Diana’s Story

Diana Veseth-Nelson is the wife of retired Army Captain, Adrian Veseth-Nelson, diagnosed with severe PTSD following his two deployments to Iraq. They have been battling the difficulties and stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and advocating for Veterans and Spouses since 2009. She and her husband have an organization that focuses on advocacy, alternative therapy such as canine therapy, and Veteran led support groups.

Background and Perspective:

My name is Diana Veseth-Nelson, I am the spouse of a Veteran diagnosed with severe PTSD following his two deployments to Iraq. We have been battling the difficulties and stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and advocating for Veterans and Spouses with our organization since 2009.  By doing this we have come in contact with a wide range of Veterans and their Families and are hear to share not only our stories, but those who are silenced by the symptoms of PTSD, the stigma, and the professional repercussions that all too often accompany this diagnosis. I speak to you today, not as someone with PTSD, but someone in support of a family member with a severe form of this condition. Aside from being affected daily, Spouses are often a gateway to healthcare for Veterans. The military community has recognized the hardship placed on the families of those that are managing PTSD, often a lifetime debilitating condition- and is offering in some ways support for caregivers.  As with many psychological conditions, treating the patient is not a solution- but providing the family with the support and tools to continue with daily life is a responsibility of the community. There are currently no long-term solutions for Veterans with PTSD available to me or my husband.  We are limited by the medical communities knowledge of the condition, understanding of its progress, and inclination to immediately medicate. Barriers to care are further compounded by Military communication and culture barriers that substantially hinder communication between patients and providers.  According to the VA of San Francisco’s new study that was presented last week, I would like to take a moment to quote the article: “Some 23 million veterans, like many people will later face more common illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, as a function of gaining. But a growing body of work shows these diseases may be exacerbated by traumatic stress, researchers have said.  For example, veterans with PTSD are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease than those who do not have the disorder.” My fear is now that not only will this population and their families not receive the help they need, but that the insurance community will find a way to determine it a preexisting condition when inevitably the effects of this condition worsen, and throughout a lifetime- take their toll on everyone.