Select a veteran:   

Carol Sundling - Air Force Flight Nurse

I had done the right thing.  I’d provided a healthy, loving environment for my children, but I’d not considered my own needs.  Everything around me was so different.  I went from a big house to a small one, and I had a new job and a new reserve squadron.  I’d thought if I moved back to my childhood home, I’d find friends – people I’d known growing up.  I’d hoped for some kind of support system.  Not the case.  Most people I knew in childhood had moved from Selinsgrove, so I had no one outside my immediate family. 

My reserve unit three hours away by car, even if I’d found time for a social life there, I couldn’t form friendships with people who lived a hundred and eighty miles away.  In California, I’d lived in a military community, worked in military hospitals and shared much in common with the people around me.  Looking back on it now, I realize even with all those anchors, I lived a fragile existence.  Now completely adrift, lonely and uncertain of my ability to make friends, I didn’t want even to take the risk.

I made more money with my reserve squadron flying five days a month than full time work on rural Pennsylvania wages, so I started flying more and took a part-time job at a nursing home my family owned.

I was pretty far-gone, not in touch with reality and held onto life by a thread.  As a nurse, I knew the dangers of drugs so I never got involved, but instead, I got drunk every day.  I worked nights at the nursing home, and in the mornings after I got the girls off to school, I closed the drapes to shut the world out, curled up on the floor in my darkened living room and drank.  I’d have a couple shots of vodka then a couple more, then more.

I always stayed indoors alone, and I kept the curtains closed.  Sometimes, after morning cocktails, I napped before the girls came home from school.  Sometimes, I could sleep then.  In the evenings, I cooked dinner, and if I didn’t have to work, I put the kids to bed, sat on my floor and drank some more.

  • Carol Jean now exhibits the PTSD symptom, hypervigilance.


1. Time to Toughen Up
2. Pissed off at God
3. The type of men they were
4. A bad night
5. Rape.
6. New location, same environment.
7. The right choice
8. My own needs
9. Not all wounds are visible