PTSD - October 25, 2009, 9:00 pm The Minefield at Home By...

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October 25, 2009, 9:00 pm The Minefield at Home By Michael Jernigan Katherine Streeter In August 2004, while on patrol with my Marine unit in Mahmudiya, Iraq, I was severely wounded by a roadside bomb. My wounds included a crushed skull and right hand, traumatic brain injury and the loss of both my eyes. I am not alone. In the past eight years, many of the 35,000 American soldiers wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned home. But many of us have also returned with deep emotional wounds, and those are harder to see. In fact, they’re often invisible, which is why so many returning soldiers feel so lost back home. Those of us with post-traumatic stress disorder — I’m one of them — feel like strangers here, carrying around a burden many people are unaware of or just can’t understand. The possibilities for misunderstandings, collisions and alienation are great. Rewind to 2005. I am sitting in the house alone in the dark. I do not know where the light switches are. What does it matter anyway? I cannot see light.
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I get up to get another beer and discover that I have run out. No fear, though — I’ll go find the bottle of Johnnie Walker I have somewhere in the back room. I hear a noise outside. I freeze. I am running through the worst-case scenarios. Where am I in the house? How close is my rifle? Be quiet, listen, and slowly make your way to the bedroom. Good, I’ve found my rifle next to the bed, right where I left it. I feel safer. I am still listening; I don’t hear anything else. Still, I will stand here in the dark with my head on a swivel listening to everything within hearing. Is that not my first general order as a Marine? It is quiet. I am calm
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PTSD - October 25, 2009, 9:00 pm The Minefield at Home By...

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