Air Force Analyst Sarah Garasz Dealt with Tremendous Grief

Aug 16, 2023

 I was extremely excited about, uh, being an intelligence analyst. That job had been my goal for over 10 years, and I felt if that had fallen through, that there was really nothing left for me to experience. I had entered the special operations community in late 2018. Uh, right after my sister passed unexpectedly, I was drinking more to cope with the stress of that while not dealing with the grief, not dealing with the trauma.

Coming forward, admitting that I had these issues, admitting what was happening to me, made me feel like I was putting my job in jeopardy and potentially losing that clearance. After I got back from my second deployment in 2020, the covid lockdown happened and I struggled to cope with the isolation. I coped once again with alcohol and as things spiraled out of control.

I had a re-traumatizing event. I voluntarily went into hospital hospitalization for that. It was actually exactly what I needed, despite the fact that it was pretty scary to do. I have no idea what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gone and sought help at. It. My therapy pass had kind of fallen through and we had decided that unless I was facing an acute crisis, my therapy was going to cease.

So I was sort of lost in the wind at that point. Talking to Steve about shields and stripes and about the things that happened to us gave me some comfort and some peace. The therapy being provided through Shields and Stripes is a deliberate trauma protocol to train your brain, to process your. Or trauma so that it’s not disruptive to my professional or personal life anymore.

It’s not available everywhere, and it’s not something that I had access to at my base. Now in the Air Force meeting, the other participants in the Shields and Stripes program has been amazing. It’s been extremely healing. It gives me hope when I leave the program, so somebody’s gonna hold me accountable afterwards.

Quotes:

  • “Right after my sister passed unexpectedly, I was drinking more to cope with the stress of that while not dealing with the grief, not dealing with the trauma.”
  • “Admitting that I had these issues… made me feel like I was putting my job in jeopardy and potentially losing that clearance.”
  • “After my second deployment in 2020, the covid lockdown happened and I struggled to cope with the isolation.”
  • “I have no idea what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gone and sought help.”
  • “Talking to Steve about shields and stripes and about the things that happened to us gave me some comfort and some peace.”
  • “The therapy being provided through Shields and Stripes is a deliberate trauma protocol to train your brain; to process your trauma so that it’s not disruptive to my professional or personal life anymore.”
  • “Meeting the other participants in the Shields and Stripes program has been amazing. It’s been extremely healing.”

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