Veterans return home with PTSD

We're going to take a closer look at painful, lasting wounds of war - the wounds to the mind that we don't see. According to the veterans administration, more than 100,000 troops seek care after coming home from iraq or afghanistan, and 25 percent of those 100,000 suffer from mental health problems. Researchers said it is a looming public health crisis, but for veterans and their families across the country, the crisis is already here.

Inside one Berkley, Calif., church Iraq veterans share their pain from the injuries that outsiders don't see.

"They're the wounds to the heart, to the mind, to our relationships," one veteran said.

The soldiers who gather here at the church say they've found little comfort in a military culture that often overlooks the psychological trauma, the hidden injuries.

"They had been badgering me," said former Lance Corporla Jeremy Williams. "What, are you crazy from Iraq, or do you just have emotional problems? Making me feel like it was my fault when I had gone to Iraq a third time."

"I've actually had people laugh," Jeremy's wife Christina said. "How can you sit here and laugh at me? You don't know what it's done to us. You don't understand why our children don't understand why daddy's so mad all the time."

The anger is all part of post traumatic stress disorder. It has been debilitating for Jeremy and Christina.

"It's what we do here. It's very real. You' re among friends," Jeremy said.

The couple filed for divorce three times before they finally got help.

"The risk is worse than Vietnam. We've gotta get to work because this problem will become astronomical, and we are completely unprepared for it," Dr. Joseph Bobrow said.

Stefanie Pelkey's husband Michael was haunted by what he saw in Iraq.

"My husband and I were both in the Army, and my husband committed suicide. He was suffering from severe PTSD," Stefanie said.

Michael couldn't get the images out of his mind.

"As a new father going over there and seeing children dead on the side of the street those are things he carried with him," Stefanie said.

Stefanie believes the Army missed the red flags, and they were glaring: chest pains and nightmares. Michael was so afraid he slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow.

"Ultimately I think he couldn't stand it any more," Stefanie said.

Michael shot himself one week after being diagnosed with PTSD by therapist off base.

"I couldn't bring mine home, but hearing you, helps me," Jeremy said.

Jeremy was diagnosed by the military and is now on medication, but on this day just the sight of a black hawk helicopter overhead is too much.

"I also have nightmares. I can't drive down the street without wondering if the box on the side of the road is an IED," Jeremy said. "

It takes hours for him to realize he's not there any more," Christina said.

In both families there is a toll on the children.

"Our older son Vincent, he's very very angry. He's very very sensitive," Christina said.

Stefanie had to take her 4-year-old son out of pre-school. He was too aggressive toward other children.

In the meantime, both families find comfort in one another. Jeremy and his wife recently moved from Camp Pendleton back to Texas, just 15 minutes from Stefanie

"It's a real relief to find people you can identify with," Stefanie said. .


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