Many soldiers have to deal with invisible injuries when they return from combat. These could include traumatic brain injuries, emotional issues and mental disorders.
These are very real injuries and issues that can change the way that they live. They may never fully recover. They may never be able to work. They may see other areas of their lives — like a marriage — start to fall apart. Everything changes in a very real and fundamental way because of what they experienced in war.
However, these soldiers worry that people don’t fully understand what they’re going through. Since these injuries are not easy to see, people just don’t get it. They don’t grasp how hard it can be and how they really have to work through these issues just like someone would if they were re-learning how to walk after a leg injury.
It’s often so troubling that they wish they had suffered some other type of injury to make the aftermath easier to deal with. “Sometimes you find yourself saying, I wish … I would have lost a body part, so people will see—so they’ll get it,” said one soldier in an interview with National Geographic. He had served in Afghanistan.
That statement is striking on many levels, and it really shows just how devastating these injuries and disabilities can be. That someone would wish they had lost an arm or a leg just so that people would know instantly that they were disabled means that “invisible” injuries are just as dire and deserve just as much consideration.
It is important for veterans to be fully aware of the options they have when they return, no matter what they’re dealing with.