- Special Sections
- Public Notices
I am a veteran of the S.C. National Guard. I served in Afghanistan a few years ago, and recently decided to get out only because of medical issues sustained during combat. But the medical issues are secondary to the demons I’ve been facing in recent years. When I returned home, I was on top of the world. My family was proud. I made lifelong friends, had great and not-so-great experiences, but most of all, I went and fought for my country. There is no greater feeling.
In the first fews months, coming home was similar to most soldiers. I had money, so I bought things. I spent time with family and friends. But partying was No. 1 on the list. Partying was cool for the first couple of days, but the days soon turned into weeks. Before long I couldn’t get out of bed without drinking something. My wife and family were really worried, but I shrugged it off. I’ve always been stubborn. Time passed. The money passed. Of course the friends passed. So deeper and deeper I sank.
Unemployed before deploying, I found myself broke and still unemployed with a major drinking problem. My body also started to wear down day by day. My hands would shake. My heart would beat really fast. I would sweat at night, and my body would jerk uncontrollably at random times. That’s just the physical pains, which are nothing in comparison with the mental stress.
The first time I went to the hospital, the doctors offered treatment facilities. Some I couldn’t afford and the others didn’t work. I had the same results with the Veterans Administration.
I’m struggling with drinking, getting sick, wanting help but not getting it. I’m sick of this lifestyle. In the past year, I’ve been to the hospital four times. The stress I put my family through is unbearable. But I’m taking it one day at a time.
I’m writing this because I know there are many people, not just soldiers, who are going through the same experience. Our community needs to be aware of the severity of the situation.