PTSD Awareness Day
As many of you may already know, my husband Bob carried a rifle with the 26th Marines in the Vietnam War, earning a Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, and The Vietnam Gallantry Cross. Although Bob himself would say that he doesn’t regret a single moment he spent in military service, he has also openly shared that, after the war, he came home a different man. A man with a sometimes-explosive temper, who experienced pain in his relationships with loved ones and, perhaps most frustratingly, with himself. He couldn’t put words to the agitation, anger, and despair he felt, and he most definitely could not see a clear path out of the hurt. That was until he read Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind, and approached me with the idea to explore psychedelics as a possible treatment for the anguish he experienced for decades, which we now understand as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Within days of Bob expressing interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, I had him connected to two guides who led him through multiple, “medicated” journeys – emotional, spiritual, and physical – that resulted in a notable change in his outlook on life and overall demeanor. This is what Bob will describe at speaking engagements and amongst friends and family as “finally coming home” from the war after 50 years. He was the Bob I saw glimpses of and always loved, but I could tell – all of us who are close to him could tell – that this therapy had brought him a level of relief and healing unlike anything else he had tried.
This experience has led Bob to become a fierce advocate for making psychedelic-assisted therapy (particularly MDMA-assisted therapy for veterans with PTSD) available to those who need it most. Through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, we’ve contributed just over $14 million to this effort, and this is just the beginning. Organizations and projects we’ve supported include The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Mount Sinai’s Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research, the Bronx Veterans Administration, the Loma Linda Veterans Administration, the Bill Richards Center for Healing, and more.
June 27th is National PTSD Awareness Day. Each year this day serves as a reminder to me that not all wounds are visible. I hope, if nothing else, that sharing our story will create more awareness of these wounds and for the individuals impacted by them.
If you’re curious to learn more about any of the information above, there is no better way than to hear from Bob himself.
To my husband Bob – Welcome home, honey. I love you.