Recently, the National Association of American Veterans, Inc. (NAAV) was approached by an American Veteran who had a testimony to share and was gracious enough to allow us to share it with you.
I am a Veteran with PTSD and other disabilities. This is the first time telling my story.
The military retired me in 2003. My post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was so severe that city buildings, car garages, stores, large groups of people, anything “government” would set it off. Heck, when riding in a car, my brain would look for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other threats. Cars passing by was a bad thing.
PTSD crippled me into a very small world. I felt very alone. The pain, flashbacks, fear, anger, confusion, misunderstanding, none of the treatments were working.
Medication just enhanced and made it worse. PTSD destroyed my family. My ex-husband became abusive, which caused me to feel even more alone and nowhere to turn.
Emotionally distressed, I tried to commit suicide three different times—once by overdose and two times by a weapon. But, by the Grace and Hand of God, I was saved each time. I now walk with God every day. He has given me many Blessings.
My new spouse is a very wonderful caring person, who has my back no matter what. I have been married five years now. Happy, happy, happy! Currently, my world is a much bigger place. While I still have PTSD, I have learned from God how to live and handle it, and from the loving support from my spouse. Now, my focus is God, family, and the animals I have adopted and foster.
According a 2012 VA suicide data report¹, as many as 22 Veterans per day are dying as a result of suicide. PTSD can likely be responsible for some of those numbers; however, those data are not exact yet are a known contributor for some, as is evident from the above testimony.
You can help NAAV assist those suffering from PTSD through your generous donations, volunteer service, sponsorship, and even more, powerful prayer for those families dealing with the darkness of this disease.
NAAV will continue to provide resource information and medical and mental health referrals to those in need. If you or a family member or someone else you know is battling PTDS, there are a number of resources available to aid with combatting the fears and emotional strain that PTSD is known to cause.
Here are a few resources and statistical facts.²
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK or (1-800-273-8255)
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (press “1”)
- En Español, please call: 1-888-628-9454
*These telephone lines are available 24/7.
- Chat online with a crisis counselor: http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
- For more resources, visit: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp
According to the National Center for PTSD:
- “Men are more likely to die from suicide than women.”
- “NC-PTSD also documents that “the difference in suicide rates between men and women is also true among veterans.”
- “Studies show that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD.”
- “Research suggest that for Veterans with PTSD, the strongest link in both suicide attempts and thinking about suicide is guilt related to combat.”
- “A person can benefit from cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT), if suicidal thoughts are able to be managed on an outpatient basis.”
Thank you, anonymous, for sharing your testimony with NAAV. There are many others out there just like you who might not have been so lucky or who are contemplating drastic action. Please know, there is hope; there is help; there is a God who cares and who is able to lift you up and out of the mire and despair. You are not alone. Look around and find someone to talk with or walk alongside you toward a way to overcome.
We would like to see the number of suicide cases as a result of this illness go down. Please do whatever you can to help us help those who gave so much!
A sincere thank-you!
CEO and President
Constance A. Burns