My name is Jeff Thompsom and I am currently a undergraduate pursueing a Associate Degree in History I served in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003 and Kirkuk, Iraq in 2004 I was injured during a mortar attack in Kirkuk and currently am suffering from a leg injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I awoke up on the morning of November 3, 2004 with the alarm sirens blaring of an impending attack on our base which was a frequent occurrence on a daily basis. I was rushing to the bunkers but never made it in time as several mortars landed in the vicinity of the bunker.
I was knocked to the ground, received some shrapnel to my leg as well as an injury to my knee. Can you imagine going through such an experience? I was dazed, confused and not really sure where I was or what had just happened. I was treated at the field hospital but not airlifted out of the combat area. I refused to go as I was not going to leave my fellow brother and sisters in arms.
This event is something that will never go away as I feel the pain on a daily basis which resulted in me being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I still have nightmares of the event, loud noises bother me and I won’t even attend a fireworks display.
It’s funny, but when I came home, I felt so out of place, I would go into a Wal-Mart and feel so out of place thinking, these people are living normal lives and have no idea what is happening thousands of miles away.
Driving their cars not having to worry if their car would be blown up by an IED. I don’t know myaybe I was just angry for these people to be living normal lives when for 2 years my life was not but about survival on a daily baisis . I even avoided crowds, stayed to myself and what’s even worse if I go to a restaurant I have to face the door as a protective measure for my safety.
I have despite my problems with treatment been a lot better than what I was when I came home. I continue to work hard to overcome my fears that someone will hurt me and have come to realize that no one is trying to hurt me. I would encourage you if you know someone that was injured in Iraq or has symptoms of PTSD to please seek treatment through their local VA. Help is available and the stigma of PTSD is not what it use to be and the US government has made great strides in improving their mental heath services and I know it has helped me tremendously.