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″

Click here to order on Amazon

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

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 

Being Panicked

Panicked – Not in My Vocabulary

It took awhile for me to adjust to civilian life after the Army. The whole world seamed to be out of place. There wasn’t an order to everything like the military and people ran around like little kids doing and saying whatever came to mind.

The one thing that really stood out the most is the way people would become panicked whenever something serious happened. Being panicked isn’t in my vocabulary. After 14 months of being mortared, shot at and receiving blown-up patients  in the middle of the night drove fear right out of me.

I’ve learned that nothing good comes out of being panicked. You don’t think straight and nothing will get accomplished as you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

I’m not saying that I don’t get a little scared in sticky situations, I’m saying that I don’t let it control me. I have faith that God will tell me the right thing to do and that basically drives the fear right out of me and allows my brain to function properly so I can think straight. My wife and daughter sometimes think that I care about them because I don’t get panicked when they hurt themselves.  I care about them, I just know that they will be ok.

I’m pretty sure every medic who has a CMB (Combat Medic Badge) can think calmly under bad situations because of practice. Next time you find yourself in a panick just remember to take a deep breath, say a quick prayer and try to deal with it the best you can.

Panicked

Loving Tank

What Tank wants

It’s getting down to my final weeks with Tank. I still remember the first day we met and the immediate connection we had together. Ever since that day I’ve tried my best to give Tank what he needs so that he’ll be a happy, loving dog.

I’ve lived day in and out with him for the past four-month and I have to say that Tank is a very picky, sensitive dog. I don’t mind it though because that’s what makes him special. He has a personality that I’ve never seen out of a dog before. There are certain things he needs done for him to be comfortable; so, I decided to make a list of all the special things I do for Tank so that he can feel at home with his new owners.

First and foremost it is extremely important that Tank gets let out in the morning for a long walk or run so that he can poop and his anal glands can be expressed. He poops at least two times during our mile walk. If he doesn’t poop at least twice he will feel uncomfortable and in turn will start whimpering and licking his butt uncontrollably because his glands are swollen. It took me two months of being in the winter when it’s too cold to walk far to figure this out. I was taking him to the vet every month for them to express them.

Second, he loves his sleep in the morning and he doesn’t usually eat until after 1 o’clock. Speaking of eating, he is extremely picky. I buy Nutri-Source dog food, any flavor will be fine for dry food. He also needs wet food or else he will starve himself until he has to eat the dry food.83F5ADFA-5C36-4028-A248-AF5BAC114CAA

He was on a wet food only diet, 3 cans a day because of a large pancreas that the vet found by x-ray and I haven’t been able to break him from it. He is stubborn sometimes, especially with food.

I usually give him a cup and a half of dry and mix in half a large can of the wet food in with it. The mixing is important because he’ll just eat the wet food and leave the dry food and stare a hole through your head when he’s hungry until you give him something enticing.

The third thing that he needs is some solid attention every day, an hour at the most or he’ll whimper and start rubbing his head   On the carpet and start rolling on his back trying to itch. I usually call him over and start scratching his head, he loves it when you rub up and down from his forehead to his nose as well as the corners of his eyes.

He’ll eventually plop down onto his side then raise his leg to get his belly rubbed its his favorite thing on earth. A good belly rub paired with his wildly kicking leg equals a happy Tank. He’ll even thank you by pressing his front paw into your chest or he’ll try for your face. He turns into the biggest baby in the world when he’s on his back getting his grey and white-haired belly scratched.

The fourth thing is that Tank loves to chew on raw hides. I usually give him 1 or two a week. They have to be basted in beef or chicken, he won’t touch the plain ones. I bought the plain ones before and spread peanut butter on it. He licked off the peanut butter and left the rawhide. I found good ones on Amazon.com by Digestez, the chicken, beef, and pork filled rawhides. He’ll chew one up in less than two hours. And don’t worry, he chews the rawhide until its small enough to swallow.

The fifth thing that Tank needs is a car ride. He loves car rides just as much as a belly rub. He sticks his head out and likes to get a big wife of the air around. He looks like he wants to fly off or something, he’s too funny.

The last and final thing that Tank needs is to sleep on the ground next to the bed, he likes to be next to someone at all times of the day. He gets scared being by himself. He sleeps through the night if you take him out to relieve himself before going to bed.

If all of these needs are met, than Tank will be a happy camper every day. I’m so jealous of the next couple who has the privilege of having him in their life.

Gray

Appreciating what God has given

Appreciating What God Has Given

On Sundays I usually like to take some time to appreciate what my father God has placed in my life. I feel like if I don’t pause for a moment and take in the love and grace that he has surrounded me with then I will be on the cusp of lose it all. That’s one thing I don’t want to do, take anything that God has given me for granted. He gave me my beautiful wife and daughter, an awesome house and has helped me make stronger bonds with my friends.

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I love my daughter! This is how I get her pumped for school.

One thing that came to mind that I’m overly grateful for is for the first time ever I can go hours without pain in my back. For the past 13 years I’ve been struggling with chronic pain from degenerative disk disease in my back with 3 herniated discs. Quite honestly there hasn’t been a minute of my life since the injury that I didn’t feel pain in my back, until I started getting intense chiropractic therapy.

An organization I’ve become involved in recently,  Pain- Free Patriots, gave me a free grant to become pain free, as with every veteran that serves this great nation. For the past nine months I have gone to get adjustments, my back stretched ( best feeling in the world) and a micro-current therapy for my never and muscle.

I was amazed at the results I had after just a few weeks with them. There are days now that I can go without pain up until the final hours of the day. Before, it felt like someone was constantly stabbing me between my spine and lower left rib, all day.

The crazy part about this whole story was that God told me if I volunteered for the church more, he would heal me. For some reason I listened that calm voice in my head and went to help my church every day of the week.

After doing that for almost a month straight, I received a call from one of my friends to meet him and his buddy for a conversation. That’s when I was introduced to the program  and guess what, their facilities were located at a church Campus.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the humor that God showed. He placed the answer right in front of my face confirming all of the faith I placed into him as correct. That’s how things in life have started to unfold ever since. I have a sense to call a friend , I give them a call and they were thinking about me and my story.

Or another time when I was sitting in box seats at a Timberwolves game watching a soldier accept an award, I got jealous. I thought, ‘Why don’t I ever get recognition for the work I’ve done and still am doing for veterans?’ 

For some reason I had the thought that my time would come. A few weeks later I received a phone call to be honored at a Timberwolves game. How I knew deep down inside that it would happen has to be God. I know I can’t tell the future, it’s impossible.

Having taking the time to reflect on the positive connection I have with my God, I can honestly say that I’m blessed beyond anything I would have every imagined. I know that if I keep trusting in him that he’ll never fail me and my life will always move forward and never become stagnant.

Pause

Cusp

Heroes on Water

A Tail of Good Fortune (Short Read)


At this time last year I had just finished up writing the final draft of my book. I remember thinking, ‘I finally did it! I finally wrote the book I’ve been talking about doing for years.’ After 4 months of typing, re-reading and correcting three hundred pages of the hell I went through in Iraq, I was done for good.

I haven’t told many people about the mood I was in during the whole process. Only my wife, daughter, and friend Shawn can attest to the anger and hyper-manic state that I was constantly thrown into. After re-writing a couple of chapters about fighting in a cemetery surrounded by dead people and bones for seven straight hours… I wasn’t really pleasant to be around.

I remember one night I was having so many flashbacks that I ended up having to call my friend to come pick me up because of the thoughts that were running around my head. I’m beyond fortunate that God has placed people like Shawn in my life that can relate to the situations that I went through.

He ended taking me on a joy ride and to a bar to eat and drink while I sat and poured out the wells of dread that was going through my mind. By the end of the night he ended up dropping me back off at home in a lot better mood than I was. If he hadn’t of came I don’t know what kind of trouble I could have gotten into.

HOW
My buddy Shawn taking a photo of the staff of Heroes on Water

That’s what every veteran needs in their life after being discharged from the Military, someone else that can get on their level when life get’s tough. I have constantly made myself available to every veteran that I meet to insure that they have someone to talk to.  That’s why my friend Shawn started a non-profit organization called Heroes on Water. We take Veteran from all government services and take them out on kayaks to fish. It gives us time to talk with each other and create friendships.

I know that the VA has been taking the heat on a lot of their practices, they are good for one thing… talk therapy. There are hundreds of vets that trickle through the VA  waiting for hours everyday. I can’t name how many times I’ve sat down and traded war stories with Vietnam and World War II veterans while waiting for appointments or going through group together. I don’t know where I didn’t have anyone that could relate to me.

So if you’re a veteran or you know someone who’s a veteran, please share this information. A lot of veterans don’t try to fuss with the VA because of their bad rep… I don’t blame them. I’m not saying that they are great, I’m saying that the relationships you can make with fellow veterans are awesome and could possibly save a life one day, so why not try?

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(From left) Me and Shawn

Fortune

Heroes on Water

A Tail of Good Fortune

Good Fortune
At this time last year, I just finished writing the final draft of Combat Medic. I remember thinking, ‘Finally, I did it! I wrote the book I talked about doing for years.’

After months of typing, re-reading and correcting three hundred pages of the hell I went through in Iraq, I was done for good.

I haven’t told many people about my mood during the whole process. Only my wife, daughter, and my good friend Shawn can attest to the anger and hyper-manic state I was constantly thrown into.

After writing about gunfights in a cemetery surrounded by dead people and bones for seven straight hours… I wasn’t really pleasant to be around.

The Dilemma

One night after the fourth of July, I was having so many flashbacks I asked Shawn to come pick me up because I didn’t feel safe with crazy thoughts running around in my head.

I’m beyond fortunate that God placed good people like Shawn in my life who can relate to the situations I went through. He’s an Army Veteran as well.

He took me on a  long car ride then to a bar to eat and drink while I sat and poured out the dread that was going through my mind.

By the end of the night he ended up dropping me back off at home in a lot better mood than I was. If Shawn hadn’t of come I don’t know what kind of trouble I would have gotten into.

good fotune
My buddy Shawn taking a photo of the staff of Heroes on Water

Heroes on Water

That’s what every veteran needs in their life after  the Military, someone who truly understands the struggle when life get’s tough. I have constantly made myself available to every veteran I meet to insure that they have someone to talk to.

That’s the reason Shawn started a non-profit organization called Heroes on Water. We take Veteran from all government services out to fish on kayaks. It gives us time to talk with each other and create friendships.

Good Ole’ Talk Therapy

I know that the VA has been taking the heat on a lot of their practices, they are good for one thing… talk therapy. There are hundreds of vets that trickle through the VA  hospital waiting for hours everyday.

I can’t name how many times I’ve traded war stories with Vietnam and World War II veterans while waiting for appointments or going through group.

If you’re a veteran or you know someone who’s a veteran, please don’t hesitate to share this information. Lots of veterans don’t try to fuss with the VA because of their bad rep… I don’t blame them.

I’m not saying the VA is great, but the relationships you can make with fellow veterans are awesome and could possibly save a life one day, so why not try?

good fortune
(From left) Me and Shawn on a Heroes on Water fishing trip.

Fortune

Living a Meaningful Life


I remember how my life was just four years ago, trapped inside of my head alone and filled with darkness. I never wanted to leave my apartment because of the random flashbacks and spouts of anger I had while being out in public. No one could see, feel or hear what I was going through. Everything I did to feel normal felt meaningless.

Every relationship I had started to slowly deteriorate away. It’s not like my family and friends didn’t try to help me, I just didn’t want their help. I thought they wouldn’t understand, which is true but it didn’t mean they didn’t love me and care about what was happening. I pushed everyone away.

One day I had a longing to get out of the pits I was trapped in. While on the brink of suicide I had a talk with God. He gave me the strength to see that I had the power to overcome my demons and that I needed to start having a relationship with him so I could start living a meaningful life.

From that moment on I have put all my faith into Him, a decision that I’ll never regret. I started going to church and  reading the bible daily, applying every scripture I read to my life. I started seeing a change inside and my relationships with friends and family started growing.

I would love to say the flashbacks and anger stopped, but it didn’t. I just stopped letting it control every aspect of my life so I could live a more meaningful one.

I urge every veteran that reads this to take the initiative to have a relationship with God so you don’t have to take the weight of life on your own. In time you will learn how to live a more meaningful life and stop letting the past run your future.

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Meaningless

Tank – Not Your Ordinary Dog

I’ve just received news from Project Delta that a couple in a town near me is interested in fostering and possibly adopting Tank. This coming up Sunday I’m going to bring him over to their house for a meet and greet. They really sound like a nice couple and I’m hoping the best for our upcoming meeting.

I really started to think about the awesome relationship that Tank and I have since  hearing he’ll be going to a better place soon. He’s saved me from the emptiness I’ve felt inside since coming home from war.What I’ve been actively trying to fix about myself for the past thirteen years was accomplished within a few months of being with Tank.

Tank isn’t your ordinary dog. He’s smart beyond belief. The first time I saw him I knew that there was something special about him. He immediately caught my attention the way that he was so cautious in how he approached everything. I was told not to pet him the first time he walked up to me, it took every ounce of patience that I had not to. ‘He’s such a pretty dog’ I remember thinking as he looked at me with his soft mahogany brown eyes as he walked past me.

It felt like the constant fog of anger and frustration that was over me parted. The calm came over me felt so good. As he made he second round around the room I was told to calm him over to me. All I did was say, “Come here boy!” and he ran straight into my hands. As I per him he rubbed his head across my leg over and over again

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Something started stirring up inside my chest that I haven’t felt in a long time. After a while I noticed that I had a smile was smeared across my face.

I knew he was the one. When everyone asked what I thought about him, I couldn’t help but to say yes. They told me that I would know deep down inside when I’ve found a great dog to pair, they weren’t lying.

The bond between us grew stronger the more time we trained together. After two months I noticed a huge change in how I approached the world. I started having positive thought instead of negative. My mind was clear enough for me to take my time whenever I had to go to a store with my family. If Tank wasn’t so overprotective he would have been the perfect service dog.

Now I’m stuck with giving this extraordinary dog over to a couple that he could possible grow a stronger bond with forever. It really sucks to think about it. I actually feel jealous, but I know he’ll be happier, especially with another dog’s  for him to sniff. Ha!

B534CBEC-9C33-4183-A21B-3F287FF103BC
Tank half asleep wanting more head scratches.

Ordinary

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The signs and symptoms of PTSD. Know them, save lives.

PTSD Symptoms: Know Them, Save Lives


The main reason I wrote Combat Medic was because God told me it would help save lives. It wasn’t easy sitting down every day for four months to write down the most dreadful memories that I remember. The only way I was able to bear it was keeping 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 on what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is 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.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder develops in some people that have seen or lived through a scary or dangerous event. 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. It causes people to 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.

If you know someone who’s currently struggling with PTSD, be there. 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. If I didn’t have her I wouldn’t be here today.

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. If 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.

If you are in 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″

http://amzn.com/B01FTA9J7K

Symptom