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What PTS is Really Like for a Combat Veteran

G.R. Zuniga
July 10, 2023
3 minute read

War leaves deep scars, seen and unseen, on those who have fought. One of the most challenging struggles for veterans is post-traumatic Stress (PTS). For those who have also endured multiple brain Injuries, the battle becomes even more complex. Let's follow the story of our own Doc Ziggy. He is a combat veteran who navigates the difficult path of PTS as a result of multiple traumatic brain injuries sustained while in combat day in and day out.

Memories that Haunt

As day turns to night, memories from the past flood Ziggy's mind. The traumas he experienced refuse to fade away. Flashbacks, nightmares, and feeling constantly on edge become a part of daily life, causing distress and shaking his core.

When the Mind and Body Clash

The injuries suffered in combat affect not only Ziggy's body but also his mind. The brain injuries he sustained have brought on difficulties with cognitive thinking, memory, and emotions. Finding balance becomes a challenge in a world that feels unstable and uncertain.

Fractured Self and Strained Relationships

These uncertainties turn into confusion. Affecting Ziggy’s sense of self and put strains on his relationships. PTS and brain injuries changed who he is, leading to feelings of isolation, emotional numbness, and outbursts of anger. Reconciling the past with the present have become a difficult task, often times leaving him feeling lost and misunderstood.

Dancing with the Demons

Internally, Doc Ziggy fights a never-ending battle. Intense emotions and physical symptoms like pain, headaches, and fatigue wear him down. Simple tasks are overwhelming, and hope can quickly fade away in the face of despair. It was important for Ziggy to find a new battle rhythm and learn how to dance with his demons. Rather than constantly trying to battle his demons and pin them down. Allowing him to see a light on the other side of despair.

A Glimpse of Hope

Despite the challenges, Doc Ziggy has found hope for recovery. Along with clinical help and medication to control and manage seizures, Doc Ziggy has  found many effective ways to cope and heal. The support of his battle buddies, and the love of family and friends play crucial roles in the journey towards reclaiming a fulfilling life. He has found meditation and leaning on the things that bring him joy such as exercise, country music, and Dodger baseball to help him heal in ways that prescription drugs and perpetual sick care never will.

Living with PTS and multiple Brain Injuries is an arduous journey for combat veterans. The internal struggles they face are difficult to see but no less significant. It is our duty as a society to provide support, understanding, and effective treatments. Together, we can create a space where veterans find healing, and the resilience of the human spirit shines through the darkness.

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