For most people, the concept of going to war is a bit hard to imagine. Yes, we can see images of fighting on the news or hear about battles after the fact, but being in that situation can have a significant impact on the soldiers on the ground. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe problem for veterans. According to recent reports, between 11 and 20 percent of soldiers who participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have the condition.
To help us understand the gravity of PTSD, I’m talking with Brian Basho. He served in two tours of Afghanistan between 2008 and 2012, and after his duty was completed, he discovered that he had PTSD. It was a particularly harsh night where his thoughts dwelled on suicide. From that moment on, he knew he needed help.
Brian’s story is similar to many other veterans coming home from the Middle East, as well as previous wars like Vietnam. The stress of being in a warzone makes it extremely challenging to re-adapt to civilian life. Here are some nuggets that Brian and I discussed during this episode of Live Authentically.
Finding a Purpose
One of the primary struggles for Brian was that therapy wasn’t a miracle cure. Yes, he started talking with a therapist, but there was no goal in mind. He didn’t know what he wanted to accomplish by sharing his experiences, so it felt like he was getting nowhere.
Now, Brian recommends for anyone in therapy to create an objective. What do you want to accomplish by seeing a therapist? Once you have a direction, it’s so much easier to move forward and beyond the stress that’s holding you back.
Taking Joy in the Little Victories
After Brian decided to get help, he also got a dog. I’ve always been a firm believer of being out in nature, and Brian says that having a dog forces him to get out of the house. It’s all too easy to wallow in depression and negativity when you don’t go anywhere. A small effort like walking the dog is all it takes to build a foundation of positive thinking.
Anyone suffering from depression or PTSD can find those little moments everywhere. Whether it’s taking the dog out or writing in a journal, no step is too small, and no victory is too minor. Not only that, but studies show that exercise can work wonders for mental health. The chemical and physical reactions from a workout are potent.
Creating a Podcast
Eventually, Brian decided that he wanted to help other veterans by starting a podcast. By sharing his story and his struggles, he believed that he could show others a path forward. Since launching, he’s gotten overwhelming responses, and he continues to help veterans groups in New Jersey, where he lives.
We talk a lot more about Brian’s story and how he copes with PTSD. It’s an ongoing challenge, but every step forward is a reason to celebrate. You can find out more about his podcast at www.ivegotyour6podcast.com, or on Instagram @igy6podcast.