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Gregory A. Helle

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Gregory A. Helle, USA, a veteran of the Vietnam War is the author of The Enemy Within: One Vietnam Veteran Helps Others Cope with PTSD and A Walk in Hell - The Other Side of War.

According to the book description of The Enemy Within: One Vietnam Veteran Helps Others Cope with PTSD, “Why would you want to read this book? There are several reasons. First of all, it is my hope that victims of all types of traumas, whether war-related or not, can find some comfort in these pages. If you are a victim of PTSD, you need to know that there is hope for a better quality of life. That is one of the core messages in this book. There is no cure for PTSD, but through medications and counseling, it is possible to exercise more control over the illness. But you must take the first step and be your own best advocate.

 

You will hear me say this more than once. If you do not advocate for your own needs, it is unlikely that you will achieve your goals. I hope that some of the information in these pages will guide PTSD victims to seek the help they need. I feel this book also has much to offer those who don't suffer from PTSD. It is the story of how a normal eighteen-year-old farm boy from a small town in Iowa went to war and, over thirty years later - at the age of fifty-two - became totally disabled with PTSD. It is my hope that this will help the public understand not only Vietnam vets, but also vets from all wars, as well as victims of other traumas such as I mentioned above.

 

There are so many fears that hold PTSD victims back from seeking help or even admitting to themselves that they need help. Even though all those around them can see the changes in the victim, it is hard for the victim to admit a problem. They see themselves as having some kind of mental illness. Victims are often paranoid and worry about what others are thinking or saying about them, even those people who have no inkling that there is a problem. Sometimes, it can seem to the victim that everyone knows there is something wrong, and that everyone is talking about him or her. The public must become aware of the disease and offer compassion rather than rebuke. Vietnam vets in particular have been a source of fear in the general public.

 

The media has exacerbated this situation by its frequent portrayal of the vet as an imbalanced, rage-filled time bomb, just waiting for the circumstances that will set him off. Perhaps this has made for some "entertaining" movies, but it has also kept many veterans from seeking the help they needed, lest they find themselves branded with this ugliest of clichés. Even if the victim knows there is a problem, it is so difficult to ask for help, especially from a government that loathes to acknowledge the existence - much less, the debilitating nature - of this disorder. It should come as no surprise, then, that many victims do not want anyone to know about their "weakness." Very simply, it is time to end the silence and the shame.

 

I realize that parts of this book will be difficult for the public to read. Reading a true account is not at all the same as watching violence on TV or at the movies. In these situations, the dead are not really dead and the cast is not really experiencing the events being portrayed. It is much more difficult when the dead stay dead, bodies are permanently mutilated, and the effects of the war will stay forever with those who experienced them. . The violence presented in modern entertainment should be taken as it is intended (though sometimes the level of violence in our "entertainment" is disturbing). True violence should be taken very seriously because it can happen to any one of us - at war or at home. Where a particularly violent movie can leave one unsettled for a day or so, actually living through a violent situation can produce a nightmare that lasts a lifetime. I do not intend for this book to be political, nor do I want it to be an attack on the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). However, I do believe that the policies enacted by the government have played a significant part in weaving the intricate web of my life. Nor do I intend this to be a self-help book.”


A Walk in Hell - The Other Side of War
Gregory A. Helle  More Info

The Enemy Within: One Vietnam Veteran Helps Others Cope with PTSD
Gregory, A. Helle  More Info

According to the book description of A Walk in Hell - The Other Side of War, “A powerful, emotion packed trip through the mind of a Vietnam Vet disabled with PTSD. As with too many other young boys, he was sent to an unpopular war and experienced many traumas. Even though more than thirty years have passed, the realities of the war remain. Even with the best counseling and medications, the war is only kept at bay. There is no cure. At best there is only coping. The war will never be far away. It invades his days and nights. His poetic journal is sometimes dark. It is the reality of his war.”

 

The Midwest Book Review said of A Walk in Hell - The Other Side of War, “A Walk In Hell is the profound work of free-verse poetry by Gregory A. Helle, one of many Vietnam War veterans, whose horrifying experiences induced post-traumatic stress disorder, haunting him with terrible and vivid memories thirty long years after the end of the fighting. The words capture emotion, distress, misery and the shocking reality of war with their brief simplicity and powerful impact. In My War: They had not taught me to fight/To kill/To survive/In my war//Taught to be a clerk/Nothing bad would happen/But that was not reality/They lied//They put me in harm's way/Without being trained/Without warning/They didn't care//Sometimes a bunker/Sometimes a hole/But Always the danger/Always the fear//The weapons were new to me/Had to learn fast/My life was on the line/With the lives of my buddies//Expendable.”

 

One reader said of A Walk in Hell - The Other Side of War, “Gregory Helle brings the horror of the aftermath of war to the reader like few have ever done. He writes from his gut. Tells it how it is, and vividly causes the reader to experience the trauma he has experienced during and after his service in Vietnam. It is a definitive narrative of the emotional and psychological pain that thousands of our veterans suffer because of the trauma they experienced in combat and sometimes not in combat while serving their country. It also documents the callousness of our government in its slowness to help these brave men and women regain their lives. I must admit that I was stunned by Gregory Helle's honesty in telling his story. You will not put the book down once you start reading it. You will understand that war doesn't end when the war ends, but that it ravages the souls of thousands of our veterans for as long as they live.”

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