My experience in the military was one I will never forget. For years I served my country, but the aftermath was more difficult than I ever could have imagined.
When I got out of the military, it slowly started to become clear that I had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Everything began to fall apart and it felt like all my struggles with invisible wounds from an overseas deployment finally caught up to me.
I tried to ignore my symptoms, but eventually my mental health deteriorated enough that I had to seek medical help. It was hard for me to open up about my past and share what I went through, but soon I learned that talking about it was the only way that healing could start.
Through therapy, medication, support from friends and family, service dog therapy and various activities like running and fishing, I have made tremendous progress in dealing with my PTSD. Some days are still hard as memories come back or nightmares haunt me - but at least now I know how to better handle them. The best part is being able to live a meaningful life not controlled by fear or anger.
Though tough at times - facing my PTSD head on has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far. For anyone else struggling with this issue, just remember: you’re not alone! Take things one step at a time and don’t be afraid to ask for help - you can make it through this together.