CONYNGHAM – Tiffany Cloud Olson turned to writing as a form of therapy while her husband, Erik, was serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
Cloud Olson, 44, of Conyngham, turned her journal into a book, Sleeping with Dog Tags, which hit the best seller list at Amazon.com in the military biography category in October.
Now, she's putting to use her experiences as a military wife as a contributing author to Thoughtful Women – a website designed for women of all ages, backgrounds, political persuasions and interests to engage in discussion about issues important to them.
Cloud Olson's article Invisible Scars of War Carried by Today's Military Spouse – about secondary post traumatic stress disorder – was published on the site on Dec. 9.
Secondary PTSD is not an established disorder like PTSD, but it's a term becoming quickly accepted as a description of what many military spouses experience, Cloud Olson said.
Spouses can mirror a lot of their symptoms – short fuse, easily overwhelmed, hypervigilance. … The spouse goes to war, too, but in a different way, she said.
Cloud Olson said the good news is that both PTSD and Secondary PTSD are more widely talked about than in the past.
At least now, there are more resources, she said.
Cloud Olson said she came across Thoughtful Women's page on Facebook and immediately liked it because she has always been interested in strong women who have interesting perspectives on things and followed it for several months.
She sent Thoughtful Women information on her book, they contacted me back and I asked if they were looking for writers. I really decided to write for Thoughtful Women because they have several contributing writers, but didn't have one who was a military spouse, she said.
In addition to contributing to the website and enjoying the success of her book, Cloud Olson continues to host a talk show on local cable TV station WYLN called Storm Politics, an endeavor she began about two years ago.
I have political guests, but I also try to have veterans and people who work in military support groups, she said.
Cloud Olson admits that her current career is a bit of a switch from her marketing and advertising career, in which she worked behind the scene to promote other people and their brands, books and shows.
But it's kind of fun to reinvent yourself midlife, she said.
In addition to her work as an author and television host, Tiffany Cloud Olson works to educate people about issues affecting veterans and their families. She has posed for the Battling BARE organization to help raise awareness about PTSD, supports military families through the deployment process and has worked to educate government officials on inefficiencies that exist within the lengthy medical retirement process for wounded warriors.
She recently became a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and received several preliminary nominations for Military Spouse of the Year 2013.
She graduated from Colgate University in 1990 and resides in Conyngham with her husband and daughter. Her article on secondary PTSD can be found at www.thoughtfulwomen.org in the Health & Wellness category under the Healthcare tab. Search for her on Facebook pages and follow her author page at www.amazon.com/author/tiffanycloudolson.