Today is National PTSD Awareness Day, and in honor of today, this is Command Chief Master Sgt. US Air Force (Ret) William Markham’s PTSD Recovery Story:
Command Chief Master Sgt. US Air Force (Ret) William Markham served for 30 years in the United States Air Force and has received numerous decorations and awards for his courageous duties when deployed. His inspiring past has led him to become the generous and noble man that he is today. As a retired Veteran, he continues to serve the military community through mentorship, charitable actions, and patriotic leadership as The Patriot Fund’s Executive Director to the Board.
Even though Will has always been strong-willed and strong hearted, he still dealt with invisible wounds from war known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. This is Will’s PTSD Recovery Journey Story.
After returning home from years of service overseas, Will’s friends and family noticed that he was not acting completely himself and quickly saw that the effects of war had taken a drastic toll on his wellbeing. Will struggled the most with his emotions, dealing with constant anxiety, stress and anger. Once Will’s family talked to him about seeking help believing Will was showing common PTSD symptoms, his initial response to them was, “I’m fine, nothing’s wrong with me.” This is a far too common response most individuals with PTSD feel as they truly feel they are stronger than what might be happening to them inside their head.
When Will was talking to a close friend in service who also struggled with PTSD, his friend recommended that he seek help and at least talk to someone about how he feels to get a diagnosis and see if Will had PTSD. The conversation with his friend was one of the core turning around points in Will’s life that would further lead him on the road to happiness and living a more fulfilled life after service. “It’s okay to get help,” Will said after realizing that there could be help out there to make everyday living that much easier for him along with his family connections and friendships. After Will spoke with a psychologist about his symptoms, the doctor immediately confirmed that Will had PTSD.
Once Will began his few month recovery program, talking to other Veterans who were dealing with the same emotions, and working at finding ways to cope with his stress and anxiety from PTSD, he soon began to start enjoying life more post service and noticed how the help and support he received truly made a world’s difference. “Normal life was harder than being in the Air Force. But after I sought help, everything about living made sense to me once again” – William Markham.
Will now enjoys his closer relationship with his daughter, wife, friends and family and finds enjoyment in new hobbies including golfing and sporting clay shooting. “How well you do in golf and sporting clay shooting is only based on you, and the stress of not dependent on someone else for how well you perform and this makes these hobbies that much more enjoyable for me now.” If Will never sought help professionally and his family and friends never made him aware of PTSD, he would not be enjoying life the way he currently is today – and for that, he’s forever grateful.
** Symptoms of PTSD include: flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, fear or anger, sadness, thoughts of suicide, detachment from reality, detachment from friends and loved ones, and even suicide. People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended and this doesn’t just happen to combat Veterans. If you think someone you know is showing signs of PTSD symptoms, please make them aware of this and let them know that help is out there. **