Just a few years ago, Karter Elliott says he couldn’t look at any photos of himself in the military, let alone talk about them. Elliott served twelve years as a combat marine, with multiple deployments. Like many Veterans returning from war, readjusting to civilian life proved challenging.
“I’d be like normal angry like reasonable angry sometimes, but there’s always the chance I would scream and yell and carry on for a period of time,” Elliott says.
He had a short fuse. Most social situations made him feel uncomfortable, so he skipped them or would self-medicate with alcohol to get through it. Like many other Veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress, it was a long process to understand what was happening to him, before he could be open to doing something about it.
“Really, in my mind, I had no symptoms, right, because you build a life of avoidance,” Elliott says.
Then came the nightmares, anxiety and outbursts that wouldn’t go away. It was tearing apart his family.
“It got to the point where I had pretty much just said I’m done, I can’t do this anymore,” says Renee Elliott, Karter’s wife.
He was referred to the Home Base Florida Warrior Health & Fitness program to tackle losing the 68 pounds he had gained since leaving the military. But without treatment, he continued to struggle. It was a breaking point. Elliott turned to the only place he felt comfortable asking for help, fellow Veterans.
“I was sick of like the roller coaster ride and the low points,” Elliott says. “…but I think I was finally ready to take the steps to take care of myself, for the betterment of my family.”
Once he was ready, Home Base referred Elliott to its Intensive Clinical Program in Boston, MA. With the help of Home Base Florida, Elliott was able to find the mental health care he needed to help him manage it all.
Elliott says the intensive therapy changed his life, but he found it difficult to find a mental health care provider who offered evidence-based therapies to sustain his progress back home. Feedback like Elliott’s helped shine a light in the gaps in the care available to veterans in the region, a catalyst for the Home Base Florida Regional Outpatient Clinical Program that provides Veterans and Military Families with timely access to evidence-based, trauma informed, culturally competent care- at no cost to them, as thanks from a grateful nation.
“Our marriage and relationship in general is a thousand times stronger,” Renee Elliott says.
“I feel hopeful in general. I never have a moment of hopelessness,” Elliott adds. “If we just stop avoiding, this is all very manageable. And you can live a life worth living.”
To learn more about Home Base, click the link HERE.