How PTSD Nearly Stole My Life

Haunted by Guilt and the Smells of Blood and Gunpowder

It has been 45 years since I returned to the U.S. from Vietnam. I was only 19, but the year I spent there made me feel like I had already lived 10 lifetimes. My family said, “Welcome Home,” but I have never fully come home.

Why do I still carry so much pain from that war? I have been told over 100 times: “Put it behind you and move on with your life.” But Vietnam hangs onto my innermost thoughts like a newborn to its mother’s warmth.

The friends I left behind …

I Never Dreamed I Would End up Homeless

Isolated, Anxious, and Distrustful, I Fell Out of Sync With Society

In my training to go fight in Vietnam, we lived and breathed these mottos: “Once a Marine, always a Marine” and “Marines never quit.”

Intensive therapy at the Veterans Affairs …

Gaining Ground in the Battle with My Memories of Vietnam

Baseball, Faith, and Helping Others Gave Me Hope and Control Over My Life

In the mid- to late-1980s, I spent a lot of time at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus. I used to watch the sunsets from a sixth floor balcony …

There’s Hope for Fresno

To Address Poverty, the City is Nurturing Entrepreneurs, Counseling Families, and Learning to Take Pride in Itself

In 2005, the Brookings Institution released a depressing statistic about Fresno: The landlocked Californian city, about 200 miles southeast of San Francisco in the state’s Central Valley, had the highest …

My Improbable Descent Into Homelessness

I Was Living with My Parents in Santa Monica When Our Life Began to Fall Apart

The homelessness issue in America can feel like an overwhelming and abstract problem. As such, it’s understandable that politicians talk about it in broad terms and propose broad policies that …

Homelessness Is Not Inevitable

While It Now Seems Like a Social Norm, There Are Actions We Can Take to Keep People off the Streets

Ten years ago, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez attended what he refers to as a “dog and pony show” on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Its topic: the plan to …