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Axe Therapy

Jarrett Darrah, DDS

LT, DC, USN

“That's me in the hot-wired Land Cruiser ambulance. Oddly enough, I was the dentist for the 24th MEU. They brought me to Kabul to function as the Triage Officer in the event of a mass casualty. On Aug 26, I drove this ambulance to the site of the explosion and got to work. The mess was as bad as you might think. There were about 65 living wounded that we brought back to the hospital that night. Around 182 killed.


These days, I'm still surprised by the random things that trigger a strong reaction. Around Halloween, I saw a neighbor's decoration that included a blood-stained white sheet. I broke down and cried hard for a while. I can't stand the noise of a lots of people talking at once. The chaos sends me into a panic attack.


I keep an axe in my truck. When I get overwhelmed, I find it very therapeutic to drive into the woods and chop down a tree. It's an extremely exhausting thing to do but each grunting swing relieves the pent up emotions that have no words to let them escape. I recommend this therapy to anyone with similar experiences. Keep in touch with your buddies who were there. Keep nothing from your spouse- you must lean in hard on them. And talk to professionals when you need to. EMDR therapy helped me as much or more than axe therapy.”

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