blogs but i pray everyday that with gods graces they will be able to understand what each and every vet is feeling inside and help them as they so deserve. The VA ask why vets dont trust them, well that statement alone about cant stay married if you have PTSD is so wrong and very unprofessional. Yes it is very hard to stay in a marrage when someone is fighting with PTSD from the war, but that doesnt mean every person should up and get a divorce because its hard. Sure i have thought about divorce from time to time and is it in the best interest of our family but i know god sent me into my husbands life for a reason and maybe this is the reason to HELP HIM deal with this. To the VA;s comment to your husband Virginia OH YES WE CAN!!!!!(stay married), is all im going to say. God bless you and all vets

  3. rc January 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Virginia, i can truely relate to what your saying and how you feel. I also have been married to a vietnam vet for 20years although he has been married twice prior to our marrage. I also believe in those vows of BETTER OR WORSE and thats what god would want you to believe in. I cant understand why in the world the VA would even make a statement like that. I suppose they dont have the same values as some do. Everyday of my life is a challenge , not only for myself but my family as well. I have tried to handle this all on my own, not even knowing my husband has been suffering in silence for years and years with PTSD. He is now seeking out medical help from a private doctor who specializes with vets.

  4. Roxanne January 24, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Thank you for writing this beautiful poem. But most of all, thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for the courage to look people in the eye and say, I have been harmed….and seeking help for it. Stay strong. You have courage, my respect and I honor you for your service.

  5. Justin January 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Wesley, thank you for the words I myself was diagnosed almost a year to the day now at your lovely VA mental health intake, I have been back now for over a year and a half from Afghanistan. I have PTSD and I am seeking help, it has still cost me to date a wonderful woman and a job the dayly struggle and the tired of being tired is probably the most annoying and the hardest to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced first hand.

  6. Virginia January 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Wesley, your poem is very moving, and hopefully some of the comments will help both you and your wife. When my husband began receiving treatment for his PTSD from the VA (nearly 40 years after his participation in the Tet Offensive of 68, a total of three tours in Nam, and all those years of thinking he must be crazy) he was fortunate enough to wind up with both a vet service rep and a psychologist who were able to recognize and begin treatments. One of the things the doctor’s continually questioned him about was the fact that in veterans with PTSD, it is very rare for them to be able to stay on a job long term, or remain married successfully. His long term job was 12 years, after working all 40 years in between his years in the Marine Corps. As for our 40 plus year marriage, I finally told him next time they questioned him to let them know that when I took my wedding vows I thought I was supposed to mean “in sickness and in health”. Please continue to seek treatment and counseling through the VA, and check and see if there are any support groups for the spouses to attend. You and your wife will be in our prayers for continued improvements and most importantly, learning how to cope with the issues and begin to enjoy life again. God Bless you and the hundreds of thousands of others out there suffering still from Viet Nam, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • vets wife January 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Virginia, I would recommend you ask your husband to be transfered to a different VA psychologist. There are good and bad doctors within the VA system, just like there is good and bad in the private sector of the medical field. Any doctor who makes a statement to a vet who is suffering from PTSD saying – Its rare to have a successful marriage if you have PTSD is absolutely and very unprofessional to even be treating these vets for PTSD. Yes it is very hard , yes everyday is a struggle but with God in your life, he will see you through the brighter side of life. This doctor must not understand what VOWS are truely meant to be. Making a statement like that is sure not going to help your husband recover, if anything its going to make him more depressed. My god, what is wrong with that doctor. Tell your husband to please seek out help from someone else. God bless him with peace and you also.

  7. Elizabeth P January 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Truly touching. I thank you for your service and your sacrifice, and for enduring the horrible things that came your way. I am a vet also with hidden disabilities, but not PTSD. Just know we all love you – all former and current military members, the ones who saw combat and the ones that didn’t, the ones who came back and the ones who are gone forever, save for in our hearts. I am so proud of you.

  8. James January 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I’m an OIF vet…..Army Infantry…..watched two close friend die in that Shithole and lost several more….On several occasions the VA had said that I have PTSD, and TBI…but other than then trying to cram various pills down my throat…..I’ve received no treatment or compensation! The VA is a joke!

  9. Mary Leehan January 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I live with ptsd and my husband has all the signs of ptsd but he thinks no one can or will help him. He is a 13 yr vet of the army who wakes up not knowing of the dreams that has left me with bruises and sore spots where he accidentally poked or pushed to get away from some unknown enemy. He remembers missions clearly and who he served with but those missions don’t exist therefore supposedly never happened. He can and does react to things that dont bother “normal” people and it breaks my heart to see this knowing what he’s going through. Why can’t someone help him? Why can’t someone help all our vets and soldiers?

  10. Erin N. January 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Love this poem. My boyfriend has PTSD. I was not able to enlist due to a Problem with my spine. I am currently in school to get my lcsw to work with veterans with PTSD. I hope that some day we can properly help all those with the disorder.

  11. Gail January 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

    We are forming a faith-based non-profit called Plugged In! “Are you connected?” Our research for the Needs Assessment showed us a need to serve veterans in our area.
    Your poem and the responses have confirmed what we sensed – the need for a place for vets and others to connect, to develop safe relationships, to talk about experiences, to be encouraged.
    A question on a grant application asks what population of veterans we want to serve (we hope to have transitional housing). I wasn’t sure until I read your final plea: “Can someone please help me?” I want to help those with PTSD to be set free. I truly believe the love of Jesus can touch and heal the root of your pain and restore your lives and your families.
    We are still in the early phases, but I am so hopeful as I learn more about veterans’ struggles and the injustices you have to deal with, that Plugged In! can make a difference in the lives of vets in our little segment of the world.
    I co-lead a Celebrate Recovery group, a world-wide faith-based 12 step program for anyone with hurts, hang-ups and habits. Something we say in CR is “You’re as sick as your secrets.” Healing begins as we begin to disclose those deep, dark places in our soul that we’ve never talked about. My prayer is that you all will find that safety in someone. Don’t let the demons continue to rule your life.
    I encourage those who read this to find a Celebrate Recovery in your area. Hundreds of meetings take place weekly across the globe. I pray God will give you faith to take that step. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
    Lastly, I want to share a vision. We were dedicating the building to veterans. In the vision I asked “Why?” (not that you didn’t deserve it; but God wanted to make a point.) He said, “Who can better identify with the sacrifice Jesus made than those who have also risked their lives?” You are so precious in His sight! He loves you more than you will ever know! Jesus died so that WE might be free. You risked your lives (and some died) so that WE might be free. I don’t believe for a minute that God does not want YOU to be free! That is not the God we serve. Trust Him to help you walk through the healing process.
    Thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins. Thank you, veterans, for risking your lives so I might have the freedom I have in this country that I would not otherwise have.
    Welcome Home! We esteem and honor you. May God bless and encourage you.
    “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to His power at work within…

  12. Alice Shukalo January 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I am grateful for Wesley’s reaching out with his writing and for the comments from other readers. Later this month, I will be mentoring a writing group affiliated with the Veterans’ Writing Project, and I want to learn all I can about how to help veterans express their experiences and feelings. I hope that veterans will feel the freedom to seek out opportunities to use art, theater, and writing to heal their memories and emotions. I hope that those who attend the writing group will feel that they have be able to express themselves and that they have been heard.

    • Don Bick January 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      I’m a Vietnam Vet. Speaking of writing projects – after I was diagnosed with a severe case of PTSD in 2010 I began treatment and a few months later returned to Vietnam. I spent most of a year there facing my demons and writing a book, my memoirs. It is now an e-book – The Boy Died In Vietnam. My whole life changed after I went back. If you are having problems or know of a vet that is, please seek help or help those you know get into treatment. I might not be here if another vet hadn’t helped me. Take care and good luck!

  13. Wes Perkins January 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Well, the wife woke me up from a dead sleep because she had seen that this had gotten published (i had forgotten) and was so excited to see it here that she felt she had to wake me lol

    First off, i wish to sincerely thank all of you, veterans and loved ones of veterans, for sharing your stories with me. I was humbled by them, to say the very least.

    Honestly, when i wrote the poem in my facebook notes, i really had no idea that it would be seen by my friends lol soon after, i started receiving comments on it and saw that it was there for everyone to see lol However, i’m glad that i did.

    One of the reasons i speak at my forums, various health fairs and a school about PTSD and my experiences with the war, is two pronged. First, if what i say or write helps even a single veteran or the loved one of a veteran hears or reads it and gets their veteran some help, then it’s certainly more than worth it. Secondly, it’s been very therapeutic for myself, and my wife also, who has gone with me on occasion to speak, and has been integral in my own readjustment, treatment, and recovery. She has truly been my rock.

    Thanks again to everyone and i sincerely hope that you find the help you need to keep moving forward in improving the quality of your life as well as the ones you love.

  14. James A. Davis( former Marine) January 15, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thank you Wesley for your poem. Since 1974 I have struggled with PTSD alone. I have been married twice with 6 children. I have never been able to discuss my feelings with my wives or children. I recently (September 2011) sought help from the PTSD clinic in Lake City, Fl. With the help of a wonderful therapist I am able to put things into prespective and hopefully will be able to share my feelings and my near-death experience with my wife and children.
    Continue with your poems because they mean a lot to other Veterans like you and me !!!

  15. proud veteran January 13, 2012 at 5:38 am

    all i can say is hooah Iraq wasn’t my first tour but it ended my career early my wife GOD BLESS HER has stood by my side how i don’t know. people see the scars, the wheelchair, and stare. Then I hear at least u are lucky all i can say is no, my driver and close friend are the lucky one, for them the war is over, yet the war for me still goes on, i still keep reaching for my rifle, that isn’t there. I have read a lot on thid site but nothing affe4crd me like your poem at least now I know am not alone. I can’t help you but you helped mr.

  16. Richard Benavidez January 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I am a Vietnam Veteran and served 3 tours, 68,69.and70. The VA Hospital, told me that I have PTSD. They locked me up for 4 days. Great? Now I have to take 12 pills a day. The great news from the VA is that the check is in the mail any day. Two years!!! . Now I know the name of that thing that’s been following me. PTSD
    Thank you for your writing. Your writing helped alot today.
    You take care.

  17. Alda Copeland January 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    PTSD should be considered as a “traumatic brain injury” and the veterans from all conflicts or wars who have been disabled because of PTSD should be awarded the same Purple Heart awarded to other injured-in-battle veterans. PTSD is a serious life altering injury.
    My marine/husband felt cheated by his “Uncle Sam” until the day he died; because his wound was not visible did not lessen the impact on his quality of life.
    I am just becoming familiar with “posting comments” so I mistakenly submitted this statement under an unrelated topic…I hope this comment is in the correct place now!

  18. Michelle Ayres, Proud Mother of SGT Robert T Ayres, III KIA Iraq 2007 January 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

    It’s greater than depression. It’s life. If we’re going to do justice to their sacrifice, we have to live every day to it’s fullest with all the joy and enthusiasm we can muster. When we smell the roses, we should take the time to smell one more. If we visit Disneyland, we should get there when it opens and not leave until it closes. If you find yourself in a bar, don’t just sit around and drink; Get up and dance! Pregnant ladies say “I’m eating for two”. We can say “I’m enjoying life for 10,000. Get out of my way.”
    Please accept this gift from my son, Wesley. He is standing next to you with your fellow soldiers who have fallen. Their gifts mean nothing if you don’t accept them.
    Accept their gifts.

    • Heat-Man January 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Lady, although your intentions may have been good minded in theory, you have no idea the guilt trip you just laid onto all those Veterans who may read this. I owe no one nothing. It was not another Soldier that gave their life for me, they did their job and supported the mission and the orders issued to them.
      You may want to rethink your verbage and context.

  19. Michelle Ayres, Proud Mother of SGT Robert T Ayres, III KIA Iraq 2007 January 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

    The next night, you start to think about the bills that aren’t paid and you wake her up and say “Shouldn’t we have used the money to pay off the credit cards instead of a car for me?” But she says “I earned the money during my free time. It was my choice how to spend it and I wanted to spend it on you. You’re that important to me. You deserve something special. Now just drive your beautiful car and have fun with it. That’s why I bought it.”
    So you drive the beautiful Mustang she bought for you with joy. While you drive, you think “She’s such a wonderful wife. Now I’m going to be the most wonderful husband. I’m going to work harder than any other husband. I’m going to be the best father to our kids that I can be.”
    How much more precious is the gift of a man’s life than a car? It’s a gift. Don’t waste your time feeling badly about what it cost. All the giver wants in return is for you to enjoy it. Enjoy your life. Wake up every morning with joy knowing that many, many soldiers knew that the ones they left behind were worth their sacrifice.
    You couldn’t have taken my sons place on that street in Bagdhad. God decided that Robert would have the opportunity to be the giver of the greatest gift of all. Robert was chosen. He had the privledge to committ the most awesome act of love and bravery. He accepted the challenge and he went to Glory as a handsome, strong, brave hero. Robert will be a brave warrior for eternity.
    Wesley, if it could bring my son back, I would trade my life for his. But there’s no bargaining in this matter. God did not choose me to do the great thing Robert did. There’s no point in thinking that you could trade your life for someone else’s. Robert did not lay down his life in trade. His life was given as a gift.
    My heart is broken over the loss of my son. If you see me and I’m sad, it’s because my heart longs for him. There’s no way that it’s your fault. You had no control over this matter. The soldiers I have met have been a great comfort to me. When I get a hug from a soldier, I can feel my son’s arms around me and I can imagine the joy I will feel when he greets me in heaven.

    We are the recievers of Robert’s gift, Wesley. That’s our end of this transaction. It’s up to us to accept the gift and have gratitude for it. This is our challenge. It’s not a gift we wanted but the giver loved us and paid dearly for it. We don’t make use of the gift because we feel like it. We make use of the gift to honor the giver.
    The gift from our fallen soldiers is greater than death. It’s greater than…

  20. Michelle Ayres, Proud Mother of SGT Robert T Ayres, III KIA Iraq 2007 January 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

    My son fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom too. His name was SGT Robert T. Ayres, III. He was killed in Bagdad on September 29, 2007.

    I read your poem and it broke my heart to learn that you are so unhappy.

    Robert was killed trying to protect the men he was in charge of. They came under fire and herded them into a doorway, leaving himself exposed. He was shot in the neck.

    My baby died.

    Some of his men wrote to me. They were very sad over Robert’s death. Some of them felt responsible. They felt guilty. One man said he wished he could have died instead of Robert.

    I wrote back and told them that the last thing Robert would want was for them to be sad or feel guilty because he gave up his life for them. Robert sacrificied his life so that they could live.

    We use the expression “he gave his life”.

    He gave it.

    His life was a gift. He decided to give this gift to his fellow soldiers. He felt they were worth his sacrifice. “Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for another.” He gave his life for them and for me and for YOU. He did this out of the greatest, highest, most unselfish love a man is capable of.

    You said you’re nothing special. But you’re very special, Wesley. My son gave his life for you.

    Indulge me in a story, Wesley: What if you had a wonderful wife who knew you always wanted a Mustang to drive? One morning, she wakes you up and hands you a set of keys to your new Mustang and she says “This is for you just because I love you. It’s all paid for. It’s not your birthday or Christmas. I’m giving this to you because I know how much you wanted it.”
    You ask her “How did you pay for it?” And she says “I skipped eating lunch all year and I worked through my lunch hour. I sold the jewelry my mother left me and when you weren’t home, I worked overtime and squirreled away every cent.”
    You would be so happy to drive that car. You would take such good care of it because it represented all of her love and effort. Even if she picked the wrong color, it would be the perfect car because she bought it for you.
    One night, you start to think about how hard she worked and that she didn’t eat lunch for a year. You start to feel badly and you tell her why.
    “Don’t be silly”, she says “I dropped 20 pounds I was trying to get rid of and now my boss knows I’m a great worker. I benefited from what I did. Don’t spoil my gift by feeling sorry for me. I bought the car so that you would enjoy it. I don’t want anything in return but to see you enjoy the car.”
    The next night, you start to think about the…

  21. James January 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Wesley, thank you first of all for serving. I thank you also for having the courage to face PTSD and put your feelings and fears down on paper. I heard my dad scream at night, saw the tired worn out look in his eyes every day. He served 3 tours in Vietnam and I know saw some horrifying things. When I had made my mind up to join first the Air Force but then switched over to the Army he told me to never volunteer for anything. I remember replying, “but dad you volunteered 2 more times than you had to”, to which he replied, “that was different son”. I often ask my self why didn’t I listen? I am now 40, I can’t sleep the whole night through, I experienced things that most people you talk to could never imagine. I hear the voices, I see their faces, I can smell the burning metal and gun powder, the heat the force of the blast, it is there, every night and sometimes during the day. I have fought, with my sweet wife’s encouragement to get the VA to recognize the struggle. My wife is wonderful, she is there for me, she talks to me, she holds me when the dreams have been too much. The one thing I pray is to be like I was before the war, whole, unblemished, with a good memory and motivated to be the best that I could be. These guilty feelings of being alive are miserable. But no body understands like another veteran, civilians do look at you different when you mention you are a disabled vet. Why can’t they understand that we are like this because we laid down our lives for them?

  22. amber January 5, 2012 at 4:23 am

    U may not think ur special but someone does. God does. It is hard to see anyone die…..especially in a cruel manner and taken before their time. Its easy to say y not me? But these r questions to which only God knows the answer. Everything happens for a reason. They died for us….so live for them. So their sacrifice was not in vain. I pray God grants everyone peace. God bless u.

  23. Chianne Smith January 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    This sounds exactly like my husband & our lives. Thank you saying out loud all that he has only recently been able to say to me. You will be remembered in our prayers & never forget that you or your family are notalone alone. Also that there are people here for you all. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Jenny Taylor December 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Wesley you are an American hero that has served your country well. And though at times it seems that the world doesn’t care, realize that there are those like myself who are truly indebted and thankful to your service. As a civilian I can only imagine the horrors that you faced on the field of battle. We as a country need to take better care of our veterans. It makes me so angry when I see veterans who have come back from war treated like dirt. They are not degenerates, they are heroes. I thank you for your sacrifice and service. I wish you a speedy recovery. You are a true American Hero.

  25. RC December 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Wesley first and foremost thank you for serving our country. Yes it does take someone special to say what you have stated above.and i thank you for that. Ive been married to a vietnam vet for over 20years(he was married twice prior to our marrage) and for years and years i never understood who my husband really is. He held all this in for over 38years, not knowing PTSD even existed. I knew nothing about the war and he would never want to talk about it, so i was clueless as to what he endured. I knew in my heart he is a good person, i was just so confused about alot of things in our marrage(and im not talking about the everyday problems couples have in there marrage) I also do not sleep with my husband and now at times i feel so quilty for not understand why he is the way he is today. I truely am trying so hard to understand all this and i also am feeling the pain he feels inside but even knowing now what PTSD is its so hard to get him to actually open up to me.

    • RC December 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      He is losing faith in the VA system and truely at times i think things have gotten worse. The VA denied his PTSD claim stating he has PTSD but no stressors. My husband explained to me that the VA doctor was very cold shoulder and didnt have a clue as to what vietnam was all about. His comment to me was , they dont care now and they didnt care back then. I could not live this way any longer and we needed help.So i made an appointment with a private doctor(which we are paying for now) The private doctor did the same evaluation testing as the VA did, and concluded he is 100%PTSD from the vietnam war and stated each and every stressor my husband has.

      • RC December 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

        We sent in all the private doctors testings and stressor statements and still to this day one year later its just sitting in the first stages ( as if nothing has been looked at) I thank god everyday that i made that appointment with the private doctor, whom is treating my husband with zanax3times daily and sleeping pills at night and counseling. He still is suffering inside, i feel it and at times i think reliving every moment of the war has made things worse. i dont know if its because he kept it inside for over 38years are what.

        • RC December 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

          But no matter what your feeling now, i can only express what im feeling and hope that somehow someway god gives you and all vets some sense of peace . Please VA this is true living proof of what these vietnam vets and there families have endured and are paying dearly for it today.It shouldnt take years and years for something to be done. The one thing i am thankful for is that vets coming home from todays war, are being treated with dignity, honor, respect and given what is truely disserving to them.

        • Austin Schmidt January 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

          Hi … I have PTSD … 41 years in the Army … Infantry and Special Forces … my symptoms finally showed up after Iraq (’05-’06) and my (second) wife decided I needed help … I did not report my issue to the government agencies which are supposed to help us … I went to my civilian doctor who is a former Tanker and he understood immediately and determined that yes, I have PTSD and he put me on medications which ameliorate to some degree my PTSD, but it’s still there. My Dad (Southwest Pacific, WWII) came home with PTSD … never talked about the war or much anything else … he was grumpy and stand-offish … I try to not be like that but with the knowledge that I will be on drugs for the rest of my life and that I cannot trust the government to do the right thing, it isn’t pleasant. My son is an Infantryman in Afghanistan. When he comes home, I will do my best to take care of him and keep him safe. That’s really all we can do who have the little demon in us because we defended our country.

  26. JUJU SANDS December 22, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Wesley, I admire your strength. Just knowing that you are open to talk about this and that you are trying to get help makes me know that you will overcome this. I am praying for you and thousands of others who are experiencing PTSD. I only wish my dad would have been as open as you; things would have been different for me, his daughter. Be strong brother, don’t try to understand – just know that God hears you. May He be your strength as He is mine.


    • Everett Huber January 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Ms. Sands,

      You have my sympathy for how your dad was.Also I admire your insight. My two sons have lived with the dad from hell all their lives. If people do not pay attention to my petty rules, I feel that they might come into harms way, and be killed.There is nothing petty or simple out there in life, it is all a foreboding jungle and danger is around every corner.

  27. SSG PIERCE December 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you Wesley, I cannot say the sords you can. I respect you honesty and strenght. I am glad to see people are talking about the wars honestly and being open.

    I am tired of crying in the dark, I humbley think we should all tell our VA docs the truth and hold the DoD and VA to thier promise. We need comprehensive health care. –Again thanks bro.

  28. Bill December 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I tried to get help in 1989 and the idiot at the VA told me that since my records are classified that I could not prove that I was ever in combat!
    I am a Vietnam Veteran and served with a combat aircrew and went into Laos (oh yeah we were not there)!
    I saw a helo that fell out of the sky and did not know it was real until 2002 when I accidentally found the incident on the web!
    I volunteered to help at dustoff and helped pull a young kid off the helo holding his leg in his arms crying because it had been blown off!
    I was almost killed several times with mortars and rockets hitting close!
    A dumb 2nd Lt almost blew my head off when he failed to clear his M-16 properly!
    On and on and on!
    I have found out recently that I was exposed to Agent Orange even more than I thought!
    The biggy is that I worked for Electronics Intelligence and I stuck my nose into the daily briefings and other things which more than convinced me that we knew where the POWs and MIAs were being held in Laos!
    I sometimes wake up after hearing a voice asking me, “You know where we are why don’t you come find us?” or some other question concerning bringing the guys home!
    I am so tired of not sleeping and tired of being tired!
    I had to fight my way into the VA to get help and without the help of my congressman, I would not have gotten an unclassified letter from my old agency proving that I was in combat!
    The panic attacks have been going on since 1969 due to all of this, but the VA has denied me help!
    I am begging that anyone experiencing PTSD to come forward and get help as fast as possible!
    I have a nephew who just came back from 2nd tour in the sandbox!
    I am afraid for him and for guys like the combat medic I met from the sandbox who was the only survivor from an IED!

    • Ronald Christopher January 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Nobody has a classified record.

      • Julia January 22, 2012 at 12:21 am

        Records in some operations were never released and stayed under classification. I have a few Female Soldiers and Marines who did not get credit for any awards because they were not supposed to be doing any kind of operations with Special Forces. So before you make a comment, do some research.

    • Doctor Dave January 31, 2012 at 2:10 am

      Keep going to the VA mental health facility for assistance since you have a DD 214
      Which will confirm your tour in Vietnam. You are still eligible for care under the new rules.

  29. J December 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Amen to this poem. Thanks Wesley. We all know how this feels. It was great to see the words in your poem give way to what the feeling of having PTSD is really like. God Bless you brother. And, yes…some gave all.

    Desert Shield/Storm Vet

    • Joseph Baker January 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      I am an OEF X-XI veteran and I have PTSD, I have been struggling with this disorder for over a year now and I want to take the time to say thank you for this poem it brings tears to my eyes….but It reminds me that I am not alone….We are Warriors and we are strong….it takes more strength to realize that you have PTSD and you need treatment…PTSD is not a disorder that weak men and women get it is what Soldiers, Marines, Airman and Seaman….get, it is a disorder of Warriors…and we are in this together….may God Bless all the families who have a service member or a Veteran who has PTSD….Its not easy on them but the real heroes are the Family members who lead the Veterans to get treatment. I want to give all them my Salute…Hats off to You…Wives, Husbands, Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents and Children who know someone or love someone with this invisible wound that never completely heals…

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