The Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network (HOTBHN) continues recognizing June 2023 as National PTSD Awareness Month. Right now, HOTBHN's Dr. Sue Robinson, Clinical Program Manager for Veterans' Services at HOTBHN affiliate Veterans One Stop, shares her caring and responsive approach to helping her consumers:
"I ask my clients if they had a favorite dish that their Grandma or Mom used to make when they were little. When you cross the threshold, the smell hits you in the face. Your salivary glands start working, and you can almost taste it before you even get a bite. You hear Grandma laughing or singing and anticipate getting the best bear hug. You see the dish on the counter or the stove, and it looks as good as you know it will be.
"Twenty years later, you walk into a friend's house and swear you can smell Grandma's dish. Not only are you experiencing it now, but you will also envision being back at Grandma's house when you were little. You place yourself there twenty years ago and re-experience your childhood again. Your subconscious files that precious memory, and it can be triggered.
"Unfortunately, PTSD caused by a traumatic experience is triggered through your senses also. I had a client in West Texas who was an Air Force vet who picked up wounded and casualties in a helicopter. He had been home for almost three years and did not recognize any symptoms of PTSD. He decided to take up jogging. West Texas has a lot of 'road kill.' He was jogging one day and passed a dead animal on the road. The next thing he knew, he was taking cover in the ditch on the roadside; he swore he was back in Afghanistan. The smell of death and seeing blood had triggered him.
"PTSD Awareness is important for veterans and their families. The symptoms have impacted our veterans' lives for decades and their families. Veterans' One Stop provides many services, including counseling, for veterans, spouses, and dependents, no matter their discharge status."
Robinson spoke with KXXV-TV (ABC) on the subject recently. Click on the link below to see the story: