Veterans with PTSD share their isolation – and successes – in frank videos

Post-traumatic stress disorder can devastate a family.

Just ask Sarah C. Humphries, a captain in the Army Reserves who served in Iraq from mid-2005 to mid-2006.

Humphries is one of 45 veterans whose stories of grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are shown on a Veterans Administration website designed for frank discussion about the affliction and the potential for treatment.

Called About Face, the project is produced by the VA’s National Center for PTSD, and launched in time for PTSD Awareness Month this month.

In poignant video clip interviews, the veterans describe the alienation and isolation they felt before getting help.

“I felt like I was a freak, at times, that I couldn’t have emotions,” Humphries says.

She found it especially difficult to slip back into her role as mother, and found herself wasting time on an online video game, an escape that left her family on the periphery, suffering. “It was like a drug.”

Humphries’ husband divorced her. “Families suffer a great deal,” she says.

Timm Lovitt, an Army infantry veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tells of an incident when his PTSD nearly led to road rage.

Another motorist in Seattle cut him off as he was getting on a freeway, and he started to try to block her with his car. But before the confrontation escalated, he caught himself.

“This isn’t Iraq. This isn’t Afghanistan,” he told himself. “This is Seattle.”

The VA says the website is dedicated to changing the lives of veterans with PTSD.

“Service men and women are there for each other in the field… By using the powers of honesty and openness, vets can help each other begin the process of healing.

kmoulton@sltrib.com

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