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Veteran with PTSD writes powerful book 'Why is Dad So Mad?' to help explain the disorder to his young daughter.
"Why is Dad So Mad"
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Army veteran Seth Kastle had everything going for him when he came home from serving 16 years overseas. That's why it was so confusing to him when his life began to fall apart.

He had a job, a loving wife, family, and friends. He knew things would be different when he moved back to Kansas, but he didn't think they'd be that different. But he felt an extreme anger building up inside, a fire inside his chest that he couldn't explain or get rid of.

Kastle was unknowingly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event — like war.


"I waited until it was too late," he said. "I didn't even know what PTSD was."

Seth Kastle on the far right. Image courtesy of Seth Kastle.

Kastle struggled for years without getting help, pushing away his loved ones — including his wife. There were outbursts at work. He was drinking too much. It all started to add up.

"There have been a thousand times looking back where my wife should have left me," he said.

Image courtesy of Seth Kastle.

Kastle and his wife stuck it out, though, and Kastle began to find ways to get through his battle.

He tried going to VA group therapy, but because of the time slots he could attend, the groups were all full of Vietnam veterans who were 30 years ahead of Kastle in their reintegration process. It wasn't the most helpful for his current state of mind. Eventually, he was able to find a therapy resource that worked, and it helped him get back on his feet and keep his marriage and life intact.

Single dad asks his daughters for fashion advice before a date and strangers on social media responded with some helpful suggestions.

But he still wasn't sure how to talk about what was going on, especially with his little girl.

PTSD resources to help you broach the topic with kids were lacking online. So, one day, Kastle came home from a bad day at work, sat down, and wrote a story about his experience with PTSD in 30 minutes. Then, he filed it away on his computer, not intending to ever see it again.

It wasn't until a close friend and fellow veteran published a book that Kastle was inspired to keep going with his own story.

Image courtesy of Seth Kastle.

Kastle created the children's book titled "Why Is Dad So Mad?" to help explain to his six-year-old daughter his struggles with PTSD. And when it was published, he read it to his daughter for the first time.

"There's a section in the book where I describe the anger and things associated with PTSD as a fire inside my chest," he said. "After I first read the book to my daughter, I remember her saying, 'I'm sorry you have a fire in your chest now, Dad.'"

"She was four at the time. That's something I'm always going to remember."

Image courtesy of Seth Kastle.

His daughter isn't the only one putting the pieces together from the book. Kastle receives frequent emails from appreciative parents trying to explain PTSD to their own children. And that gives Kastle all sorts of feelings, mainly because he never intended for his words to be for anyone but his own kids.

Image courtesy of NBC News.

"Why Is Dad So Mad?" has been such a success that he decided to co-write another version with his wife, who is also a veteran, called "Why Is Mom So Mad?"

Kastle hopes to help break the taboo on PTSD and start conversations about it with loved ones.

"There's a stigma associated with PTSD, and a lot of it is the warrior culture and masculinity that you need to be able to handle this," he said. "And if you can't, it's because you're weak."

But that's not true, and Kastle said if our military members have more resources to help talk about PTSD, reintegration back into home life could be a lot easier.

We need to fundamentally reexamine how new moms are cared for after childbirth.

According to the PTSD Foundation of America, one in three troops returning home are getting diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD, but less than 40 percent will ultimately seek help.

The stigma, shame, and discrimination around mental health issues is damaging for those who face symptoms as well as those who are close to them. We all play a role in tackling outdated views on mental health, and we can help shift attitudes by educating ourselves, listening more, and showing support to those who need it.

Kastle admits that it was extremely hard to walk into the clinic that first time, but seeking out that resource ultimately changed his life. More support and resources for our vets will create more success stories like his.

Image courtesy of Seth Kastle.

"I can easily admit that every piece of my life is better now that I took that step," he said.

And, now, the man who didn't even know what PTSD was is using his voice to educate a younger generation on it. That's how you chip away at a taboo.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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