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Blast injuries, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress (PTS) are the wounds of war, but as wounded service members return home, there is another battle on the home front. The wounds of war touch families as well, including their spouses, parents, children, siblings, and caregivers.

It is the less visible wounds of changes in cognition, emotions, and behavior that can be so puzzling and frustrating for veterans and their families. Wrestling with the demons of the aftermath of war requires support, information and expertise. These blog articles by and about veterans and service members share their experiences.

TBI and PTSD: Navigating the Perfect Storm by Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.

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Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are separate conditions but many of their symptoms overlap. It can be hard for the person who is living with the dual diagnosis of TBI and PTSD and for family and caregivers to separate them. Just as meteorologists predict “the perfect storm” when unusual and unprecedented conditions move in to create catastrophic atmospheric events, so can the combination of PTSD and TBI be overpowering and destructive for all in its path. The person with TBI and PTSD is living in a state unlike anything previously experienced. For the family, home may no longer the safe haven but an unfamiliar front with unpredictable and sometimes frightening currents and events. This article describes similarities and differences with PTSD and TBI.

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Let’s Not Forget our Wounded Veterans as Time Passes

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As our service members and veterans come home, the invisible wounds of TBI and PTSD can have serious consequences for families. The new war at home is less recognized than the conflicts on the battlefield. The troops on the home front are the spouses, parents, children and siblings. Let us not forget them as time passes. There is no expiration date on the effects of war. There are struggles and conflicts that will endure long after service members come home and we need to remember that and reach out to help and support them.

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Can I be Objective and Have Empathy after my Brain Injury?

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One thing that has confused me since my TBI is empathy. I want everyone to have it and forgive me when I’m rude, forgetful, and overwhelmed. More than anything, I wish I had it for others. I’m sure I used to have a whole lot more of it.

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Events Alter Mind of PTSD Veterans

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Veteran Matt Brown’s poem, Events, captures the power of the mind for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. The events of the past have a powerful hold on the mind as veterans come home and transition from military to civilian life. Families, including spouses and children, often say the wounded warrior is not the same person who left for the battlefield. Matt Brown captures how powerful these changes are for the individual who has been to war and back.

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One Last Moment

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Survival from a blast during the battles in Iraq was often determined by seconds or minutes when soldiers were seriously injured. Army veteran Matt Brown, who sustained multiple injuries including a brain injury, wrote this poem from the mindset “…that if the medics didn’t get to me or they were 5 minutes later getting me to the hospital, this would have been me.” Survival means living but then comes the challenge of rebuilding one’s life and finding meaning again.

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Veteran’s Point of View on Service by Matt Brown

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Veteran Matt Brown enlisted in the Army after high school and was injured in the war in Iraq. He now helps other wounded warriors deal with the emotional aftermath of war. He reflects on how so many young service members have grown up during the 11 years of war and Operation Enduring Freedom. Now enlisting, they come from all different walks of life to mesh into one of the greatest fighting forces every known.

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Veteran’s Letter Home from War by Matt Brown

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Only a veteran knows what it is like to fight in a war. Only a mother at home knows the special worry over whether her son is alive and safe. Matt Brown, a wounded veteran of the war in Iraq, recalls writing letters home to his mother while he was in the midst of a war, never knowing if he would make it home alive. He reminds us that everyone is changed by war. Those young men and women who enlist come home as changed individuals.

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We Were Little

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Wounded veteran Matt Brown has fought many wars in mind and body since he returned from Iraq. In this poem, he captures the transformation of children playing at war to the reality of service members in combat seeing death and the wounds of war every day. Our returning service members and veterans are changed by the experience of war and the innocence of youth is forever lost.

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Living with PTSD – A Veteran’s View on the War at Home

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Living with PTSD can feel like fighting another war for a veteran. But this time it’s a war fought at home and it’s personal. It’s not the bullets and explosives that are coming at you but your memories and feelings that are wounding you. Matt Brown, a wounded veteran of Iraq, describes his fight to look within himself to identify his triggers for PTSD and to fight once more for his life now that he is home.

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“Normal” is No Longer So Easy after My Brain Injury

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“With a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, ‘normal’ daily activities become huge tasks. These are the things I do every day that I used to take for granted – things I never thought would be hard to do. I’m lucky because my TBI is a mild one, but I still struggle some days.” These are the words of Matt Brown, a veteran of Iraq, who finds that nothing can be taken for granted anymore as he lives with the wounds of war.

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