Veterans Share How They’re Recovering From PTSD Through Social Media

Between 10 and 20 percent of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many of these people experience the disorder following combat. The stress, anxiety, and depression they must cope with can sometimes be debilitating.

Yet hope is not lost. Many vets find ways to battle PTSD and move forward with their lives. Some even end up helping others fight through the pain they experience after returning from combat.

Purple Heart Recipient Got Help & Is Now Giving Back To His Community


Troy Peterson (@trophy.husband) is a combat veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and former who addict surrounds himself with positive people. He writes: “Over the last 2.5 years through my journey with sobriety and learning to thrive with my PTSD I put myself close to people who could improve my physical fitness level, but they have provided me with a lot more [than] that. I am going to take those lessons and apply them to give Veteran’s an opportunity to feel how I do. I asked for help and I got it, it’s time to give that back to my community. To be continued…..”

Combat Vet Makes Illustrations & Painting While Recovering From PTSD


Rosel Rodriguez (@hellraze1979) is a combat veteran who describes himself as “a Husband, Father, Warfighter, Artist, Mentor, Motivator.” He uses art to express himself and to overcome his PTSD. Rodriguez paints and also creates ink illustrations, some of which he sells at art events. Most of his posts on Instagram feature his artwork, his family and his penchant for exercise. Like many veterans, he channels his energy into positive activities in order to achieve a balanced state of mind. And he works hard. In one gym selfie, he writes: “Just got destroyed by Michelle my personal trainer and now for cardio.”

Former Marine Smokes Weed To Battle Depression


A USMC Combat Veteran who uses the handle @Grunts N’ Blunts describes himself as an: “Active PTSD Cannacovery. Happily Married CannaDad Who CannaCreates. 22 A Day. Lets Fight the Good Fight, Together.” Like many other veterans, he seeks peace in his life by smoking cannabis. He reminds people on his Instagram page that every day 22 veterans take their own lives and is a proponent of using marijuana to fight depression. He believes it has healing properties that can help veterans overcome their trauma. In his opinion, it is better for people to smoke weed than resort to highly addictive prescription medications.

Army Vet Helps Others Through Project Echelon


Eric D. Beach is a veteran, husband, and father “in search of healing” and an IRONMAN triathlete. He co-founded the non-profit Project Echelon, which “educates, equips, and empowers communities to welcome home their warriors through physical activity, self-discovery, and relationship.” He speaks at events, teaches, trains, and writes about his mission to help others in their journey towards well-being. Friend Daniel Fourtune writes: “After I left the military with both ptsd and bipolar disorder, Eric has been a constant ear to bend, friend, and source of inspiration. I don’t just consider him my friend… I consider him my brother!!”

This Man Teaches Yoga To Help Others With PTSD


Charles Stevenson is an Afghanistan war veteran and integrative trauma therapist who uses the handle @how_to_heal_with_your_tribe on Instagram. He is the author of “Evolve Into the New You” & “How to Heal With Your Tribe: PTSD, Yoga and Coming Home to Your Body.” His book guides people on their journeys through the science of yoga to transform their relationships with their tribe, trauma, habits, and more. He writes on Instagram: “8 years later after years of struggling with PTSD I’m now a yoga therapist and yoga teacher who specializes in trauma recovery. The most important thing I have learned: we’re all in this together.”

Power Lifter Inspires People To Find Value In Themselves


David Keto (@dabeast__within) is a power-lifter and veteran with PTSD who lifts weights to get through his struggle. He also motivates others in their journies to wellness. By helping them, he is helping himself. He writes: “I quickly diagnose dysfunction and keep it moving, you learn the value of people. And for a psycopath like myself learning value in others is amazing. It also elevates you…you can’t become more to others than you are to yourself so relationships become valuable energy. Yeah getting older, it needs to be the new thing.” He inspires people to push themselves in order to succeed.

Vet With PTSD & A TBI Is Hiking The Florida Trail


A veteran named Andrew (@bemental) is a retired Marine Corps combat veteran. He served the United States for 12 years and was medically retired for Post Traumatic Stress and a Traumatic Brain Injury. He is currently hiking the Florida Trail and is known as Good Man Gramps. He writes in one post: “Another healing adventure begins. 1,100 miles on the Florida National Scenic Trail (FNST).” For those who are interested in helping others, he suggests donating to the Semper Fi Fund, which supports post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Crossfit Helps This Vet Endure


David Wooten (@dwootten) is an 82nd Airborne vet. He writes on his Instagram page: “CrossFit and Oly Weightlifting are my therapy for my PTSD.” He works out to fight off the negative effects of his military service. He writes: “Needed some punishment to start the new year off right! This one made me throw up at the end because I really pushed myself to the brink! Today starts the day of your journey find your win and attack it!” He also reads the Bible to get him through the day and shares inspiring messages for his Instagram followers.

KJ Blogs About The Incredible Losses In Her Life


KJ (@thesuicidesurvivor) is not a veteran yet — she’s on active duty with the U.S. Air Force. Her father took his own life in 2009, and her brother followed suit in 2017. She is just 22 years old and asks others to join her journey of healing. She writes: “It’s the experiences we face in life that shape us to be who we are. It’s our shortcomings, failures, and successes that determine our next move. Today I want you to really think about what you could do just once a day to better your mind, body, and soul.” KJ blogs about her personal losses to help others.

Royal Marines Commando Focuses On Cycling


A reoccurring theme among veterans suffering from PTSD is exercise. Instagram user @sierra_lima_77 was a commando for the Royal Marines in the UK. He turns to cycling and other fitness-related activities to overcome his PTSD. He also hunts pheasants and other animals at his home in Scotland and is a cycling mechanic. He writes in one of his posts: “I’ve been off the reservation a bit the last few years, got some help recently now trying to get super fit again. I’m qualified in personal training, nutrition and mountain bike leading so time to act the part again.”

This Vet Helps Others Through Fishing


Michael Rigney (@salutefishing) is a “Proud Veteran MP” who helps veterans cope with PTSD through fishing. He says of his time in the military: “I miss it every [expletive] Day. Not because I’m crazy or have a death wish, but because the thought of not being there for my brothers and sisters is a demon I dance with daily.” He is very patriotic on his Instagram page, and it’s not uncommon for an American flag to be featured in many of his photos. It’s obvious that fishing brings a much-needed peace to his post-military life.

Air Force Pilot Writes Song After Reading About Veteran With PTSD


Sometimes the power of music can help people through difficult times. Air Force pilot Phillip Mills wrote an original song a few years ago after reading a Facebook post about a veteran with PTSD. The song talks about a man who is afraid to fall asleep because of the memories that get brought back up in his mind. Mills sings: “He lay there again last night too afraid to fall asleep. Because every time that he shuts his eyes the memory repeats. Out there fighting side by side, bullets flying, brothers die.” The self-taught pianist and singer has composed a number of songs.

Service Dogs Help Other Veterans Cope


Dogs are a man’s best friend and can be very helpful in recovery. USMC combat veteran Matt Hatala (@m.d.hatala) received a new puppy from Prevention Concepts Inc. a non-profit that provides substance abuse, mental health, and trauma-related services. Matt did three tours as a military K9 Handler. He writes of his time in the marines: “Most for those fours years seem like a dream more than reality most days just because how drastically different life was then compared to now. But I came out the other side with some of my best friends and times together I wouldn’t trade the world for, so here’s to 10 years.”

An Englishman Created The 365 Challenge


David Baum from Bushey, Hertfordshire, England, created the 365 Challenge. It evolved out of the 22 x 22 x 22 challenge, which began in the United States to call attention to the 22 ex-servicemen and women commit suicide every day due to PTSD. Baum decided to extend the challenge from 22 days to 365 days. He encourages people to start with 22 reps of an exercise every day, building up to 50 reps by the end of the challenge. Under the handle @busheybaums, he has been filming his own challenge every day on Instagram, marking his progress and hard work.

Former “Squaddie” Tells Others To Seek Help


Rory Lindsay (@beardytattooeddad) describes himself as a “husband, father, bearded and tattooed, I look like a meanie but I’m really a weenie…but an ex squaddie.” A former British soldier, he supports his fellow veterans and their struggles with PTSD. In one post, he uploaded a photo of a soldier with his arm around a boy that appears to be his son. The image declares: “PTSD: Too often if you ask a veteran if he is coping, the answer is usually yes. Whereas if you want the truth, it’s better to ask his nearest and dearest.” Lindsay tells other vets that help is there if they need it.

A Major In Iraq Runs To Clear His Mind


Major Gediminas Grinius served in Iraq under the NATO Force Integration Unit Lithuania. When he went back home, he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. He overcame it with running and training. He explains in a video on Instagram under the handle @NATO: “Running, it helps your brain to relax. Post-traumatic stress disorder, for me it means loneliness. It means fear, confusion. Surrounded by threat all the time. In the head there are a lot of things going on, and it feels like the head can explode.The running just cleans it out.” After about two years of running, Grinius overcame his PTSD.

Some Turn To Cannabis To Recover From PTSD


It’s not uncommon for veterans suffering from PTSD to be given a cocktail of medications to improve their mental state. Is there a better alternative? Instagram user @eli.v8 posted a photo of a man in an Army uniform with marijuana in one hand and a prescription bottle in the other. The post reads: “Veterans are crediting cannabis with saving their lives.” He captioned the picture: “If they can fight for us, we can fight for them! The time to heal is now!” Another user, @evanaitken, commented with his support, “True story, my green medicine got me clear of 3 different types of prescriptions for PTSD.”

First Responder With PTSD Creates Camp


Terrance Joseph Kosikar (@terrancejosephkosikar) is a mental health and social justice advocate and founder of Camp My Way. It was developed in British Columbia, Canada to “help our Emergency Service Providers who struggle with an OSI ( Operational Stress Injury ) PTSD get their lives back.” He highlights the campaign OPERATION – IT’S NOT WEAK TO SPEAK, which is aimed towards de-stigmatizing post-traumatic stress. He writes: “I’ve already crawled out from the grave many times – nothing more to [lose] – nothing more to fear – my life has been spared by the universe JUST TO DO THIS NOW.”

Group Offers Free Art Therapy To Veterans


Some veterans who are seeking ways to overcome their trauma turn to art to express themselves.In collaboration with Park Avenue Art Studio, the Grateful Sailor (@@thegratefulsailor) organization offers veterans with PTSD the opportunity to attend art therapy at no cost to veterans. Each meeting features an art therapist. The group writes in one post: “From the darkness, comes the light. Art therapy transforms pain into beauty.” Their Instagram page is full of inspiring memes, including: “Create something today even if it sucks” and “I don’t want you to save me. I want you to stand by my side as I save myself.”

This Man Turned To Hypnosis


Veteran and hypnotherapist Ian Smith (@ian1433.hynotherapy) has helped nurses, soldiers and police officers to overcome post traumatic stress. He offers the service near Newcastle, Sunderland and Gateshead in England. He writes on his website: “After leaving the armed forces I started to suffer very badly with depression and had been taking a multitude of different anti-depressant tablets with no success. This is where my journey began. A friend of mine suggested that I use self-hypnosis to overcome the symptoms of depression that were affecting me.” Now Smith uses the techniques he learned to help others change their habits, conditions, and emotions.