Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

Masuma

Posted: February 9, 2018 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

When I left Afghanistan in 2012 I wanted nothing more than to put the whole experience behind me and get on with my life. I had just spent an entire year away from my wife and 15 month old son and there were a lot of relationships that needed to be repaired. I had no idea how much my year in Afghanistan was going to affect me over the next few years.

It has been almost 6 years since I returned from Afghanistan and I can say that it no longer feels like yesterday. But it doesn’t feel like six years ago either. Over time I have come to realize that Afghanistan and the memories of violence will be with me forever, but ultimately I am in control of how much those memories invade into the present.

I left active duty a little over a year after returning home. In hindsight leaving the Army so quickly after redeployment may not have been the best decision. At the time a very unique opportunity came open in a private practice in Columbia, SC and I went at it full speed. The move turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life and I have no regrets. I’m happier and more successful now than I could have ever been in the Army. But the transition forced me to deal with and process emotions and memories before I was ready.

In the past few years I have spent some time in therapy and counseling for PTSD – a diagnosis I originally thought was a very liberal interpretation of the definition (and so embarrassing that I have yet to tell anyone but my wife.) Through cognitive behavioral therapy and medication I was able to work through a lot of memories and guilt while taking steps to put my experience in Afghanistan in the proverbial rear view mirror. I’m probably healthier now mentally than I ever have been.

For the past year I have been doing very well. I still have intense and vivid memories of war, but they don’t bother me as much as they used to and they aren’t as intrusive into my day to day life as they once were. Afghanistan doesn’t pop into my consciousness in the same way and with the same frequency or intensity as it did two or three years ago. I sleep relatively normally and don’t have weird military dreams very often. I consider the progress significant.

Afghanistan was well on the way to becoming just another memory. In fact I hadn’t really thought about it in a while.

Until today. Today Afghanistan walked right back into my life.

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