Essay: In crisis, veteran asks, ‘Who am I, after returning home from war?’
July saw a record number of suicides in the Army and among recent veterans. Shannon P. Meehan was nearly one of them.
In a personal essay published in the Los Angeles Times, the veteran shares how his experiences in Iraq linger in his mind today. Life now, with both a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder, can become overwhelming.
“The internal tension I feel goes beyond surviving firefights and mortar rounds,” he writes.”It goes much deeper than being startled by loud noises and fearing large crowds, though these things are part of my life too. The bigger crisis facing me, along with a lot of other veterans, is one of identity. Who am I, after returning home from war?”
After a summer of depression, isolation and recklessness, Meehan decided: “I can no longer trust myself with my own life.”
Learn how he is trying to move forward now in the Los Angeles Times.
Meehan, a retired U.S. Army captain, is a communications specialist at Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and author (with Roger Thompson) of the memoir “Beyond Duty.” He earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and an Army Commendation for Valor in combat.