My story of living with war trauma began long before I ever stepped foot on the battlefield. As a young child, I heard stories from family and friends who had been touched by war in some way or another. These stories made an impact on me and shaped my outlook on life forever.
I first witnessed the realities of war firsthand when I was deployed to serve abroad. What I saw and experienced during my time abroad formed a deep impression in my life that I can never forget. Every single day for a year was filled with anxiety and terror-filled energy that weighed heavy on my mind and heart, making it difficult to shake off even after returning home from deployment.
My homecoming felt strange, like I had arrived in an unfamiliar world compared to what once felt like “home.” Reintegrating into everyday life became a challenge quickly as I battled nightmares, flashbacks, and heightened anxiety on top of sometimes barely being able to get out of bed in the morning. It all feels so hard to process sometimes and it’s exhausting reliving those moments again and again as if it were yesterday rather than months or years ago.
It took me a while to realize there wasn’t anything “wrong” with me but rather something wrong with society itself that creates environments where situations like this occur at all, let alone typically go unnoticed or unrecognized by most people. With that realization came the decision to take proactive measures towards self-care for myself and others struggling through similar journeys, such as reaching out more for support rather than pushing away or feeling ashamed of any emotions - positive or negative - surrounding these experiences.
War trauma is both easy and difficult to talk about; easy because the effects have become somewhat normalized yet difficult because many view them simply as distant reflections not relevant in our day-to-day lives – but they are very real for many people around the world including myself. It’s important to recognize how other people deal with this trauma differently yet equally validly; everyone’s experience is different yet we can come together over shared understanding regardless of what our individual stories may be.