Looking back, Army veteran Tim Keenan can see now that something changed after his tour of duty. He knows today that it was the onset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but at the time, he just knew something was different. "I didn't know what was wrong with me. I just was the happy go lucky boy from the class of 64 out of high school, and now in 1968, not a happy go lucky boy anymore, a different personâ?? describes Keenan.
Back at home, like a lot of veterans, Keenan suffered alone. In Vietnam, surrounded by his fellow soldiers he found comfort. "Knowing that everyone I was with was going through the same thing, we could talk to each other, we could work through each other, coming home was totally different no one knew, no one knew" says Keenan.
It took him years of effort and healing on his own to find relief for a condition that many suffer from in silence and isolation. Keenan found help. He reached out and learned that by doing so, he could take positive steps. "A veteran that suffers from PTSD needs to talk about what is going on and their feelings about it, and their anger and their issues related to it, to begin to deal in some way, to confront the demon in a positive way" says Keenan
Today, veterans have more resources to turn to than Tim had back in 1969. We understand more about PTSD, its causes, its impact, and treatment options. But according to Linda Fletcher, founder of A Matter of Honor, there is still a long way to go. Fletcher says "Americans know nothing about PTSD, we are very confused about it, and we know almost nothing."
That lack of understanding lead to the creation of A Matter of Honor. Itâ??s a grassroots local organization with the mission statement of teaching America about every aspect of PTSD. "We think that if we are able to teach Americans about PTSD, and develop a decent body of knowledge about it, American's will push for better care."
Fletcher believes that starting a dialogue, holding events like town hall meetings, sharing the latest research, and by educating veterans and the general public, positive steps can be taken. She says that PTSD can have a devastating impact on the lives of veterans, and their families, and that itâ??s time as a nation that more is done to address the problem.