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PTSD Awareness Day

Anxiety, anger, and depression are among symptoms haunting millions of Veterans.

April 28th 2009 became Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day in Dona Ana County. This year, it is PTSD Awareness Day in the state of New Mexico.

A Vietnam Vet living in Las Cruces spoke publicly for the first time with ABC-7 about what it is like suffering from PTSD ? a struggle he says, he has not even shared with his own family.

“You have nightmares,? a Vietnam Vet said. ?You wake up in cold chills.?

He served two years in the United States Marine Corps., and says, it is difficult to recount specific incidents from the battlefield.

“You see dead bodies, you see friends you train with get hit, incoming rounds, you’re scared and you try to run and can’t run.”

As he speaks publicly for the first time of his struggle with PTSD, he says, he was in denial for years after returning from war.

“I would drink myself to sleep and nightmares were becoming more regular,” he said. ?When I first got out of the military I didn’t think I had a problem, I just thought that was the way it was.”

And he says, he accepted the way his life was until six years ago – when he found the Las Cruces Vet Center.

“I know now that there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not crazy,? he said. ?It’s something that’s in me like a demon I?m trying to get out of me.”

The Vet Center offers therapy as well as group and individual counseling to help alleviate some of the symptoms as Vets struggle to adjust to the normalcy of life after war.

“They?re not understanding why am I feeling this way thinking a lot of times they’re the only ones that are feeling these confused and sometimes irrational feelings,” Guy McCommon, Department of Veterans Affairs Team Leader, said.

The Vietnam Vet says, PTSD is a battle that will never be fully fought. But with the help of the Vet Center, he has not had a drink in six years.

“Don?t get me wrong, I still get upset these issues I’ve talked about are still with me,? he said. ?But I’ve learned to deal with most of them.?

For more information about PTSD, click on the ?Hot Button.?

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