Dear Mr. Trump,
I never felt “weak” when I started feeling the rage that grew in me from Post-Traumatic Stress following 25 years after leading an infantry platoon in Vietnam.
I thought I was just going a little crazy, particularly after I started to curse at my immediate supervisor and wanted to fight with a cashier over waiting too long in a line at the grocery store. I got counseling for “anger issues” and then another veteran — a former infantry sergeant — had told me about his nightmares and “triggering” points that began to interfere with his job as a sheriff in the Philadelphia court system.
He sought help from the Veterans Administration and put me in touch with a psychologist who diagnosed me with PTSD. I felt strong enough to finally admit to my struggles with authority and the injustices I saw as a public defender (See Battling PTSD in Philly Courts). For the longest time, I thought it was just me. I met other veterans — some of whom tried to commit suicide — who told me of similar problems they faced in Vietnam and in Iraq. Some turned to alcohol and/or drugs, while others hid their fears in their jobs as workaholics or by taking it out on their spouses and children.
You wouldn’t understand how some 20 percent of veterans felt strong enough to overcome the stigma of “mental illness” and help themselves by seeking help for something that’s incurable. No, you never went to war in 1968 the year I got drafted. You got a medical deferment then for a bone spur in your foot. Funny how you forgot which foot when you started your run for president. I guess you didn’t want to be to reminded of the five deferments you got, the same number that Dick Cheney’s family secured for him. You liken your experience in a military school to combat and even once claimed you suffered your own Vietnam War by fighting through sexual escapades, but I don’t think many people would see it that way.
No, the brave ones who get angry over their PTSD are those that got help from the VA and learned how to deal with our anxious moments through deep meditations and understanding from the great number of people who honor us by not insulting us like you did.
You just never faced the type of trauma we did.
I forgive you for your ignorance.