Emotional Healing

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Kidney Disease, Emotional Scarring from War

Bill Coolburra – Vietnam Veteran
January 27 2005, Palmwoods, QLD 4555,  Australia

My name is Bill Coolburra.  I live in North Queensland, Australia.   I am a Vietnam veteran.  I was in the first batch of Australian soldiers to be sent to Vietnam. I was a sapper, or military engineer, and one of the first tunnel rats.  We had to descend into dark tunnels searching for Viet Cong with a torch and a pistol.  Some of the tunnels were so small you had to inch your way along on your belly, hoping the next bend didn’t have a VC waiting for you with a shotgun to blow your face off.  The tunnels were dark and had their own smell.  I was gassed in a tunnel once and the next thing I knew the padre was pronouncing the last rites over me.  As a result I have been unable to sleep in the dark since.

I also saw some terrible things done to village people and the memories have haunted me ever since.  It took me a long time to get over the sounds of helicopters flying over my home and even in these later years certain sounds have scared me.   I witnessed “helicopter interrogation” and always felt guilty that I could do nothing to stop it happening. There was a battle involving Australian troops and my unit was needed for support. I was the lead scout and a grenade trap almost cost my life and the lives of my buddies when the grenade fell from a bough and missed my face by an inch. I saw the striker go down and the smoke coming out of the grenade, but it hit the ground and failed to explode.

I saw many other things that have made life a living hell since returning home.

I have seen many of my old friends destroyed by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and many who lost their families as a result of the stress on them.  It seems the shrinks who deal with us are not really interested in helping us or just don’t have a clue on how to. It makes us feel totally unappreciated when a shrink tells us we are malingering. We didn’t start that war, politicians did, and they didn’t serve there.  They don’t have the problems we do and we see them mainly as people who don’t care about their former servicemen who went to war in the belief we were protecting our country and lifestyle from a communist takeover.

The protesters against the war aimed their anger at the wrong people.  They spat on us and treated us like dirt when we returned. They should have aimed it at those who sent us there.

Now many of my old friends have died.  A lot are alcoholics and into other drugs as well to try and push away the terrible memories.  They are looked down on as filth by a lot of members of a society that has no values any more.  Many of us feel that there is little if any hope of recovering and some just give up completely.

I have been blessed. My wife Edna has stuck right by me, so has my “brother” Snowy, who donated a kidney to me. You see I also suffer with diabetes and it completely wrecked my kidneys and the medical people said the only hope was a transplant and Snowy volunteered a kidney without a second thought.

Unfortunately it didn’t work and I have been on dialysis three times a week for four years now.

My “brother” Gary Powell is a natural therapist living in the Nambour area.  He asked me to come down for a fortnight in the hope he might be able to help me in some way to have a better life.  Edna and I arrived on January 16 2005.  I have had so little exercise, on hospital orders, that I had to use a crutch to walk with. Gary has 14 back stairs and we were billeted in the downstairs bedroom. Getting up those 14 stairs was a real challenge and my arms on the rails did more work than my legs were able to. I was taking five minutes to get up that flight. But two days later Gary did some work on my legs and I was able to get up in one go, hardly using my arms. Now I can take the stairs fairly easily and my legs are definitely gaining strength.

On the second afternoon Gary decided to work on the Vietnam horrors. After having these memories locked in deep for all these years I had doubts they could ever be tamed. However, he got results right away. When he started using his EFT technique on me, my score was 10/10 on a 0 to 10 scale with 10 being the worst.

He started on just one incident that had me really shaking, from the tunnels. It went down to a zero in a matter of a few minutes and no longer made any impact on me.  He went through a few others after that and I felt the definite relief come flooding in.  I was rid of the trauma of the incidents at last. I can now discuss the happenings without any reaction.

Gary is very thorough and quite a stirrer as well. That is what I most remember about him in the army, being a born stirrer. I was asleep that night with the light out for the first time in many years. He knew that waking in the dark was likely to really upset me so he resorted to his stirring. Knowing I would wake up as soon as he entered the room, he sneaked in and sure enough I woke. It was pitch dark and I couldn’t see anything. There was this strange small blue glow that kept circling over me and it got me really worried. It kept doing this for a couple of minutes then suddenly there was this yell in my ear. I degravitated a foot from the bed and realised it was Gary. He was laughing and asked me was I scared. I assured him I was scared until I knew it was him. He didn’t turn on the light and asked me how I felt about sleeping in the dark after that. He certainly puts you to the test, to make sure the treatment is working.

I went straight back to sleep and have been sleeping with no lights since then.

The next day he tested me on the other things he had worked on and none of them caused the least bit of stress.

He was also working on my general health and it has improved quite a bit in a short time. A few days after working on the Vietnam bit I mentioned how three of my children had died. The circumstances left me with a lot of anger towards the medical authorities and others at first, but over the years a lot of the anger went away.  However, there were other factors involved and I had a lot of grief and hurt that I was not able to handle. Gary worked on these for me and to my surprise everything came normal very quickly. I can now talk about the deaths of my children without any upset at all. This has helped me to completely forgive all who were in any way to blame and my life is a lot easier now.

When I came to Gary’s place I was addicted to dark chocolate. We decided to work on it. Gary got some nice dark chocolate to tempt me with and made me smell it and taste a little bit of it. I really built up a craving in a few minutes and he then started using his EFT technique and less than five minutes later I couldn’t care less about the chocolate and I still don’t care if I never see one again

Gary’s methods are unusual compared to anything else I have seen, but we have to go on results and my results are very satisfactory. His EFT technique has certainly given me a new outlook and I believe he can help many others with PTSD and other problems.

Sincerely yours
( ex L/Cpl)   Bill Coolburra   RAE