Tank& I

Changes

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I’ve been with Tank for just over three weeks now. I feel like our bond is growing stronger everyday. He is a very intelligent dog, picking up on new commands in less than two days. We had our training yesterday where Lindsay gave us two new Cues: Down and Stay. I started out having to hold a treat in front of his face while he sat, bringing it to the floor three times saying, “Down” before he laid down. Now, I just have to say down once and he does it. We’re working on stay. Tank stays where I sit him until he decides to sniff around the room when I walk away. He likes to grab Aleah or my wife’s attention to pet him. He’ll get it down soon enough, I have faith in him.

I’ve started noticing how my emotions are when I’m around Tank versus when I’m not. It’s like when he’s sitting at my side letting me pet him, my head feels normal, like a huge weight just lifts off. It helps with my anxiety and anger when I’m out in public. I’ve also noticed I’m not short tempered with my family and I’m able to talk to them without wanting to go off and be by myself. As soon as I leave the house it feels like a dark cloud comes rushing back into my head. Driving and being out in public alone or with my family makes me high strung and extremely angry. I don’t try to be, I hate it, but as soon as I drive out on the road I feel like smashing into every car that can’t drive. I can’t wait until I can bring Tank wherever I go to keep me calmer.img_0196

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I can certainly say that I can tell a deference within myself when I have Tank with me and when he’s not. I was so used to being stressed out all the time with high anxiety; thinking bad thoughts about everyone and everything. I can’t actually remember a time before now that I was able to stay calm on my own. Now that I have Tank to keep me calm when I’m stressed, I feel mentally and physically ill when I have to go into public alone because of the anger and rage that rushes back inside of me. I hate it. I know that’s not the person  I grew up being. I don’t feel comfortable in it anymore.

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Author of Combat Medic : A soldier's story of the Iraq war and PTSD.Served as a combat medic on the front lines in operation Iraqi freedom/ enduring freedom. Medically retired from the Army in 2006 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, retired from the VA hospital since 2013. After struggling with PTSD and suicide for twelve years I have made it my priority to share my story with as meany people as I can to help America understand what it's like being a combat veteran back home from war. It is my hope that other veterans can relate to my life and take use the same tools as me to live a better life with PTSD.

3 comments on “Changes

  1. The unconditional love an animal gives us is unsurpassed!
    I thank you for your service and wonder if you have a post for my nephew-in-law who has become a corpsman with the 1st Marines. He’s one of those big, strong silent types – but sensitive. I’d hate to see that change. I know combat will change him no matter what, but any precautions you can suggest?

    • I would say connection with family is the biggest fight against PTSD. Stay connected with him and if he’s religious tell him to pray. Love, family and salvation are the three keys to living with PTSD. Check out my book if you would like to experience what battle is like on the front lines. He’d like my book for sure.

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