First thing I want to say is if you're one of those people that puts TL;DR, I ask you to bear with me and read what I have to say, if for no other reason than to just humor me.
I just joined the forum, and wanted to share my story in the hope you can take something from it. My name is Matt Ortiz and I'm a former Marine Infantryman and Scout/Sniper. I'm trying to get the word out about a PTSD treatment that I recently underwent that really changed my life. A little about my background: I spent 8 years and 3 months in the Marine Corps, and was medically retired in 2012 due to an injury I sustained in Marjah, Afghanistan on July 4th, 2010. That injury altered the next 4 years of my life, physically and mentally, and, up until 3 months ago, I was a mess.
The 2 years following my injury was a whirlwind of different therapists and counselors, medications(pain and psychological), alcohol abuse, depression, intense anger outbursts and much more, that my wife and two young boys endured for reasons I still don't know. We (they) sucked it up somehow, and we decided to move to Colorado following my retirement because, honestly, I had nothing else going on, and my wife's parents (Army vets) lived there. My wife and I were both military brats, so we really had no home to move back to and decided Colorado was as good a place as any to put down our roots. Colorado was a roller coaster of ups and downs. We met great people and had great times, but I could just never keep it together for more than a month, at most. At the end of our time there, it had gotten so bad, that my wife had to quit her job to help take care of the kids, as I was having trouble with everything at this point. I quit school, I got a job then quit that too. I would have a great week, then follow it by sitting in my basement by myself for 2 days to a week and barely talk to my family. In short, I was done.
We (my wife) decided to pack up and move to Pennsylvania where my parents (retired Army dad) had 35 acres in the sticks and told me they thought it might do me good to come on up and remove myself from the chaos of normal life and reset, as well as focus solely on seeking treatment. I'm embarrassed to say I live with my parents, but it is what it is. I accept it now and use it as motivation to stay on track and get the hell out of here and get back to life. I will say this, though, if you do have the option to be around family, it definitely compliments the treatment well. As luck would have it, we came across a study that the DOD was doing for vets with PTSD and TBI's using a treatment called Bio-Feedback. We decided it was worth a shot because, at this point, we had nothing else to try next and I still refuse to ever get back on psych meds. I won't waste your time, and butcher the medical explanation of what it does but I will post links that sheds light on what the treatment actually does.
I did five treatments before I noticed an improvement in my mood. The change made such an impact, my wife was worried that I had snapped in a different way than my norm and that my overall docile mood was the calm before the storm. It wasn't. This treatment worked on me, it's worked on other vets, and it's worked on normal people with their own civilian style TBI's and PTSD. I am now volunteering with Brainsake, the Neuroscience Center that provided me the treatment, to try and get the word out about how effective this has the potential to be for so many vets and active duty service members. They provide this treatment (20 sessions) for free, but, unfortunately, they are currently only running out of the DC metro area (Brainsake), which limits their exposure to more vets. We're trying to fix this and get as many vets here and treated as we can. We are currently working on also paying their hotel and food expenses while they go through the treatment. I'm here to try and bring more people in and start networking with vets who think they are interested in trying the treatment, or people who think they could help us achieve our goal of healing vets. I have direct contact info for the President of Brainsake (a Veteran, as well) if you would like to speak with him. He fervently believes that every veteran should have the opportunity to receive this treatment at no cost.
I went into this expecting nothing to happen and had the exact opposite happen. Because of this I want to get my story out, in the hopes that it can help at least one vet contemplating putting a gun/pills/bottle etc. in his or her mouth to get some relief on those bad days. If you doubt who I am, or any of my story I will gladly verify myself.
I'll close with a dark and sobering story that made this more real for me. I talked to a friend yesterday about what's been going on in our lives as we haven't talked for awhile. He's a former Army Infantryman that was in during the Initial Invasion/Push era, 2003-2004. He saw his fair share of hairiness, and through some unlucky fate ended up as a mentor to a guy like me. He told me that back in December, he got a call notifying him that one of his buddies that had stopped calling him and had went off grid, had decided he'd had enough. He took his own life with a .45 with his wife in the same room while they argued while he was drunk. He left behind 3 kids. He was 25. I honestly think that whatever it is that's pushing us to that point needs to be solved by any treatment that will solve it, whether it's therapy, yoga, hiking, meditation, or, in my case, Biofeedback, but that's just my opinion. I do want to be very clear when I say that there is more than one treatment out there, and I highly advocate veterans educating themselves on the different treatments before they decide. This does not mean I think veterans should be self-diagnosing, but rather to explore healthy options that are available outside of what the VA is offering. I won't guarantee you results, not because I don't want to, but because I can't. Our brains are different and will react to different things. While I can now regulate my emotions better than ever and be happy most of the time, I still am not nor do I think I will be perfect. I will never forget the things I've seen or the guys I knew, living or dead, because those things influence and will continue to influence, the person I am now. Those were all lessons hard learned, but it makes me ultra appreciative for the life I'm starting to live again.
Again, if you have ANY questions or just want to know more information for one of your loved ones, a friend or yourself, please just get a hold of me through PM and I'll do all that I can to figure something out with my “substantial” pull as a volunteer. The free treatment is for vets OIF/OEF vets with TBI or PTSD that have a diagnosis from the VA, however, they do treat a wide variety of things from ADHD to migraines.
If you happen to know of any one person, company, organization, or group that would be interested in ensuring that this treatment can continue to be free for vets, please feel free to get in touch with me via PM and I will put you in contact with people that know a lot more about this than I do. If you have any recommendations for other outlets that I can use to spread interest, please let me know, I'm all ears.
Lastly, I know I rambled on for a bit, but I hope at a very minimum you just tell someone about this(or any) alternative treatments, to get the word out that you have options and there are people that still give a damn.
If I posted this in the wrong area, I apologize, I figured as this is my first post and introduction, this is where it should be, however, could it be copied or linked to the PTSD and Social chat areas? I figured there could be people in either of those that might be interested as well. Thanks for your time.