A REPORT FROM THE FRONT LINES OF A MARINE CORPS LEAGUE PROGRAM DEALING WITH COMBAT STRESS

One of the uses of the book “Invisible Scars”, is proving to be effective and helpful to our veterans, which is described below by a Marine,

The is an email from:

David T. Ossian
Asst. National Vice Commandant
Midwest Division
Marine Corps League

Once A Marine – Always A Marine

“A few months ago a friend of mine gave me the good Doctor’s book as a gift. It was signed by the author and I was excited. My friend didn’t express to me how much this book could change my life.

By the time I got to page 25 I felt compelled to speak to Dr. Billings and asked my friend how he got me this book. He explained his relationship with Doc’s son in law and offered to put us in touch. 30 minutes later and my phone rings. Since that day I have been on a mission.

I created a Facebook event and hosted a Book Club – Peer Support Group at my home. 16 Marines and FMF Corpsman showed up the first night. Several more studied on their own with email-text-Facebook feedback to me. We started by watching Dr. Billings video on his website (www.bartpbillings.com). We then discussed expectations and challenges. Before anyone left we all agreed that everyone would take at least one other person’s cell phone number for contact in case the book brought out a difficult demon.

On the night of the second meeting we watched the first half of a documentary that Dr Billings was in called, “Hidden Enemy” (http://www.cchr.org/documentaries/the-hidden-enemy.html) and then discussed our thoughts on Chapter 1. I did my best to facilitate the conversation and make sure that everyone contributed. The comments and conversations were extremely impactful and healthy. We planned to read and discuss one chapter every two weeks.

During our third meeting my co-facilitator Retired USN Senior Chief Petty Officer and FMF Corpsman guided us through setting our own rules. He then produced a 3 foot clipboard and wrote them out in sharpy as the team responded with ideas:

– No interrupting.
– No derogatory statements
– Stay on the subject matter

These are just a few examples. There are several other great ones that I will have to write them all down and share.

After we discussed ground rules we discussed Chapter 2 and watched two TED talks. Both were short videos about Veteran’s issues.

Jake Wood’s and Sebastian Junger’s. Both are amazing talks.

At our next meeting we are having a guest who is an internal medicine Doctor (non VA) to discuss with the team what these drugs really do to the body. This will be anonymously.

We will be ordering 100 more books this week to get two more of our Nebraska teams studying and then I will encourage our women’s Auxiliary to start a book study as well to better understand their husbands and sons.

To summarize: I am a Desert Storm Veteran who needed purpose in my life. I joined the Marine Corps League 6 years ago and have been extremely successful, but this will top everything I have done to date as far as helping Veterans. Properly marketed and delivered this model could have serious impact on mental health and the overall quality of life for our Veterans. I am meeting tonight with the regional head of the Wounded Warrior Regiment for the Marine Corps and I am taking him a copy of the book for him to read on his upcoming flight to Camp Pendleton.

I thank you Sir for taking the time to read this and for your input on how I can continue to change Veteran’s and their families lives”.

God bless and Semper Fidelis

David T. Ossian
Asst. National Vice Commandant
Midwest Division
Marine Corps League
Nebraskamcl@gmail.com
www.midwestdivisionmarinecorpsleague.org
Cell: 402-580-3489

A follow up email reads:

Sir,

I am very proud to be fighting this battle with you.
Last night we had an amazing book club – Peer group meeting. It would be difficult to put into words the impact and intensity of this extremely positive meeting. We were discussing Chapter 4 and many of the Marines and Corpsman spoke of how this chapter scared the hell out of them. The idea of taking the medication prescribed by a Doctor and dying in you sleep is tough to process. During our 2 hour discussion we spoke in depth about how difficult it is to deal with guilt. The only mental health issue not addressed in the DSM. Guilt might be the universal connection that we all share and of course disappointment. The reality of the potential impact of what we are doing is not lost on my team. They see the big picture and the grass roots movement that we are part of.

Our Omaha team will be starting a separate Peer Group – book club in their area next week.

God willing we can build an ideal model of a life altering Veteran’s Service Organization.


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