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, 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.

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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.

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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 = 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

combatmedic.org (happy Tank)

Accepting the Inevitable

Happy easter everyone! First off I want to say thank you to Jesus Christ for everything he did for me, without him I’d still be struggling with life.

I really had an eye opening experience these past few days, something that I’d like to share because I think it will help people struggling with PTSD or any painful experience that was felt in life.

As you know there has been an active search for a family that can welcome Tank into their home. A great couple came along that thought Tank would be an awesome addition to their home. Tank had a play date with their dog Jack, it was like they knew each other from a past life they got along so well.

This past Friday I met with the couple without the dogs there. They were an awesome couple, better than I’d even thought they’d be. We shared stories of our dog’s antics and I told them as much as I could about Tank and his needs. They both work from home half the week and they are just know buying a three level house were Tank and Jack can run outside from the main level or down the second level deck.

It sounds like he’s going to have a better life than he’s had here. I’m so happy for him. I’ve been hoping that he’d find a good home so I won’t feel as guilty for giving him away, it makes it a lot easier on the both of us.

We hope that after they have Tank for a few months and I have another dog by my side, we can have visits. It’s good to know that I won’t have to say bye to him forever. Who knows, this couple could become good friends and we can see Tank for years to come.

I can’t say that the whole experience left me happy. I left the meeting with an actual time when Tank will be leaving. Walking out of the Starbucks into gloomy rain felt appropriate for the mood I was in. Something inside of my chest was tingling as I walked slowly through the rain towards my car.  Getting drenched wasn’t a concern, I didn’t even notice my pants were soaked until I sat inside my car.

Thoughts weren’t pouring through my head like normal, images of the whole meeting circled around instead. I imagined Tank in their home, the life  he’d have with Jack running around playing and digging holes.

I think my heart was the thing tingling, because now it burns a little with every jolt of my heartbeat. I guess I was really sad, I’m not that in touch with my emotions anymore, that’s why I can only describe the feelings that I get because they come on so sudden and leave abruptly.

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He’s cool just laying there.

I think the only times in my life I’ve felt like this was when I left someone or someone left me. I remember when my mom moved out and divorced my dad. We were on a trip with my dad and came back with all of her stuff gone. I remember not being able to talk to her and crying curled up in a ball on my bed for days. The same feeling of my heart being burned and torn from my chest… it almost that close.

Did I make the wrong decision to keep looking for a service dog?

Will I find a dog better than him?

I can’t stop those thoughts even though I know the answer… No, I didn’t.

Everything in life happens for a reason. Every struggle that I’ve faced has made me stronger in the end. I know that this feeling will pass and I know in my heart that it’ll work out for the best.

One day I’ll have a service dog by my side everywhere I go, a tool that will help me travel around to talk with people about how to live a better life with PTSD.

Tank has served his purpose for me and I hope his future is filled with love.

Jolt

Approaching New Territory: Tank & Jack


It’s been a few days since the last time I posted anything about Tank and I, but I have some great news! Tank’s meet and greet with the other couples dog was a success, they got along together like two peas in a pod. I love the fact that Project-Delta has taken the time to search for a couple that can give Tank just as much love as we can.

Watching the videos of Tank playing with Jack gave me a tingling feeling in my chest. I’m super happy to see him socializing so well, they played just like two kids on the playground. It looked like they even play hugged a couple of times. I loved seeing him so happy.

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Tank and Jack trying to get at the dog on the other side. LOL! So awesome to see.

For some reason I have a feeling that this was meant to be.

No, I’m serious.

To find a couple that has a dog almost the same age as Tank with the same characteristics goes against the odds so much so that I have to chalk it up destiny. I was meant to find Tank and he was supposed to help me connect with my emotions again.

Yeah it sucks that he is such an amazing dog with one trait that disqualifies him of being a service dog, but I know the love that we both gave to each other is serving a greater purpose.

Pretty soon my family and I are going to be meeting with the couple to talk. Everyone at Project-Delta says that we will hopefully get along great and that when they do decide to take him, we will still have opportunities to get together to see Tank. I think that’s important because I feel like I’m giving away my kid because they didn’t act right. I’d never be ok with it if I wasn’t able to ween myself off of him… Ha!

In time I know that I’ll get used to him not being next to me constantly, but hopefully, not long after, I’ll start training another dog. They’re in the process now of screening dogs for a potential pairing. By this time next year I’ll hopefully have a dog that’s certified so that I’ll have no limits to what I can accomplished.

I’ll be making videos of the whole process this time and I can’t wait to start sharing.

Territory

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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

Reaching the Plane of Acceptance


It’s been a tough couple of weeks since I found out that Tank can’t be my service dog. It’s hard to think about what I have to do. I’ve made the decision to let Tank go and start the search for a new dog. After having him for three months I feel like he is a part of me.

I love him, but my needs out way my wants. When I made the decision that having a service dog would be beneficial to my life, I was thinking of a future without limitations on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. A service dog would allow me to go out and talk about my story without the anxiety and worry that PTSD brings.

Tank is a great dog and it’s hard to even think about letting him go, but I have a mission that I have to accomplish and he can’t help me fulfill it. He belongs with someone that won’t demand so much from him. All he really wants to do is go outside to play, get his belly rubbed, and eat and sleep most of the day away.

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Tank loves riding in the car!

I told Lindsay that we would foster him until they find him a good home. It is one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in a long time. I wish I could have two dogs, but that is too much work for me and I don’t think Tank would adjust well with another dog taking his place.

I’ve already noticed a change in our relationship since I’ve stopped bringing him into public with me. He is super clingy after being home on his own for a couple hours. I feel like he knows that something has changed when he sits and stares at me when I come home. I wish I could just talk to him and tell him to stop lashing out. This is the only time in my life that I wish I could talk dog.

As I go about my day without Tank now, I’ve noticed my anxiety has increased and I’m a bit more jumpy than before. My mood changes rapidly when I have to go out into public. I don’t know where all the anger comes from that builds up inside of me, it’s so overwhelming that it makes me nauseas. It’s strange how I notice all of these things now, but before Tank I was used to feeling this way.

That change inside of me has pushed me to a place of acceptance when it comes to my decision for Tank. He brought about a change inside of me that I don’t ever want to let go. Having a service dog will help improve my life greatly. It’s depressing to think about Tank not being able to fill that role, but knowing that such a change is possible gives me hope for the future with another dog that, hopefully, will take a permanent place by my side.

Acceptance

Military Dogs Receive Top Honor


This is what I love to see. This is one of the reasons why I think dogs are the best pets to own. They’re super intelligent and help us in the best possible ways. There would possibly be twice as many soldiers killed in action  from IED’s if we didn’t use dogs to sniff them out.

WASHINGTON — During a routine perimeter check in the desert of Afghanistan, Isky found a roadside bomb. He had come to a complete stop, sitting near the explosive device, patiently waiting for orders from his best friend, Army Sgt. Wess Brown. The IED – buried two feet deep – was a 120-pound bomb. Isky, a […]

via Working Dogs honored for their service — Pacific Paratrooper

God’s Orchestration of our Small World


First, let me start out with some good news. A couple of months back when I was at the Minnesota State Fair promoting my book I ran into an old friend of my dads. While I was drinking a beer flight an older man asked if he could stand at the table with me, I told him sure and then I started a conversation up with a different guy standing next to us.

After I gave this guy my card and told him my name, the older man asked if I would take a picture of him for his wife. After snapping a picture he asked for my card as well so he could grab my book too.

A couple of weeks pass before I receive an e-mail from the gentleman. Come to find out about 25 years ago my dad sang at this guys wedding, CRAZY RIGHT!? His wife used to work with my dad at Pillsbury and he wanted to get in contact with my dad to catch up on life.

Sam Boney wed2
My parents at the wedding 25 years ago

Sam Boney wed1
My dad and with bride and groom

After giving him my dads info he sends me another e-mail two weeks later with actual pictures of my parents at their wedding.

He let me know that he read my book and he loved it then he invited me to speak at his organizations monthly meeting. I felt like this was the reason why we ran into each other, like God somehow orchestrated us drinking beer at the same place and time so I could share my story with more people. I accepted his offer and threw together a presentation for the Chaska Rotary Club which included pictures of me from war.

The speech went well to say the least. I felt more confidant standing in front of that group than I ever have in life. Having Tank next to me laying on the floor gave me the security I needed to get through my speech without heightening my anxiety. I finally understood what my trainer said about Tank being a tool and not a fix.

When the audience gave me a standing ovation, I finally felt like I was making progress in life again. With the tools that God has given me, I  can start accomplishing the goals that are most important in my life. It was exactly what I needed to push out into the world to spread my testimony to help combat veterans who are struggling like me.

Sam at Rotary 2
Tank and I standing with my dad’s friends Ken and Barb

I was extremely proud of how calm Tank was with everyone clapping and walking up to shake my hand. Because of him I was able to sell out of all the books I brought as well as connect with multiple people who have friends and family in the military that need advice on how to handle someone with PTSD. The main reason why I wrote my book was to connect with other veterans to be a positive influence for them so they know they’re not alone in the fight and that change can always happen, they just need to want it more than anything else in life. Check out Rotary, Jan 12, 2017 for my feature in the newsletter.

Beating suicide

How to: Beat Suicide (3 min.)


Happy new year everyone! This year started off with a bang for me. I got free tickets to the Katt Williams show on New Years eve. I brought my wife and my friend with his wife. The show was hilarious, a bit vulgar at times, but hilarious.

I had second thoughts about bringing my church friends to the show as soon as the first comedian came out and the smell of marijuana filled the arena. Ha! But seriously it was ridiculous. If the comedian wasn’t as funny as he was I think my wife would have called it an evening. Katt Williams is a funny guy in person though. Very short with a mouth like a sailor. I tried to get a good picture of him but there were too many lights.

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This is the best picture of Katt Williams that I could get!

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( From the left) My Friends Leo and Stacy Ballard, my wife Jessica and I at the Katt Williams show.

I had to leave Tank at home with Aleah and my mother-in-law. By the time we got home he was passed out on top of the stairs. We walked through the door around 11 and I saw his head shoot up with eyes locked onto me. I swear he hates it when I leave him, especially for so long. He ran down the stairs just to lick my hand then ran back up and hopped into his bed. He was snoring long before I changed into my PJ’s and hopped into bed.

Public access training is getting easier each time we train. I’ve had Tank next to my side ever since he got his vest. Lindsay has moved our training from Target and Lowes to the Ridgedale mall. A big leap so fast, I know, but Lindsay said that we have a strong bond and she thought we were ready to move along faster and I trust her.

The first day we went was a little overwhelming for me. Even though it was in the morning and there weren’t a lot of people, the space and random noises and people was enough to make my anxiety sky-rocket.

Tank did his job well though. While my head was growing foggy and heavy I felt a heavy nudge on my right leg. I looked down to see Tank with his head resting against my leg staring up at me with puppy dog eyes. I couldn’t help but to snap out of whatever was going on in my head to reach down and pet him. It didn’t take long for my anxiety to calm down. Lindsay saw what had happened and gave Tank applause for a job well done.

After going a few times with Lindsay, I took Tank on my own to practice. I had to get my wife a gift for her birthday so it was a perfect excuse to go. It went well, we were in and out without any interruptions. I would have been in a better place if I got Tank a few years ago. He feels like a part of me now, we move in one fluid motion when walking. I give him cues without even thinking anymore.

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I finally got him to look up. HA!

I’ve been happier than usual lately. It’s weird that I even notice it, but its like I don’t have to worry about everything anymore because I’m giving Tank most of my worries, expecting him to warn me if anything is happening, so I think that I’m enjoying life a little more because of him. I haven’t yelled at anyone in a long time, even when I’m driving I tend to stay calmer with Tank.

I don’t usually open up to people about my emotions and how I feel about things because I learned in the Army that it doesn’t matter in the long run. I think that is one thing veterans that struggle with PTSD like me has a hard time doing and that causes us to go through with extreme measures to get better, like drinking until we pass out, using drugs so we won’t dream, and suicide because we feel alone in our struggle.

I’ve struggled with the thought of suicide since leaving the Army in 2006, I even planed it out a few times. The only thing that was holding me back was the fact that I had a loving girlfriend and Daughter that wouldn’t let me be alone.

Since getting Tank, I haven’t thought of suicide even once. I think I haven’t noticed until now because I was in transition with having Tank and Training him all the time. I think God’s giving me the tools I need to reconnect with my emotions, who I used to be, so I can help other veterans get out of the same abyss I was in. I’m starting to love life again thanks to the love God is pushing into my life.