Thirty Days with My Father

Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD – Christal Presley PhD

When Christal Presley’s father was eighteen, he was drafted to Vietnam. Like many men of that era who returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he was never the same. Christal’s father spent much of her childhood locked in his room, gravitating between the deepest depression and unspeakable rage, unable to participate in holidays or birthdays. At a very young age, Christal learned to walk on eggshells, doing anything and everything not to provoke him, but this dance caused her to become a profoundly disturbed little girl. She acted out at school, engaged in self-mutilation, and couldn’t make friends. At the age of eighteen, Christal left home and didn’t look back. She barely spoke to her father for the next thirteen years.

To any outsider, Christal appeared to be doing well: she earned a BA and a master’s, got married, and traveled to India. But despite all these accomplishments, Christal still hadn’t faced her biggest challenge—her relationship with her father. In 2009, something changed. Christal decided it was time to begin the healing process, and she extended an olive branch. She came up with what she called “The Thirty Day Project,” a month’s worth of conversations during which she would finally ask her father difficult questions about Vietnam.

My views:

The author shows great courage in baring her soul to the readers to tell how she struggled to heal her relationship with her father. The author sharing her struggles, her fears, and her deep desire to be healed. The language and style is absolutely great however I found this a difficult book to read only because the emotions ran so deep. . Having said that, I would recommend this book to all. It is filled with resources who wish to know about PTSD, second generational PTSD, the trauma that families experience after war, and recovery.  

Read this for more about how Christal’s father responded to the book.

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