Monday, May 26, 2008

Duckworth: I probably have PTSD

Duckworth: I probably have PTSD

The scenes haunt Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. She’s in Iraq, flying helicopter missions, looking down on the desert below. She jumps out of the helicopter on the dusty ground, both legs intact. She’s doing the work she loves, and it’s exciting.

Only, it’s a dream, not reality. When Duckworth wakes up in Illinois, struggling through a few moments of confusion, she remembers that she’s a double amputee and she'll never fly missions in Iraq again.

It's like having a form of double vision, she says. Close your eyes, and you're there in Iraq, adrenaline rushing, ready for action. Open your eyes and you're here in the States, with a completely different routine. This multi-layered sense of reality is probably a kind of post-traumatic stress response, she admits.

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