Sam Abel served in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman and was deployed to Kuwait in 2005-2006. There he was a casualty-receiving medic in the tent hospital where he provided life saving care to soldiers and Marines who were returning from battle.
Encountering situations that tested, not only his skillset, but also his ability to process trauma have contributed to his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress.
“There were several times during deployment when dealing with mass casualties, severe trauma, and eminent death of patients were routine. Being in situations like that is what I trained for. However, there is no amount of preparation in anyone’s life I feel that can adequately encompass the emotional and moral effects of war,” said Sam.
As many returning service members have experienced, adjusting to civilian life can exacerbate PTS. Sam explains:
I struggle with my experience and vision of the world and how I
relate that to those around me. It is difficult to expose yourself to
those who, on a certain level, have not seen things that you have
seen. At many times, I feel like I am different from everyone else.
Somehow, I feel I will never be the same. I have lost interest in
things I once loved and people I was once close with. Forming
bonds with those who have not been around the violence of war
can be tough. It’s more than just not sharing the same worldview or
outlook on humanity. It is a fundamental difference that resides
deep inside anyone who has shared that experience.
In an effort to find mental and emotional balance, Sam decided to contact Wave Academy at the urging of his doctor at the Aspire Center who he continues to see while receiving Aquatic Bodywork Therapy (ABT).
He shares, “I am very thankful to have physicians who can see the whole picture and know that programs like the Wave Academy can impact ongoing treatment in very positive ways.”
Since beginning ABT Sam’s friends and family have seen his anxiety, hyper-vigilance and depression improve.
“Being in the water provides me with mental and emotional clarity that is hard to find in a doctor’s office. Dealing with the stress and anxiety of PTS affects you both mentally and physically,” said Sam. “Establishing a relationship with my aquatic therapy provider has allowed me to expand upon the skills of mindfulness and self-affirmation that I have acquired through treatment.”
Every week the Wave Academy is serving our veterans by providing them with the necessary tools to return to good health and a positive outlook. Wave Academy’s founder and executive director, Dave Towe, shares:
Knowing we’re making the kind of difference in our veterans’ lives
that we’ve seen in Sam and many others is what keeps us, as an
organization, dedicated to our programs. We have a growing need
for more practitioners, more pools and more funding, and welcome
the kindness and generosity from our community to keep us
Sam sums up his experience, “It is very comforting to know that every week I can come and find balance, quiet my mind, and restore my body to a place of rest and relaxation… that I can take those skills to everyday situations.”
Each October we hold our annual donations fund drive, and this year we’ve set our goal at raising $15,000. These contributions will help us continue the life changing work that we’ve been honored to provide to our veterans and their caregivers. We appreciate the generosity from our donors and encourage everyone to give as we continue to support getting veterans like Sam the supportive treatment they need.
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