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Thirty Days with My Father : Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD
by Ph.D. Christal Presley and Ph.D. Edward Tick


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"Whether you are a professional who treats veterans and their loved ones, or a person at risk for military PTSD, or anyone who cares, you will be profoundly moved by this eloquent memoir."
Frank Ochberg, MD, award-winning mental health expert who helped define the term "post-traumatic stress disorder"

"An incredible memoir .  Read more...


 
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More About Thirty Days with My Father by Ph.D. Christal Presley; Ph.D. Edward Tick
 
 
 
Overview

"Whether you are a professional who treats veterans and their loved ones, or a person at risk for military PTSD, or anyone who cares, you will be profoundly moved by this eloquent memoir."
Frank Ochberg, MD, award-winning mental health expert who helped define the term "post-traumatic stress disorder"

"An incredible memoir . . . an important part of the still unhealed wounds of war. Christal has given as much of her heart to this story as her father gave to his country."
Nikki Giovanni, world-renowned poet, writer, activist, and educator

"Thirty Days with My Father is an important addition to the literature of trauma psychology, shining a beacon of hope for transformation and healing."
From the Foreword by Edward Tick, PhD, author, War and the Soul and founding co-director, Soldier's Heart

"To me, post-traumatic stress disorder was just a bunch of words. All I knew was that it had something to do with my father's brain, and he seemed to be going crazy. And I knew it was bad because my mom told me that if anyone found out how sick he was, they'd come and take him away forever, and they'd take me away too, and she couldn't live like that. If he had to be that sick, I wanted him to have something everybody could understand. So I picked brain cancer."
From Thirty Days with My Father

When Christal Presley's father was eighteen, he was drafted to Vietnam. Like many men of that era who returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he was never the same. Christal's father spent much of her childhood locked in his room, gravitating between the deepest depression and unspeakable rage, unable to participate in holidays or birthdays. At a very young age, Christal learned to walk on eggshells, doing anything and everything not to provoke him, but this dance caused her to become a profoundly disturbed little girl. She acted out at school, engaged in self-mutilation, and couldn't make friends. At the age of eighteen, Christal left home and didn't look back. She barely spoke to her father for the next thirteen years.
To any outsider, Christal appeared to be doing well: she earned a BA and a master's, got married, and traveled to India. But despite all these accomplishments, Christal still hadn't faced her biggest challenge her relationship with her father. In 2009, something changed. Christal decided it was time to begin the healing process, and she extended an olive branch. She came up with what she called "The Thirty Day Project," a month's worth of conversations during which she would finally ask her father difficult questions about Vietnam. Thirty Days with My Father is a gritty yet heartwarming story of those thirty days of a daughter and father reconnecting in a way that will inspire us all to seek the truth, even from life's most difficult relationships. This beautifully realized memoir shares how one woman and her father discovered profound lessons about their own strength and will to survive, shedding an inspiring light on generational PTSD.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780757316463
  • ISBN-10: 0757316468
  • Publisher: Health Communications
  • Publish Date: November 2012
  • Page Count: 246


Related Categories

Books > Psychology > General
Books > Family & Relationships > General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-10-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

A soldier’s return home from war is often just the beginning of another, more internalized battle. In her memoir, Presley recounts 30 days of interviews with her Vietnam veteran father—conversations in which she attempts to understand her father, his PTSD, and her own lifetime of vicarious traumas. Each day is given a chapter, and each chapter concludes with a “Journal” entry that revisits Presley’s tumultuous childhood memories. What emerges from this format is a harrowing portrait of the past’s ability to haunt the present; Presley’s descriptions of the troubled child she was blend all too easily into the confused and searching adult she becomes. In some cases, she is compelled to go to a Veterans Affairs hospital and even to Vietnam. The book’s division into 30 days feels increasingly forced and fragmented with the passing of each chapter. Such a story is, by its very nature, fractured, and by the end of the book Presley’s father is no less tormented than he was at Day One. Yet Presley has found stability in her father’s story, and her willingness to share it—and her own revelations—will be appreciated by readers who deal with any form of wartime PTSD. (Nov.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews