When Capt. Andrew Yeary returned to Camp Lejeune after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan, he thought the lingering effects from that injury would be something he could live with.
"I guess I kind of thought its like a common cold, you know, I'm gonna ride it out, its going to get better and I'll be back to my normal self," Yeary said. "I finally had to admit to myself that's not going to happen."
Yeary suffered from migraines and high levels of irritability. It was only after a serious talk with his wife that he decided to go to Intrepid Spirit, a concussion recovery center on base.
"She's like 'Look, if you don't get help and try to get better, we can't do this anymore," Yeary said. "That really hit me hard. It's like I can't believe I'm ruining my marriage."
The Intrepid Spirit center prefers more holistic methods to recover rather than traditional medicines. Yeary said his treatment included acupuncture to alleviate pain and even art therapy to ease his mind.
"You wouldn't think big tough Marines ... art therapy would be what helps them," Yeary said. "But you'd be surprised."
Physical therapy also helped Yeary progress, including a machine that helped improve his balance. He's happy to be back at a level of normalcy.
To his doctors, all he can say is "thank you."
"They're the reason I was able to stay a Marine," Yeary said.
The center will host an expo Friday to showcase its resources to all active-duty service members and veterans. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and Yeary hopes anyone suffering from a brain injury comes out to the event.