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.

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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.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less