"Filled with examples of courage, wisdom, and innovation, Surviving the Shadows is a must-read for anyone in the military, anyone associated with the military, or anyone protected by the military."
-Nate Self, Army Ranger, Captain (ret.), decorated Iraq and Afghanistan War hero, author of Two Wars: One Hero's Fight on Two Fronts-Abroad and Within
"The news Bob Delaney brings...is poignant, up-to-date, well earned, and maybe lifesaving: You are not alone; sharing yourself with others can transform your very existence."
-James S. Gordon , M.D., author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression
"Bob Delaney was very effective in addressing our personnel...His perspective as a former law enforcement officer who suffered through PTSD was eye-opening and comforting for our men and women."
-Jane E . Castor , Chief of Police, City of Tampa Police Department
"Surviving the Shadows is a must-read for all those who serve their city, county, state, or country. Post-Traumatic Stress for too long has been treated like a secret-this book helps to remove that stigma and provides education, awareness, and hope."
-Don O'Leary , New York City Fire Department Captain (retired)
We are all touched by PTSD in some way-husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, families and friends.
Too often we have questions without answers, or don't know where to turn for help. But the truth is, what we really need is each other.
Surviving the Shadows is an uplifting journey through powerful and inspiring stories-marked by perseverance and personal courage-about an array of people who have suffered directly or indirectly from Post-Traumatic Stress. Along the way, PTSD education and awareness leader Bob Delaney introduces you to medical experts who have developed groundbreaking methods in dealing with the disorder, and profiles one-of-a-kind programs around the country devoted to assisting PTSD sufferers.
The first step to healing is one person away. The stories within Surviving the Shadows will help you understand the truth about Post-Traumatic Stress, and how we can help each other overcome it every day.
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About the Author
Dave Scheiber is a nationally renowned journalist and author who has earned some of the most prestigious awards in his profession.
Read an Excerpt
"Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got to where they are had to begin where they were."
It is impossible to walk the long halls of the Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad without reflecting on the extreme pain and suffering that the man who lived within the marble walls perpetrated.
The sprawling structure rises from placid blue waters that give no hint of the unfathomable terror that festered here under the reign of Saddam Hussein. The surrounding waters not only once served as a protective moat for the compound but also, in accordance with Saddam's beliefs, hid the sin inside from the eyes of Allah.
When I arrived at the palace in the summer of 2010, memories of that evil lingered-along
with faded stains of blood in rooms
I had come on a goodwill tour to the heart of the desert war zone to meet with U.S. troops and officers, just as I had done one year earlier when I'd been embedded with ground forces in Mosul. My personal mission-work that has become the guiding force in my life-was to reach out to people grappling with an unseen enemy from within, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
I knew the ravages of this condition firsthand from my undercover duty in the 1970s for the New Jersey State Police, before my second career as a referee in the National Basketball Association. And for nearly twenty-five years, I've never stopped speaking with and counseling members of law enforcement, the military, and others who have endured psychological trauma in their lives.
That is what brought me into a room that August morning in an upper chamber of the palace, the headquarters of General Ray Odierno, top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq-an imposing six-foot-five presence who shares my Jersey roots. The meeting included military staff and Deputy Commander General Robert Cone, who became known to the nation as the commander of Fort Hood during the tragic massacre in 2009.
In less than a week, Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would meet with General Odierno and announce the historic drawdown of U.S. troops in a phase dubbed "Operation New Dawn."
Yet now I was seated beside General Odierno in a place where he had hosted countless Iraqi leaders and world dignitaries. With General Cone flanking me, we focused on a subject that would outlive the war itself. After some brief introductions, General Odierno turned and asked me to describe my work with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I proceeded to share many details and ideas with him-chief among them a principle that lies at the heart of my approach and beliefs in combating PTSD: peer-to-peer therapy.
Although I recognize all the important medical treatments available, I view peer-to-peer therapy as the first line of defense in dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: cops need to speak to cops, firefighters to firefighters, soldiers to soldiers, combat spouses to combat spouses, and accident victims to accident victims.
The generals listened intently and expressed their complete agreement. As we talked, I was struck by the irony that we were discussing ways to fight a disorder in the very confines of a tyrant who had caused untold cases of it. And I came away more certain than ever that we should take the same preventative approach to this issue as we did with drugs and tobacco years ago: awareness and education need to become our focus so that we do not wait for Post-Traumatic Stress to become Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
That is where peer-to-peer therapy comes into play. It is a pillar of the work I share when speaking before audiences on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of the same experiences and philosophies that I share in those presentations entwine the journey of the men and women-from all walks of life-whose courageous and uplifting stories you will learn about in these pages.
Anyone who has suffered from PTSD-whether it has been brought on by a car accident, horrific moments in combat, domestic abuse, being the victim of a crime, surviving a natural or man-made disaster, enduring bullying in school, or even living a double life inside the Mafia-needs to become aware of the triggers that can bring manifestations of old traumas rushing back. That's one of the insidious aspects and defining traits of a condition that has risen to epidemic proportions today.
If you're reading these words, whether standing inside a bookstore, sitting comfortably at home, or settling in for a flight, chances are that something has drawn you to the subject of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a desire to learn more about it. You may have experienced its effects. Maybe a family member or friend is dealing with it, or maybe you have simply encountered the topic in news reports. Whatever the reason, you are about to gain a deeper, more personal knowledge of a subject that is only beginning to be fully understood-especially as it relates to the disorder's ripple effect in our society.
PTSD has shown up in news reports and dialogues about fighting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan with disturbing frequency in recent years. Hundreds of troops are committing suicide each year-with the Army reporting an all-time-high number of thirty-two confirmed or suspected suicides for a single month in June 2010. Twenty-two of those deaths involved soldiers who had seen combat, and ten had been deployed between two and four times.
According to an exhaustive, five-hundred-page 2008 study by the Rand Corporation, "The Invisible Wounds of War," approximately 18.5 percent of U.S. service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have experienced PTSD or major depression. Of the 1.64 million troops deployed at the time of the study, that percentage equates to three hundred thousand returning veterans suffering from PTSD or depression. About half of those veterans in need of treatment seek it, the study found, but "only slightly more than half who receive treatment get minimally adequate care." A persistent problem, according to Rand, was a fear among veterans that seeking mental health care would damage their career prospects or cause coworkers to lose trust in them.
The crisis may even be more widespread than previously believed. A CBS News report in 2011 cited an estimate by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, drawn from Veterans Administration data, that some 800,000 troops suffer from the condition.
But PTSD is hardly limited to the military. On a broader scale, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland, reports that 7.7 million Americans eighteen years and older suffer from the condition.
It's human nature to grow numb to an onslaught of television news coverage-from the unsettling statistics about troops returning from combat to reports of devastating floods and earthquakes. But that makes it all the more important that we look beneath the terminology to understand the meaning of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Post-Trauma Pathways 1
Chapter Two: A New Step in an Old Journey 14
Chapter Three: Gunnery Sergeant James F Gallagher 35
Chapter Four: The Physiology of Post-Traumatic Stress 63
Chapter Five: Collisions 81
Chapter Six: Healing from Within 102
Chapter Seven: Behind the Badge 118
Chapter Eight: Trauma Resilience 141
Chapter Nine: Defining Moment 153
Chapter Ten: Twenty-First-Century Therapies 181
Chapter Eleven: On the Front Lines 235
Chapter Twelve: "Are You Robert?" 251
Epilogue: From the Dark Side to the Light Side 270
Afterword: "Take Care of Each Other" 295
About the Authors 304