Skip to content

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Tim's Story: Dealing With Trauma And Grief - Tim's story

ptsd_tim.jpg

As a medic in Iraq, Tim was always in the midst of suffering. He treated soldiers with horrible wounds. He saw some die.

Within one day of returning home, he faced another trauma. His father died of cancer.

"He was my best friend for my whole life. That just threw my whole brain out of whack," Tim said.

Grief forced the 28-year-old into a shell. He hid his emotions from everyone, including his wife. He couldn't sleep, and he couldn't get his war memories out of his head.

He decided to take classes to become a paramedic, but he couldn't make himself go to the first session.

He realized that every car accident, shooting, or injury he'd face on the job would take him back to Baghdad. And his nightmares were already taking him there.

His marriage began to suffer. His wife knew that something was wrong, but Tim wouldn't talk about it. She wanted to go to counseling together, but he refused.

"I didn't ever want to talk about the things that I had been through," he said.

And because he was a medic and not a combat soldier, he was ashamed to admit he had a problem.

"A lot of people went through way more than I did. I figured if I wait, then they will get help first and then I will."

Tim finally took the first step toward help after he hurt his back on his construction job. He had thrown himself into work, putting in 10 to 12 hours a day and working side jobs at night and on the weekends.

Part of his treatment was to see a vocational rehab counselor about job options. The counselor asked if he was getting treatment for PTSD.

Tim started seeing a Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, a national expert on PTSD. Tim's treatment includes medicines for nightmares and flashbacks and to help him sleep.

"The medicines suppress the thoughts that are always in my head," he said. "So during the day, I can deal with them."

Couples counseling has helped him talk to his wife and has helped his marriage.

Now in college working on a teaching degree and taking care of his baby son Jack, Tim feels better, especially since he can sleep.

"The sooner you catch PTSD, the easier it is to combat it," he said.

Tim's story reflects his experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Tim, to protect his privacy.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 09, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Tim's Story: Dealing With Trauma And Grief Topics

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
     
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
     
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    Article
    senior man eating a cake
    Article
     
    Phobias
    Slideshow
    woman reading medicine warnings
    Article
     
    depressed young woman
    Article
    thumbnail_tired_woman_yawning
    Article
     
    veteran
    Article
    overturned shot glass
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections