Tag: ptsd

The LiFE OF HOPE | Deeatra Kajfosz

After a childhood with emotional and psychological challenges, Deeatra Kajfosz enlisted in the Idaho National Guard and found a home, but a move to Wisconsin, a change in military occupation and an unfamiliar culture unraveled her military experience.

Cycles of chronic major depression and anxiety and a near-fatal suicide attempt would follow and denial became her key to survival. She experienced suicide loss from a unique perspective and came to fully understand how little she knew about suicide. Kajfosz began a quest for answers.

Now, Kajfosz dedicates her life to raising awareness, providing education and supporting others affected by suicide ideation, attempt and loss. It is through her own life journey her story connects with her audience in highly personal and inspiring ways. Hers is an extraordinary tribute to the gift of adversity, the power to rise above it, and the ability to share a life-saving message of hope with others.

Deeatra Kajfosz is an award winning suicide awareness and prevention advocate, public speaker, and Founder of the LiFE OF HOPE organization, serving as a comprehensive approach to the prevention of suicide attempts and death.

When your family fights your war | Ken Lee

Kenneth Lee immigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. The son of a South Korean Army career soldier and Vietnam War Veteran, Lee developed a sense of duty to his new country. Completing medical school and determined to serve and “give back” he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

There, as a commander of the Company Bravo of the 118th Area Support Medical Battalion, he suffered a traumatic brain injury during a suicide car bombing while on a combat tour to Iraq in 2003.

Years of physical and psychological challenges — and of the the haunting guilt of leaving his command post and company behind in Iraq — would strain Lee’s wife and children. They would be the real casualties of his war — suffering the effects of a husband and father emotionally detached from the family.

“You don’t smile anymore,” said Lee’s daughter — then he sought help.

After recognizing the need to take responsibility, he is determined to maintain the health of his family as the primary health care unit. His passion to help veterans is shown through his devotion to the adaptive sports community.

“Your son didn’t come home” | Heidi Carlson

Heidi Carlson’s father was a Marine, her family had a history of substance abuse and addiction. Her marriage to a Vietnam War veteran — scarred by abuse — ended in divorce.
The loves of her life would be her two sons and her six grandchildren.

When her son David announced his decision to enlist in the US Army,
Heidi was frightened yet proud. David, an infantryman, returned from his first deployment to Iraq in good spirit and health.

When Meeting David at the airport returning from his second tour she immediately noticed, as a mother would, that his eyes were different and evasive.

While hugging her son he said to her, “your son did not come home this time.”

Heartbroken and afraid, what waited for them both were many years of suffering, substance abuse, severe mental health issues and prison punished them, but a mothers love would never surrender.

Forward, march: life with gratitude and hope | Jerry Witt

Jerry Witt was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin and graduated from Milwaukee Custer High School in 1964. After earning an Associate Degree at a local community college, Witt was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to a scout dog training program. He served as a dog handler in Vietnam beginning in May of 1968.

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Words of Wisdom: The Story Behind One Vietnam Veteran’s Podcast

“There are many of us who have experienced these reactions who are here to tell you there is hope. It’s more important to not worry what the world thinks of your but to set a goal of being happy by yourself in a room when no one else is around,” Orban says.

Rage and Reconciliation — Joe Campbell

In this segment of the Stigma Free Vet Zone, Vietnam veteran Joe Campbell reflects on his family’s experience during his active duty and beyond. We hear how Joe’s family grappled with the fear associated with not knowing where he was, what danger he might be facing, and if and when they might receive word that Joe had been killed.

Campbell describes his mother’s torment as her emotions swung from her unending fear for his safety overseas to gnawing heartache and helplessness for the man who returned home.

Relentlessly driven by rage, Joe’s family watched for decades as he descended further into isolation and violent nightmares fueled by alcohol. “Quit drinking or this is over,” demanded his wife.

Listen, as Campbell narrates what happens next (and guides us on his path to reconciliation).

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. III

n the finale of this three-part series, Mark Foreman reflects thirty years later. Now allergic to morphine, osteomyelitis has returned to Foreman’s hip. He has had three major surgeries, all performed without pain killers. The resulting agony caused Mark to desperately search for any instrument within reach to end his pain by ending his existence. That is until once more the power of love saves his life.

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. II

The pain of his wound — so severe — he wished only for another bullet to end his life.

In this episode, Mark Foreman’s greatest insight is recognizing his only success in life would come from taking responsibility for his actions and goals. No mental health professional, family member nor university — no one — but he would ever again build his vision of what his life is and his place in that life. This is profoundly courageous and significant thinking. When understood this is the most fulfilling path in life.

Bodies, Bones and Biologics – Mark Foreman | Pt. I

Eighty percent of his Marine company was killed in the first ten minutes of a battle that lasted six days. Foreman was wounded on the second day and sustained such intense pain he wished only for another bullet to end his life. He laid on the jungle floor for nearly a week with a shattered hip that prevented him from responding to the screams of wounded and dying Marines scattered around him. Foreman’s evacuation from the battlefield marked the end of one war and the beginning of another.

The Reckoning: Anger, Depression, and Reconciliation with Carol Sprague

Carol joins me today to discuss the reckoning that occurred a decade after Chuck returned injured from Vietnam. She shares the challenges and emotions associated with being the wife of a Veteran who has seen extensive action. Carol shares how Chuck kept his Vietnam experiences to himself for ten years, before his father’s death caused a day of reckoning. She discusses their reconciliation and finding peace through religion and philosophy. Carol also highlights how communication and counseling can help Veterans and their spouses as well as the importance of avoiding shaming and blame.