A Leading PTSD Voice Visited with Hudson’s First Responders

July 12, 2019

by Len Lathrop

Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc has announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, but that wasn’t the elephant in the room when Bolduc, with his service dog Victor, spoke to Hudson police and firefighters in the Seabury Room before the holiday about post-traumatic stress.

Retired Brigadier General Don Bolduc spent 36 years in the U.S. Army, during which he earned two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, and two Purple Hearts. He was deployed for 10 tours of duty in Afghanistan and was part of the legendary “Horse Soldiers” who traveled across Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain to fight the Taliban immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Since retiring, Bolduc has become a leading voice on post-traumatic stress working to de-stigmatize the condition so more veterans and first responders feel comfortable seeking out help.

With personal stories and a series of slides the General spoke to Hudson public service personnel as a brother-in-arms and tried to open the door to accepting PTS as something where there is treatment and no one should carry the burdens of the stress in their lives.

Bolduc explained that he sees PTSD as PTS and that it’s no more than any other type of injury.

What is PTSD

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people — soldiers and civilians — develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Unwanted and repeated memories of the life-threatening event
  • Flashbacks where the event is relived and person temporarily loses touch with reality
  • Audience of people, places, sights, or sounds that are reminders
  • Feelings of detachment from people, even family, and emotional numbness
  • Shame about what happened and was done
  • Survivor guilt with loss of friends or comrades
  • Hypervigilance or constant alertness for threats

Individuals with PTSD are at increased risk for depression, physical injuries, substance abuse, and deep problems, which in turn can affect thoughts and actions. These risk factors also occur with brain injury.

Treatment Bolduc has Utilized

Proper Diagnosis and Treatment, Support from Family and Friends, Counseling, Stellate Ganglion Block, Combat Protocol Acupuncture, Stress Coping Skills, Diet Change, Exercise, Sleep Disorder Treatment, Transcranial Magnet Stimulation, Service Dog, Balance Treatment, Memory Drills.

What Bolduc thinks PTS is

PTS for Combat Veterans is a Survival Mechanism.

  • Drop the “D” it is not a disorder it is a “Reordering”
  • It is the brain’s way of keeping you alive in combat
  • Combat PTS behavior if not treated is not compatible with a noncombat environment
  • PTS does not make you helpless, dangerous, or dysfunctional
  • A person getting treatment for PTS is better than one that is not getting treatment
  • It is not a pathology
  • It is not mental illness
  • It is not a disorder
  • It is a survival mechanism

Bolduc’s treatment plan included de-stigmatization, holistic care, a health triad of mind, body, and spirit, and an understanding of PTS and being resilient in looking for and utilizing treatment.