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

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

An Everlasting Impression

Tank has left a everlasting impression within my heart…

IMG_0696
I can’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheek.
It been two days without Tank and my hearts grown weak.
Our bond will last within my heart forever,
Broken only by time and this body that withers.
Tank, dear friend,
I love you so much,
Although it feels like the end, I’ll always be able to remember your touch.

Although it feels like the end of my journey, I can’t accept giving up.

“One door closes, another one opens” has to be my mentality.

One day as I look back at this situation, I’ll have a great new best friend by my side and my heart won’t feel heavy with sorrow.

IMG_0697
You will be missed Tank…you will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impression

The Precipice of PTSD

The Precipice of PTSD

 

The Precipice of PTSD

You don’t understand the change that happens inside a soldier after war.

Everyone comes back changed, whether they admit it or not, some worst than others.

I was the worst.

Not a day goes by in the past 13 years I haven’t thought about Iraq, the Fuck’d up things I saw and did.

I’ve just recently started moving on with my life with the intent to show civilians what it’s like to be on the battle front, fighting for our country and our lives, only to come home to a never-ending battle.

This scene from my book Combat Medic takes place at the precipice of my PTSD, the worst moment of my life.

Preface

” Slamming the door, I locked it and rested my head against the wood frame, trying to regain my thoughts. You’re home…you’re safe.

Sunlight is beaming in through the blinds, making it hard to see. Leaning against the marble counter in the kitchen, I set my keys down before wiping the sweat that wasn’t there from my brow. I wondered, Does it ever stop? My angst was making me feel cold. No…it never will. I stared at the floor. What if I was dead? Would anybody really care? I wouldn’t have to deal with this pain anymore. The thoughts; the nightmares…

My lower back throbbed. I pushed myself up on my hands, thrusting my hips back and forth, waiting for the pain to go away. I closed my eyes, put my head down, and started taking deep breaths, trying to calm down.

Standing up I grabbed a glass of water when a loud bang shook the room. My heart started racing; a chill ran through my body. The hearing in my right ear fell out, leaving a high-pitched ringing in the background. My heart jumped then started beating faster. I closed my eyes and saw flashing lights and heard gunfire – echoes and bangs.

I squatted to the ground behind the counter with my eyes wide open staring at the door. A chill ran through my back, into my heart. My jaw started shaking; teeth chattering like I was stark naked in a blizzard.

Someone kicked down the door dressed in battered, torn clothes with dirty rags covering his face. He ran towards me with an AK-47 rifle pointed at my face, shouting gibberish. I felt a rifle in my hand, the weight of the barrel upon my fingers; but it wasn’t there. I felt naked without a weapon, cold and unsafe.

My heart felt like it was being pulled in four different directions. It thumped, pumping me full of cold blood and adrenaline. My mind raced. What should I do? I smelled gunfire and smoke, but I could see that I was in my apartment. Is this real? The back of my throat was sore; there was a bad, acidic taste in my mouth.

I took in a couple of shallow breaths then jumped up and ran over to the kitchen. I grabbed the handle of my 8-inch chef knife and pulled it from the drawer figuring it would be better to have a weapon in case it wasn’t my imagination. I turned toward the door crouched down, waiting for anything that came through.

A minute slowly passed. “This isn’t real.” I thought out loud, “What am I doing? This is crazy.” At that moment excruciating pain shot from my mid-back down to my left foot. It was like someone had sliced my back in half with a searing hot knife. I tried taking a deep breath in, but stopped short when pain wrapped around my lung.

I dropped the knife. Feeling dizzy and nauseated, I slowly walked over to the bathroom, flipped the light on, and stood over the toilet, holding my stomach and head. I was sweating hard now. The room started spinning as an overwhelming smell of gunpowder filled it.

Images from war started shooting through my mind. In one, I was holding pressure on a wound, trying to stop the bleeding from a severed leg. In another, blood was splattered all over a sand-covered ground. Specialist B pointed to the blood, then over to a building. I raised my weapon as we went in for the kill. The last image was of eyes. A pair of glazed over, hauntingly sky blue eyes. They were staring directly into mine. I stared blankly into the toilet, engulfed in those eyes. The sight of death captivated me. I wanted it; it wanted me. It almost had me.

My focus shifted from his eyes to his head. I started to see blood running down his face as it came into focus. A green aid bandage was wrapped around it, attempting to hold his severed skull together. I looked down and saw blood covering my hands. I knew it wasn’t really there, but it all felt so real.

At that moment I felt numb, emptiness grew inside; my chest slowly became cold. Icy blood pumped through my veins. It felt like I was dying; like life was being drained out of me. I started shaking as a chill crept through me. Death enveloped me, clutching my soul with a wanton lust. My spirit quaked as my heart blackened.

Tears started falling down my cheeks as the visions slowly faded away. I felt like a hollow shell, void of any substance of life. Shaking my head I wiped the tears, but kept crying; unable to stop myself.

I walked to my bedroom, empty except for a small dresser. It’s been 7 months since I moved and still no furniture. Saddened, I closed the door and opened the window. A cool breeze blew through. The sun was bright, warm, and comforting. I took in a couple deep breaths; my jaw still jittered from the flashback as I let it out. My shirt was drenched in sweat.

I opened the drawer of the dresser and grabbed my pipe and weed. I ground some up, put it in the pipe and took a couple of long, slow hits. After about 15 minutes I was fully medicated, seeing everything in a haze. I stared out of the window and looked down at the courtyard. A young couple sat at a table drinking wine; talking… they looked happy. I could see smoke rising from the grill next to them and smelled the scent of barbeque.

Everything I was worrying about started to fade away. The pain in my back turned into a slight annoyance. I smiled a grin ear-to-ear and started beat boxing and singing; doing anything and everything to stop thinking about things – the nightmares from hell that still haunt me.

I poured a glass of cold water from the tap. After slamming a couple, the blue eyes started haunting me again. I felt myself sliding back into the other place when my phone snapped me out of the fall.

I looked at the screen and saw that it was Jessica; I answered annoyingly, “Hello.”

“Hi, what are you doing?”

“Just got home from work,” I said sharply. “Why, what’s up?”

“I don’t know; just seeing what you’re doing. You never call me just to talk,” she said, waiting silently for an answer.

I didn’t know what to say. “Sorry, I’ve just been busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Working. You know my hours at work.” I got upset. “Is there something you want?”

“Yeah, I was wondering if you would like to come over and eat dinner with me and Aleah tonight and this weekend? You know… have some family time.”

I was torn, feeling deep in my heart like I wanted to. But then I start thinking about what had just happened. The pain, the flashbacks, I was afraid to leave the house. I missed my daughter so much but I couldn’t drive like this. I lied, “I can’t, I have an appointment later today and I have to work this weekend.”

“Really? You told me you were off,” she said angrily.

“Well Mick asked me to work a couple extra shifts and I said yes.” I got upset again. “What do you want me to do about it? I can’t just say ‘No’ now; it’s work.”

“You never want to spend time with us. Aleah is always asking about you. What should I tell her?”

I felt awful. My heart started to burn.

“I’m sorry, Jessica, but I have to work.” I gave in a little, “I can come over after my shift is done. We can eat and play games. You can tell her I have to work and I’ll see her later.”

“Ok. Whatever,” she said.

Then it went silent for a minute.

“How come you don’t love me?”

“I never said I didn’t.”

“Then why did you leave?”

“Because we argue too much.”

“We argue because you don’t even try to listen to anything I have to say and you yell,” she said.

“You do too!” I quickly chimed in. “All you do is yell and I can’t take it. I don’t need people around me yelling all the time. I can’t handle it.”

“If you loved me you would try.”

My gut started hurting. “I do love you, Jessica; I just don’t know what to do.”

“Talk to me.”

Silence fell again, I felt so bad that we couldn’t get along. I do love her, but the arguments and fights, yelling in front of Aleah… it was too much. I don’t want her to think that is how relationships are. She should have a happy life.

“Ok, Sam! Bye!”

“Tell Aleah I’ll call her tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yep, bye.” She hung up, her tone saying all she needed to say.

The room fell quiet. I looked down at the phone and thought of all the good times I’ve had with them. The times I’ve curled over laughing when playing with Aleah. Hearing her laughs echoing throughout the house when I tickled her, I loved it… missed it.

How did I get here in this empty apartment, feeling sad and numb inside? I’ve tried my whole life to feel alive; to feel wanted, to be someone special. I joined the Army because it was where I belonged. Fighting for America, saving lives and making a difference, proving to myself that I could do anything, go anywhere.

Now I’m lost, stuck; sealed away in a cave at the center of a deserted world. I want to feel normal again; feel alive, not numb. My past keeps taking over my mind, flooding it with blood and explosions. I want it to end. I want everything to end.

How did I get here?

It was because of the war. Why did I ever sign up to go in? I don’t want to feel like this anymore; alone, struggling to hold onto reality day in and day out. I want a life worth living.”

Untitled design (1)

Click here to Order Amazon!

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

Next Up – Danger- Gunfights in a Cemetery

 

 

The Precipice of PTSD

The Precipice of PTSD…

Most people don’t understand the change that happens within a soldier that just gets back from war. Everyone comes back changed, whether they’d like to admit it or not, some worse than others.

In my case, I was the worst.

Not a day has gone by in these past 13 years that I haven’t thought about Iraq and the messed-up things I saw and did there. I have only recently started moving on with my life with the intent to show America what it’s like to be on the battle front, fighting for our country and our lives only to come home to a never ending battle.

This scene from the first chapter of my book Combat Medic takes place at the precipice of my Post-Traumatic stress disorder, the worst moment of my life.

Slamming the door, I locked it and rested my head against the wood frame, trying to regain my thoughts. You’re home…you’re safe.

Sunlight is beaming in through the blinds, making it hard to see. Leaning against the marble counter in the kitchen, I set my keys down before wiping the sweat that wasn’t there from my brow. I wondered, Does it ever stop? My angst was making me feel cold. No…it never will. I stared at the floor. What if I was dead? Would anybody really care? I wouldn’t have to deal with this pain anymore. The thoughts; the nightmares…

My lower back throbbed. I pushed myself up on my hands, thrusting my hips back and forth, waiting for the pain to go away. I closed my eyes, put my head down, and started taking deep breaths, trying to calm down.

Standing up I grabbed a glass of water when a loud bang shook the room. My heart started racing; a chill ran through my body. The hearing in my right ear fell out, leaving a high-pitched ringing in the background. My heart jumped then started beating faster. I closed my eyes and saw flashing lights and heard gunfire – echoes and bangs.

I squatted to the ground behind the counter with my eyes wide open staring at the door. A chill ran through my back, into my heart. My jaw started shaking; teeth chattering like I was stark naked in a blizzard.

Someone kicked down the door dressed in battered, torn clothes with dirty rags covering his face. He ran towards me with an AK-47 rifle pointed at my face, shouting gibberish. I felt a rifle in my hand, the weight of the barrel upon my fingers; but it wasn’t there. I felt naked without a weapon, cold and unsafe.

My heart felt like it was being pulled in four different directions. It thumped, pumping me full of cold blood and adrenaline. My mind raced. What should I do? I smelled gunfire and smoke, but I could see that I was in my apartment. Is this real? The back of my throat was sore; there was a bad, acidic taste in my mouth.

I took in a couple of shallow breaths then jumped up and ran over to the kitchen. I grabbed the handle of my 8-inch chef knife and pulled it from the drawer figuring it would be better to have a weapon in case it wasn’t my imagination. I turned toward the door crouched down, waiting for anything that came through.

A minute slowly passed. “This isn’t real.” I thought out loud, “What am I doing? This is crazy.” At that moment excruciating pain shot from my mid-back down to my left foot. It was like someone had sliced my back in half with a searing hot knife. I tried taking a deep breath in, but stopped short when pain wrapped around my lung.

I dropped the knife. Feeling dizzy and nauseated, I slowly walked over to the bathroom, flipped the light on, and stood over the toilet, holding my stomach and head. I was sweating hard now. The room started spinning as an overwhelming smell of gunpowder filled it.

Images from war started shooting through my mind. In one, I was holding pressure on a wound, trying to stop the bleeding from a severed leg. In another, blood was splattered all over a sand-covered ground. Specialist B pointed to the blood, then over to a building. I raised my weapon as we went in for the kill. The last image was of eyes. A pair of glazed over, hauntingly sky blue eyes. They were staring directly into mine. I stared blankly into the toilet, engulfed in those eyes. The sight of death captivated me. I wanted it; it wanted me. It almost had me.

My focus shifted from his eyes to his head. I started to see blood running down his face as it came into focus. A green aid bandage was wrapped around it, attempting to hold his severed skull together. I looked down and saw blood covering my hands. I knew it wasn’t really there, but it all felt so real.

At that moment I felt numb, emptiness grew inside; my chest slowly became cold. Icy blood pumped through my veins. It felt like I was dying; like life was being drained out of me. I started shaking as a chill crept through me. Death enveloped me, clutching my soul with a wanton lust. My spirit quaked as my heart blackened.

Tears started falling down my cheeks as the visions slowly faded away. I felt like a hollow shell, void of any substance of life. Shaking my head I wiped the tears, but kept crying; unable to stop myself.

I walked to my bedroom, empty except for a small dresser. It’s been 7 months since I moved and still no furniture. Saddened, I closed the door and opened the window. A cool breeze blew through. The sun was bright, warm, and comforting. I took in a couple deep breaths; my jaw still jittered from the flashback as I let it out. My shirt was drenched in sweat.

I opened the drawer of the dresser and grabbed my pipe and weed. I ground some up, put it in the pipe and took a couple of long, slow hits. After about 15 minutes I was fully medicated, seeing everything in a haze. I stared out of the window and looked down at the courtyard. A young couple sat at a table drinking wine; talking… they looked happy. I could see smoke rising from the grill next to them and smelled the scent of barbeque.

Everything I was worrying about started to fade away. The pain in my back turned into a slight annoyance. I smiled a grin ear-to-ear and started beat boxing and singing; doing anything and everything to stop thinking about things – the nightmares from hell that still haunt me.

I poured a glass of cold water from the tap. After slamming a couple, the blue eyes started haunting me again. I felt myself sliding back into the other place when my phone snapped me out of the fall.

I looked at the screen and saw that it was Jessica; I answered annoyingly, “Hello.”

“Hi, what are you doing?”

“Just got home from work,” I said sharply. “Why, what’s up?”

“I don’t know; just seeing what you’re doing. You never call me just to talk,” she said, waiting silently for an answer.

I didn’t know what to say. “Sorry, I’ve just been busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Working. You know my hours at work.” I got upset. “Is there something you want?”

“Yeah, I was wondering if you would like to come over and eat dinner with me and Aleah tonight and this weekend? You know… have some family time.”

I was torn, feeling deep in my heart like I wanted to. But then I start thinking about what had just happened. The pain, the flashbacks, I was afraid to leave the house. I missed my daughter so much but I couldn’t drive like this. I lied, “I can’t, I have an appointment later today and I have to work this weekend.”

“Really? You told me you were off,” she said angrily.

“Well Mick asked me to work a couple extra shifts and I said yes.” I got upset again. “What do you want me to do about it? I can’t just say ‘No’ now; it’s work.”

“You never want to spend time with us. Aleah is always asking about you. What should I tell her?”

I felt awful. My heart started to burn.

“I’m sorry, Jessica, but I have to work.” I gave in a little, “I can come over after my shift is done. We can eat and play games. You can tell her I have to work and I’ll see her later.”

“Ok. Whatever,” she said.

Then it went silent for a minute.

“How come you don’t love me?”

“I never said I didn’t.”

“Then why did you leave?”

“Because we argue too much.”

“We argue because you don’t even try to listen to anything I have to say and you yell,” she said.

“You do too!” I quickly chimed in. “All you do is yell and I can’t take it. I don’t need people around me yelling all the time. I can’t handle it.”

“If you loved me you would try.”

My gut started hurting. “I do love you, Jessica; I just don’t know what to do.”

“Talk to me.”

Silence fell again, I felt so bad that we couldn’t get along. I do love her, but the arguments and fights, yelling in front of Aleah… it was too much. I don’t want her to think that is how relationships are. She should have a happy life.

“Ok, Sam! Bye!”

“Tell Aleah I’ll call her tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yep, bye.” She hung up, her tone saying all she needed to say.

The room fell quiet. I looked down at the phone and thought of all the good times I’ve had with them. The times I’ve curled over laughing when playing with Aleah. Hearing her laughs echoing throughout the house when I tickled her, I loved it… missed it.

How did I get here in this empty apartment, feeling sad and numb inside? I’ve tried my whole life to feel alive; to feel wanted, to be someone special. I joined the Army because it was where I belonged. Fighting for America, saving lives and making a difference, proving to myself that I could do anything, go anywhere.

Now I’m lost, stuck; sealed away in a cave at the center of a deserted world. I want to feel normal again; feel alive, not numb. My past keeps taking over my mind, flooding it with blood and explosions. I want it to end. I want everything to end.

How did I get here?

It was because of the war. Why did I ever sign up to go in? I don’t want to feel like this anymore; alone, struggling to hold onto reality day in and day out. I want a life worth living.”

combat-medic-bookcover6x9-viv

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Precipice
Portion

important roles of a service dog

Important Roles of a Service Dog

These past few weeks have been extremely busy for me. Between appointments at the VA, cleaning the house, writing and doing yard work, I’ve had little time to relax. It’s really not that bad that my time is filled. This time last year I was a hermit never looking to leave the house unless I had to. I feel as though I’ve been blessed beyond belief this year and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while.

I have noticed a change in my mood when I’m out in public without Tank. I forget things at the store because my anxiety is pushing me towards leaving as fast as I can. That leaves me with having to go to two different stores to get the items I missed. When Tank was with me I felt calm and I was able to think clearly. When my symptoms ramped up I would feel the pressure of his head pressing against my leg and that would be enough to get me out of my head and in the moment. All I had to do was lean down to pet him and the anxiety and stress inside was reduced.

I’m missing Tank being with me so much that I sometimes see or feel him when he isn’t there. Like the other day when I was walking through Target I started feeling overwhelmed because of too many people around. I thought for sure that Tank was on my right side, I even looked down to see if there was the slight chance of him being there.

Yesterday as I was driving home I started to get really bad road rage because of some dumb drivers. As I turned a corner I thought I saw the black of Tanks shiny hair and again I looked back like I always do to calm myself down. Instead of his pretty brown eyes staring back at me all I saw was an empty seat. Sometimes it feels like I see a ghost of Tank, it’s weird.

The only thing I can compare it to is the first couple weeks out of the Army. Waking up late freaking out like I missed PT formation, I even caught myself standing at ease with my hands behind my back while in line. It was odd readjusting to a life without expectations, responsibilities, forced exercise, and people who can relate. Or when someone you love either dies or leaves to go somewhere forever. It’s like you whole body goes through withdraws from that person because they where such an important part of your life.

I guess I’m sort of going through a withdraw. He has been such an important tool in my recovery that I’ve dependent on him to help me get through rough situations and bare being in public without sweating like I’m in a hot box.

I’ve learned that service dogs play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities. They become a part of who we are by being there whenever we need them, either for emotional or physical support. I never realized it until I was without Tank.

He will be leaving in a few weeks. I don’t think it will be extremely hard to deal until I pair with another dog. I have high hopes that it won’t take long. I’ve actually forced myself away from Tank for the past week, letting my daughter play with him and fulfill his need. that way I feel like it will be an easier transition. He doesn’t like it that much, if I don’t pay him attention he will forcefully place himself in front of me and stare me in the eyes whimpering until I ask what he wants.

I love Tank to death, always and forever. I will be ok without, one journey ending and another on beginning.

Never Give In

Tank and I are doing as wonderful as ever. Now that he’s just a house pet and isn’t forced to be in public, he has been calmer.

He doesn’t like being caged up during the day while I’m at appointments. He whines, cries and pants hard after I close the cage locking him in. I think he’s just so used to going everywhere with me and never having to be alone that he feels like I’m going to leave forever.

My trainer said that I could bring him around with me and leave him in the car with the windows rolled down when I have to go inside somewhere. I started doing that just to make him happy. He likes to put his whole head out of the back window to get a nose full of the fresh air. He’s too funny, sometimes it looks like he wants to jump out and fly through the air… I bet that’s what he thinks, or he likes all the different smells. Either way he is too cool when he does it.

It’s going to be hard letting him go within the next couple of weeks. I’ve thought long and hard about the time in between giving Tank up and my next dog. He’s like my crutch, it’s easier for me to get around with him watching my back. How will my mind be without having him next to me to keep me in the moment?

7AEA5DFE-47B3-4BC8-A370-7B78CC2F3165
Tank and my baby girl!

I know that my PTSD symptoms have been kept in check because of our constant interaction. He’s the only live being around me 24/7, how will I be able to leave the house on a whim like I do with him?

I have to keep moving forward even though things are going to change. I have a mission from God to save as many lives as I can from this horrible suicide epidemic that’s plaguing our nations veterans and families. As long as I have a tenacious grip on the goals that I’ve set when I first started my quest, God will provide for me to fulfill the mission he has given.

The good people over at Project-Delta are working relentlessly to find a new dog that can one day be by my side for years to come. I love that the path God has laid in front of me has connected me with so many loving and like-minded people. I have nothing but hope for the future to come.

Tenacious

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