Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When Josh Leary came back from his third deployment with the Air Force, his wife Glenda had no idea what she was dealing with.

She’d been an Army brat just like Josh and they’d known each other since childhood. But neither knew what PTSD was nor anticipated the suicidal ideations that would later place Josh in psychiatric care.

It became critical for Glenda to learn to recognize the signs, and when to seek help.

Josh was first diagnosed with PTSD in 2007 as a result of his job as an operating room technician in Bagram, Afghanistan.

Three years later, showing signs of remission after intense treatment and medications, he was redeployed to Afghanistan.

During a mortar attack, Josh suffered a blow to his head, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury and severe post-traumatic headaches along with the reoccurrence of PTSD, this time accompanied by depression.

In-patient care for his PTSD has been required on several occasions—Glenda quit her job to ensure his safety, make sure that he takes his medications and advocate on behalf of his medical needs.

The family’s finances fall to her to manage as well, and she takes care of their three children.

As a caregiver, Glenda has dealt with the stigma associated with PTSD and sees informing others of her personal experiences as the best way to help them understand invisible injuries.

She has this opportunity in her role as a Dole Caregiver Fellow, and values advocating for more support for those caring for service members and veterans with PTSD or a traumatic brain injury.

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