“Jason*” served in the US Army Infantry for 8 years, including six years of active deployment to war zones in the post 9/11 world. He was medically retired after an IED explosion cost him his left eye. But losing an eye wasn’t the biggest impact on his life. “After I came home, I didn’t feel like I was home. I was angry all the time. I yelled at my wife, my ex-wife now. I ignored my kids or yelled at them, and now they are afraid of me.” On his darkest day, he realized his only daily human contact was with the cashier at a Brown Jug liquor store, who knew him by name.
He called the Steven A. Cohen Clinic at Alaska Behavioral Health, and while he still wasn’t sure he wanted help, an intake coordinator convinced him to try. After eight weeks, he could feel a difference. “I’ve been in therapy now doing something called cognitive processing therapy and really like it. It’s hard work, harder than anything I had to do in the military.” Jason’s issues aren’t all resolved, but he can look himself in the eye in the mirror again, and he’s proud to say the cashiers at Brown Jug no longer know him by name.
“I feel cared for, I feel valued, and I feel like when I walk in these doors, I’m going to get the help I need. I’m not ready to take on everything yet, but I’m ready to take on today, I’m ready to be a part of my own life.”
This is why the Cohen Clinic exists: to provide immediate support to military members, veterans or their family members who are experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.