The price I paid for getting my “war nerves” in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969 was not evident to me until 1990. As part of my professional training in treating war trauma, I was attending a PTSD workshop. I remember listening to the story of a navy medic, a veteran of Vietnam. Suddenly out of the blue it hit me: his story was my story.
He was telling his story about how he had been so long in denial. He all these years suffered disordered sleep undiagnosed because he thought himself “a lowly medic” and not worthy of war stress disorders. As a lowly civilian in that war, my body heaved in grief as I wept in recognition. From then on, I identified myself as a Civilian Vietnam War Veteran.
This was the beginning of being able to tell the story that I now invite you to read. A story that contains the normal struggles of my life: my high idealism and the terrifying realism of war, of loving friendship and of deep betrayal. Nothing that unusual or fantastical…but it’s my story just the same.
I know that the writing of this story is more about my needing to tell it, and I’m not sure why.
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