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From Anonymous

I’ve been struggling with PTSD since I got back from Afghanistan. I served in the army for six years, and the things I saw and did over there haunt me every day. It’s affecting my life, my relationships, my mental health – everything.

When I first came back, I tried to reintegrate into civilian life, but it’s been a nightmare. I get flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks – the whole lot. Loud noises, crowds, even certain smells can trigger me. I’ve isolated myself because I can’t handle being around people. I feel like I’m constantly on edge, waiting for something bad to happen.

My family doesn’t really understand. They are very dismissive of it, they don’t know what it’s like. They say things like, “Just move on,” or “It’s all in the past,” but it’s not that simple. The trauma is always there, lurking in the background, waiting to pounce. I’ve pushed people away because I don’t want them to see me like this. It’s lonely, isolating.

I’ve tried therapy, medication, but nothing seems to help. The VA has been a nightmare to deal with – long waiting lists, impersonal care. I feel like I’m just a number to them, not a person. I’ve considered private therapy, but the cost is prohibitive. I’m stuck in this limbo, and I don’t see a way out.

Work’s been tough too. I got a job as a security guard, thinking it would be a good fit, but the stress is too much. The long hours, the responsibility, the constant vigilance – it’s triggering. I’ve had to take time off, and I’m worried about losing my job. The financial strain is adding to my stress. I’m barely scraping by, and I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

I’ve started drinking more to cope with the anxiety and nightmares. It helps me sleep, but I know it’s a dangerous path. I don’t want to become an alcoholic on top of everything else. But sometimes, it feels like the only way to numb the pain. I’m trapped in this cycle of trauma and self-destruction, and I don’t know how to break free.

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