I have PTSD and my name is Anonymous. I have been serving in the Army now for just over 14 years. I started my career on active duty, right out of high school. My first duty station was in Germany in 2002. Just about a year later I received orders to deploy to the Middle East. Well as we found out, we were part of the initial wave to deploy to Iraq, in part of “Operation Iraqi Freedom“.
Moving on, we flew into Kuwait March 2003. As soon as we got off the plane we received our welcome to theater speech. Within those first few days of being there, we were welcomed by Iraq launching scud missals at us. We got to experience first-hand what it is like to put on all of our chemical gear for hours on end while waiting to make sure it’s all clear. We got to sit in our tents while these missals would come soaring overhead, and hoping that the patriot missile system would take them out!
Welcome to the war… I’m not going to go into depth of the realities of war, but I will share my experience with PTSD. Needless to say after my tour I did not notice anything different in my life except that I started drinking more. Not just a little more, but a case of beer or a fifth of liquor almost every night. I became socially uncomfortable, I was always on guard and could not relax. I would drink and scan the crowds for threats.
Coming home from active duty, I tried to fit back into civilian life and found that I still struggled. I started working at Goodyear but that only lasted a short time before I was let go. As I was unemployed I was contacted by an army career counselor, he helped convince me to join the Army Reserves. So I reenlisted into the reserves and from there started working as a contractor at Ft Irwin.Being back in the military help me feel a part of an organization that understands each other.
I still suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, but just pushed on. For me, there was nothing that was really helping, So I turned to the only thing, the thing that I should have turned to first. I turned to Jesus and started giving it all to him. I have not had a panic attack in over 5 years now. I still feel my social anxiety flare up at times but it is manageable now. With that being said. To us, were not being a Man, a Soldier, a Father, when we admit that we are suffering from PTSD! It makes us feel weak like we are not that STRONG person that we thought we were!
That’s not true! Anxiety is nothing more than our bodies natural fight or flight system. Just because you suffer from this disorder does not make you weak. You can make it! Even when you feel there is no hope! Even when you feel there is nowhere to turn! I tell you there is! Keep fighting keep telling yourself that it is ok.