Veterans Day 2016 “Gimme Work”

4022-002“Gimme Work”

For any of you that have toiled on a diamond or football field somewhere with me know that Left Field became my house after leaving center field and that I called the shots in the huddle.  On scores of fields with several teams I have been known to yell give me work……or “gimme work”.  My, Dad, Reed Hoeg, was a wounded veteran and a victim of child abuse.  With the resultant PTSD, I remember him teaching me about responsibility from a team perspective with high expectations having to go down with your team.  It is your ball to get…. both in hardball and football “if it is up there and yours; you better grab it”.  A labor of love and competition.  I learned how to just turn and run and know where the ball was going.  I better have for others counted on you.   This was how Reed operated.  He hit me fungo, threw me passes, took me bowling, etc and we worked. Clear goals and good effort.  Your effort was an indicator of your values.  Your values were to be the same for all people.   

Growing up with Reed was an extremely raucous exciting and cultural excursion.  You would walk places out of practicality, with your life endangered because it was “good to see it all.”  We went through a very downtrodden slum to see a co-worker’s son play football on the other side of town.  There was open hostility directed throughout at us but we made it none the worse for wear, mind you this was a good five or six miles and I was eight.  There was always an edge and a “high end” payoff in stimuli for Reed.  He took 4 young kids to Montauk, Long Island from Brooklyn by Bike.  It was onward and enjoy the reward.  Nothing felt better than the ocean followed by the pool when you worked hard to get there and earned the privilege.

Hiking, Films, Sports, Food, “Window-shopping”, and acute awareness of things going on around you all in the name of feeling your way and learning was the thing.  We would bike to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge, grab a bite at Manganaro’s Hero Boy and he would take pride in showing me the ropes on the streets.  I was between 9 and 12 I feel that he was trying to tell me something about people.  It infuriated him that there could be people treated like animals, or any hint of racism or bias; it incensed him.  I got it.  People are not to be treated poorly and you must respect every single person and work with them.  He could not stand racism, the hypocrisy of poverty, and the concerted effort to have segregation and learned hopelessness.   Is that left leaning?

So today we are into the last days of Obama and await the Trump term in office.  I know my Dad would have been so about Obama but not any more than any other President aside from the obvious history and knowing that he would be up against it.  He did not expect miracles and the poor have stayed poor.  Trump said some things that Reed Hoeg would have chewed up and spit out.  Calling out minorities and for “law and order” and stereotyping people by ethnicity and location would be devastating news for Reed. Trump exposing the fact that middle America felt abandoned; their perception, creating votes for Donald J. would have been pinned out be my Dad long before the media and polls screwed up. I am quite certain that if there was a way to prevent poverty, war, racism, and inhumanity in the form of protest, that Reed would be there ready to work.

He pulled me in a red wagon in a protest against the Viet Nam war in Washington D.C. in the 60’s. The protesters were confronted by groups that claimed that veterans were being disrespected by their chants and anti-war sentiment.  Reed had a way of speaking in that yelling always meant all was fair in love and war and you were safe.  When he spoke in a whisper you would just get it over with and pee yourself.  Well he could no longer take it and said poignantly and calmly “I AM A VETERAN” and walked on to the new-found silence of the slack jawed naysayers.  My Dad felt it was his responsibility to do the work and whatever it took to get it done.  Own the responsibility, what it stands for, and run with it till you are stopped.  In the Korean war, he lost friends, killed in front of him, and saw a lot of people die in morbid ways.  He proudly served and got injured severely, spent a year in the hospital, and was scarred for life and refused all benefits in a stoic patriotic fashion.  He worked hard for his peers to fight and stay alive.  At times not hard enough;,crushing him with despair.

 A truly loved man at work and within a year of his death I got a call from Reed’s company.  The person told me they had one paycheck left and they said “we don’t want to give it to that bitch” meaning my mother, who lived life like an odd and bad wanna be soft core porn Cagney flick in a two-bedroom apartment, with my sister nine years my junior, and asked if they could mail it to me.  Reed had worked at Louis Dreyfus for 40 years and was never absent or late a day.  Well, he deserves recognition on this day and with our future on hold in America.  I know where he would stand on things and I would be proud to be beside him.  Knowing that if things were to about to go down we both would be thinking “gimme work” or hauling it in for the good guys.  First to the finish line leave no one behind. 

Thanks, Dad, for fighting for this country that you so desperately wanted to be the same for everybody.  Thanks for letting me know what I needed to know to show appreciation and love and not hate. In later years helping me maintain a home and giving my kids a shot in the arm for tuition.  You must have been a terrific soldier.  You were a fantastic friend and a Dad for my formative years, and “grandad” to my kids and for loving my wife;  Patti.  

“You have to be in position to throw , when you catch the ball,  with a runner on third base, less than two outs, and on a pop fly to the outfield and no one else on. You have to come up throwing; nail that fuck.” -Reed Hoeg and millions of others.  I died for the moment and I must tell you that making that catch and throw is better than most things.  Nothing better than the ump making that call and if it was the third out running in with your men and high fiving. Got work, used gun, and zap.  Certainly a fist pump for Reed Hoeg.

I relish seeing to it that my loved ones are in a good place and trying to making the world a better place for others.  I know Reed is with Gil Hodges and his friend Bob Katims stuck on 1948 and the argument about no greatest player until blacks were allowed and agreeing with it.  “Yeah sure ” knowing that he recognized, in any sense of the word,  in fact it was deserving of a sock on the nose.   

“Let’s see what he does”.  OK Dad… 

“Gimme Work”…..l

Reed Hoeg died in January 2002 at the age of 71 of a broken heart.  The only thing that could kill him.

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Two Million Children of Active Military and Veterans at Risk, According to New Princeton-Brookings Journal

We need to get so far in front of this.  The trend here is familial trauma created by deployment, return, PTSD and innocent victims all around.

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Two Million Children of Active Military and Veterans at Risk, According to New Princeton-Brookings Journal

Social and Health Problems Frequent in those with Parents Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; Better Detection, Prevention, Treatment Needed

 There are about 2 million children of military families who are serving or have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those children experience significantly more problems in school, with family, and among peers than do children the same age in the general US population, according to a policy brief published today in the new issue of the Princeton-Brookings The Future of Children journal.  As a result, there is a need to develop new and test existing prevention and treatment programs to help give these families, who are serving their country, the support they need.

 Although research on the effects of deployment on families is still in its infancy, it already shows that deployment leads to distress and mental health problems of parents and that these parental problems are in turn associated with elevated rates of similar social-emotional problems in their children. In spite of the fact that military families show remarkable resilience given the stress most of them face, Journal policy brief authors Colonel Stephen J. Cozza (U.S. Army, Retired), Brookings Senior Fellow Ron Haskins, and Richard M. Lerner of Tufts University argue that the sacrifices place “a special obligation on the nation to help these distressed families and children.”

 In “Keeping the Promise: Maintaining the Health of Military and Veteran Families and Children,” the authors point to research showing that combat deployment is associated with higher levels of emotional and behavioral problems in children.  In addition, longer deployments are associated with more problems.  Studies also find a strong relationship between the mental health of parents or caretaker and the healthy adaptation of their children to deployment stress. Problems experienced by deployed parents also impact their stateside spouses. One study found, for example, that the civilian wives of service members were four times as likely to neglect their children during their husband’s deployment than when he was home, and nearly twice as likely to physically abuse them.  Deployment may contribute to an elevated propensity for child neglect in a number of ways, especially by temporarily creating the equivalent of a single-parent family, a known risk factor for child neglect.

 “These research findings justify concern and must lead to action by the public, by policymakers, and by senior military and other government officials,” Cozza, Haskins and Lerner write.  They propose a shared national agenda to expand and rigorously test the existing system of treatment and preventive services for military children and families:

 

  • Base programs for military children on sound evidence.  Military children and families are owed the best programs that science and practice can design and deliver; therefore, we need to learn the principles of best practice. Many current programs for military children were rolled out quickly, at a time of pressing need, but few are based on scientific evidence of what works, and even fewer have been rigorously evaluated for their effectiveness.

 

  • Focus programs for military children on resilience. Although we should certainly try to reduce the risks that military children face, the best way to help these children is to build on the strengths that they, their families, and their communities already possess.

 

  • Break down barriers among services for military children. Military family status, for example, could be routinely flagged in children’s health and educational records, so that awareness of their needs follows them wherever they go.

 

  • Be ready for the future. If we begin to prepare now, then the next time the US engages in armed conflict, we can more quickly and efficiently provide military children and families the kinds of support they need and deserve.

 

“It is difficult to put a price tag on our recommendations for developing and testing effective prevention and treatment programs, but it will likely be in the tens of millions of dollars,” they write.  “Given the dramatic sacrifices that military families have made to defend the nation, policy makers and taxpayers should honor our promise to these families with the funds necessary to restore and sustain them. To do less would disrespect their service and discredit the nation’s commitment to those who serve in harm’s way,” they conclude.

 Papers in the latest volume, Military and Children and Families (Volume 23 Number 2 Fall 2013) are:

 

The Future of Children is a collaboration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families. 

Complex Trauma Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Impact and Implications

Complex Trauma Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Impact and Implications

This article identifies the struggle that is recurring in the juvenile justice world and  likely in communities and their schools.  Youth are labeled behavior management problems when their issues are based on experienced trauma and PTSD symptoms.   The impact on the human brain for a developing child, in the case of trauma, leads to the under and over production of hormones, the inability to  regulate emotions, and hyperactivity in terms of awareness.   The brain is impacted at crucial stages of development.

 

 

Think about it: Many Child Abuse Victims in the Military

In the research on my book Child Abuse Victims/Combat Veterans and PTSD:

http://www.amazon.com/Victims-Combat-Veterans-Traumatic-Disorder/dp/3659441066 

there was a recurring theme of Child Abuse Victims that show up in the Military.  This was popularized in the film Antwone Fisher(2002, Fox Searchlight Pictures). The following is an excerpt from my book:

Child Abuse Victims in the Military

              The lack of studies and research on childhood victims of abuse may be attributable to the difficulty in dealing with a youthful distraught population with severe “acting out” behaviors.  As adults are expected to manage their behavior, youth are challenged with remaining neutral and dealing with their own issues.  The same difficulties exist with veterans that manifest itself in the form of substance abuse, resistance to treatment, and isolation among other characteristic destructive “behaviors”.  There are studies, however, supporting the notion that many childhood victims of abuse show up in our military population.  PTSD is a common thread in both populations and there are compelling statistics pertaining to victims enlisting perhaps related to attachment, normalcy, and structure.  The thought process is subject to extreme backfire.

              There is support that connects childhood trauma from various forms of abuse to PTSD symptoms in veterans despite combat exposure.  In a study that controlled for combat exposure, veterans that had PTSD symptoms from childhood trauma had considerably relevant issues in attaining support as an adult (Van Voorhees et al. 2012 p. 424).  Gillespie, Phifer, Bradley, & Ressler, (2009) and Koenen (2006) have theorized that childhood abuse hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) associated HPA-axis dysregulation may hinder emotional learning and the maturation of emotional regulations, making ensuing traumatic experiences challenging to absorb and process. (as cited by Van Voorhees et al. 2012 p. 424)  The study, in agreement with others, concluded that child abuse and combat exposure did not necessarily translate to increased PTSD symptomology. 

              It appears that disruption to key developmental stages of early life increased the likelihood of being able to proceed without difficulty in stressful experiences and in garnering adult and social support (as cited by Van Voorhees et al. 2012 p. 429).  There is vast agreement that childhood abuse and PTSD diagnoses foster severe reactions later in life, particularly in the case of military experiences.  As aforementioned, studies call for continued research tp be done on the connections between childhood abuse, combat trauma, and psychiatric issues to determine the sequence with which the trauma results in PTSD diagnosis.  Many studies are recommending that childhood abuse be examined thoroughly to determine the length of abuse and to what extreme (Fritsch, Mishkind, Reger, & Gahm, 2010 p. 252).  This confirms the lack of research done on this population and how critical the issue is for the child to grow without being prone to PTSD symptoms increasing in severity.

              As indicated above, there are supportive studies that indicate that child abuse and combat correlate to increased PTSD symptoms.  There is no specific rationale as to why there is a prevalence of child abuse victims in the military.  Soldiers with suicidal behavior had a history of child abuse (61.2%), service members experienced abuse in childhood (35%), and  a  general population of soldiers reported a childhood history of abuse for males (48%) and females (51%) as concluded by Perales, Gallaway, Forys-Donahue, Piess & Milliken (2010) in their analysis of current research (p.1037).  Marie, Fergusson and Boden, (2008, as cited by Skopp, Luxton, Bush & Sirotin, 2011 p. 363) discussed the significance of belonging to  a group in dealing with childhood adversity on mental health conditions and suicide ideation.  Both populations have a desire to be included and the ability to form meaningful attachments.

McLaren & Challis (2009) and Werner & Smith (2001) surmise that:

The social acceptance associated with such camaraderie and feelings of belonging associated with military service may be very potent for someone who experienced minimal feelings of belongingness for much of their life. Belonging to a defined group with a defined identity, emotional bonding, purpose, and strong leadership may potentially confer a salutary effect that reduces the suicide risk associated with childhood adversity (as cited by Skopp, Luxton, Bush, & Sirotin (2011 p. 372).

The desire for soldiers to return to their unit, and enlisting in the first place, may have a background in attachment and wanting to be a part of something.  Their search for normalcy may include intentional placement in the line of fire having been isolated and abused as a child.

 

References

Fritch A.M., Mishkind M., Regerm M.A., Gahm G.A. (2010) The impact of childhood abuse and combat-related trauma on post deployment adjustment. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 2010;23:248–254. 

Gillespie,C.F., Phifer,J., Bradley, B., & Ressler,K.J. (2009).Risk and resilience: Genetic and environmental influences on development  of the stress response. Depression and Anxiety, 26., 984–992.

Koenen,K.C.(2006). Developmental epidemiology of PTSD: Self-regulation as a central mechanism. Annals of New York Academy of Science, 1071, 255–266.

Marie, D., Fergusson, D. M., & Boden, J. M. (2008). Ethnic identification, social disadvantage, and mental health in adolescence/young adulthood: Results of a 25-year longitudinal study. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 42, 293–300

 McLaren, S., & Challis, C. (2009). Resilience among men farmers: The protective roles of social support and sense of belonging in the depression-suicidal ideation relation. Death Studies, 33(3), 262.

 Perales, R., Gallaway, M., Forys-Donohue, K., Spiess, A., Millikan, A. (2012).  Prevalence of childhood trauma  among  U.S. army soldiers with suicidal behavior.  Military Medecine, 177(9), 1034-1040 

Skopp, N. A., Luxton , D. D., Bush, N., & Sirotin, A. (2011). Childhood adversity and suicidal ideation in a clinical military sample: Military unit cohesion and intiMaté relationships as protective factors.  Journal Of Social & Clinical Psychology30(4), 361-377. doi:10.1521/jscp.2011.30.4.361

Van Voorhees, E. E., Dedert, E. A., Calhoun, P. S., Brancu, M., Runnals, J., & Beckham, J. C. (2012). Childhood Trauma Exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan War Era Veterans: Implications for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Adult Functional Social Support. Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal, 36(5), 423-432.

 Werner, E. E., & Smith, R.S. (2001). Journeys from childhood to midlife: Risk, resilience and recovery. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

 

Children and Trauma

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a wealth of information young people impacted by trauma.  The September Bulletin features a guide book for “Building Community Resilience for Children and Families”.

http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/BuildingCommunity_FINAL_02-12-07.pdf

The guidebook talks about preparedness for response to trauma and children.

Also there is a journal article offered entitled “Trauma history and psychopathology in war-affected refugee children referred for trauma related mental health services in the United States

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23225034

This issue has been going on for some time as refugee families hit the states and add language barriers and cultural differences to the already complicated world of trauma and PTSD.

Food for Thought

In the article “The Demise of PTSD: From Governing Through Trauma to Governing Resilience:” Howell contends that terminology changes to alter society’s perception.  Currently the Canadians use Operational Stress Injuries, the British say Combat Stress Injuries, and in America; Psychological Injuries. In the case of child abuse victims the issue appears to be one of managing difficult behavior and there is a level of unrest pertaining to the overuse of medication.  Are we avoiding discussing the horrors of war and the minimal resources provided to soldiers?  Do we also enter into a discussion about generational trauma to minorities?

The life and death of Clay Hunt

This is the story of a Marine that committed suicide. 22 Soldiers a day are taking their own life. How are we addressing Posttraummatic stress disorder (PTSD) and helping soldiers cope? Clay Hunt’s story is poignant relative to the impact of trauma and the need to have a universal response to those that serve our country and following up with them in their home communities.