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When I was struck by a teenage driver back in 2010, I sustained a traumatic brain injury. In addition to my TBI, four new letters became forever intertwined with my brain injury: PTSD. Over the years, PTSD has proven to be harder to live with than a brain injury.
Though solutions come in unexpected places, I never expected my local Target store to hold to key to freedom from one of my biggest challenges since my brain injury – living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
When a service member is deployed the spouse is everything: head chef, accountant, mechanic, troubleshooter, problem solver, mother, father, good cop, and bad cop. Their job is moving from a dual parent role to a single parent role and back again, constantly. The challenge is that this takes some getting used to for both the spouse and the service member.
Ever wonder what it was like for Superman at home? He has chores and responsibilities, just like every other spouse in a mutually supportive relationship. But how does he leave the cape at the door? And how does Lois get used to him wearing the cape around the house?
The list was written from my own experience as a combat veteran, and from what I’ve learned from veterans in my own work; this post is looking at things from the other side, based on my experiences as a mental health counselor.
Our lives did not peak on a mountaintop in Afghanistan, or a jungle in Vietnam. They do if we think they do; if we see that as the ultimate achievement in our lives, and everything else is downhill and meaningless, then that’s what we will believe. That’s not the case.
Working with any client can be challenging, but veterans can be especially difficult because of the warrior culture that they are used to. Here what veterans would like their mental health counselor to know before working with them.
My experiences don’t define me, and the Purple Hearts, TBI, and mental health diagnoses of my brothers and sisters don’t define them. I want to survive, and thrive, in spite of what I did and what happened to me...
These men are heroes not just for what they survived. They are heroes for living through fifty years of civilians who don’t understand them and loved ones who walk away in tears from actions and responses that, to these men, seem completely normal.
I, personally, never use the word warrior for anyone but a combat veteran. But I do not call them warriors because of what they did during war. I call them warriors because of what they do every single day since returning from war.
You need a mission. So says Sergeant Bill "Big Sarge" Hansen, a former Marine and a current mentor with the Wounded Warrior Project®. Today Sgt. Hansen has a clear mission: to provide mentorship and support to young veterans carrying the physical and emotional scars of war.
The Pearce family misses Army life. They not only lost the stability a healthy father would provide but also an entire way of living — the extended family that the Army creates. After years of struggle, they've found...