Living with PTSD – A Veteran’s View on the War at Home

Brain Injury Blog by Matt Brown

September 13, 2012

PTSD Can Be a Daily Battle for a Veteran

Living with PTSD can be a constant struggle. Days, even weeks can pass without any real issues, but sometimes all it takes is something simple to throw you back into a panic attack. It can be something like a smell, a sound, or a conversation. Half the battle is finding your triggers and trying to either avoid the large ones for now or cope with them.

Finding out what your triggers are can be difficult to face and takes a lot of inward looking. Once you look within, you can start to defeat them. You have to look deep to start defusing the bombs your triggers have become.  

Finding Your PTSD Triggers

My one PTSD trigger was driving or even riding in a car. I was a Machine Gunner when I was in Iraq and was in a vehicle a lot overseas. I didn’t even get my license till I was almost 22. Never really needed it before that. Never got my license in school, because I didn’t really want it. Then I joined the Marine Corps where I did not need it. If I needed to be somewhere, the Marines would make sure I got there.

Then I was wounded inIraq. I wasn’t in a vehicle when I was wounded, but had been through enough when I was in one. When I got out of the Military, I was scared to be in a vehicle.  It put me into a mild panic attack just sitting in it. I started breaking out in cold sweats, my heart beating uncontrollably, and had quick rapid breaths.

It took a lot of willpower for me just to get in the driver’s seat. But it was a huge step in the right direction for me. I learned that I am in control of this vehicle and now have a better grasp on my life. I am in control. That is what it takes to have a better life. Take small steps – you can’t just jump into it all at once.   

Recommended Reading

You can read more about Matt Brown’s combat experience in his chapter in The Triumph Book: Heroes          


One response to “Living with PTSD – A Veteran’s View on the War at Home”

  1. Janet Cromer says:

    Hi Matt,
    You convey so much wisdom in a few words. Congratulations on building the willpower and determination to regain control of the steering wheel of your car and the direction of your life!You turned a trigger for a panic attack into a trigger for success.

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