“I went away to war one person and came back another, and in my wildest dreams would never have chosen to be the one who came back.” – Christopher Oelerich
Thus begins this heartfelt discussion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by a military veteran who has spent his life helping others deal with the debilitating symptoms associated with the disorder. Christopher Oelerich relates his own personal history, beginning from when he was drafted into the military during the Vietnam War, and continuing through his return to civilian life and his own rocky road to recovery.
Oelerich eschews political correctness in favor of blunt talk mixed with detailed, empowering strategies that have worked for him, as well as for the military veterans and homeless he has helped over the years.
PTSD is defined as an anxiety disorder that can be brought on by various types of traumatic events, such as combat in war, extreme natural disasters (hurricanes, tsunamis) or terrorist attacks, the psychological aftermath of which manifests in a range of symptoms—nightmares and flashbacks, alcoholism, drug use, and phantom pain, to name only a few. Because of these varied symptoms, Oelerich points out that the disorder can easily be—and often is—misdiagnosed by physicians. PTSD also affects women at twice the rate of men, a fact little understood by the general public.
Oelerich believes that the most important, brutal truth he has learned over the years is that if you are suffering from PTSD, and don’t care to help yourself, no one else will either. Once you accept that underlying truth, he advocates that you must also be willing to employ the discipline and mental toughness required to get through the long process of healing.
He shares strategies that he has used and also ones that he has implemented in his work with vets and the homeless to deal with PTSD in the hope they will be able to lead more productive and meaningful lives. Mixing discipline, advice about dealing with problems one at a time, the healing power of prayer, and many of the tenets employed in drug and alcohol abuse programs, the author crafts a comprehensive program to effectively survive and deal with the disorder.
The author has given PTSD sufferers a gift by providing an honest account of his own struggles, as well as what he did to eventually overcome them. For those who suffer from PTSD, understanding that they are not alone and that they can help themselves is a huge step toward embracing a recovery program. Oelerich, who has experienced combat and traumatic events, wrote this book as a “How To” guide for combat soldiers, like himself, who suffer from PTSD.
Merry Christmas and a Happy PTSD by Chris Oelerich is highly recommended for those who suffer from PTSD, for the family members and friends of those who suffer, and for those who are simply interested in having a greater understanding beyond what is reported in the popular press about this debilitating disorder. Oelerich’s methods to overcome PTSD are plain-spoken and practical, with an overall message of optimism for those with PTSD.
This is a very personal, no-holds-barred, yet ultimately, empowering discussion of PTSD and its effects on those who suffer from it. The author hopes that Merry Christmas and a Happy PTSD will be used as a tool to reduce PTSD symptoms in others who suffer from it so that they, too, can live healthier and happier lives.