ESPECIALLY YOURS: “WHY THAT’S ME.”

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But I couldn't deal with it. I just had to, you know, deny it, and go numb. In other cases, moral injury occurs when soldiers confront a human need they're unable to meet. Manny Salazar, a former policeman now living in Washington, remembers an event from his time serving as a U.

A local woman he'd worked with came to the gate of the base seeking help with her six-month-old child, who had been burned:. I had to turn her away, even though I knew I had a staff fully capable of providing some kind of aid. At the time the medical rules of engagement did not allow us to care for and take care of kids.

Even though I know everyone wanted to do it, but those rules were set up, and we had to follow them. Today, he suffers from migraine headaches and has battled sleep deprivation. Manny asked me to conduct our interview in a low-lit room to minimize his eye strain. After returning from the war zone, he says, "I didn't talk to anyone for a good two and a half, three months. I'm working through these things step by step. I was struggling to get back to the person that everyone knew me as I was, both in my civilian career and my military career.

Finally, Manny sought help from staff at the V. Medical Center in Washington, where chaplains are bound by confidentiality in their consulations with veterans.

'Healing the Physical Injuries of War' | The American Legion

And they reach out in different ways. But really that's the core of all the physical symptoms, and they circle around it for a long time It's so painful. It's guilt and shame, feeling a disconnect from God. A common pattern is for veterans to become personally withdrawn. Some manage to break out of that isolation by attending peer-support groups, where they interact with others who've been in combat and know this struggle directly.

Says Daniel Libby, a readjustment counselor at the Oakland, California Vet Center, who has worked with many veterans who've suffered moral injury: "If you feel like you're this horrible person, you know, I've worked with a lot of men and women who, they're not terrible people!

Duane Kelderman on Helping Veterans Heal from Moral Injury

Even some of the men and women that I've worked with who have done some horrible things, they're not horrible people, yet they feel like horrible people. Part of the reason they isolate themselves is because they don't want to hurt anybody else. Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. A piercing truth hovers over Veterans Day observances: on the battlefield, everyone is a victim.

Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus. Real Life. Real News. Real Voices. Let us know what you'd like to see as a HuffPost Member. She didn't re-enlist. Back home, she had trouble sleeping, focusing, and trusting anyone, especially men. She didn't date.

She didn't even want to be alone with the manager at the grocery store where she worked part-time, and began to call in sick. One in four female soldiers answers yes. Men are less likely to say yes, but those who do—or should have—also may suffer lingering effects, including depression, anxiety, and panic, chronic pain, and gastrointestinal and heart problems.

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The program launched in September under the auspices of the new, comprehensive Brain Health Center and is ramping up to treat more than 1, qualified veterans during the next three years. The staff plans to work with veterans during the first year, the second, and the third. Some of these vets already have been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, anxiety, or depression and are seeking a second opinion or additional resources. Others have not been diagnosed but describe nightmares, trouble sleeping, angry outbursts, depression, difficulties dealing with their children, anxiety, memory problems, and other symptoms often seen with PTSD or TBI.

For instance, a veteran whose PTSD is exacerbated by sleep problems may see different therapists from a veteran whose PTSD causes depression, anxiety, or anger. Veterans with TBIs often have cognitive and emotional issues, so treatment is shaped accordingly. When Louise signed up to serve, she told her parents to please stop worrying about their little princess.

At that time, women were not allowed in combat. She didn't tell them that her unit was assigned to drive along roads often laced with landmines or IEDs.

Like most traumatic brain injuries suffered by military personnel, Louise's was in the mild range. She doesn't remember the vehicle she was riding in getting hit, only dizziness and blurry vision afterward, then, back home, irritability and depression. Everything seemed harder, slower. Her hands were sometimes shaky and she had a hard time remembering specific words.

She wasn't sure what was from her physical injuries and what was from anxiety.

Iraq War’s medical challenges spawn solutions for civilians

She just knew she wasn't the same as before. Depending on the veteran , treatment may include psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, cognitive rehabilitation, stress management, or sleep training, offered collaboratively by Emory specialists in psychiatry, psychology, neurology, and rehabilitation medicine.


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The Brain Health Center has many of the services veterans need in one place—MRI for diagnostic imaging, gait analysis, a sleep laboratory, cognitive impairment assessment and therapy, rehabilitation, and wellness resources. At this initial stage of the program, all participants live within commuting distance and receive outpatient care once a week or as indicated. In the spring, intensive two-week, full-day sessions will be available for veterans who live farther away.

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Both options revolve around the cores of psychiatry, neurology, and wellness and may include yoga, meditation, weight training, smoking cessation, and other activities. Some veterans, however, will be transported to the center with the specific expertise they need. It was a dark, miserable winter in in upstate Washington. During survival and escape training, the year-old Air Force staff sergeant climbed over a fallen tree, stepped on a hidden layer of ice, and plummeted feet down a rocky mountainside into a tree, catastrophically dislocating his shoulder and damaging nerves along his left side.

After slowly healing, he returned to complete training, and was transferred to Warner Robins Air Force base. But over time the injury took its toll.

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Taking a civilian job in Georgia, Morey tried to ignore the worsening pain and weakness along his left side. He soon required a strong leg brace and cane to walk. In he had his first seizure, which progressed to up to 50 a week. His doctors were stumped. Finally a local neurologist put his symptoms together with a syndrome he had read about, but had never seen: Complex regional pain syndrome type 2, a progressive, degenerative neuroinflammatory disorder caused by traumatic nerve injury.

The nerves misfire, continually sending pain signals to the brain—pain at the top end of the pain scale, sometimes resulting in seizures.


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  7. The neurologist told him he needed a specialist. By the time he came to Emory, he was nearly comatose. Neurologists recognized that his symptoms were pain-related and changed his medication, resulting in fewer seizures. Call or submit a form online.

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    You do not need to have been diagnosed.