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Coming home with more than war wounds

After months of intense training, our soldiers are ready to depart overseas.  Many leave with the sense that it is their duty to their country and many leave in hopes to do something honorable with their lives.

The consequence of war on a soldier’s mind is irreparable damage in my opinion, and the reparations that are given don’t come close to making up for the fact that they don’t return home the same.

According to the Veterans Affairs (VA), an average of 18 veterans commit suicide each and everyday, and the biggest catalyst for this statistic is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. And according to the helpguide.org, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell. 
While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms: Re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoiding reminders of the trauma, and increased anxiety and emotional arousal.

I had a friend who returned after being overseas, and it wasn’t a smooth transition. In conversation, he would become extremely irritated and start loudly disagreeing. He wasn’t the same person I had grown up with.

I also had a friend who started dating a newly discharged marine; his characteristics were described to me like a newly released prisoner. At first, it was refreshing to her to have the courtesy of opening doors and being protective of her. But after some time,  was constantly on edge and looking over his shoulder. It made her so uneasy that she called it off.

Veterans receive so many benefits once they are back home including these programs, five years of cost-free health care; VA pays benefits to eligible Veterans, reservists and active duty service members while they are in an approved education or training program. Veterans also receive a GI Bill if interested in returning to college. The VA also provides, if you have served in any combat zone, local vet centers can help you and your family with readjustment counseling and outreach services for free.

With all these benefits, it still makes me wonder if it’s really worth the traumatic events they endure. I know of an honorably discharged marine that came back to work in welding, makes a good living, and is perfectly stable but still remembers the mistreatment of his fellow veterans and himself.  

When it comes down to it, I don’t feel that our veterans can receive any amount of money or benefits to make up for the fact that they endured so much trauma.


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