My Life With PTSD - True Story
Soldiers That Been To War
I am a 25 year old male, U.S. Army Veteran who deployed to Iraq. I did a whole tour in Iraq with an engineer company name E.CO 2-12 1st Calvary Division, stationed in Fort Hood, TX. Ever since I've been in Iraq my life never been the same. What seems like disaster and trouble is a blessing in disguise.
My Lifestyle After Deployment From Iraq
After depIoyment with E.CO 2-12 1st Calvary Division and finishing my last 8 months in my active duty contract I drove back to South Philadelphia where I was born and raised. I stayed with my parents for a little while and I didn't feel socially nor spiritually connected with them. I had no love for myself nor anyone else. My relationship with women was based on sex because sex was an adrenaline rush for me. Speeding on highways, fighting, free-running on roofs, and being in a house with women that smoke and drank alcohol. Majortiy of the time I'm always to myself training with knives, exercising, and always planning to go somewhere outdoors. When I'm with a large crowd of people, I get irritated, my anger rise up, and my mind is always thinking about how I'm going to escape from these crowds. I even carry knives everywhere I go and always aware of every little thing around me.
At night I tend to drink more because it helps me to sleep. I try to get drunk to the point my self-conscious can't get nightmares. Ninety Percent of the time my body get so use to the strong alcohol that I eventually stay up the whole night and watch t.v. and smoke (Black & Mild). Sometimes during the late nights I'll have women come over for booty calls and some just to chill and smoke with. Sometimes I'll take a walk out in the street at 2:30am to 4:00am just walking around. And sometimes I'll hang with the wrong crowd just to start trouble because it was an adrenaline rush.
If I feel threatened, irritated, or you doing something I disapprove of then I'm either screaming and hollering at you or fighting you depending on the circumstances. I've became so depress that I tried slicing my wrists, arms and chest with a razor's edge. I pre-meditated about shooting myself in the head and jumping off the roof. I visualize harming others on a daily basis and wanted to fight because it was my stress relief.
What Triggered These Habits?
I can remember my back being soaked with sweat and my eyes burning because the sweat dripping down my eyes. I remember the reddish brown sky, the unbearable heat, and the bad stench that made you think God cursed this place. On that same day, I remember my soldier shooting himself in the chest with an M-16A2 in his own trailer. I remember seeing his body jerked on the floor, the look in his eyes, pale skin, the blood that escapes his body and the smell of a gunshot victim, the M16A2 that was beside him. I remember the shouts of soldiers from my unit, "Get a MEDIC"!!
I've seen a vehicle behind me explode by an EFP. I've seen a decapitated head in the middle of a dessert. I've seen bodies drop like flies.
The worst news I remember is when my 1 year old son died and my baby mama never told me about the funeral. I've never got a chance to hold him, talk to him, nor see him. I remember the rage I felt inside and how hard I balled my fist with a broken glass in my hand. My eyes burned with tears and I felt like my life was over and I didn't care about anything. I felt like God cursed me and I hated him.
How Did You Overcome These Habits?
The first step in overcoming anything is acknowledging that you have a problem. I knew I had a problem so I went to the VA Hospital. I received counseling from a VA Therapist, check-ups from the nurse, a social worker, and the VA Benefits Help Specialists. The nurses knew about my sleeping disorder and insist that I take medicine for my sleep. I had a trust issue and didn't like taking medicine. Believe it or not I met a woman who was in this coffee business called "Organo Gold". She told me about how this coffee has this chinese herb called 'Ganoderma Lucidem that existed for 4,000 years. She said, "It revitalize you, help you sleep, it's good for your circulatory system etc. I bought a box of Hot Chocolate and Mocha Delight. Since I've drunk this drink I've been going to sleep often.
The second thing I did was moved from South Philly to the nicer part of New Jersey. I knew I had to change my environment and get away from the negative folks. It's funny how you survive combat in Iraq and your homies will start trouble in the street and use you as a secret weapon. I was also known for buying stocks of alcohol because I'm a known alcoholic. On the outside I had a nice car, money, nice clothes, always traveling to places so the streets called me 'Government Funded'. I believe people used me for what I can do for them instead of helping me, so I had to leave.
The third thing I did was I started attending church services and bible studies. Please believe me, I didn't change my life overnight. I was still drinking, smoking, fighting, and I even cursed at one of the members at the church I was attending. I do believe I had a lot of prayer and hanging with positive people and constantly going to the VA Hospital to get counseled on a daily basis makes it a big difference.
I'm an AGR Supply Sergeant and I married a beautiful woman and an amazing supporter. I have a funny and talented 4 year old son and I'm bless to have him.
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This book is crafted around soldiers stories of their war experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan that culminate in life-altering injuries to the brain and psyche, along with the equally dramatic story of their recoveries. An irony of America s 21st century wars has been that while our combat medical and medevac capabilities have grown enormously (from a rough average of 4:1 wounded to dead in WWII to 8:1 today), the nature of many of our soldiers wounds has undergone a subtle change. Men and women who survive the thick of combat, including repeated concussions, increasingly present a difficult-to-detect kind of injury, no less debilitating then wounds from bullets or shrapnel.
This book documents the ever-increasing cases of physical or mental brain trauma among our vets that has risen as a direct result of more soldiers surviving their flesh wounds on the battlefield. The chapters are developed from interviews with troops and their family members, and bridged with essays by mental health professionals, veterans advocates, and members of the VA and DoD, all of whom are working in the front lines of what is quickly developing into a national crisis of unfathomable cost in both lives and money.
All royalties from this work will go directly to the front line of support for wounded warriors with PTSD and TBI, and their families.