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Brian McKenna

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Brian is a retired Warrant Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces: four tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan.  Brian is a survivor of Complex PTSD and a Veteran Advocate.  Many questions come his way from other Vets and this collection of blogs deal with those questions drawing from Brian’s own experiences and life, but also leaning on experts and those who have a lived experience.  Kate comments on his posts to give a spouses perspective and encourage a healthy conversation within families on these issues.  We don’t answer every question we get but we do focus our minds hard when we see the question repeated across a spectrum of forums.  Comments and contact are welcome, Brian is hoping that he is a conversation starter providing a framework for moving forward.  If you have a  burning issue contact us and we will do our best to talk about it, pulling it apart and providing two disparate perspectives on the issue: Vet and Wife of Vet.

Medical Marijuana and PTSD

So. Weed. Ganja, dope, grass, pot, blunts, splifs, spleefs, the herb, marry jane,  etc.  Or Cannabis.  Lets talk about it. My experience with marijuana was four incidents ever in my life without a prescription.  I say marijuana because I’m talking about the times I did not ingest it medically.  That’s now in the thousands as medicinal cannabis.  But yes, I’m not going to waste your time with the Bill Clinton “I didn’t inhale” bullshit.  But it also wasn’t something I was all that familiar with.  And I never took it once out of pressure.  I was the guy that my buddies eventually stopped offering it to because I never said yes.  Of the four times, once was in Amsterdam where it was legal, once was in brownies I ate unknowingly while already drunk at a party (yes should have known but wasn’t thinking) and that one almost took me down. …

Should I stay or should I go? PTSD relationships

My doctor (the one I trust after the first bunch of quacks I was given proved to be useless) told me that while dealing with an operational stress injury, now is not the time for monumental change.  Keep smoking, keep drinking , keep doing weed ( if you do those things) , and then try to stabilize , and then try apply some moderation, and then possibly begin to talk about eliminating some of the negatives.   Don’t quit your job, don’t sell your house, don’t ditch relationships.  Yet.  After some stability, if the stressor is persistent then of course do consider getting rid of it. Kate’s comment: why do Brian and I so often refer to psychiatrists and psychologists as “quacks”?  Because frankly there are a hell of a lot of quacks in the MH profession and not nearly enough oversight weeding them out.  It is extremely frustrating to…

PTSD SERVICE DOGS ARE NOT A FASHION ACCESSORY

The National Post on March 4, 2018 stated that “there is a fashion among veterans with post traumatic stress disorder for having therapy dogs accompany them in public places.  Mind you, we are not supposed to call them “therapy dogs”.  That is an insulting term, one that hints that these animals are not as serious, and might not be eligible for the same legal and social deference, as trained dogs for the blind, physically disabled, or cognitively compromised.” They didn’t stop there, calling a PTSD service dog a fashion accessory wasn’t enough for them they went further to claim that there is no scientific evidence to back up these “therapeutic dogs”, they even ridiculed a hero amongst Canadian Veterans, Medric Cousineau, who has tirelessly championed service dogs for vets with PTSD and found Brian’s, Sasha. As most of you know Brian’s dog Sasha is the reason he was able to…

Night Terrors and Nightmares

It was hardly surprising that children exposed to the trauma we were would develop abnormal sleep patterns: night terrors, sleep walking, etc.   With no adult willing to step in and provide us with the care, support and psychological counselling we needed we came up with our own coping mechanisms.  Some were more successful than others. My brother sleep walked.  When he did he often got himself into dangerous situations so I was in the habit (we slept in the same room when we were together) of tying his foot when he was asleep to mine so that I’d be woken if he wandered off in his sleep.  Initially this worked but I must have become tired and grumpy which is why I yanked back on the tether which had him flying face first into the wall.  My bad. Brian here.  One of the other areas this rears its head…