Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Love Our Vets by Welby O'Brien

Perhaps you know someone struggling with PTSD. Maybe it is your spouse or family member. O'Brien has written an insightful and very practical book for spouses and friends of those experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

O'Brien lets us know that there is no easy solution for those in a relationship with a veteran with PTSD. She has found a principle consistent for a successful relationship, however. It is faith (connection with God) and love (connection with others) that heals and nourishes the relationship.

She explains PTSD, reminding us of the horrendous atrocities vets experience. They get locked in an emergency mode, living as if the original trauma might occur at any moment. She also describes the difficulties living with a person experiencing PTSD and suggests steps to get back to where one is not hijacked emotionally. One may not ever get over PTSD, but one can learn how to handle it better and have good relationships in spite of it.

I found a few of O'Brien's insights surprising. She says you cannot get others, such as friends or family members, to understand what it is like to live with a PTSD vet. She writes, “...one really cannot know what it is like to live with it until they do it.” (33) You can educate your friends, but don't expect them to “get it.” Another insight is about the self guilt a spouse might feel. “There is not some magic thing we should be doing to fix them.” (34)

O'Brien has included practical information for those living with vets. She writes about things that might trigger a PTSD experience, such as weather. She has tips for spouses when vets insist on having guns in the house. She includes ideas for expediting processes at government agencies.

She also includes a section on wisdom gleaned from people who love their vets. She shares the thoughts of many and this really gave me a sense of what others are going through. For the spouse of a vet, this is good encouragement to know that you are not alone.

O'Brien sums it up: “You may always have to walk on egg shells to some degree. Don't let it stop you from living and being you.” (171) There is a great deal of practical information and encouragement in this book to do that.

There is a limited discussion guide included. You can also find out more about the book at www.loveourvets.org.

You can watch an interview with Welby O'Brien here. I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Welby O'Brien holds a Master's Degree in counseling (Portland State University) and a teaching degree (Biola University). She has written or contributed to several books, is the founder of Love Our Vets support network, and is the wife of a veteran with PTSD. You can find out more about her and her books at http://welbyo.com/.

Deep River, 225 pages. You can buy a copy here.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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