A Source of Answers, Hope and Healing
Warrior Angels Foundation (WAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for treating veterans who have suffered head injuries while in the United States military. Everyone that WAF supports has a unique story on finding Answers, Hope and healing, we will be sharing these incredible stories with you each month.
Joe and Meghan
Lt. Col (Ret) Joe Barnard is a 33-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Pararescue and a Combat Rescue Officer. He is currently the Executive Director at the Forge School, a Short Term Residential Treatment Center for teen boys, and has been married to Meghan Barnard, for over 30 years. Meghan is a powerhouse and role model for women wearing many hats as the Director of Enrollment, Marketing and Outreach at the Forge School, a Yoga Teacher, Retreat Leader, Mother, and Military Spouse.
Through 2014 and 2015 after a successful career of putting his body on the line and in harm’s way, things began to change for Joe, and he was finding elements of life significantly more challenging as time progressed. Meghan had noticed changes in him too, particularly in his mood. He appeared to be a lot angrier and had high levels of intolerance and irritability often finding himself in a self proclaimed depressive state. Joe himself recalls how his mood had dramatically changed, and the impact it was having on him and Meghan and their marriage.
Watch Joe & Meghan’s Testimony here
The Haunting of Night Terrors
As the situation worsened, Joe became unable to sleep, which only heightened the impact of his symptoms. He experienced dreadful night terrors that would haunt him continuously. Desperate to take control of the situation, Joe recalls wanting to get back to his old self again but knowing the symptom masking medication he was being given was not a long term solution to get better:
“I felt like I was in a ‘funk’ that I couldn’t get out of. I started numbing myself.”
Meghan recalls Joe watching the news much more frequently too, and how the negative impact of what he was seeing and hearing was impacting his condition even more. She had also noticed a significant difference in his drinking habits too.
The Impact of Alcohol
The more Joe drank, the worse the other problems seemed to become. Positive activities in his life, such as going to the gym, were clouded with a desire to drink. Joe recalls a time where he was working out and having a thought and desire to buy alcohol, there and then, something that was completely foregin and alarming to Joe.
Knowing there was a problem, but wanting to approach it with care, Meghan was waiting for an opportune moment to discuss it with Joe, but this never seemed to arrive. She describes how it would breed an argument between the two of them, no matter how hard she tried. Approaching the topic “sideways,” so as not to cause a further confrontation, appeared to be the only solution at times.
The alcohol on top of the culminating effects of head injuries sustained over Joe’s military career had a negative impact on Joe’s sleeping routine too. He describes how “dead buddies” were visiting him at night, telling him he was not good enough. This deeply affected Joe, but he lived with this torture himself, fighting a battle that he would not talk to anyone about, including Meghan.
Searching for Veteran Support
Realizing that help was needed, Meghan began to research, and she listened to a Joe Rogan podcast with Dr. Mark Gordon & Andrew Marr (Co-Founder of Warrior Angels Foundation) who was describing his symptoms that resonated with her deeply. His discussions mirrored what she had seen in Joe, and she knew this was the hope that she had been searching for.
Approaching Joe to discuss the potential conditions that could be causing his behavior was always going to be challenging, but with his willing desire, they took the next step of contacting WAF.
Support and Hope from the Outset
Even from the initial stages, Meghan knew she had discovered the guiding light that could finally provide him with answers, hope and healing. From his opening video conference to the questionnaires, Joe cannot speak highly enough of WAF and the treatment protocol that Dr. Mark Gordon of Millennium Health Centers provides:
“It’s just amazing…”
Joe was given clear guidance, which included routines for morning and night, and a personalized treatment protocol. The focus was now on maintaining the advice that had been given and following the routines that had been created for him as an individual.
Changes and Revelations
It did not take long for the impact of the personalized treatment protocols to begin showing. It was apparent that the more discussions that took place on the program, the more the answers began to appear. It was revealed that Joe was living with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and this was only determined when completing some routine tests that explored certain elements of Joe’s history.
With more knowledge came more answers and the impact of Joe’s protocols was beginning to develop a positive trend. Within a month, Joe was already feeling better in himself, and once he had been on the program for eight months he felt back to his “old self.”
Meghan describes that when Joe was at his worst, he would not talk to anybody, but as the program progressed this all changed. Joe had regained his positivity towards life, including his approach to social aspects. He began to regain his stress coping capabilities and was able to take responsibility again. Summing up the program, Meghan says:
“It gave him back his vigor and zest for life…”
Healing Your Injuries
If you have heard Joe and Meghan’s amazing story and realized that you, or someone that you know, is suffering the same way, please do not hesitate to get in contact. There are viable healing options for you that could change your life.
For any further information on how you can help veterans, or if you would just like to get in contact, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to donate to Warrior Angels Foundation, please click here.