Love Our Vets, by Welby O’Brien
A Book Review
Sharing as a counselor and from her personal experience of living with a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, Welby O’Brien gives hope, encouragement, and practical help for families and loved ones who are caught in the wake of the trauma. This book addresses a broad spectrum of issues and concerns, and offers realistic wisdom from a wide variety of individuals who share from real hearts and lives. My guess is that your story is much like mine. We share a lot in common; and how perplexing it is that no one else seems to get it. We struggle with fear, loneliness, anxiety, and sleepless nights. We question our sanity and have regular hormone checkups. We don’t dare tell anyone that we wonder if we made a mistake. And we feel ashamed at the fleeting thoughts of how much simpler life would be without PTSD.
As you read, you will see that the personal experiences shared in this book come from many people just like you. Including me. All names are fictitious but the accounts are authentic. The faith and love that has kept them from falling apart, held them up, comforted and strengthened them are available to all of us. We need each other. It is in sharing the struggles and growth, pain and healing, tears and joys that encourage us to love our vets even more. There is no greater reward.
The truth is I was a little hesitant to read this book. Other books that I have read have either been too clinical or downright awful. It’s a tricky subject to be sure. Many of those struggling with PTS and issues surrounding it only partially comprehend what is going on or are in complete denial. Competing with the slowly changing culture within the military is another hurdle to jump. It is my firm belief that whether you think you or your service member is struggling with PTS, educating yourself should be something you consider doing. Education can give you the chance to face the difficulties that may lay ahead with the armor you need to fight for yourself, your partner and your relationship.
Reading this book has not only inspired me personally and helped me deal with issues I have been carrying around from my husband’s career, but gave me hope for my dearest friends that I know are enduring this struggle with a brave face.
What I think this book really teaches you, aside from what the title implies, is that if you have the knowledge and understanding it will assist you in coping. Not just the veteran, but friends and family, can overcome issues of Secondary-PTS and the various symptoms that go along with it. While it is obvious that the book’s goal is to help people “Love Our Vets,” it really is an extremely empowering book.
As the “caregiver” of someone with these struggles, if you take care of yourself, understand what is going on inside of you, you’ll gain tips and tricks. That education will ultimately prepare you to heal and cope with the issues that your Vet is going through. And while Welby doesn’t ever say that PTS/PTSD is something you can 100% recover from and that things can go back to “normal”, she does give hope for a brighter future.
I think that every significant other, spouse, mom, dad, brother and sister needs to have this book given to them the moment their service member deploys. After that every commander and high-ranking military official needs to read it. If we are able to really equip the military community, PTS won’t be this thing that we see continually drag down our military families who struggle to find support and love while they go through it.
The rating system is as follows: 1-Star General = Poor, 2-Star General=Fair, 3-Star General=Good and 4-Star General=Really Good, Recommended, 5-Star General=Must Read.
Disclosure: The author was provided this book in exchange for her open and honest opinion. She was not compensated by the publisher for her review. You can find more of Rheanna’s reviews on “Rhe’s Bookshelf” on her blog.