With all the challenges associated with coming home from war, like post-traumatic stress and chronic unemployment, the bittersweet absence of combat can be the most troubling and confusing. Almost to a man, my Army platoon misses the sting of battle as much as the camaraderie. They all agree a fifteen-month deployment to Iraq changed their chemistry–and without it, getting on with life has been an experience possibly more difficult than combat itself.
I was encouraged when I read a recent Outside Magazine article that detailed a new kind of therapy. Eleven Veterans, including a blind Vet and three with a missing leg, ascended an 18,500-foot mountain in Nepal.
But as the wars have stretched on, as more soldiers have come home with post-traumatic stress and ever more have taken their own lives, the government has looked beyond traditional treatment methods. For the same reason millions of us take weekend camping trips, using mountains and rivers as stepping stones on the path back home has gained popularity in recent years: the wilderness gives respite.
Read the whole thing, and watch the accompanying video. Many people look for alternatives to traditional treatment methods like therapy and medication. Understandably, those techniques do not work for everyone. Getting out of the house for an adventure, a middle ground between war and home, could be the answer some Vets are looking for.
The U.S. Army/Flickr