Return to real life

12 years later, former POW Jessica Lynch reflects on her ordeal

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Jessica Lynch returned from Iraq 12 years ago following her dramatic rescue from captivity. Upon her return, the former POW used her story to inspire others and tell only the positive parts, leaving out the darkness and the post-traumatic stress that followed her home. Twelve years on, she still suffers from nightmares and PTSD, but she says, “I didn’t want to put my hurt on top of their hurt. So when they would ask, I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m OK.’” She never sought help from a mental health professional as a result, but rethought that decision once she realized she was unable to will her way out of depression. In addition to help for her mental health, she has received copious amounts of physical therapy. Lynch has undergone 22 surgeries since her return, mostly around her lower legs and feet to mend the injuries she suffered at the hands of the Iraqis who captured her. The soldier was sexually assaulted and had her lower leg cut off in Saddam Hussein Hospital before U.S. forces stormed the facility and rescued her. She has previously come forward to say that the media and the Army exaggerated her heroic actions, claiming that she was “still confused as to why they chose to lie and try to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were legendary.”

Read the full story at CNN.

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