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Poker and combat-related PTSD

Recently, I was watching a WSOP 2003 repeat became lost in my thoughts.  2003… the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup, the Yankees failed to win the World Series and Moneymaker became the WSOP champion seemingly out of nowhere.  And, for all of this, I did not care.  For most of it, I was not in this country.  I was in Iraq.
 
From playing on these tables in the limited time I have been a member of the PSO, some of you have gotten to know me a little.  Many others have made a connection with my fiancée, Tigersbunny.
 
However, most do not know that I was a member of the vanguard that invaded Iraq in March 2003.  As a member of a combat communications team, I belonged to one of the first battalions in Baghdad.  And, as a female, I saw combat – a large amount of combat.
 
After a foot injury kept me from being combat-ready, I was honorably discharged due to medical reasons in July 2004.  I came back to New York with a safe full of awards and medals and a terrible case of combat-related PTSD.
 
After being home for a few months, my family strongly encouraged me to go to the local VA to seek treatment.  Unfortunately, I did not make the most of my treatment.  And, just like any other untreated wound, my PTSD festered and intensified.  It reached the point that I voluntarily left work one day and never returned.  It was at that time I began to face the demons haunting me and began the work I needed to do to begin to heal.
 
Almost two years later, I find myself deep in the process of healing my body and mind.  Many days, it feels as though I will never get better, yet, I struggle through.
 
Over the years, few things have quieted the “noise” of combat in my head.  However, I have recently discovered something that helps – poker.
 
I have played many years, but not to the point of seriously learning the intricate aspects of the game.  I have found that, when my head is in the game, I have little time to think of my time in Iraq.  When my head is not in the game, however, I can easily “donk” myself out of a game.  My results tell the tale.
 
I decided to take the leap and start this blog to chronicle my journey through poker and PTSD.  This may be an epic fail or an additional avenue to improving my life.  Can Big Slick assist in managing my symptoms?  Could a terrible day have new life just by playing in the PSO Poker Room?  Can I fight through a tough tourney playing the correct hands even though my memory resembles Swiss Cheese that day?  No one knows – including me.
 
I am curious to find out as I hope you all are as well.
 
I thank all of you who will follow me in this endeavor.  I cannot promise results… but I can promise this should be interesting. 
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