The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 30, 2011

Joplin residents could experience PTSD

JOPLIN, Mo. — The intense stress of combat deployments in Iraq, years as a Washington, D.C., area firefighter, and an abusive childhood finally got the best of U.S. Navy Chief Mike Wade. After a night of heavy drinking and prescription drug use, Wade made a threatening late-night call to his commanding officer.

When Wade awoke facedown on his floor the next morning, the police were at the door.

It sounds like the end of a long sad story, one Americans have largely ignored during every war in the nation’s history. But for Wade, it was the beginning of his recovery. He points to that morning as a watershed moment in his life — the moment he realized he had a problem.

“When I finally did come apart and boiled over, at the moment, I kept pointing my finger at everything around me, anything but what was going on inside me,” he said.

Wade was sent to several military hospitals. Finally he met three Marines who, like Wade, fought in Ramadi, Iraq.

“Once I was able to talk to those three Marines, and have the firsthand perspective of events that I was involved with in Ramadi, Iraq, I realized it wasn’t my spouse, it wasn’t my relationship, it was all me,” he said.

Wade was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has spent the past several years undergoing treatment and speaking to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in an official capacity for the Pentagon.

On Saturday, he addressed an audience of tornado survivors, volunteers, first responders and veterans in the Justice Center at Missouri Southern State University.

Vicky Mieseler, Ozark Center’s vice president for clinical services, said she heard about Wade’s presentation from a co-worker’s brother who was stationed at the Pentagon. She thought Joplin’s tornado survivors and first responders would benefit from Wade’s no-nonsense presentation about PTSD.

“I thought this might be a unique way to present PTSD and help people understand the connection to it with the military, and why what we went through might be similar,” she said.

Wade agrees. He says PTSD is most commonly associated with combat veterans, but it can affect anybody.

“You don’t need to have been in the military. You don’t need to have gone to Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam or World War II,” he said. “Traumatic and life-threatening events happen to everyone, not only to someone in uniform, but every single citizen and every single person on the planet. This disorder is a normal reaction to stress and trauma. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Wade said that the Joplin community has suffered a life-threatening event that could cause people to exhibit early symptoms of PTSD. He said the manmade destruction that he witnessed in Iraq does not compare with what a tornado did to Joplin.

Mieseler said she has seen people display the early symptoms of PTSD, but no cases have been diagnosed because not enough time has passed since the tornado.

“We’ve seen the symptoms, but we wouldn’t diagnose anyone with PTSD until 90 days have passed because there’s still time to get the symptoms under control,” she said.

Mieseler says the trauma of May 22 is likely to affect people for years to come.

“I think people will slowly realize that this event has affected the rest of their lives, and that they’re going to have some issues that they will always respond to and that they have to be in control of,” she said.

Wade says he still battles his symptoms. He, like other veterans, will likely battle them for the rest of his life.

“People always ask me, ‘How’s it feel to be recovered from PTSD?’ And I always correct them and say, ‘I’m not recovered.’ I don’t think I’ve recovered from PTSD; I just learned how to live with it,” he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter