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PODCAST | “A war at home: a soldier’s mission against PTSD”

Cross-posted from KAWL News.

Next month is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and of the war in Afghanistan that followed. About 5,200 soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in the initial months following the September 11 attacks; another 67,000 went to Iraq less than two years later. Over the years those troop levels have increased, and so has the number of soldiers who return home bearing the scars of those wars.

Iraqi-American Yara Badday remembers what it was like when she visited her parents’ country during the war, and met the American soldiers fighting there.

YARA BADDAY: I will say that it seemed that a lot of the military that I encountered were suffering just as much as everyone else there … People were saying that priests were flying in in airplanes, aircrafts full of priests were coming in just to speak with suicidal soldiers. American soldiers. That’s how desperate the situation was. I saw, I saw grown men cry.

For some soldiers, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, really is a four-letter word. A PTSD diagnosis means you may need treatment for the rest of your life. It can deeply affect personal and professional relationships, and it often comes with a social stigma.

JEREMY PROFITT: “You’re weak, you can’t think that way, oh there’s something wrong with you. You know, you’re just trying to get out of the military, blah, blah, blah” – it’s totally unacceptable to say that you have, that you have, mental problems. I won’t even say “problems” – you’re just having a hard time dealing with stuff.

Jeremy Profitt served in the army in both Afghanistan and Iraq and came back with PTSD. Now that’s he’s out, he has a new mission: to clear up misconceptions about the illness. Priscilla Yuki Wilson has his story.