BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – “I really didn’t believe in it until I got it myself.”
Imagine taking a break from everything you’ve ever know. Then, one day, you step back into that reality, only to feel like you’ve lost yourself. That’s what Ed Kornish experienced after his time serving in Afghanistan with the US Army.
“Two of my guys got killed over there,” Kornish said. “I have, essentially, PTSD from survivor’s guilt. Why them, why not me?”
Kornish had post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Afghanistan, when he was working as a Prosecutor in McDowell County. His first step towards treating his PTSD was admitting that he had a problem that he couldn’t fix himself.
“At the time, I said I was 30 or 40% effective,” Kornish said. “I was actually about 20% effective.”
The biggest development with PTSD in recent years is how to treat it. For the many others like Kornish, there are more trauma-focused treatments than ever before.
“What we really want people to do is use mental health and then get the tools they need,” said Beckley VAMC PTSD Coordinator Kathy Lynch. “And then, be able to go out and be in charge of themselves.”
It took a lot for Kornish to realize that he needed that help. But once he received the professional assistance that he needed, he was able to manage his PTSD and live his life the way that he wanted.
“It’s not a weakness to say, ‘I’ve got a problem and I need somebody besides myself to fix it,'” Kornish said.
COVID-19 presented new challenges for the VA in treating their veterans with PTSD. Using video chat eventually allowed veterans to continue their treatment.
“What the pandemic did was mimic deployment,” Lynch said.
Kornish wants others experiencing PTSD to know that, more than anything else, they’re not alone.
“What tools are out there and what are the best tools for each person individually?” Kornish said. “You have to try everything. There’s no silver bullet.”