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Mike Orban is an army veteran who served in the Vietnam War in 1971. After returning home to civilian life, Mike struggled to cope with the experiences he had during combat, which led him into decades of darkness and isolation. In his book Souled Out: A Memoir of War and Inner Peace, Mike discusses his story of fighting in the war and dealing with combat’s traumatic impact. Today, Mike dedicates himself to outreach, connecting with numerous veterans and their families through his organization, the Orban Foundation for Veterans. He is also the co-founder of the Warrior Partnership, an initiative through the Medical College of Wisconsin that connects medical students with veterans with war-related trauma.
Mike joins me today to dive deeper into discussing his return to civilian life after serving in Vietnam, and the measures he took to maintain a facade of normalcy while fighting his distressing inner battles. Mike discusses his decision to join the Peace Corps, how this experience served as a spiritual awakening for him, and what it was like when he returned home to the United States once more. Mike also highlights his experiences with mental health care and how becoming more educated on his traumatic responses empowered him to move forward.
” The fear that I had of losing my mind exceeds any fear I’ve ever had in my life.” – Mike Orban
This week on the Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast:
- Whether other people noticed Mike’s mental health struggles when he returned to civilian life
- How Mike’s post-traumatic stress impacted his ability to pursue his education upon his return
- The anger, guilt, and shame Mike felt towards himself because of his experiences in Vietnam
- Why Mike decided to go into the Peace Corps and his family’s reaction to this decision
- Where Mike traveled to with the Peace Corps, the people he interacted with along the way, and the life lessons he learned
- When Mike started experiencing suicidal ideation
- How the support of Mike’s family members helped him manage his symptoms
- Mike’s experience with mental health professionals, what his early therapy focused on, and the help he believes saved his life
- How being in a group with other veterans gave Mike a new perspective on his war trauma
- The list Mike received in therapy that changed his life and allowed him to address his traumatic reactions
- Why we should focus on mental health education rather than mental illness and the insights Mike has gained through his trauma recovery journey
- Why it is crucial to consider the impact of war on veterans’ families
- Book: Souled Out: A Memoir of War and Inner Peace by Mike Orban
- Orban Foundation for Veterans
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Tomah VA Medical Center
- “Common Responses to Trauma and Coping Strategies” by Dr. Patti Levin, LICSW, PsyD
- Hôpital Albert Schweitzer
This episode is brought to you by…
The Orban Foundation for Veterans is dedicated to bringing greater hope, understanding, resolution, and togetherness on issues of civilian readjustment for all military veterans and their families. Orban Foundation for Veterans promotes the importance of education, identification, understanding, acceptance, and resolution of many of the complex and severe responses to war and military life.
Visit our website to learn more about the Orban Foundation for Veterans and to support our mission.
Helping Veterans & Their Families Transition to Civilian Life
Thanks for tuning into this segment of the Stigma Free Vet Zone podcast, the show dedicated to helping veterans and their families make the transition from the military to civilian life and culture. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe to the show and leave a review. For more stories, insight, and resources on coping with military-related trauma and PTSD, visit our website and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes across social media to help us raise awareness and help our brothers and sisters and their families transition to civilian life.
DISCLAIMER: The information and content shared in each episode of the Stigma Free Vet Zone are for informational purposes only. The Stigma Free Vet Zone hosts, Mike Orban & Bob Bach, are not, nor claim to be, medical doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists and should not be held responsible for any claims, medical advice, or therapy/treatment recommendations mentioned on this podcast. Any advice mentioned or shared by Mike Orban, Bob Bach, or their guests is strictly for purposes of bringing awareness to the veteran community and the services available. Please speak with a medical professional before taking any advice or starting any therapy or treatment discussed or shared on this podcast.