My Life, My Story #10: Jess, talking about trauma


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When we ask Veterans to tell us about their lives, some choose to avoid painful subjects, and that’s just fine by us. The aim of “My Life, My Story” isn’t to drag out confessions or extract difficult memories, but here, Jess opened up.

Our goal is to give Veterans a space to talk about who they are and where they come from. “What else do you want your doctors and nurses to know about you?” is a question we often ask. For some Vets, the answer is: not a whole lot. “Let’s just skip over my first marriage,” one might say. “My time in Vietnam isn’t something I like to talk about,” says another.

But for others, talking about tough stuff in their past is central to an interview. After all, rough patches are often the most formative periods in our lives.

Veterans who’ve been through combat have asked to go into details precisely because they’d rather not have to tell the same old war stories, over and over, to their health care providers. “I’d rather just get this written down and then tell anyone who’s curious to read my story,” is what some express.

Something we’ve also heard many times: “It’s OK, I’m used to talking about this.”

Or: “This is the first time I’ve told anyone this.”

In this episode of our podcast, Jess opted to talk about traumatic events that happened to her – and other women Veterans – while she served in the military. She also talks about working through those memories, how they shaped her, and how they led her to the career field she’s in today.

This episode discusses Military Sexual Trauma, or MST. For more VA information, go to: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/mentalhealth/msthome/index.asp.


Seth Jovaag is a writer, editor and producer for the My Life, My Story project.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

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