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  • Sahar Abdulaziz, MS

MOTORCYCLE RUN: HOPE FOR WARRIORS


Soon my younger brother, along with his friend, another dedicated rider will be embarking on a cross-country trip on the back of their motorcycles to help raise very needed funds for an amazing group- Hope For The Warriors. This won’t be the first time my brother has hit the road to bring attention to a worthy cause, and I’m sure, God willing, it won’t be his last, because he does this from his heart and wallet. His family sacrifices as well, but they know what he does is important and we are all proud of him. As former Air Force, he knows intimately what it takes for soldiers, their families and friends to endure the military life. We as a country, ask so much of these brave individuals, who have had to face uncertain odds, trials and tribulations, sometimes at their own peril, but always at their own risk. We are living in turbulent times. People are being called into roles and action in ways that are contrary to the gentler side of the human spirit. The mind, as the human storehouse of memories, is constructed to accept information, determine its importance, compartmentalize it, and file it away until needed. Some information, however, is completely and utterly buried so deep that the brain never expects to have to retrieve it. Other information the brain takes in is so painful, so explicitly graphic and explosive that it should have been put in the “Do Not Enter” file. When they return home- if they return home, they are expected to pick up the pieces and continue on as if there were no interruptions, no wars, no death, and no injury, but that is often not reality. Coming home unscathed is a blessing not everyone is afforded. Mortgages still need to be paid, careers left to the side while serving are not always waiting, and health issues abound. While all problems and issues cannot be solved through money, certainly the cogs in the wheel can be oiled, and a pathway drawn to make their return and new norm easier and more palatable. It’s the least we, as a nation of citizens can do. Not all battle scars are visible however. According to a Rand Corporation study in April 2008, approximately one out of seven service members have returned from deployments with symptoms of PTSD. The Department of Veterans Affairs reported about a 70 percent jump in veterans seeking treatment for PTSD in the twelve months before June 2007 and an additional 50 percent rise in the nine months following. Unfortunately, despite all of the public focus, myths about PTSD continue to persist. One myth is that the disorder is purely psychological. In fact it is a biologically based condition pushing the body’s stress-response system into overdrive. Still, being diagnosed with PTSD has a stigma associated with it. What does one say to friends and even family when there are no visible signs of a disability? The person hasn’t lost a limb in battle, yet he isn’t the same person who left for deployment. PTSD does not have a specific time frame in which to manifest after a disturbing occurrence or series of events takes place. An episode can occur days, weeks, months, or even years after the trauma occurred. A perfect example of this can be seen in the reactions of soldiers returning home from war. No individual can be absolutely certain about exactly what they have had to experience or witness and at what level of intensity or duration. All of what they have seen, been exposed to, and repeatedly had to do to survive can never be truly conveyed in words. In stressful situations the human mind, whose very job it is to protect the body it inhabits, begins to malfunction. Positive thoughts are replaced with negative or catastrophic thoughts, very often without any realization by the brain that this is happening. Whether realized or not, the reaction a person has will depend on the level of stress endured during the traumatic event. PTSD is not a “weak person’s disease,” as many have often incorrectly assumed, and it can literally attack the strongest individual if the circumstances are right and the trauma is sufficiently significant. Nothing can adequately prepare a person to defend himself emotionally from the shock and remnants of certain traumatic experiences. More often than not, without help, many of these people will suffer deeply and for extended periods. And all the while, as this inner emotional war is raging, on the outside and to the rest of the visual world these returning soldiers look just fine and, perhaps, better than fine. They appear to be self-assured, disciplined, and extremely fit on the outside even while dealing with a psychological concoction of dread, fear, and nightmares on the inside. Therefore today I am writing in support of my brother’s trip, hoping to spark some needed attention and donation to: Hope For The Warriors. While I shouldn’t have not write or clarify this, I will, so there is no ambiguity: ALL donations, every cent and every single dollar will go to Hope For The Warriors. All expenses from the trip are not coming out of any single donation made. Again, my brother and his friend are doing this from their heart. They will be on the road from July 1st to July 14th 2015. For more information or to make a donation, see the link provided below. And please remember, every dollar counts. Big or small, every donation adds up. Together we can help make the lives of our soldiers matter. RIDING FOR WARRIORS “Riding for Warriors will be supporting the A Warrior’s Wish® Program <http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/story/19331538/a-warriors-wish> , which fulfills a desire for a better quality of life or support a quest for life-gratifying endeavors for post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen.” To Make a Donation: http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1137222&lis=1&kntae1137222=4485F0D59A224AF8AEA65BC3025AF2DF Hope For The Warriors: http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/ BUT YOU LOOK JUST FINE: Unmasking Depression, Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder - author: Sahar Abdulaziz, MS On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ButYouLOOKJustFine Often called "A support group in a book!" Available on Amazon.com


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