Afghanistan veterans struggle with news of Kabul attacks

Problem Solvers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Images coming out of Thursday’s attack at the airport in Kabul were upsetting to many, but especially for veterans.

The aftermath may trigger post-traumatic stress disorder episodes for those who have experienced the battlegrounds firsthand.

‘I’m hurt. I’m angry’

We spoke with the leader a group dedicating to helping veterans about what they should do when those images become overwhelming.

Ryan Hemhauser said he started his Facebook group Disgruntled Vets after coming home from Afghanistan in 2014 with feelings of anger he didn’t know how to manage.

“Since then, it’s grown into a huge organization where we reach about 1.2 million people a day,” Hemhauser said.

Now, the group finds itself helping fellow veterans work through those emotions again.

“Personally, I’m hurt, I’m angry and after yesterday, seeing how many souls we lost, it’s just very disheartening. All the work we did over there — this is how it’s ending,” Hemhauser said. “You know when you have friends that are still over there, both interpreters and active-duty soldiers, the stuff that they are sending is very triggering. I wish I could just be over there in place of them.”

But since that can’t happen, he shared some tips with the Problem Solvers to help veterans avoid unnecessary stress.

Avoid constant updates

“You’re going to see constant updates. You don’t need that in your life to trigger those possible PTSD moments.”

Talk with loved ones

Communicate: communicate with your friends and family. Don’t isolate yourself.”

Find a healthy way to spend your time

“Find some sort of healthy outlet . If that’s going on a run or playing Xbox, whatever that outlet is, utilize those resources.”

Hemhauser said he and other veterans are planning a clean-up for veterans who need assistance — another way to keep their minds off past trauma. You find out more about the group here.

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