Nicholas’s Story

Posttraumatic stress disorder has been a big part of my life ever since my first tour in Iraq when I lost my best friend in my arms.  Not only is a member of the patrol, but I was also his combat medic, the one who was to take care of them and bring them back home. The nightmares were nightly occurrence for me and try to get help in the military for it, but all they did was push pills on me.  A short time after getting back from Iraq with PTSD was compounded with the stillbirth of what would’ve been my second son, and then shortly to follow after was my divorce. The lady I was married to as a soldier as well, which made it even harder thinking somebody who could understand PTSD and what I was going through still had no problem walking way for me.  Within a few weeks of my divorce I was moved over to a specialty school to be a medic there, we were short staffed and I would go in at 3 AM and work till noon the following day.  So getting help there was next to impossible and even cut into my sleep if I was to try to get help.  After living especially school I went and did a tour through Afghanistan, which again upon the request for getting help was just given pills.  Upon returning from Afghanistan during the reintegration physicals I was even told I was on enough medicine for sleeping that I should not have been in combat.  After getting out of the military, the adjustment to civilian life really took its toll on me and stuff got bad enough to where I wasn’t sleeping for three or four days at a time due to the fact I was scared to go to sleep because nightmares were so bad and the pills were working.  Started drinking way too much just like it pass out and get sleep and ended up with a DUI as well.  With not sleeping in the drinking checked myself into an inpatient clinic for veterans and spent close to four months there doing both alcohol treatment and PTSD treatment.  To this day I still go to a weekly group meeting and to individual therapy as well.  I’ve been on several different meds since getting out, and even had problems with meds making me have suicidal thoughts but yet the VA just kept giving me more and more pills.  It seems that the biggest answer for any of it to most the doctors in the VA system is here just try these new pills.  I know there’s better ways and more helpful ways of dealing with it and that’s something I want to become as one of the counselors who does the other ways than just pushing the pills.  The VA has rated me at 50% disability rating form of PTSD, even though I have a total of three suicide attempts, they keep telling me to make the next rating I have to have suicidal ideations.  One big factor that I’ve noticed in my life and in other people’s lives is a struggle with relationships, and this is a very true factor for me.  I’ve tried to have several different relationships but none of them seem to go anywhere or progress to a level to where I feel I can commit to them.  I’ve heard others say the same thing and it’s almost like we have a feeling of being dead inside when it comes to love.  As well as friendships I can say personally I have four friends that I talk to regularly, and just a couple family members that I can still communicate with.  PTSD has taken a big toll on several years of my life, and it’s a struggle every day my goal is to not only give myself better, but be able to help get other veterans better as well.  As well as I know in the strive to help other veterans I will continue to help myself and only keep growing getting better due to my helping of them.