Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Broken by This War

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
 
babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-05-07 07:33 AM
Original message
Broken by This War
http://www.progressive.org/mag_bannerman0307

Broken by This War
By Stacy Bannerman

snip//


His e-mails were sometimes delayed, or returned to him as undeliverable, with portions blacked out by military censors. The ones that got through asked for more homemade treats, baby wipes, batteries, movies, and magazines. One missive informed me about rockets landing next to the trailer where he slept . . . while he was in bed. Another ended abruptly because he was under attack.
Lorin spent hours loading coffins onto cargo jets; I spent days on red alert.

Finally, the phone rang with the news that my husband was coming home, after nearly a year in Iraq. They didnt tell me hed bring the war with him.

Hed been back for almost two months, but he was still checking to see where his weapon was every time he got in a vehicle. He drove aggressively, talked aggressively, and sometimes I could swear that he was breathing aggressively. This was not the man I married, this hard-eyed, hyper-vigilant stranger who spent his nights watching the dozens of DVDs that he got from soldiers he served with in Iraq. He couldnt sleep, and missed the adrenaline surge of constant, imminent danger. The amateur videos of combat eased the ache of withdrawal from war, but did nothing to heal my soldiers heart.

At a conference on post-deployment care and services for soldiers and their families, a Marine Corps chaplain asked, How do you know if youre an SOB? Your wife will tell you!

Har-de-har-har-har. The remark got the predictable round of applause from the capacity crowd, which, with one exception, wasnt living with anyone who had recently returned from Iraq. I was that exception, and it infuriated me that this was a joke. The Pentagons solution for the constant stress endured by those of us who felt bewildered and betrayed was: Learn how to laugh. With help from the Pentagons chief laughter instructor, families of National Guard members were learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion, and blurt ha, ha, hee, hee, and ho, ho.

Emotional isolation is one of the hallmarks of post-combat mental health problems. The National Guard didnt conduct follow-up mental health screening or evaluations of the men in my husbands company until they had been home for almost eight months. Nearly a year later, in August of 2006, my husband was informed of his results: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was obvious that he was suffering, but when I brought it up, he parroted what the military told him: Give it time.

snip//
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC