CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Some veterans who served in Afghanistan or other conflicts are experiencing a range of challenging emotions or flares, due to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
“One of my best friends died in Afghanistan. I think what it’s doing to people is, it’s bringing back a lot of bad memories,” said Brian Hughes, U.S. Army Veteran.
“It’s just unreal that people don’t realize that you get emotionally involved in everything you do in war. I mean it’s emotional. You do everything you can to protect yourself, to protect the ones around you, and to defend what you’re there to defend,” said James Sigmon, U.S. Army Veteran.
According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, some reactions to the current events in Afghanistan include feeling sad, depressed, helpless, anger, abusing alcohol or drugs, and in extreme cases hurting oneself or another person. These feelings of hopelessness stem from a loss of identity or purpose as to why one fought in such conflict.
“I understand where people come back and they’re hurt, they’ve been depressed, shot. It plays on their mind. The people that have never been in a war or situation like that, they don’t understand. It’s mental,” said Sigmon.
For some veterans, the Afghanistan conflict may even be triggering nightmares of flashbacks from their time there.
I’m already shot there, then I look up and there’s a V.C. with his weapon over top of me and he’s smiling. I had that dream quite often. Over there is not helping right now,” said Cricket Means, U.S. Army Veteran.
Veterans say if you or someone you know is struggling with P.T.S.D., some ways to help include, engaging in positive thinking, staying connected to their family and friends, practicing good self-care, sticking to a routine, and limiting media exposure.
“If you’re having trouble with P.T.S.D., please get help. It helps. Talk to the right person. They’re out there. There are people out there that can help you,” said Means.