This week we are publishing a guest article from a Marine, author, and guest lecturer; Dan Sheehan. Dan has just released his second book, Continuing Actions. His personal experience with, extensive research on, and tips for moving beyond the suffering caused by PTSD may be the difference between surviving a violent encounter and living a complete life after a violent encounter.
About the Author: Dan Sheehan spent twelve years in the Marine Corps as an AH-1W helicopter gunship pilot. He served two combat tours in Iraq: The first as a pilot during the 2003 invasion, and the second as a ground Forward Air Controller with Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Detachment One in 2004. He was awarded several medals for heroism in combat, including the Bronze Star w/V. When he’s not writing or chasing his kids he’s usually on, or under, the ocean. He has written two books and lives with his wife, two children, and two pitbull mutts in southern California.
To overcome a deadly threat you must have a combat mindset. Well before you find yourself in this confrontation, however, you must have studied the threat, outlined the steps you’ll take to overcome it, and then practiced those steps until they become second nature. Then, when the event happens, you can react appropriately and step over the body.
We all understand that a combat mindset is critical to success in combat/crisis. But it doesn’t stop there. The challenges inherent to swift, violent action are not limited to the action itself—they persist long after the event. Left unattended, they become extremely dangerous to you and your family. Possibly even fatal.
These challenges, the ones you face after the physical event, also require a combat mindset to overcome. But instead of reloading speed drills and lightning-fast draws, the skills you’ll need to face these threats are introspection and self-awareness. And let me tell you, neither comes easy to folks like us.
In fact, most of us refuse to even acknowledge the challenges of coming home are impacting our lives until the evidence becomes overwhelming. Then we’re really in a bad place. This is the insidious slide of PTSD—we tell ourselves we’re too strong to succumb, that we can just ignore it, that it won’t happen to a warrior like us. What we don’t recognize is that there is a long way between being unaffected by our experiences and having full-blown PTSD. We make bad decisions because we don’t understand what’s going on in our head, we double-down on denial, our wounds fester, and eventually our families and friends suffer. Sometimes they leave, sometimes they don’t, but either way, we’re not very much fun to be around. And some days are darker than others. Sometimes the darkest day comes.
You need to prepare yourself well before that day arrives.
This preparation is the focus of my recently published second book, Continuing Actions: A Warrior’s Guide to Coming Home.
Continuing Actions (Foreword by Dr. Jonathan Shay—MD, PhD, bestselling author) is aimed directly at helping veterans overcome the physical, emotional, and mental challenges of coming home. Drawing on my own experiences and the works of mental health professionals, scholars, and other veterans, Continuing Actions exposes a critical gap in the modern warrior’s preparation for the challenges of service and provides pragmatic solutions for how to fix it.
This book takes a new approach to improving veterans’ reintegration. It encourages veterans to view the challenges of coming home as integral to every warrior’s journey, not as aberrations that effect only the weak. By encouraging veterans to face these challenges head on instead of suppressing and ignoring them, Continuing Actions seeks to break the cycle of failed marriages, lives, and livelihoods that has characterized veterans’ returns for far too long. Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, Tom Ricks, called Continuing Actions “One of the best things I’ve read about coming home from war.”
You may never go to war. But in the event you ever need to use the skills taught by Aegis Academy, you’ll be better prepared for the aftermath if you learn the lessons contained within Continuing Actions. It may be written with veterans in mind, but it applies to every man and woman who is ready to defend what they hold dear.
facebook: Dan Sheehan, Author