A letter from USAF Veteran and Easterseals Oregon employee Teresa Truesdell:
This week I have spoken to many of our Washington County veterans and many are having emotional setbacks to the current situation in Afghanistan. One thing we must remember, not only during this time but always is that not every veteran experienced the same thing. Picture a military veteran who engaged in combat. This veteran has killed, has seen fellow military personnel be killed, and has been physically injured. The sights, smells, and sounds of war play over and over in his mind. He/she remembers seeing women and children being slaughtered, uncontrolled violence, fellow soldiers dying in his/her arms while they bled to death, and he/she looked the enemy in the eye before laying him down. He/she spent nights sleeping in dirt and sand and went days without a shower. He/she was nervous and bored. There was training and there was waiting. He/she felt the separation from his/her family to their core, and for as tough as he/she was, they were terrified to die. The night sweats and nightmares continue and he/she refuses to let anyone know that it is taking an emotional toll.
Imagine telling this veteran that he needs to ignore their feelings, move on from their combat experiences, and toughen up. That he/she was trained for this and they should just be strong. What if you saw this person on the street, disheveled, homeless, and talking to whoever would listen about supporting the military? What would you think? How might you feel?
What do military personnel truly experience in combat duty? Do most people understand all that is involved, all that is experienced, and all that is carried by post combat veterans?
Below is a list of resources that can help. Please send this to the veterans you're working with.
Here is a list of VA resources for veterans needing mental health care and support:
Additional resources are available: