Living with PTSD: Local Vietnam Veteran Speaks Out

April 6, 2014

Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among veterans and active military and one local veteran says that it can never be cured.

"You learn to live with it and accept it, but there is no cure."

Adolphus Stuart was diagnosed with PTSD back in 1988, decades after serving in the military during the Vietnam War.

Before getting diagnosed Stuart was a counselor for veterans and says that after helping them he realized he also needed help.

“Hearing their stories on a daily basis, then I woke up and realized that I needed to check myself out, because the same thing I was getting them funding for, was the same thing I had,” says Stuart.

PTSD is a type anxiety disorder that occurs after an emotional trauma.

“I wasn't crazy and violent, but I was self-destructive and I wasn't a benefit to society,” explains Stuart.

He recently spoke about his story for a psychology class at the University of Virginia and says that the more people get to learn about the disorder, the less it's misunderstood.

For example, the case with the recent shooting spree in Fort Hood, Texas, where a man shot down fellow soldiers and then turned the gun on himself, after having a mental evaluation.

Stuart says he understands how someone suffering with PTSD could lash out, but it's not as common.

“The possibility is there for any person who is dealing with PTSD to be overburdened and stress to the point of acting out,” says Stuart.

Back before he was diagnosed, Stuart says he was self-destructive; taking drugs to escape.

However, after years of living with PTSD, Stuart says he now has control.

“I quit my job like that because it was a stressor and I went to school and became a cook and haven't looked back since,” smiles Stuart.

He says he’s just trying to live stress free.

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