Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – A Leading Contributor to Veteran Suicide

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can come from any number of sources. Military service is one of them, but a car accident, a traumatic event like a school shooting, or even the passing of a loved one can trigger the symptoms.

To get insight into what it feels like for a soldier suffering with PTSD, check this page with their stories.

PTSD can strike anyone. For veterans and their families, the VA has a page where you can see if their services are right for you. Click here.

While the reputation of the VA isn’t stellar when it comes to providing services in a timely fashion, we feel we need to include it for our readers who are getting and using VA benefits successfully.  

Get Screened for PTSD


Even just falling asleep was tough. The minute I would start dozing off I would get a surge of adrenaline or anxiety, and would wake up. And even when I did fall asleep, I would wake up with night terrors or sweats.

— Stacy L. Pearsall
US Air Force (1998–2008)

Image and text copyright of VA


Memory of the improvised explosive device (IED) that had taken my leg remained fresh in my mind. It took me a while to get down from that. Especially driving on the road, anything that looked like trash or debris on the side ... I had nightmares.

- Dexter Pitts

Iraq 2014

From the VA PTSD Handbook

Anon WW II Soldier

I avoid elevators, crowds and July 4th fireworks; I’m claustrophobic from the 12 days I spent in a lightless cell at the Luftwaffe interrogation center in Germany, and I won’t fly unless I have an aisle seat. I tell them about my bombing missions with the Eighth Air Force during WWII and the day that my B-17 exploded over Berlin. How I am plagued with guilt over the loss of four of my crewmates that day. What it was like being a POW for a year and how exhilarating it was to see Patton lead his troops through the barbed wire gates of our Stalag to liberate us.

Anon WW II vet
Photo credit to Warbirds News
Link to story by Normal Bussel


Sometimes I think I have most of this PTSD and guilt resolved. Other times I feel nothing has changed. I’m always rehashing the past, turning things over and over in my mind. I feel like I'm under constant scrutiny. I avoid group attention.


I went home one evening and all of sudden, I felt a tightness in my chest, it was hard to breathe, I felt closed in and panicky. I bolted out of bed thinking I was dying. I paced the room in the dark for hours before I exhausted myself. I almost went to the ER that night, but the Soldier in me said to stick it out. 

- Chaplain (Maj.) Carlos C. Huerta

April 25, 2012

Image and text copyright VA


The emotional numbness…will just tear away all of the relationships in your life, you know, if you don’t learn to unlock them [and] get those emotions out.

— Sarah C. Humphries
US Army (1994–2012)

Image and text copyright of VA


I began having nightmares and intrusive thoughts in addition to developing a sleep disorder, but was afraid of the stigma to seek help.  I was starting to have suicidal ideations. I had lost at least two more of my battle buddies at that point. Death seemed welcoming at that point. I wanted to end the pain I was going through. It just felt very confusing. I couldn’t concentrate and couldn’t sleep. I didn’t like that I was taking it out on my soldiers and my family.

-  Manuel “Al” Alcantara

October 2015 



It was almost eight years ago that I took all the sleeping pills and medication I could get, drove to a farmer’s field and laid down, hoping for the end. I didn’t understand what was going on with me and it seemed everything I was doing was hurting people around me.

- Corporal Joseph Rustenburg