● More than twenty years have passed after my returning from the Persian Gulf War, but until recently I was still worried about my post-traumatic syndrome – you know, when look at nightmares of war, you start to get disillusioned with people, and when you return to the familiar environment, you feel obvious discomfort, not because you cannot settle down, but because it is hard to get out of your head all the horrors of the past war years.
After returning, my wife and I went to rest for a few months, but neither the cruises, nor the quiet beach and solitary rest could not help me get rid of the effects of the post-traumatic syndrome. For a long time I tried to restrain myself when attacks of anger curbed me, but nervous breakdowns began to happen more and more often – if you hold all these emotions for so long, then sooner or later they simply start to climb outside. My wife and I have break up, I said that it would be better, because I need to cope with my mental and emotional state, which could only remotely be called stable, and even then very rarely, on successful days.
I found a permanent job, unqualified, but bringing some money – my friends were veterans who maintain close contact and helped each other to settle down. I started going to veteran support groups, I signed up for a psychologist, and this went on for many years. The visible effect came only for a while, I could feel relief for a week, and then one breakdown – and I was again stuck in nightmares and aggression for several weeks. At such moments I began to drink, sometimes I took drugs, my relationship with my wife deteriorated significantly. It was an almost uncontrollable fall down, and I did not see a single way how to keep afloat, I practically put a cross on my life.
Then, one of my friends told me that loneliness most of all affects my emotional and psychological state – not in the sense that I cannot devote myself to another person, but in that I absolutely do not feel support in my new life endeavors. And if I didn’t find a new friend or neighbor to advise me, then i should try the Emotional Support Animal Program, which is gaining popularity at that time. Thanks to the advice of several friends, I started registering with the relevant state program, which was supported by the government and was gaining momentum then.
I once had a dog as a child, and I woke up with some pleasant, even a little childish, enthusiastic thoughts about the fact that I could again get a pet, that will help me to handle loneliness. With the help of a program consultant, we came to a special shelter and chose a new friend for me – the setter became him, I gave him the nickname “Humboldt”, since my wife and I had been considering the possibility of moving to this calm and surrounded by century-old mighty trees for a long time. I began to devote a lot of time to my pet and noticed that in the process of getting closer to this wonderful animal, I myself began to enjoy life more. All my emotional breakdowns began to be expressed in active sports along with Humboldt – we began to run through the mountains, I was surprised to have so surprisingly active and friendly dog.
A year later, I saw my wife again and she immediately noticed dramatic changes in my character. She also met my pet and they liked each other. Now my emotional and psychological state can finally be called stable – nightmares were the last thing I got rid of, and thanks in part to my ESA setter, because it seems to me when he sleeps at my feet (and now we are again together with my wife, and to drive out Humboldt of our family bed would be a real crime), he helps me cope with nightmares. I am very grateful to the ESA program, because it was Humboldt who helped me cope with the consequences of military nightmares and brought me right into the right course of a happy life.
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