166 Days: My Journey Through the Darkness

166 Days: My Journey Through the Darkness

by Jennifer Clark


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Afghanistan. Outside the wire. Combat. Green Berets. Insurgents. All words Jennifer Clark, Air Force Physician Assistant, never imagined would pertain to her, yet would soon become her reality. In 2008 she was faced with a deployment into the trenches of the most violent regions of Afghanistan as an augmentee to a US Army team of Green Berets. Her duty was to lead a Female Treatment Team, which was comprised of a female provider and a female medic, tasked to provide medical care to the underserved women and children in Afghanistan. She would run the clinic located on a firebase that was once a Taliban stronghold taken over by Coalition Forces in 2002. She was a young officer; newly commissioned after serving five years as an enlisted medic, with just less than one year of experience as a Physician Assistant. The child lying in blood-soaked clothes as his father screamed frantically in Pashtu beside him, the man who traveled for five days by camel after his arm was blown up in an explosion, the beautiful little girl covered in blood with shrapnel wounds to her entire abdomen, face and arms. These were a few of the hundreds of patients with unimaginable ailments Jennifer Clark treated during her deployment to Afghanistan, a country where, she discovered, "children never had a childhood, women lived in constant fear and men knew nothing but a life of fighting". 166 Days: My Journey through the Darkness is a page turning account of innocent people losing their lives simply because they frequented the wrong place at the wrong time and of lives sacrificed to the cause by brave and committed young men. 166 Days illustrates the challenges Jennifer faced daily; from being a female in a Special Forces world of men, to treating patients with indescribable conditions and the frequent attacks of the firebase by the Taliban. 166 Days is a gripping account of war, but it is more than that. It outlines an intimate struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and adjustin

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478723325
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date: 12/12/2013
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

166 Days: My Journey Through the Darkness, a memoir of her deployment in Afghanistan in 2008 and her struggles with PTSD, is Jennifer Clark's first book. A former United States Air Force officer and Physician Assistant, she is also a Life and Wellness Coach and founder of Back to Center Wellness Associates, a company focused on serving others in finding total mind, body, and soul happiness. Jennifer is a frequent speaker on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, leadership, and finding life's joy and purpose. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association.

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166 Days: My Journey Through The Darkness 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JenniferClark More than 1 year ago
I would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt apology to the ODA, Becky, and fellow augmentees I served with during this deployment for any misrepresentation you felt I gave of you in the book. It was never my intention to do anything other than honor those I served with and be a voice to the overwhelming number of people suffering with PTSD. My intent was to use my story, my own weaknesses, pain, and vulnerabilities to serve others. I would never lie to make myself look any differently; integrity is something I value tremendously. The book was written from my journal, which recorded my thoughts and perceptions in real time. Entries were often written through pain, and were emotionally charged. Because the book is based on my journal the scenes (incidents) are kept in real-time, to allow the reader to appreciate the raw emotion of the experience. That being said, I can see how it may have offended some when I spoke of my perceptions of how various people handled Rod’s death, and the grief we faced from the events of 2 September 2008. The entire book was my personal opinion, and perspective, and in no way should be a reflection of the character or strength of the others I was with. Becky and the entire team handled the situation in their own way, and the book is solely written from my own pain and grieving process. What I perceived they felt has no bearing on what they actually felt, as I never asked them. In regards to Rod’s belongings, we were in fact tasked by an individual to gather his things. That person did not have the authority to make that call, and I completely agree that the person who did would never have asked us to complete such a painful task. I believe he had no knowledge the individual came to us. The Team Sergeant was nothing but kind to us and would never hesitant to help me with anything I needed the entire time I was with them; he is an exceptional leader. As far as my dynamic with Kyle, there is no outstanding resentment towards him, I wish him nothing but the best. I kept what happened with him in the book because it did happen and it was a painful part of my experience. The circumstances we were in can bring out the worst in people, and perhaps had we met elsewhere it may have been different. There were moments in the book where I did recognize some things he did that were gracious and kind. . What I want the reader to know is that regardless of my personal opinion of any of them, these men are part of the few brave enough to have signed up to sacrifice more than most of us can begin to fathom. They make that sacrifice time and time again, which is something I admire and respect. They’ve given so much of themselves, so much that they can never gain back. Their continued sacrifice affords the freedom that most of us take for granted. The men I served with were selfless, brave, and some of the most professional individuals I’ve ever encountered. I will continue to describe them in that manner each and every time I speak of my time with them. The point of the book was not to sell a million copies, I wrote it to honor and serve others. Nothing more and nothing less. The journal was my very personal account of what happened through my own eyes. I don’t regret the pain I endured, because I chose to move past it and find its higher purpose. My hope is that this story will inspire others to do the same
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“166 Days: My Journey Through The Darkness,” captured my heart and attention as (Jen, the author, PA Clark) detailed and reflected on many events in her life as well as her memories and deployment to Afghanistan. Jen skillfully expressed her thoughts and emotions as she traveled through a range of peaks and valleys or defining moments in her life. In, “166 Days: My Journey Through Darkness,” Jen depicted how an environment or situation can change and impact our very own thoughts, opinions viewpoints, and perceptions of the world we live in, in just a matter of days! ~LRod04
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
fantastic book!  It has my highest recommendation.  anyone that leaves a 1 star review obviously never read the book.  if you know  someone dealing with PTSD or has returned from the war and is having challenges, get this book right now!  read it!  Thanks Jennifer for giving us the opportunity to share in your experience and learn from your challenges.
Kathy33KK More than 1 year ago
We are all recognized by our names however they are given to us aren't we? As time passes by, sometimes we qualify for an even different name.one of acknowledgement, one of respect, one of endearment, one of an intense passion to help others. In the case of Jennifer Clark, all of the above apply. It is not easy to keep a journal of the events that occur in your life, both good and bad. It is not easy to try to understand, accept, and move on from some of those moments that made such immense changes as you try to move on and realize/know who you are and what you really know about yourself and what you believe in. She does this in 166 Days: My Journey Through The Darkness. Jennifer's account of her experience is a credit to the woman she is and why she is trying so hard to help others. To the women not only in Afghanistan, but everywhere in the world where they suffer the oppression, and to the men and women who suffer from the trauma of war and experience what we can't even imagine I say thanks to Jennifer for having the courage to come through her own trauma to help us to see what it can really look like. As she says---because she knows---there is always hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find it interesting that a someone would write a review such as "anonymous." I guess he must be a "quiet" professional. Mr. "Anonymous" must not have read this book because the author in no way attempts to portray herself as a "hero." I feel bad for Mr. "Anonymous" because he has to take shots at someone brave enough to tell their story, and the truth at that. Why don't you write a book and tell your side? This must be someone portrayed in the book in a negative light, because there seems to be something personal is their review. From one "anonymous" to another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best I've read. The author draws you in and keeps you turning the pages, all while helping you feel what she was feeling. I shared her emotions through her written word. This book opened my eyes and made me more grateful than ever, that we have people like Jennifer who are willing to serve and protect our country. Their selflessness goes above and beyond. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story with us. God bless you and all those who serve.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a retired Army SGM with 24 yrs of service, 2 of which were served in Viet Nam. I have personally known Jennifer Clark for over 10 yrs and she did not write this book for glorification or rewards. Like many others before me and after me, I too suffer from PTSD from the trauma that I faced in Viet Nam. The difference is that it took me over 35 yrs to realize that I had a problem. I go to weekly therapy group sessions for PTSD and it has helped me understand what I have been dealing with all these yrs. Her book describes the same feelings and thoughts that I have had all this time. The negative comments made by others who were there didn't get the recognition or praise that they wanted. The book is HER book, Her feelings, Her thoughts. It deals with the pain that she went through there, and when she came home. Many of us are still suffering that same pain. Imagine coming home from a war zone, and not being welcomed by the American people, and being hated because you were there. American service members have enough pain and depression from what we have gone through, and are asked to perform by our government. While you may not agree with what we are tasked to do, it helps keep you free and gives you the right to voice your opinions. I now know the pain and trauma that I have put my wife through for the past 42 yrs. This book was written to help those suffering from PTSD, and the spouses of those suffering. People tell me (and many others) to just GET OVER IT, THE WAR HAS BEEN OVER FOR YEARS. We who have suffered from the horrors of combat will NEVER GET OVER IT. Even though my war was over more than 40 yrs ago, Jennifer's book has helped me, and also helped my wife cope, with this terrible infliction that has been bestowed on so many of us. If you are mentioned in this book and were not glorified and portrayed as a hero, then you missed the whole point. The book is not about you. It is about Jennifer Clark, her personal struggles, what she had to deal with and how she has, and is, dealing with this still today. The book was not to portray her as a hero, to make her rich and famous, or make her a renown author. If you think that, you have really missed the boat and I only hope that one day you will understand the meaning behind this publication. Jennifer, thank you for your help, and your friendship. SGM Larry L. Lane, USA, Retired.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I wasn't there with Lt Clark and the others, I'm a retired military member with over 22 years of service. After reading the book, I feel she did an excellent job of putting into print "her experience" from the deployment and how it impacted her once she returned. I'm sure those who were portrayed in a negative light (in their opinion), probably are upset but I certainly don't think it distracted for the message of the book. As a matter of fact, it made it that much more realistic. Life is not "nice" all the time and we all have people in our lives trying to cause strife or difficulty. I'm sure it was only magnified due ot the situation they were all facing on a day-to-day basis. Thank you Jennifer for providing us with your perspective of what life was like for you and the lessons you learned which may help otheres dealing wirh PTSD and similar dark experiences.
QuicoV More than 1 year ago
I am the father of an Airman. I am not a reader, I picked up this book and I could not put it down,  I read it in two days from start to finish. First to have a Women that joined the Air force to get in to the Medical field, then get sent with Army combat personnel  green Berets to the hot zone where the men treat women with no respect and train them to carry bombs to explode, and kill the innocent. To see first hand death of her fellow American soldiers, I don't know how you handle that. I personally want to thank Jennifer Clark for her Service and this is extended to anyone who is, or has served our great nation.  I know that it must have been very hard and most likely Jennifer Is still dealing with some of the memories.  This book sends a strong message for those who have the scars of war.  YOUR NOT ALONE it can get better Jennifer is living proof.  PTSD is real God Bless our Troops And Our Great Nation.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The negative reviews here are from people with first-hand knowledge of events in the book. This should tell you a lot.
nel2 More than 1 year ago
I am not much of a reader and even less of a socialist. I have been reading this book, have not yet finished it due to my busy lifestyle as a single mother of four children. I am non-military but as the majority of the human population had at least one traumatic experience that has effected me negatively, PTSD or not. From what I have read thus far I felt compelled to see what others thought and came here to read reviews. I was appalled that someone had a negative comment about this book. Clearly someone that represents the dark side that has been overcome by the story that Jennifer Clark is sharing with us. What selflessness coming from someone that would attack something designed to HELP humanity with their struggles and to become better people and make better decisions. I for one, just after what I have read, am already dealing with my own struggles that could quite possible relate to PTSD successfully and making choices that are effecting my family, job and lifestyle in an extremely positive and effective way. Thank you Jennifer for taking the lessons, your knowledge and the experiences you have had, that so many will have no idea of the pain suffered, to help us all. She is hands down a hero to me and my family! She is not selecting anyone to help, she is helping us all! I highly recommend this book for all, weather you do, don't, or think you suffer from PTSD. I will return to further comment after completing this extraordinary book that has already touched me so deeply. Thank you again Jennifer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
166 Days accurately captures the challenges of soldiers face as they come home and brings to light the very real and difficult challenge that is PTSD. Unfortunately that is the end of the value of this book Jennifer Clark fails to accurately capture details of the roles of the men she includes in her book, fails to accurately capture details of her diagnoses, and changed details regarding her treatments. Her assessment of her own role is greatly inflated. She did not run that clinic; she augmented those tasked with running that clinic. She did not have the training to treat the level of trauma she faced, and learned to rely on and work in a relationship with the medics running the clinic. Had she accurately depicted this in her book this would have been to her credit. She was also not tasked to pack Rod's things. That task was beyond her and the man who made those decisions was kind and aware enough to know. Another soldier and I completed that sad and honor-filled task. Unfortunately this book has been used as a means to get a last word on issues long outstanding. This was distracting to me as a reader. Other readers can learn a lot about what it's like to come home from a hard trip from this book if they look past those distractions. I write this review after having read the book. I was there and only write this review anonymously to protect my family and myself as I continue to serve.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is exactly what I expected. I normally do not read veteran accounts of war due to the fact that most will make themselves shine in there own words. Often authors in such scenarios, ignore or simply omit their faults and flaws. Also, these authors will describe there heroism, there feelings, there courageous actions, which makes the reader believe that the writer is almost "perfect", and was in charge of all situations, and never hesitated when the time called. Yet again, this author does what most do in these types of books. She is "perfect", she was in "charge", she"knew best", when you never hear of any "fuck ups" or "mistakes". It is a self indulgent mess. I have been on numerous deployments and I can say that I messed many times, and you learn from those mistakes. To hide and omit them in a personal account of an experience is dishonest. I just want hear the facts, not feelings. Also, you were in charge of Green Berets? You were a AF DOC at a FOB, it sounds like you ran the place. Either she is embellishing or she is awesome. It is good that she is helping with PTSD, and telling her story but for me it is just blah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book because I wanted to see how the author portrayed the "Quiet Professionals", since she used them as an advertising/selling  tactic.  This book is a joke!  I feel bad for her that she had to make herself look like that hero that she isn't, when ultimately, I'm sure this book  would have sold just the same, had she told the truth.