Hidden Battles on Unseen Fronts: Stories of American Soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD
By Patricia P. Driscoll and Celia Straus
Length: 292 pp
Throughout this collection of real-life stories, readers will get an up close and personal glimpse into the lives of numerous wounded warriors and those who love them. Many of the individuals profiled have PTSD, a traumatic brain injury or a combination of the two.
Although each story is unique, the book chronicles the struggles and challenges these warriors and their caregivers face on a daily basis, while also showing their determination and a courageous fighting spirit that keeps them motivated and inspired. In fact, many of the stories conclude with the wounded warrior (or their loved one) extending words of encouragement for others that are in a similar situation.
The book also contains a section of full color photos of the various warriors featured, along with quite a bit of informative material written by military medical and mental health professionals.
Once A Warrior Always A Warrior: Navigating the Transition from Combat to Home, Including Combat Stress, PTSD, and mTBI
By Charles W. Hoge, MD, Colonel, U.S. Army (ret.)
Length: 304 pp
Written in an easy to understand manner, this comprehensive book addresses a wide range of material pertaining to combat stress, PTSD and mTBI, including information highlighting their differences and similarities.
Throughout the book, Dr. Hogue covers many topics, including but not limited to, how to navigate the mental health care system, dealing with stressful situations, tips and techniques to improve sleep, and suggestions on how to live and cope with major losses.
Towards the end of the book an entire chapter is devoted to spouses, partners and family members and includes resources, communication tips, suggestions on how to strengthen relationships, cope with infidelity, and concludes with ways to help your children make post-deployment adjustments.
The Veteran's Toolkit for PTSD: Twenty Practical Ways to Successfully Cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
By Chaplain Ramsey Coutta, Ph.D.
Length: 85 pp
In an easy to understand manner, Chaplain Coutta offers coping tools and techniques for wounded warriors suffering from PTSD symptoms.
Each of the tools, which are formatted like chapters, contains information about a specific topic, such as managing flashbacks, renewing relationships and coping with panic attacks. At the end of each chapter, Chaplain Coutta provides a list of suggested tools that individuals can apply to help manage or reduce their symptoms.
Available at Amazon.com
The War at Home: One Family's Fight Against PTSD
By Shawn J. Gourley
Length: 320 pp
After each deployment, Navy wife, Shawn Gourley, noticed changes in her husband, Justin. And in June 2004, Justin returned from his third—and what would be his final—deployment.
As time passed, their arguments increased and became more volatile, to the point that during a moment of rage, Justin, in an attempt to "regain control," pulled a gun on Shawn. Although Justin says he never intended to shoot her, the event understandably terrified Shawn.
And to further complicate matters, noticeable behavioral changes started occurring in the couple's beloved two-year-old daughter, to include showing signs of aggression towards Shawn.
Deeply committed to the marriage, Shawn wants to do everything in her power to keep the family together and is relentless in her quest to find help for Justin. Navigating through the VA system proved frustrating, but Shawn doesn't give up. Her perseverance leads the couple into counseling, which turns into a learning experience for both of them. In addition to dealing with Justin's PTSD the couple finally receives an explanation regarding the behavioral changes in their young daughter: she's developed Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (SPTSD).
The story of Shawn and Justin Gourley is one that will keep you turning the pages. Besides the riveting subject matter, an additional element that makes this book unique and appealing is that it's written from the perspective of each of the spouses, and thus, gives readers a chance to hear both sides of the events that take place.
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him
By Fmr. Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan with Bret Witter
Length: 252 pp
On December 21, 2003, Luis Carlos Montalvan, a Captain in the U.S. Army suffered severe injuries when he was ambushed in Iraq. This particular incident was the first of several that would befall him.
As the years passed, this wounded warrior's life spiraled downward. Because of the debilitating effects that originated from his TBI and PTSD he rarely left his home, barely slept and began sinking into a deep depression —that is, until he met Tuesday, the amazing service dog that he credits for saving his life.
But don't be fooled into thinking this is simply about a man and his dog because there's so much more to this book than the captivating story of Luis and Tuesday. Readers will learn quite a bit about the training of service dogs and all that goes into the bonding process between the dog and their owner. There's also quite a bit of information about the nonprofit organization East Coast Assistance Dogs (ECAD) and their service dog program.
Furthermore, this book shows that there's a great need for public awareness and education in regards to the important role service dogs play in the lives of people with "invisible wounds."
Vet to Vet: An Examination of PTSD Through Writing
By PW Covington
Length: 100 pp
PW Covington served in the USAF and deployed to Somalia as a member of the joint-service rapid deployment force and was part of the initial troops on the ground in Mogadishu for Operation Restore Hope. He also served in the Persian Gulf region of Southwest Asia.
After leaving the military, Covington, a service-connected-disabled Veteran experienced homelessness and incarcerations. By utilizing the VA's treatment resources he was able to, as he puts it, "restore his life."
Writing became an important and pivotal part of his recovery and wanting to help other combat veterans with PTSD, PW drew upon his experiences and penned Vet to Vet.
Each chapter—or modules as he refers to them—addresses various issues related to PTSD such as anger, emotions, loss, decision making, among many other topics. The chapters are brief, which makes the book an easy read, (especially for anyone with a short attention span) and concludes with a list of questions designed to help the combat veteran gain a closer look at his/her thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions.
An element of the book that readers are certain to appreciate is PW's approach. He's upfront, yet respectful and nonjudgmental. From the very start he makes it clear that he doesn't speak for all vets and the book itself won't solve, cure or fix all of your problems.