PTSD Is Not a Failure, Simply What War Does to Our Senses

Photo courtesy of Navy Safe Harbor online.

It’s a gift to be able to distill a complex issue into a few words. Dr. Tracy Hejmanowski, a clinical psychologist at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville Deployment Health Center, has that gift.

Here’s how Dr. Hejmanowski describes post traumatic stress disorder in a Department of Defense article by Navy Safe Harbor Public Affairs:

“The stigma remains somewhat because in military and warrior culture, strength and bravery are most important,” said Hejmanowski. “Contrary to what some believe, PTSD is not a failure to deal with traumatic events – it is simply what war does to our sense of self-identity and our humanity. I’ve worked with some of the most highly trained and experienced warriors who have made peace with their demons from war and came out stronger from the process.”

The story featured Navy Lt. Chet Frith who was diagnosed with PTSD after a one-year deployment to Iraq. He currently works as a non-medical case worker for Navy Safe Harbor, which provides care for seriously injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and their families.

“I used to be part of the problem,” Frith recalled. “I didn’t believe PTSD was a real condition, and honestly, I thought people were making it up.”

Frith shared his story about recognizing his PTSD symptoms and seeking help in the DoD article. For more information on the Navy Safe Harbor is online, or by contacting safeharbor@navy.mil or 877-746-8563.

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