PTSD After Combat.

PTSD after Combat

I wrote Combat Medic to show how life is like for combat soldiers with PTSD and veteran suicide risks in hopes to help families who are struggling like me. It wasn’t easy sitting down every day for four months to write down my most dreadful memories. The only way I was able to bear it was to keep in mind that writing my story wasn’t just going to help me understand what happened to me, it was going to educate the world  so people can start getting the treatment that they need.

I took the time to write about PTSD at the end of my book to draw the reader’s attention back into the main focus of my story. If you would like more information on PTSD you can find it on wikipedia.

COMBAT MEDIC: A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD (Excerpt)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder develops in people that have seen or lived through a scary or dangerous events. It causes people to isolate themselves from things that remind them of the experience.

It makes a person feel numb and void, forcing them to be less interested in things they used to enjoy.

People  hear and see things that aren’t around in the form of a flashback making it feel as real as the first time.

Recurring nightmares won’t allow a person to forget what happened. It’s a tough fight to go through on your own.

Do you know someone who’s currently struggling with PTSD? Be there for them no matter what. Even if they push you away because they think you won’t understand, be there with open arms to catch them when they fall, even if you don’t understand, because no one else will.

Well over 22 veterans commit suicide each day in America, proof that war never ends; even after you’re safe at home. I almost became a statistic, but by the grace of God I was given the strength to fight and go after a better life.

In time I’ve found that talking to counselors has helped with sorting through the pain and darkness I’m feeling. It also helped that I had a loving girlfriend who was willing to listen and try to make things work as best as possible. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have her.

If you’re a veteran and need help, go talk to someone. If you can be seen at the Veterans Hospital, talk to a counselor. Find out if they can get you help. When that doesn’t work, try talking to family or friends, anyone you can to get whatever you have trapped inside, out. Find God as well. Try to build a strong relationship with Him because with His help you can make it through the impossible.

Need to talk to someone because you’re in a crisis, do what I did and call the Veterans Crisis line: 1-800-273-8255″

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Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Sinister Chuckles in Hell

Have you ever been with a group and felt left out when someone tells a joke? Everyone else laughs, so you must have missed something, right? You hear it, but it doesn’t make sense because it sounds crazy.

That’s how I felt the first time I was assigned to an infantry squad on the front lines in Iraq. I didn’t get most of the jokes my other squad members said. I was always left asking, “What’s so funny?” Which in turn led them to more chuckling and laughing.

It didn’t take to long to catch on once we started fighting together.

Fighting to survive inside a cemetery filled with bombs makes you grow up fast. I had to catch on quickly in order to understand them so we could work better as a team. After a few gunfights I fell in sync with the team.

Eventually, after weeks of fighting, death and destruction became normal. So normal that  being shot at warranted a laugh followed by an overwhelming blood lust.

This scene from my book Combat Medic takes place during the Battle of Najaf in the largest cemetery in the world , WADI-US-SALAAM .

“A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.” Sun TzuThe Art of War

None of us wanted to keep going, but we had no choice. We took a quick break in a tomb to rehydrate. I squatted to the ground and finished drinking my third bottle of water for the day. My DCU’s were covered in salt crystals and dirt. It had been two weeks since I’d showered and shaved. I was so exhausted I could have passed out. I’ve never been worked this hard in my entire life and there was no end in sight. At times I felt like being dead would be a better option.

“Who’s up for a little target practice?” Martinez asked. Everyone chuckled except me; I must have missed the joke.

Martinez explained to me that we were going to try and lure people out with bait. Two people had to go out and start making commotion while the other guys watched for the enemy.

“Ok, pick a number between 1 and 20,” Martinez said.

I said 13; his number was 15.

“Damn,” Rodriguez and I both said; then we looked at each other. He smiled, “Gotta die someday, right?”

“Yeah, buddy.” Martinez said, “Don’t worry; they can’t shoot worth s*** anyway.

“Glad it’s not me,” B stated before walking through the doorway to outside.

Rodriguez and I stood on top of newer graves in front of the tomb, in clear view for anyone in the cemetery to see. My heart started pounding, filling me with a burst of adrenaline. I’ve survived crazy shit all day; I should already be dead. Rodriguez started yelling, “Woohoo! Yeah!”

I joined in, the whole time moving my head scanning the cemetery for people who might come out to look.

Rodriguez pointed to the top of a tomb in the distance, “You think I can hit the nipple on the top there? The blue one?”

“Bet you I can before you,” I said.

B and Martinez spread out, watching for weapons fire. Rodriguez took a frag out and popped it into his grenade launcher. After taking a couple seconds aiming, he fired. Thump! It sizzled downrange and exploded off to the side of it.

“Damn!” he yelled, I laughed while loading a round. I took aim and popped it off. Boom! The building next to it exploded.

F*** man!” I yelled loud, trying to draw attention. Rodriguez shot again and hit it. I pointed to another one, “The blue and yellow dome there.”

There was a building in my way as I aimed, so I jumped on top of a taller grave and fired. The top of the dome caved in.

“F*** yeah!” I shouted.

As Rodriguez took aim to fire another one, bullets started flying around us; we jumped down as B yelled, “Three!” I stood up firing.

When I squatted down again, Rodriguez yelled at me, “Frag’em!” So I loaded a round, counted to three and stood up. I saw two people shooting; one in grey rags, another in black. I aimed and pulled the trigger, Thump!

The round launched out and hit the tree right behind them.

BOOM!

It split in half, sending smoke and debris everywhere; I saw the guys fall.

“F*** yeah! Yeah!” Everyone screamed.

“Yeah! Nice shot,” B yelled at me.

We started advancing towards them. Two of us laid down suppressive fire while the other two sprinted forward, leaping behind another grave. When I went to rush forward, there were a couple of graves knocked down in a pile blocking my way. I ran and jumped on top shooting; then jumped back down.

I looked over and saw that Rodriguez had to do the same, but when he jumped on a grave his foot went through. He fell headfirst trying to get it unstuck. I ran over and helped him get his foot unstuck. We both started laughing because he was on his head with his legs dangling in the air.

We got a couple graves away when the firing got heavier. Rodriguez took a grenade out and tried throwing it, but it slipped from his hand, falling two feet in front of him.

“Grenade!” he yelled; we both jumped behind a grave as it went off. BOOM!

I tried throwing one, but as my arm came forward it felt like I was throwing a 40-pound weight and it just rolled out of my hand.

“Grenade!” BOOM!

After it went off we laughed that none of us had enough strength to lodge grenades. I looked back at B, who gave us a go-ahead before firing off a bunch of rounds. We jumped up and made our final push forward. I was filled with a rush of adrenaline as we came up on their positions.

The only thing I saw was blood sprayed over the ground when got there.

F****** got the bastards, I thought. Rodriguez pointed to his eyes then to a blood trail on the ground. It looked like someone had been dragged into a tomb. He pointed to the building. I nodded.

I took lead, quietly creeping towards the building. When we got to the door I took out a grenade and threw it in. After it exploded, Rodriguez kicked the door in and we stormed in firing. No one was inside, but it was filled with rocket launchers, mortar shells, and bullets; a weapons cache.

“We hit gold,” Rodriguez said.

Before I could respond a hole in the ground came into my view.

“Hole!” I yelled pointing my weapon at it. Rodriguez grabbed two grenades out of his pocket and threw them in. We walked outside as they went off. BOOM!

Rodriguez called the lieutenant to let him know about the weapons.

“Blow the s***,” the lieutenant ordered us. “If you can’t, I’ll push the building over.”

“Roger that,” Rodriguez replied. “Keep watch while I blow this b****,” he said, walking past me into the doorway

“Got it,” I said.

I stood behind a large pillar next to a wall across from the door, a perfect position to take cover from the blast and still keep watch of the area. I waved to B who was with Martinez 30 yards away. He waved back and kept scanning the cemetery. Rodriguez took out a grenade, threw it in and ran out as it went off. BOOM!

“F***! They didn’t blow.” Rodriguez stated after walking back in. He came out and stood directly across from the door and shot a grenade in with his launcher. BOOM! The building exploded multiple times sending smoke and debris everywhere before it collapsed in.

Bullets started flying past me.

Click Here To Order Combat Medic on Amazon!

Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

I fell behind the pillar while rounds rattled the wall behind me. Neither of us could see where it was coming from so we called it in. After a couple seconds we heard the lieutenant start lighting someone up; the Bradley’s gun was distinguishable from any other weapon. It pulled up a couple graves away from us. We jumped up and fired downrange while we ran over to the Bradley and jumped in.

I fell into the bench exhausted and panting. Rodriguez and I looked at each other, then bumped fists. We both sat trying to catch our breath and drink water. I just happened to look down and see that he was bleeding from his left leg.

“Dude, you’re hit,” I said, pointing. “What happened?”

He grabbed his leg and looked at it. There was a blood soaked hole in his pants. I made him take off his boot and pull up his pants. He had taken a piece of shrapnel in the shin. I took a field bandage out of my pack, opened it, and held pressure on the leg.

“Dude, I might have to send you back.” I said.

“F*** no doc, I’m ok,” he said desperately.

I stared him in the eyes, not wanting him to get more injured by going out. “Are you sure?”

“I’m serious, it doesn’t even hurt,” he said. My leg started throbbing in pain; at that moment I knew how he felt. I should have said something about it but I didn’t want to leave; we still had a fight to win.

I held pressure on it for a couple minutes and saw the bleeding had gone down. Rodriguez begged me to not send him back; he stared me in the eyes.

“Please doc, those bastards are still out there. We’ve gotta kill them for Hunter.” I didn’t say anything; that’s been my driving factor since he got hit. I wrapped the bandage around his leg and told him to put his boot back on so I could see how he was with weight on it.

He stood up and walked around, “See, I don’t feel a thing. I’m good.” He wasn’t limping, so I told him, “Ok, but we have to get it looked at when we get back. Tell me if it gets worse.”

“Thank you bro,” he said. “I’ll tell you, promise.”

Next Up- Danger

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.
Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

This is my explanation of why fireworks and combat veterans don’t mix !

Please help me raise awareness for C-PTSD and share this video with friends and family. The only way to cut veteran suicide is to be aware of the problem.

Thank you!

Click Here To order on Amazon

Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Next Up- Sinister Chuckles in Hell 

Birdie Girl

Birdie = Relief

It’s been a long couple weeks for me here in Minnesota. Since Tank left, anxiety, depression, and hyper-vigilance have creeped back into every moment of my life. I’ve stayed hopeful that I won’t totally regress back into the PTSD hermit that I was before Tank brought me out of my shell. It’s been a tough go but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.

I’ve stayed busy within my community by helping out non-profit organizations in the area. This past week I had the pleasure of representing the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon program in the Father Hennepin Parade tossing chocolate candy to sugar addicted kids. My nerves were so much on the edge that my back and knees started badly aching. I had to close my eyes to meditate through breathing exercises in order to calm down enough to sit for an hour while people surround me cheering and begging like back in Iraq. TRIGGER!

‘”Deep breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“… Exhale slowly for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

Repeat and concentrate on the breathing and nothing else

My friend Chris was there to help watch my back until I calmed down.It turned out being more fun than I thought it was. I threw piles of candy at all the swarms of kids that gathered next to the parade. We started with 25 large candy bags and by the time we were at the end I was out of chilled candy, throwing the melted pieces that fell out of the candy bin.

IMG_0838
Me and the team before riding in the parade!

I’m going to end with some great news for my followers. This coming up week I will be the proud owner of a new service dog in-training! Her name is Birdie and she will be joining the family this Thursday! I’m calling this next segment BIRDIE & ME.

IMG_0825
Birdie Girl!

As a celebration of our new addition, I’m giving out free E-books this week to everyone who subscribes to  be on the combatmedic.org email list ( Top of Page, right side bar).

Also, check out my blog series about Tank & I to catch up on the latest articles about my service dog training.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!! GOD BLESS!

Relieved

Birdie Girl

Birdie, My Relief

Finding Relief

Since Tank left, anxiety, depression, and hyper-vigilance have creeped back into every moment of my life. I’ve stayed hopeful that I won’t regress back into the PTSD hermit that I was before Tank brought me out of my shell. It’s been a tough go but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.

I stay busy within my community by helping out non-profit organizations in the area. This past week I had the pleasure of representing the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon program in the Father Hennepin Parade tossing chocolate candy to sugar addicted kids.

My nerves were so much on the edge that my back and knees started badly aching. I had to close my eyes to meditate through breathing exercises in order to calm down enough to sit for an hour while people surround me cheering and begging like back in Iraq. TRIGGER!

‘”Deep breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“… Exhale slowly for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

Repeat and concentrate on the breathing and nothing else

My friend Chris was there to help watch my back until I calmed down.It turned out being more fun than I thought it was. I threw piles of candy at all the swarms of kids that gathered next to the parade. We started with 25 large bags of candy. By the time we were at the end I was out of chilled candy, throwing the melted pieces that fell out of the candy bin.

IMG_0838
Me and the team before riding in the parade!

Birdie=Great News!

 

I’m going to end with some great news for my followers. This coming up week I will be the proud owner of a new service dog in-training! Her name is Birdie and she will be joining the family this Thursday! I’m calling this next segment BIRDIE & ME.

IMG_0825
Birdie Girl!

As a celebration of our new addition, I’m giving out free E-books this week to everyone who subscribes to  be on the combatmedic.org email list ( Top of Page, right side bar).

Also, check out my blog series about Tank & I to catch up on the latest articles about my service dog training.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!! GOD BLESS!

Relieved

Project-Delta Interviews Combat Medic

Project-Delta Interview

This is the interview I did with project-delta. They have helped me come a long way with understanding how PTSD effects my everyday life. Please share!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FTA9J7K

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused With Tank

Realization

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m already hanging on by a thread. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and soul.”

I have my body and soul in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

“It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.”

The pain got slightly better the morning after, but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day before it started hurting again.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. I can’t even stand in the yard or my garage at home without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching out for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333
Tank

A Soul Infused with Tank

It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I get a jolt of excitement to hear his collar thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m hanging on by a thread already. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and spirit. I have my body and spirit in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.”

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when I’m under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.

The morning after, the pain got slightly better but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. Even at home I can’t stand in the yard or my garage without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I hear his collar jingle and get a jolt of excitement thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse