Letters: OCD And Military Stress Clinics

Talk of the Nation listeners wrote to the show to share their stories of overcoming severe obsessive compulsive disorder. Also, a woman who served in a non-combat unit in Iraq wrote in about her experience at a stress clinic.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, time to read from your emails and Web comments.

Many of you identified with Ed Zine's story of overcoming severe OCD. Cathy(ph) emailed from St. Paul to tell us she thought her husband was having an affair at first. He would work late and was not reachable at his office. When I threatened divorce, he admitted that he was driving around, looking for license plates of all 50 states instead of coming home. He agreed to get therapy, was diagnosed with OCD, and like your guest, successfully addressed the problem through therapy and medication.

If you missed that conversation, by the way, you can go to our Web site to listen online. We've also posted an excerpt from Ed Zine's book "Life in Rewind," at npr.org/talk.

We also talked last week about the U.S. soldier who shot and killed five fellow service members at an on-base stress clinic in Baghdad. We don't know why he did it, but it focused people's attention on those clinics and how the military handles stress on the battlefield.

Shannon(ph) emailed from Ellison Bay in Wisconsin to remind us that stress in the military does not always stem from combat. When I was in Iraq, I was assaulted and did my best to deal with the situation on my own. After about a month, my commander sat me down and offered the option of going to the stress clinic or to see the chaplain. I decided to see the combat stress counselor. Without him, I would have been useless to the soldiers around me.

I was not in combat, but found I needed the stress clinic just as much as those who were serving in combat. I was very lucky to have an incredibly understanding commander and supportive soldiers in my unit.

Our conversation about the debate over whether or not to release additional photos of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan hit a nerve. James Costello emailed to argue, of course they must be released. The sins of the Bush administration were not just political mistakes. They were violations of our most fundamental principles. We are a democracy. These pictures must be released as part of a greater part of seeking justice for the victims, as well as accountability for the perpetrators. This issue is too serious to let go.

Matt and Charlotte strongly disagreed. I served 15 months in Iraq, and I don't understand why the ACLU wants to highlight our country's mistakes when the highest levels of our government are already aware of the incidents and individuals have been punished.

And finally, technology columnist Farhad Manjoo all but wrote an obituary for voice mail. But many of you aren't quite ready to let it go the way of the abacus. One of the last vestiges of individuality is found in the voice - intonation. One can hear fear, anger, shyness, joy, etc., etc., etc., something no techie devices discussed thus far can do. Long live the human voice and P.S., I'm a writer - in this case, an email writer named Sheila.

If you'd like to reach us with comments, questions or corrections, please don't leave voice mail. The best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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