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disclaimer
  In case you missed it, Paula Zahn did a decent job in interviewing

these two returning Iraq Vets. Let's hope more of the mainstream

media picks up these stories. This link is a mix of transcripts so

I've also pasted the interview below:

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0406/30/pzn.00.html

 

 

ZAHN: Before we went to the break, we heard the results of troubling

new study on post-traumatic stress disorder among U.S. soldiers who

had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And with us now are two men who have firsthand knowledge of the

mental costs of war.

Philip Goodrum and Andrew Pogany both served in Iraq. They're both

being treated now for post-traumatic distress disorder.

Thank you for joining us tonight.

ANDREW POGANY, U.S. SOLDIER: Thank you as for having us.

ZAHN: So, Andrew, it was three days after you arrived in Iraq that

you were exposed to a shattering experience that changed your life

forever. What did you see? POGANY: Well, it was actually on the

second day. I was briefly exposed to an Iraqi who had been killed.

And shortly thereafter, unfortunately, I experienced a what I at

that time saw as a nervous breakdown or a neuropsychiatric event,

which in my case unfortunately was also introduced by a drug that I

had to take for malaria prophylaxis.

ZAHN: At what point did you seek help?

POGANY: I struggled pretty much throughout the entire night. I was

trying to scope with the symptoms. I was trying to figure out what

was going on because it was so foreign to me. I had never had

experienced anything like that before and it was pretty severe. So I

struggled throughout the entire night to figure out what I'm going

to do.

Obviously, in your mind, you think about how your comrades and

fellow soldiers are going to react, how your leadership is going to

react, especially because it happened so fast, like I said, on the

second day.

ZAHN: Does that make you paranoid?

POGANY: No, it doesn't make you paranoid. It just -- you struggle

within yourself to figure out what's going on, why am I having this?

ZAHN: Because you don't want to be considered a coward.

POGANY: Correct. But, in my case, I had to come to the conclusion

that I wasn't functioning. I was having physical symptoms. I was

having a behavioral reaction. And the conclusion I came to was that

the only thing I could do was inform my leadership as, you know, the

only responsible thing, because, if we do go out on a patrol or

something happens and I do freeze up, that could have consequences,

too, so there was a responsibility to inform them that I was not

functioning.

ZAHN: And once you informed them, what did they say?

POGANY: Well, it was not received very well.

ZAHN: Now, what do you mean by that? What did they say?

POGANY: Well, they pretty much were in disbelief as to what I was

saying. And they wanted me to think about what I was saying and

think about my career and pretty much go...

ZAHN: Was it that overt or was it more subtle than that?

POGANY: Well, it was a little more subtle, but...

ZAHN: But the message was?

POGANY: The message was...

ZAHN: You're a wimp?

POGANY: Correct.

And the message was, hey, you know, you're a coward. You're acting

like a coward.

ZAHN: So how did you internalize that?

POGANY: I didn't. I tried to think about it for a couple of hours

and then I went back to some of the coping skills that we do have,

such as compartmenting information and moving on and trying to put

things into perspective. And it didn't work.

And, unfortunately, months later, I found out that the reason it

didn't work is because I was having a toxic drug level that was

affecting me. And, subsequently, I've been actually diagnosed with

permanent brain stem damage as a result of that drug toxicity.

ZAHN: The Lariam that your originally took to help fight malaria.

POGANY: Correct.

ZAHN: Now, Philip, you were actually in Iraq when you started having

pain in your hands. And it was so bad at one point, you didn't even

think you could handle a weapon.

PHILIP GOODRUM, U.S. SOLDIER: Correct. Yes.

ZAHN: So what did you do?

GOODRUM: I went through the medical process.

The first diagnosis was that I was exposed to possible radiation,

returned stateside for surgery on both wrists, had surgery on my

left wrist, still planning surgery on my right. When I returned is

when my issues started to surface.

ZAHN: And what were those issues?

GOODRUM: I could not turn off my mind basically from the environment

I came out of.

ZAHN: And what were you thinking? What were you seeing? What were

you hearing?

GOODRUM: When I was in Iraq, you go so hard, 18-, 20-hour days. The

danger is 360 degrees, and it's a very intense environment. I was --

it's been very difficult for me to turn that off once I returned

stateside, a lot of flashbacks, nightmares, issues with my sleep,

severe panic attacks.

ZAHN: Were you made to feel inadequate when you would express that

this is what you were experiencing?

GOODRUM: Under the stigma of being a behavioral health issue or

patient, it came to a point...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: What were you most fearful of?

GOODRUM: Being labeled, but not being fully treated, and my career.

ZAHN: And you later sought the treatment? Has it worked?

GOODRUM: I have up and downs, but seeking treatment is the best

thing that I could have done for myself. It got to the point where I

became totally -- or to the point of dysfunctional. So, yes,

treatment was the best thing for me.

ZAHN: Was it obvious to people who were around you that you were a

changed man?

GOODRUM: Yes. The ones who knew me prior to deployment definitely

noticed a tremendous change in myself when I returned.

ZAHN: And do you think your career has been compromised because you

were forthright and said, I know I'm not nuts, I know what I'm

thinking, I know what I'm seeing, I know what I'm hearing, help me?

GOODRUM: Without a doubt.

For example, I've been charged with AWOL for seeking medical

treatment from a civilian doctor. So, yes, my career has suffered a

tremendous impact on coming forward, saying, yes, I need help.

ZAHN: Are you bitter about that?

GOODRUM: Disappointed and hurt. I've served 15 years. I'm a combat

veteran of two wars and I'm very disappointed and very hurt.

ZAHN: It breaks my heart to hear these stories, particularly after

you both served your country.

Andrew, what is it that you think the nation needs to learn from

your two powerful stories?

POGANY: Well, the thing that needs to be learned is that there are

hidden costs, or unseen costs, and the most important thing is that

trauma or trauma that is experienced whether it's in combat or

anywhere else in life needs to be looked at as an injury to the mind.

And an injury to the mind needs to be treated just like an injury to

the leg, whether you have shrapnel wounds or gunshot wounds. It

needs to be treated. And I'm hoping that by, you know, us publicly

speaking, which is not an easy thing to do, because it's not easy

for one to admit to yourself that you're having a problem, and, you

know, being in the military environment, the stigma, the career --

my career has been tremendously impacted.

My military career is probably at an end. I've had my security

clearance suspended, revoked. And I'm still -- I'm still struggling

to get things, you know, set straight as far as what happened and

get an understanding.

ZAHN: Well, I know it hasn't been easy for either one of you to open

up old wounds here for us this evening, but I think it's important

that we all are exposed to your stories. And thank you for your

candor and your sensitivity.

POGANY: Thank you for having us.

GOODRUM: Thank you.

ZAHN: My pleasure, Philip Goodrum and Andrew Pogany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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