Luis Jorge Rios on Mental Health and Helping Other People Fight Their Inner-demons

War is the worst situation to be in for humankind. What takes place alongside is the trauma that goes hand-in-hand with war. The ones in the frontlines of battle are often at the frontline of trauma as well. And who would know it better than Luis Jorge Rios, a combat veteran who served ten years in the US Army with deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan? Luis understands the need to heal from the trauma war entails, however impossible it may seem. War veteran turned journalist Luis Jorge Rios shares five essential properties for helping others with their inner battles. 

Luis is from Puerto Rico. The once happy-go-lucky fellow felt transformed in the aftermath of 9/11. It was a time of great turmoil. People were either paralyzed by fear or moved by the need to act, to avenge. Recalling the time, Luis says, “I was as affected as anybody and felt fire rising in my belly. I felt like I had to act upon my emotion. So I joined the army in October 2001.” Luis went on to complete two Iraq tours by 2008. 

The zeal kindled by the 9/11 attacks raged as before. But now, Luis was also beginning to experience the various traumas associated with war. He was no longer hearing it from a friendly veteran or seeing it in the cinema. He was in the thick of the action and heavy with emotions that he had no time or maturity to grapple with. Luis shares, “It was unreal. It felt like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. I saw things no man should ever have to see. I felt helpless, angry, Herculian, confused, clear all at the same time.” His recovery process was as far from him as he was from home, but he was determined to win this battle. He recalls, “Despite the traumas that I have experienced because of my time in the military, I can never be thankful enough for some of the more enduring life lessons it taught me. Among them, I hold “never quit” in the highest regard. It was my perseverance and will to survive that never let me quit.”

As he overcame his past trauma, his zeal to make a difference returned. This time, to help others recover from the traumas of war. He says, “When you are no longer on the battlefield, most war veterans find little use for the training they received as warriors to deal with regular life. However, for those willing to take on the new challenge, it’s imperative to remember that they’ll have to learn how to help themselves. The process will be slow, even painful, but as all war vets would know – the deeper the wound, the longer it takes to heal.”

Luis is a symbol of internal resurrection, which is indeed a perceptible measuring unit for bringing about the resurrection of the neighborhood, society, and the world at large.

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