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In the past, Russ and I would celebrate across oceans and time zones, sometimes a half hour off. Yes, really. Afghanistan is nine-and-a-half hours ahead of the east coast, 10-and-a-half from Texas. It was wild trying to sync up schedules but I would never turn down a 3AM-my-time video chat. I am grateful we don’t have to contend with that any longer. But Russ being home hasn’t made the transition from 2021 to 2022 any easier.
Capt. Dawn D. Sellers knows she can’t save the world, but prays she can at least reach a couple of Soldiers during her time here. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner has been deployed here since May working at the 3rd Medical Command’s Gaining Resilience in Theater, or GRIT, Clinic here practicing battlefield acupuncture and providing supportive therapy and psychoeducation—therapeutic intervention that provides Soldiers with tools to help them heal.
Relationships after a life-altering injury or diagnosis is, well, weird. Some people will stand by you no matter what. Hold on to them and let them know, often, how grateful you are that they are in your life. Others, even family—no, especially family—are not so loyal.
The pain, guilt, and shame manifested as stress, anxiety, and depression... eventually leading to thoughts of, “I don’t deserve to be here” and “this world would be better without me in it” and “I’m a coward.”
My early year look-backs were filled with profound sadness, and a sense of loss so overwhelming that I felt smothered by it. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. It’s been long enough that I’ve all but forgotten who I was before my brain injury; that person no longer exists. The very fact that I’m no longer bothered by this is a sure sign that my soul is growing.
After nine years in the Marine Corps, I wanted to travel as a civilian. More precisely, I wanted to travel with my wife, to go explore the world together. We met the week before I left for a month-long field exercise. Six months into dating, I deployed for 11 months. Separation just went hand in hand with our early relationship—not uncommon in the military.
Genevieve Chase accomplishes everything she attempts. She made master sergeant in 15 years in the Army reserves... she was inducted into the Army Women’s Hall of Fame. In the military, she learned Pashto and was an intelligence soldier in Afghanistan. But, like a lot of military women, one dream eludes her: She hasn’t been able to get pregnant.
I have a streaming service subscription. Unlike the popular streaming services so many of us are familiar with, the rules for this service are different: The terms of agreement are lifelong, and there is no opportunity to cancel. And this streaming service allows new content based entirely on my previous viewing habits.
The group rushed down the halls and stairways as a growing trail of people followed. All searched for a path to safety. The security at the Pentagon, meant to keep enemies from breaching its perimeter, had trapped them within the fortified walls.
Last month, I marked a significant milestone in my life as I celebrated 30 years of sobriety. And, in what amounts to a “whoever would have thought it,” moment, being a sober person in recovery has made my brain injury journey easier. In fact, it literally saved my life.
The news about the Unites States withdrawing military forces from Afghanistan is hard to stomach. I am angry. I am sad. And I am worried. Worried about the people left there under the Taliban regime. Worried about the possible backlash to the Muslim community here in the United States. Worried about the troops still there working with humanitarian aid. Worried about the veterans and their families who sacrificed so much. Decades of work, deployments, injuries, and death for seemingly nothing.
Duane France has a conversation with Layla Hernandez, Behavioral Health Manager for Silver Key Senior Services. In the Insight Segment, Duane looks at former service members who might be overlooked when it comes to mental health.
As my 60th birthday approaches, the internal emotions are ramping up. Over the years, I’ve heard the saying that health is one of those things you never fully appreciate until it’s gone. While this is definitely true, most often it’s used in reference to physical health. But what happens when your mental health is compromised?
Sir, I do not request an apology, explanation, or acknowledgment of my letter. As a lecturer at Texas A&M who advises future leaders, I wrote this to say that I mattered then, and I matter now. I did not deserve to be relegated to a second-class soldier.
Duane France talks with Charlton Clarke, a licensed professional therapist and co-clinical director at the Family Care Center. Plus the reasons why service members avoid therapy and the resource segment highlighting Project Sanctuary.
I stared through a sand-crusted windshield. It was more of a film, wiped clear along the path of the wiper blades. A dirty blonde desert haze, matching the Humvee’s paint—not that weird orange-tinged tone oddly clinging to some of our vehicles.