Bob Iraq War Veteran This Emotional Life - PBS

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Bob

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Bob is an Iraq war veteran from California, who is dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was a Navy reservist working in management when he was called for duty in 2002. In Iraq, he provided protection for a military chaplain.  

Bob was involved in the Battle of Nasiriyah, one of the first major battles of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the same city in which Private Jessica Lynch was captured. His experience following this battle triggered his PTSD. He saw a male civilian die while he held his hand, as well as Iraqi women and children dead and dying.

When Bob demobilized in 2004, he was unable to sleep, troubled by his experiences in combat. He also suffered from mood swings and hyper-sensitivity to noise and sometimes became overly concerned for his family’s safety.

Since returning from Iraq, Bob has experienced additional traumatic experiences. In 2006, he was driving home in San Diego when he came upon the scene of a horrific road traffic accident. He ran to help and witnessed people dying. In 2006, one of his veteran friends (another PTSD sufferer) shot himself while Bob was on the phone with him, trying to talk him out of it. Bob managed to get the police and a medical team to his friend’s house, but they were unable to intervene.

Unfortunately, Bob has not received the best treatment available—he was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA and Navy, but went into the care of his local physician. He recently lost his job as a journalist, indirectly as a result of his PTSD, and he and his family moved in with loved ones to pursue other job opportunities in another part of the state. He is now working as a Public Affairs Officer with the Navy. Though he no longer takes medication, he still struggles with some of the effects of his PTSD.  

Despite the stigma of mental health problems in the military, Bob has been an outspoken advocate for the rights and treatment of veterans with PTSD. He finds strength from the overwhelming love of his wife and children and from his strong Christian faith. Bob still gets together every now and again with the Rabbi he protected in Iraq. He enjoys running, crossword puzzles and Bible studies. Bob is working on starting his own business.

Bob's Content

The lingering war

  • Bob
  • Bob, an Iraq War Veteran suffering from PTSD, five years after returning home,continues to be troubled by his combat experiences. Bob talks about his symptoms and the impact they are having on his life and the lives of his family. Bob’s wife, Lori also describes some of Bob’s challenges.

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