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For years, what Rodriguez had seen and heard gnawed at him, as he wrestled with, but pushed aside, sleep problems and nightmares. He had been resilient as the military terms it.
"Just being involved with the family and what they're doing helps keep me grounded," Rodriguez said at his home in Bear, Del. "Going to therapy, of course, helps, both at Dover and at the Vet center. That helps. The meditation helps. But what (really) helps is the kids, and dealing with the kids every day, dealing with the family."
He was eventually diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, joining nearly 1 in 5 active duty soldiers and veterans of those wars in dealing with the mental scars of what Converse Dainty Leather Trainers
Yet Rodriguez has been able to maintain the semblance of a normal life. The opportunity to spend more time with his wife of 23 years, Carina, and their children Victoria, 14, and Alexander, 12 has been the "silver lining" of his diagnosis, as they have served as a stabilizing emotional anchor and a vehicle through which to heal, he said.
they saw and experienced, often during multiple tours.
But his is more than a story about support and healing, Rodriguez said. It's about facing the disorder head on, accepting the treatment and doing his part to dispel the oft repeated stereotype of the crazed war veteran who becomes violent.
In the early days his 25 year military career began as a Navy hospital corpsman Rodriquez rode a wave of youthful exuberance. Back then, he said he had the fire in his belly and "you pressed ahead" in overcoming obstacles.
"It grinds on you," he said. "Each tour takes a little bit out of you mentally, physically, spiritually.
"I see patients screaming," he said. "It's kind of like watching a movie in my dream. And I see patients laying there, I see patients bleeding. I see them asking for help. And you just can't get to everybody at one time."
Maj. Roger Rodriguez, a veteran flight nurse attends to paperwork while on active duty with the Delaware Air National Guard.(Photo: courtesy of Roger Rodriguez)
Because of the horrendous things he had seen, the nightmares began.
Story HighlightsMaj. Roger Rodriguez Converse All White High Tops
On his sixth trip to the war zones, what had been welling up inside slowly burst through the emotional shield he had so carefully constructed. When the Delaware Air National Guardsman came home in December 2009, he felt overwhelmed.
lot older than his two children.
"It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't been there," Rodriguez said.
During the recent conflicts, he was transporting and trying to keep alive young troops who weren't a whole Converse Neon Blue
Wars do awful things to bodies, and Maj. Roger Rodriguez had been a frequent witness. The veteran flight nurse had five post Sept. troops from battlefields and field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Guardsman reveals PTSD struggles to alter perceptions
"Every person has a breaking point," said Rodriguez.
"I was more aware of people's ages that were getting hurt," said Rodriguez, who remains assigned to the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. "What bothered me the most was the severity of the injuries." More sophisticated enemy tactics and roadside bombs were creating more double , triple amputees.
is trying to live with PTSD in a positive wayNearly 1 in 5 active duty soldiers and veterans are dealing with mental scarsVA Converse Shoes Light Blue estimates between 13% and 20% of those deployed have or will develop PTSD
Rodriguez hasn't worked since and continues to be treated at both facilities.
Rodriguez, 44, asked to speak to a Delaware Air National Guard life skills counselor, who recommended he seek help at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilmington, Del. Because he was still in uniform, he ended up at the mental health clinic at Dover Air Force Base.
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