Maj. Ed Pulido joined the Army in 1986. In 2004, while serving in Iraq, he hit an improvised explosive device (IED). This resulted in the the amputation of his left leg. For his heroism and valor, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals. In commemoration of National PTSD Awareness Day (today), he gives us a glimpse into his recovery with the physical and psychological injuries… of war.
Me: You’re an incredibly resilient being. How would you explain that?
Major Ed Pulido, US Army, Retired: As I see it, it’s the fact that I understood what it was all about to serve my country in uniform. As my father once told me, when you take the oath, it’s about God, country, family, and defending and protecting the American people of the greatest nation in the world. To me, remembering that on a daily basis becomes a huge element that feeds my positiveness everyday.
When I came back from my last deployment with TBI and PTSD, I had to learn about and understand my symptoms to experience victories in my recovery. I had to know what the symptoms were all about in order to be able to remember things, read and write again and to live with the PTSD-the anxiety, the nightmares, night sweats, hypervigilance, rethinking about what I went through and so on…I also had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t do it alone. I learned about resources that are available to take care of me. I had to let the therapeutic processes work and help me. Bottom line, I had to ask for help, help from God, country, the American people…and to accept the help.
To say that there won’t be obstacles anymore is not true at all. We all have obstacles. It’s how we choose to deal with those obstacles that matters. It has never been easy for me. I have to continue to work on my recovery every single day, even when I’m feeling depressed from something like not being able to get my prosthetic on right.
The game changer really has been my family-my wife, our 2 girls, and my parents. They have been by my side the whole way…Not everyone has a family right now, but you can connect with a family member. It can be someone you served with or someone you call family. At the end of the day, family is the safety net in place for recovery.