Travis Knowlton LCSW
3 min readFeb 17, 2024

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I have been to war,

But that is not the battle I had to win

Picture from author.......me now!!

2011 I deployed to helmand province Afghanistan. Getting off that plane felt like I walked into a furnace and was about to melt! Did an entire 7 month deployment as a navy corpsman alongside the marines of 5/11 romeo battery.

It was tough,hard,boring,crazy, and traumatic. My job simply put was to rush to the aide of wounded marines and provide aid while also being a rifleman marine simultaneously.

Getting home it took a year and a half of my wife telling me “ something is wrong with you” for me to finally go get help.

I became so accustomed to death and dying in my mind that I actually became OK with the nightmares, the flashbacks, and wanting to avoid all people.

So I reluctantly began the therapeutic process and got through it. I no longer have the symptoms mentioned above. It is relieving to say!

Now it’s important to note that though it took me a few quick sentences to describe that whole process,it is not to negate how tremendously hard it was to get to a point of release of those symptoms.

But very quickly I came to notice,Afghanistan and even the trauma from it was nothing in comparison to what stood before me.

On paper I did a five year enlistment in the United States Navy. In real life I group up doing heavy martial arts and constant reiterating of the honor that comes with military service and the constant implementation of the marine corps with how I was raised and brought up ad a young man. So really… I did close to 20 years mentally.

Let’s get back, shall we. The mountain of obstacles that stood before me was the character traits that I acquired from a life of military service and influence. It was only good for war and fighting. I did that. It’s over. Who are you now?! I never contemplated that question before, and I was left with a massive gaping wound that wouldn’t stop gushing the blood of my once sacred identity..

What the hell am I to do?!…

I tore myself apart. Analyzed and desecrated every thought, emotion, reaction,perception, and concept I ever thought I had. I radically changed the way I saw myself, the world, religion, politics, family, love, and purpose of life.

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Travis Knowlton LCSW

I'm a husband, father, veteran, and licensed clinical social worker that is here to enjoy and share!