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
  • Cancer patient’s drug, probation cases postponed ‘until further notice’

    A Joplin woman who is battling a rare type of cancer has gotten a temporary reprieve in her drug and probation cases so she can focus on her health issues, according to her attorney. Velma Crain, who appeared Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court, was facing the possible revocation of her probation after having been arrested last year on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

    April 15, 2014

  • Suspect in assault on officer apprehended in Texas

    The U.S. Marshals Service caught up with a suspect in Texas who was wanted in an assault on a Seneca police officer and alleged probation violations in Arkansas. Cody A. Rantz, 25, is being held in Collin County north of Dallas on warrants issued in Missouri and Arkansas. Federal marshals reportedly located the fugitive at a strip mall in Texas on Monday afternoon and took him into custody.

    April 15, 2014

  • Ex-Jasper teacher’s aide accused of sexual contact with student

    A former teacher’s aide at Jasper High School has been charged with having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student and is being investigated for possible sexual contact with other boys at the school. Janice L. Rusk, 43, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree statutory rape and second-degree statutory sodomy following investigations by school officials and law enforcement.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Open a beer, chat with Tom, see his exhibit

    I like to think that I would have gotten along with Thomas Hart Benton. Sure, I’ve read that sometimes Tom (I think I can call him Tom) could be grouchy, and if someone said something stupid or acted like a jerk, he didn’t mind telling that person exactly what he thought of him. But hey, I grew up with people like that.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho Ethics Board calls witnesses in complaint against council members

    City Manager Troy Royer on Monday night described what he said was an assault by City Councilman Steve Hart, and other incidents involving Hart and Councilman David Ruth. His statements were made to the Neosho Ethics Board, which is investigating a complaint filed against Hart and Ruth. Board members had described Royer as their key witness.

    April 15, 2014

  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Commission awards contract for bridge replacement project

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract for construction of a new bridge on County Road 48.

    April 15, 2014

  • moon 2 Julie Mi…ell Kruege.jpg SLIDESHOW: Lunar Eclipse turns moon red Globe readers sent in their photos of the lunar eclipse which could be seen early Tuesday morning in the Joplin area.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read


In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter