8 posts tagged “post-traumatic stress”

“I’m still fighting for a good cause, just on a different battlefield” — Member Shanon opens up for Veterans Day

Posted November 11th, 2016 by

PTS member Shanon (sgreer) is a veteran of the US Army, and this Veterans Day, we’re sharing his story to honor those who’ve served and spread more awareness and understanding for the millions who are living with chronic conditions.

Shanon is a police officer in Giddings, TX. When we caught up with him, he shared about his passion for video games, tattoos and spending time with his daughters. He also opened up about what it was like readjusting to civilian life after his time in the U.S. Army, and the coping tactics he uses beyond medication and therapy.

Get to know him better below and find out what he has to say about his new normal: “I love my job and can sleep at night knowing that I’m still fighting for a good cause, just on a different battle field.”

Tell us a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests?

My name is Shanon Greer and I am 35 years old. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and I have two older brothers and two younger sisters. I got married at 22 and decided to join the Army when I found out that my wife at the time was pregnant and I didn’t have good insurance. I always wanted to be a police officer but couldn’t afford to go to college for the required college credits needed to go to the police academy, so I joined the Army as Military Police in 2003. Shortly after I joined, my first daughter was born.

After serving in Korea for a year, moving to Texas because I was stationed at Fort Hood, going to Iraq twice (the first time for one year and the second time for 18 months), and serving honorably for 6 years on active duty, I requested to be discharged. I then started working for Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas in 2009 and worked there for five years while being in the Army Reserves. I started as a Detention Officer/Jailer while working on becoming a Deputy. In 2013, I became a Deputy and then in February of 2014 I got remarried. March of last year I moved up to Giddings, Texas, and became a police officer for the city, and then had another baby (my second daughter) in December.

I have many hobbies and interests. I grew up playing video games so I still do. I have been playing them since I was about 10 years old. I love sports, mostly baseball, football and basketball but I always enjoy a good game regardless of the sport. I love music, I have since I was a child. Pretty much all kinds of music, too. I love movies, mostly comedy, horror and thrillers, but I’ll watch pretty much anything. My favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead and Ghost Adventures. When I was growing up, I loved putting together model cars. I love drawing and am pretty decent as I’m told all the time. I love history, so I love going to museums and historical landmarks. I love exercising and weight lifting, although I haven’t really done either in a little while. I love detailing my vehicles and making them look nice. I love spending time with family and friends, especially my daughters. I love getting tattoos, all mine have meaning behind them. My first tattoo I didn’t get until I was 30 years old when my mom passed away in remembrance of her. I love guns also and whenever I’m not getting tattoos, I’m usually getting a new gun or going to the gun range. I love to drive and go on road trips, sometimes with nowhere in particular but just to drive. I’m very patriotic and am proud of what I have done and am still doing. I love my job and can sleep at night knowing that I’m still fighting for a good cause, just on a different battlefield.

After serving in the Army, what was it like adjusting to everyday life again?

When I first left the Active Duty Army I had a hard time adjusting to civilian life. I couldn’t find a job right away and my girlfriend at the time had just broken up with me, so I had to find my own place to live and it was hard to do with no job. I applied to about 10 or 12 different law enforcement agencies and was only contacted by three. It took about six months to be hired. During the time I was waiting, I finally was hired by an apartment complex to clean the property and complete miscellaneous tedious tasks. I wasn’t getting paid much to work there so my paychecks didn’t even cover all my bills. Luckily, in my second and last deployment I managed to save up about $17,000, so that assisted in paying my bills until I was hired by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Some people with PTS talk about having difficulty seeking out a diagnosis and treatment. What was your experience like?

I was diagnosed with PTSD after my first deployment in November 2006, and because I was afraid of being kicked out of the military I told them that I wasn’t having any issues with it. In reality, in June of 2006 when my truck was blown up by an IED, that’s when I started having PTSD issues. There were many days where I didn’t sleep because every time I did, I would have nightmares of the incident that came really close to killing my friend and teammate. Then in July, my best friend was killed in Iraq (we served together in the same unit), my grandad passed away the same day and I learned I was going through a divorce by coming home for my R&R leave to an empty house. All this really triggered my PTSD and I contemplated suicide at that point. What stopped me was knowing my daughter needed me, so finally, I went to a counselor to talk about what was going on.

Once I left the military, I went to the VA and was prescribed multiple medications for my issues, I think I was given six total. Being put on meds really affected me and I called my mom asking her if she was proud of me since I wasn’t the same person she knew anymore. I only took the meds for a short time because I didn’t like the way they made me feel and I have learned what my triggers are and attempt to avoid situations that will cause me to have an episode (that’s what I call my outbursts). I felt like no one was there for me and I was struggling by myself. This is another reason why I believe my girlfriend at the time broke up with me because she didn’t understand what was going on with me and she didn’t want to deal with it.

When I met the woman who is now my wife, I informed her right away about my background and issues and what happens when I have an episode. She educated herself on PTSD and has been a tremendous help with it all. She gives me space when I need it and helps to stop an episode before it starts and if it has already begun, she knows how to bring me back to reality. She has even witnessed one time when I took a nap that apparently I was having a nightmare but couldn’t remember when she cautiously woke me up. She informed me that I was crying and violently shaking in my sleep but I have no recollection of what I was dreaming about or even all that she told me.

 You’ve mentioned having to change medications a few times. Have you settled on a particular treatment, therapy or mix of both? What’s worked best at helping you manage your symptoms?

Medication and therapy are good, but they’re temporary solutions to huge problems. I feel it’s like putting a Band-Aid on a cut that requires stitches. Don’t get me wrong, when my issues get really bad I will use the meds and therapy also but I have found that the best solution for me is talking to non-judgmental people like my wife and other veterans who will just listen and not criticize. Knowing what your triggers are is the biggest thing that will help so that you know when you’re about to have an episode and what you can do to avoid those situations. Find hobbies that you love to take your mind off of whatever it is that may be bothering you. Every time I’m about to have an episode, I turn on music or play a game to distract me until it passes.

 Do you think there is stigma surrounding PTS?

There is definitely a stigma surrounding PTSD. Everyone acts like it’s the plague and that’s one of the reasons why I was afraid to say anything when I was still in the Army. Even today there are few people I discuss it with and let them know I have PTSD because I don’t want anything to be a threat to my career. I’ve been with my department for almost two years now and I just started telling certain co-workers whom I trust. But when I worked for the Sheriff’s Office for those five years, I didn’t tell anyone because I knew down there it would have been used against me.

 What has your experience on PatientsLikeMe been like so far?

I believe that I have had a pretty positive experience on PatientsLikeMe so far. I try to help encourage others and provide them with information they may not know. I also feel that connecting with other people with similar issues helps me to manage mine as well. I like to help others and if all it takes is some encouraging words from a stranger to prevent that person from committing suicide, then I’ve done my job. I also like the fact that when I’m having a bad day and I express it, someone else always has encouraging words that tend to bring my spirits up some. I feel that’s what it’s all about, to help each other and lift each other up. I know I always feel better when I see someone is having a tough time and I provide them with encouraging words or just make small talk and allow them to vent.

 

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“I have been trying to push myself more, little by little.” Member Christopher shares his journey with PTS

Posted October 11th, 2016 by

We recently got the chance to talk with Christopher (crine312), a computer-savvy dog lover and U.S. Air Force veteran living with PTS and bipolar. Christopher opened up about life after serving in the military — how he sometimes still  thinks in military time and tries to avoid news reports about war — and the challenges of holding a job with PTS. Get to know him him better below, and see what he has to say about the PatientsLikeMe community: “I keep coming back and posting in the hopes that I, in turn, can help someone else.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you’re interested in?

First, I am adopted. Due to being adopted, I have a rather LARGE family. I have five older brothers and sisters, and seven younger brothers and sisters. Due to the adoption, I am the youngest of six and second oldest of nine (my oldest half-sister and I were adopted by the same family). I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina as a Navy brat. My interests are reading anything I can put my hands on, computers, gaming and my dogs.

After serving in the Air Force, how has it been adjusting to everyday life again?

In some ways it is rather hard adjusting to civilian life. First, I still eat too fast. Second, I have to think in “military” time, since it helps me with timing and alarms, and translate it for others. Third, in the North, they are not used to the “Yes, Ma’am,” “No, Ma’am,” “Yes, Sir” or “No, Sir,” and I have to mentally cut myself off at “Yes” and “No.” Fourth, it was especially hard to watch news reports of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan due to seeing or hearing names of people I had served with or knowing that equipment I had worked with was being used and what it could do. I had to avoid Greta Van Susteren especially, since she posted names before breaks on her show on Fox News. Finally, it was hard to come back to civilian life and face some people who, not knowing anything, would call me a killer. It took a long while to grow a thicker skin and some help from Vietnam Veterans who could identify with the same problems.

You mention in your profile about the challenges of working with PTS. Can you share some of these difficulties?

Hypervigilance, although it was a good thing in the military and drilled into you daily, just leads you into paranoia and anxiety about everything. I second guess everything I do and I have to do it perfectly or as near-perfect as possible. Most jobs have only been six months, mainly because I lose focus or get bored (I do not feel challenged). I have a lot of lows that are what I call “energy sappers.” At these times, I do not really feel like getting out of bed or doing anything. Another challenge I face is forgetfulness, which my psychiatrist says is “normal” for PTS and some bipolar patients (unfortunately, I have both). I can and will forget what seem to be simple things — wallet, keys, phone or words. It is frustrating to search for my wallet, keys or phone when they are right in front of you the whole time. I used to be a spelling bee champion while in school, so imagine how irritating it is to have to search for the word that should be right on the tip of your tongue, but is not.

Along with PTS and bipolar, you’re also living with other conditions including diabetes — how has it been managing multiple conditions?

It has been difficult at times. My lows are usually extra low (PTS and bipolar II do not play well together). I am irritable if I go too long without my Metformin. I have learned quite a bit about my limitations, but have been trying to push myself more, little by little.

You’re pretty regular about updating your symptoms and tracking your health on PatientsLikeMe. How has your experience on the site been, and what keeps you coming back?

I have had positive experiences with the site since I joined it. I have found that the people are helpful and insightful. I have learned about alternative treatments I want to try. I keep coming back and posting in the hopes that I, in turn, can help someone else.

Things that help me in my everyday life are my wife and friends who encourage me. I have dogs who help liven up my day, no matter how annoying they can be at times. I play games on the Xbox on days that are especially bad, it helps to distract my mind from things.

 

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Treating PTS: What members said in a recent study

Posted June 27th, 2016 by

June is National PTSD Awareness Month, so we’re shedding some light on what it’s really like to live with post-traumatic stress (PTS). At the end of last year, we teamed up with our partners at One Mind to better understand what it’s like for PTS patients to treat their condition. Nearly 700 members of PatientsLikeMe’s PTS community took a survey, and now that we’ve analyzed the results, we wanted to share what we’ve discovered.

Check out this infographic to see what members said about why they did or didn’t seek treatment, who helped them find it, and whether or not it helped.

 

 

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“I am working on all of it slowly” — Member David opens up about his experience with PTS

Posted April 13th, 2016 by

Meet member David (david61060), a United States Air Force veteran who’s living with multiple conditions including PTS, sleep apnea, and epilepsy. When we caught up with him, David shared what it was like to grow up as a “navy brat,” his experience in the military, and how It took him more than nine years to admit to himself that he had PTS.

Below, see what he has to say about triggers, coping with more than one condition, and the value of connecting with others on PatientsLikeMe.

Tell us a little about yourself.

To tell you about myself … well I was a navy brat and grew up mostly around just military kids and people connected with the military, every 3 to 4 years moving to a new base. Except in the 70s we stayed in the Republic of Panama for 6 years, leaving there in 1976. I was 16 — that was the hardest move. First year of high school … leaving behind a lot of friends that I knew I would never see again. Moving to California and graduating high school, I went into the Air Force. In my 15 years I saw a lot and did a lot but my last tour was the worst: Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

I came home with so many problems – depression, seizures, nightmares, waking up in a different room than where I went to sleep … then the divorce and losing the house. The car we had broke down and I had to walk or take the bus to the base (fortunately we did not live far from the base).

Most of the military doctors at Kelly Air Force Base did not seem very sympathetic to my problems including weight gain because of the drugs … blackouts at work THEN the notification that I was being discharged because of my weight gain. The next thing I knew I was in a true padded cell with the bed bolted to the floor.

If not for my older brother (a fighter pilot in the USAF) and my father (a retired USN Officer) stepping in and having multiple conferences, I would have been discharged with out a hope of help from the VA or the US government.

You wrote in a forum post, “Some people … did not want to even hear or listen to me.” How did you find the courage to open up about your PTS?

Opening up about my disorders — PTS and my seizures — I was originally very quiet about my problems. I do not even know if my parents who I lived with even knew. An assistant at the VA in Martinez, CA recommended that I go to a meeting at the mental health unit, and I did. I met one of the best doctors I have known, Dr. Kotun.  She recommended that I go into one-on-one therapy, so I did.

It took me more than nine years to admit to not only myself but to my therapist that I was suffering from PTS.

In your profile, you list epilepsy, depression, and sleep apnea as some of the other conditions you live with. How has it been managing these in addition to PTS?

Managing and just attempting to live with them are not really that different. Being sure that I take my pills three times a day is a real trial for me. In the morning there are 12 pills (including vitamins and other OTC pills). Getting my sleep is and can be the hardest part. Sometimes the nightmares and the sweats can be the hardest part of the day. Putting the mask on for the sleep apnea at times seems like putting on that gas mask … just dozing off and I hear a car horn that sounds like the warning siren. The mask suddenly feels constricting … I end up awake for hours afraid to have to put it back on. Usually I do not until the next night.

As I said before I think living with all I have can be really trying for me and my new wife but I have to go on — I have to — the other choice is not an option.

Some people have shared their PTS “triggers.” Do you know your triggers, or do symptoms happen unexpectedly?

My triggers for my PTS seem to happen when anything military is close— the helicopters flying overhead. Hearing munitions going off, and sometimes it could just be a memory that that was triggered — walking in a park and we come to a fence line and the area suddenly looks like the area close to one of the bases I was at, then a car backfires and I drop to the ground and reach for my weapon. In the long run it can be embarrassing to react like that in public. This had stopped me from even going out the park or into the city but I am working on all of it slowly.

And then there are times that I just have that feeling for no reason and the fear comes over me again like a wave. It makes no sense.

What has it been like connecting with other vets on PatientsLikeMe?

Connecting with others and talking to others about my problems and seeing theirs has been a remarkable window to work with … to realize that if we all open up we could help each other. Being that there are others on the site that are not veterans but have a lot of the same problems has been very helpful to me, and I hope to others that I have written to as well.

 

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“It is definitely a daily challenge” – An interview with PTS member Holden

Posted January 11th, 2016 by

Holden Montgomery (holdenmonty), an administration support technician for the Air Force Space Command, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and later diagnosed with PTS, depression, and anxiety. He joined PatientslikeMe in March 2015, where he’s been connecting with other vets and sharing how he copes with his conditions.

We recently caught up with Holden, and here’s what he had to say…

Tell us a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and passions? 

So I must admit that when I started with this journey after my deployment and home break-in/vandalism I didn’t really have any hobbies or passions. Since my only focus while I was deployed was to live until the next day, that is the mindset that I came back with and still struggle with, but I will touch on that later.

So the biggest thing that saved me when I was struggling the first several months before my first son was born was photography. I have a Nikon D5100 DSLR and I would go exploring in nature and take photos of whatever I thought looked awesome or beautiful. I have thought about doing that again here in Colorado Springs but when you wake up to Pikes Peak every day and it’s always there you tend to take the beauty that is around you for granted. I must admit though just about every sunrise and sunset is breathtakingly beautiful.

But lately, after I attended my first Soldier Ride with the Wounded Warrior Project towards the end of June of 2015, I really got into bicycling and that has become my main hobby and passion. It’s also kind of amazing how you change because I have started to notice that one of my passions is wellness. I know I need to work on my own personal wellness but I have started to be more passionate about wellness in general.

In your profile, you mention dealing with anxiety and depression in addition to PTS. What are the challenges of managing three conditions?

So even though I was initially diagnosed with PTS in 2011 and anxiety in 2014 it wasn’t until I spent a week at a behavioral health clinic in the middle of June of 2015 that I was diagnosed with all three. But being diagnosed with all three gave me some peace of mind. Well as much as you can with mental health conditions.

For me it seems like the cause of my PTS was several things that combined together. Between multiple different things from my deployment and then a couple months after I got back my home I was living in at the time was broken into twice in the same week. It seems to be very similar with PTS from what I have seen that people that have PTS tend to have anxiety and/or depression as well. It seems like what led to my diagnoses of PTS was kind of a snowball effect of different things, and it seems like PTS tends to be a combination of different conditions. For me it’s anxiety, and depression. That is what people tend to see of my PTS. My therapist that I have here in Colorado Springs told me that she sees me as having anxiety with no other symptoms which was rather aggravating because I knew there was other stuff. It is definitely a daily challenge.

I heard an analogy one time and I really liked it and I hope it doesn’t offend somebody but if it does I’m sorry but it has helped me with my PTS and stuff. PTS is like cancer, you treat it and work to get ride of it and once it is gone there is a lot of relief and you try to move on with your life the best that you can but in all actuality it seems like there is no 100% cure and that it is always in remission. There can be any number of different things that can happen and it comes back. Sometimes it comes back but is very minor and is easily managed and sometimes it seems like it comes back with a vengeance and tries to kill you.

What has your experience been like tracking your moods, quality of life, and PTS symptoms on PatientsLikeMe?

I have really enjoyed tracking my mood and quality of life when I make sure to update it regularly. It may sound kind of weird but when I put how I’m feeling that day or in the moment with a small description of what is going on then somehow I’m not able to lie, or make it sound not as bad. I’m blunt and sometimes brutally honest. Which is really nice and refreshing since I tend to lie to myself about how I’m feeling.

I know there is a way that you can print out how you have been doing to bring to your therapist but I haven’t actually done that yet. I guess I am still trying to tell myself and the world that everything is ok and that there is nothing going on with me until I can’t stuff my emotions anymore and I explode. I guess I’m still afraid of that stereotype that society has drilled into me that if you have mental health issues then you can’t be trusted around “normal” people.

 You mentioned journaling as a way of handling your anxiety. Do you have any other coping strategies for people with PTS, depression, or anxiety?

I really enjoy journaling. It’s kind of like another way of the whole mood tracking and quality of life tracking. I can’t really lie when I’m writing it down.

I did run into a little bit of a big question. I filled up one small notebook that I used. It’s small enough that it can fit in my back pocket so I keep it always with me. But then there is the thought about what if somebody gets a hold of it and uses what I wrote against me or reads it, what would I do? So I thought about burning it or shredding it so nobody would ever be able to read it. I talked about it with my therapist and I wrote a small disclaimer in the front cover that basically states whatever is in here was how I felt at the time and I have addressed how I was feeling have resolved it to the best of my ability.

But anyway bicycling has been my biggest go-to besides journaling. I have created a coping card that is small enough to fit in my pocket which would help if I actually kept it on me and looked at it constantly. But some of the things on it are talking with trusted individuals which unfortunately seems to be growing smaller and smaller. But anyway walking, deep breathing/quiet time, looking up inspiring quotes, reading my Bible, listening to music, taking pictures of nature, take a shower, use my stress ball, and getting to my safe place, and thinking, which might seem weird but tends to be in a tree. I don’t climb the tree but I find a pine tree that is full enough that if I walk far enough into it nobody will be able to tell that I’m there. I guess you could say hiding from the world and thinking.

What has it been like connecting with other vets on PatientsLikeMe? 

I have really enjoyed connecting with other vets on PatientsLikeMe. But I must admit more importantly than connecting with other vets is connecting with other individuals with PTS/anxiety/depression because even though everybody has their own story, you can end up in a darker place if you start comparing stories.

For instance when I was deployed I wasn’t allowed off base because I was an IT guy and kept the network for my squadron running and computers running. But with an accumulation of events while deployed and after my deployment I have been diagnosed with PTS but one of my best friends that I met here through the Wounded Warrior Project has a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and PTS from being blown up when he was out on a convoy in Afghanistan. He is worse off than me and I used to tell myself that he is the kind of person that deserves the help that I receive because he has seen and been through some much worse stuff than I have.

I don’t have a spinal cord injury, or a traumatic brain injury. But we help each other, I share with him some thoughts that I have that I must admit I tend to be ashamed of because they aren’t the kind of thoughts that I would normally have had before everything and more times than not depending on the situation he has had the same thoughts or if he was in my situation would have the same thought, and we challenge it together. Just sharing how you feel with another individual that might be feeling the same way or something similar no matter how different your stories are is a really powerful thing. So really the biggest thing is just the fact that you are connecting with somebody that has a similar diagnosis. Really, diagnosis doesn’t even really matter— just somebody feeling similar to you. Somebody that you can relate with.

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PatientsLikeMe Names 2015-2016 Team of Advisors, Sets Focus on Redefining Patient Partnerships

Posted October 19th, 2015 by

Cambridge, MA, October 19, 2015—PatientsLikeMe has named 14 members to its patient-only 20152016 Team of Advisors and challenged them to work through an issue that’s central to everyone in the healthcare system: how to redefine patient partnerships. The team will be focused on rethinking what it means for patients to be partners, and on establishing new ways for the healthcare industry to connect with patients to deliver better care.

PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter said that in an era when patients must be front and center in healthcare discovery and development, the group’s mission is vital to every patient, pharmaceutical company, regulator, payor and provider. “This advisory team includes some of the strongest patient advocates we have ever met. Their experience can empower other patients, and help those serving patients understand what it means to be a good partner. The team’s work will help create a stronger foundation for a more equal and participatory system of care.

More than 1,400 PatientsLikeMe members submitted applications for this year’s Team of Advisors. Those selected represent a range of medical and professional backgrounds and ages. The nearly equal mix of men and women are living with a cross-section of conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), bipolar II, cancer, Type 1 diabetes, fibromyalgia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), lupus, major depressive disorder (MDD), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and post traumatic stress (PTS). Members named to the team include: Christel Aprigliano, Craig Braquet, Jeff Demers, Cyrena Gawuga, David Gewirtz, Phyllis Marchand, John Michael, Gus Prieto, Laura Roix, Patti Sanner, Allison Silensky, Angela Stogner, Doug Thornburg and Peggy Zuckerman.

Christel Aprigliano is living with Type 1 diabetes and believes that the key to a good partnership is a focused, data-driven discussion on what matters most to patients. “Patient reported outcomes are crucial to the healthcare conversation. The more information we can share about what life is like for patients every day, the more questions we can ask each other, and the better we can help patients live well with the disease they have.”

The 2015-2016 Team of Advisors recently kicked off their 12-month collaboration with PatientsLikeMe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will convene several times in the coming months. This is the second Team of Advisors the company has formed. Last year, the inaugural group provided feedback to the research team and published a best practices guide that outlines new standards for how researchers can meaningfully engage patients throughout the research process.

About PatientsLikeMe
PatientsLikeMe® (www.patientslikeme.com) is a patient network that improves lives and a real-time research platform that advances medicine. Through the network, patients connect with others who have the same disease or condition and track and share their own experiences. In the process, they generate data about the real-world nature of disease that help researchers, pharmaceutical companies, regulators, providers, and nonprofits develop more effective products, services and care. With more than 350,000 members, PatientsLikeMe is a trusted source for real-world disease information and a clinically robust resource that has published more than 60 peer-reviewed research studies. Visit us at www.patientslikeme.com or follow us via our blog, Twitter or Facebook.

Contact
Margot Carlson Delogne
PatientsLikeMe
mcdelogne@patientslikeme.com
781.492.1039


“I’m happy to say that I’ve made tremendous progress” – An interview with PTS and TBI member Trevor

Posted October 14th, 2015 by

Trevor Martin, a Veteran of the United States Army was deployed to Afghanistan twice from 2009 to 2012 and was later diagnosed with both a mild TBI and PTS. He joined PatientsLikeMe to connect with others living from these conditions. Our friends over at PatientsLikeMe sat down with Trevor to learn more about his life with PTS and TBI. Here’s what we learned….

Some people talk about PTSD ‘triggers.’  Do you know your triggers, or do symptoms happen unexpectedly?

I know some of my triggers, like trash on the side of the road. In Afghanistan they would put IEDs under piles of trash to hide them on the side of the road. So I know if I see that today, my heart starts to race, I get hyper-vigilant, and I start to think something’s about to happen that I need to avoid.

You mentioned that you feel a lot of pressure to be who you were before the war.  How are you different since returning home? 

I used to be the fun guy. All my friends would come to me and we’d go out and go shooting and joke around. It’s hard now because a lot of my friends don’t really understand. They don’t really know what I’ve gone through and what I’ve seen because it’s hard to talk about. The friends that I have told don’t really believe it.

What has it been like connecting with other vets on PatientsLikeMe?  

There are things you’ve done or seen that you will never forget. I don’t want anyone to ever imagine the things I see when I close my eyes at night. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It takes a lot for me to come out and talk about it. It’s been easier to connect with people online instead of in person. If I hadn’t found the site, I honestly don’t think I’d be here right now.

I haven’t been on this site for very long but man, I’m glad I found it. Since telling my story in a forum called “PTSD, my story and a cry for help” a couple months ago and reading all of your stories, I’m happy to say that I’ve made tremendous progress within myself. I’ve only had maybe 5 “freak outs” since joining. Whereas I was having 5 a day before. Half of the battle is knowing that you’re not alone in this, we’ve all done and seen different things but in reality, we’re all the same.

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The Patient Voice- PTS member David shares his story

Posted June 27th, 2015 by

Today is PTS Awareness Day, so we wanted you to meet PatientsLikeMe community member Cpl. David Jurado, who lives with post-traumatic stress (PTS). David developed PTS while serving in the military. After he retired, he continued to deal with daily symptoms, and he encourages members to connect with others on PatientsLikeMe, because “if you want to make changes for yourself and the PTS community, you’ve got to share your story. The same thing may be happening to them.”

David is not alone – and neither are you. There are more than 1,000 vets living with PTS that are part of the community. We’ve heard members like David talk about how important it is for them to connect with people who ‘get it.’

Not a veteran living with PTS? You’re not alone either. With more than 8,000 PTS members, it’s easy for anyone with PTS to share their story and get support.

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