Dr. Phil: PTSD Takes Us "From Heroes to Monsters"


A Dr. Phil show that aired this week said that veterans suffering from PTSD are damaged goods that can "dismantle marriages."

He titled the show "From Heroes to Monsters."

When I hear the word "monster," it bears a very negative connotation, something scary, mean, nasty, evil, these characters in my mind are mainly fictional. To apply the word monster to a person is using “fighting words.”

A MONSTER of a person is a person who is evil, commits horrible acts on a regular basis, a person who bears characteristics of the fictional MONSTER. "MONSTER"and "HERO," should never be used in the same sentence unless, the HERO has defeated said monster, or is doing what a HERO does, and acting in a noble way to prevent the MONSTER from doing damage to what he/she loves and holds dear.

That said, I am really pissed off that CBS and the entire team at Dr. Phil would allow such ignorance to be thrown around about the men and women protecting the very right that allows him to do so. I do not see how titling a show From Heroes to Monsters, could be of any help to anyone.


If the intention were to actually help -- and not for ratings -- then perhaps the title of the show should have been a better reflection of that.

If I had not been diagnosed with PTSD (yes I have it), and if I didn’t tell you, you may not otherwise know. If I had no connection to anyone else living with PTSD and NOT tuned in to the show, the trailers alone would have led me to believe everyone living with PSTD is a MONSTER. I am NOT a monster. My husband, who lives with several other combat related injuries in addition to PTSD, is NOT a monster.

We have both served honorably, and are making the best of the cards we have been dealt. We have two small children, who are amazing and very aware of the struggles facing military families, and not even they think PTSD makes you a MONSTER.

Let me be perfectly clear, we are human. We all have our moments. We have seen the darker days of PTSD. We have spent time apart, and had police involved in situations in our home, and we will continue to struggle with this for the rest of our lives.

I I do NOT believe there is a cure all for this. You CANNOT erase the horrific memories war has left on so many of us. Hindsight tells me that there is a reason that so many people turned down the opportunity to “shed some light on PTSD” by being part of this particular Dr. Phil show, even after being offered some “help,” for their trauma.

You said it yourself Dr. Phil, you do not get it. Most of America doesn’t get it, but don’t make it worse for us by promoting the stigma so many have been fighting to remove.

So I guess the  question is this: was this show really about helping the involved  veterans or more about promoting The PTSD Breakthrough written by Dr. Frank Lawlis, who just so happens to be chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory board? By the way I have read the book, and I will be writing the publisher and asking for my money back. I am just as mortified by the book as I was the show itself, but that’s another post for another time.

What are your thoughts? Did Dr. Phil accurately portray the struggles veterans and their families face, or did he really drop the ball on this one?


Kristle Helmuth is a 26 year-old Army veteran, wife of a wounded warrior, and mother of two children. She is currently working toward her B.S in Communications and digital media and is the author of Forget The Dog Not The Baby, a blog that shares her personal experiences regarding her husbands injuries in Iraq, and their journey through healing. 

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