Army Veteran Josh Hansen, an “IED Hunter,” recovers from a traumatic brain injury only to be hit with PTSD. Treatment helps him reclaim his life.
In observance of PTSD Awareness Month: June 2014, VAntage Point, in collaboration with VA’s National Center for PTSD, presents the following profile of a Veteran who is living with PTSD and turning his life around with treatment.
Josh Hansen had always been into motocross. “I always thought…If I can’t beat the guys racing, then I’ll join them by being a mechanic for the guys that were beating me,” he said. So he started his own motorcycle repair business. But for Josh, 9/11 changed everything. He enlisted in the Army, went off to basic training and then deployed to Iraq.
“They called us ‘IED hunters’ or ‘Route Clearance,” Josh explained. “I worked out of Fallujah, and I’d go ahead of the Marines in a lead vehicle, and I’d look for IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the road, find the bombs, and disarm them. Unfortunately, sometimes we’d get hit by the bombs and get our truck blown up. It’s a very stressful way to live when you never know when your time is going to be. I’ve been hit directly by eight IEDs. One of the last times I got hit, I was hit by two IEDs, one right after the other.”
Josh spent three months in the hospital recovering from back and neck injuries and traumatic brain injury. “It was probably four months after being home, as the brain injury started healing a little bit better, when the PTSD really took over,” he recalled.
PTSD changed Josh and affected his ability to cope. “I got to where I couldn’t really sleep at home, didn’t want to get out of the house, didn’t want to be around people,” he said. “Everything made me angry. Just being around my own kids was really difficult when they would argue, fight or be loud. I ended up spending 60 grand … so I could add extra rooms just for me that I could lock myself in and be away from the family.” Read More