Soldier’s unknown brain injury after Iraq

Sgt Ryan Sharp was left with suicidal thoughts for ten years before being diagnosed. 

Ryan_and_dad
Ryan and his dad, Kirk
  He has recently described the turbulent journey of depression on his return from serving two tours in Iraq with the US military. "It's like I blacked out", he said. "I came home, and things were different." Ryan, although he can't remember it, held a gun to his head on one occasion in front of his sister and talked of suicide. It wasn't until he met up with someone he had been deployed with that he realised he had suffered a traumatic brain injury. The man talk about an incident that they were both involved in ten years previously whilst on tour in which he had also sustained a brain injury. "At that point, things just started coming back," he says. "The first thing that came to me was the explosion in my head, the pain of it. And then the next thing I remember is my team leader had grabbed me by my vest and was shaking me asking, you know, 'Sharp, Sharp.'" Now that Ryan has been diagnosed he is learning to deal with his injury and live life to the full again.  "The things that are wrong with me are an injury, and I can't necessarily fix them, but I can learn to deal with them. I was finally able to forgive myself for so many of the things that I put my family through. "Survival is a constant struggle, and sometimes people confuse it with living," Ryan says. "I don't want to survive anymore. I want to learn how to live again." Listen to an interview with Ryan and his father, Kirk Sharp. Overall, nearly 300,000 service members in post-Sept. 11 conflicts have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
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