Can we come home now?
Doug and I are not alone. 30% of Iraq veterans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The divorce rate among Iraq Veterans is very high. Homelessness, unemployment and drug abuse are also on the rise. As Doug put it in an article written shortly before he took his own life, “All is not okay ... for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers ... will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.”
Doug and I are America’s returned veterans, her sons, left on our own to suffer after the torment of war. I still struggle through life. I often remind myself that I have to bring myself through for my daughter. I force myself to hope that even though my personal finances are in shambles, my marriage destroyed, and nearly everything I once held dear left on the rubbish heap created by this war, this torture cannot last forever. Some days I believe it; on many, I don’t.
Also with this article is the email written by Doug Barber shortly before he took his own life.
PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt, dependence, loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.Submit To Propeller
We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.
I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an environment that is conducive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our comrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag-draped coffin because a mortar round went off on your sleeping area.
Soldiers live in deplorable conditions, where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurrence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.
This is what PTSD comes in the shape of - soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans, we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them; why should we help them?
Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any credence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.
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