Life After PTSD: How One Veteran Got Back on His Feet
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PTSD and anxiety are not the end of the story. Marine Veteran Javier proves hope is possible for Veterans struggling with mental health.
For Javier’s entire adult life, he knew himself as a man of duty, patriotism, and service.
“I joined the marine corps in 1984,” said Javier. After being stationed at Camp Pendleton for a long time, he was deployed to Somalia, where he was a Marine Corps gunner and served in convoy operations.
What Javier saw overseas would change his life forever.
“We got ambushed probably three times,” says Javier. “[The enemy] used children to do their fighting,” he said. “That took a toll on me.”
When he decided to get out of the service, Javier moved back to Texas and began serving as a police officer for NEISD, working specifically to help stop gang violence. On the outside, he looked like a successful, patriotic serviceman. On the inside, however, he was haunted by memories of war.
“I’ve been diagnosed with severe PTSD and severe anxiety,” said Javier. “As I progressed in the police department, I started having nightmares and couldn’t sleep.” (Click here to read 5 Things Veterans with PTSD Can Do to Seek Care.)
Many Veterans try to cope with mental illness by numbing the pain and memories. “I tried to self-medicate with alcohol…and that just got out of hand. I was killing myself, really.”
However, this coping technique only left him hurting more— unable to keep a job.
“I went from a proud officer in the marine corps to a proud police officer to living in my van. I was homeless.”
The turning point? Javier’s brother referred him to Endeavors. Here, Javier connected with Veteran Supportive Services and was able to get back into housing. His case managers realized he was dealing with mental health care issues and referred him to the Steven A. Cohen MIlitary Family Clinic at Endeavors.
Through this program, Javier was given a new start.
“They gave me counseling; they helped me get out of the street; they got me a place to stay for a couple of weeks to get back on my feet and start my rehabilitation; they assisted with my diagnosis; and they helped me with the medicine, which ain’t cheap.”
Eventually, Javier also found employment in custodial services, warehouse, and landscaping through Endeavors Unlimited®. He’s also reconnected with his family, who he had lost contact with due to alcoholism.
“I enjoy what I do and I enjoy the people I work with. It keeps me busy and active. I might not make $75,000 a year anymore, but I’m a lot happier because I have my family and my work. Endeavors helped me build my self-esteem and my confidence back up.”
“I’m over a year sober now and I’m still going strong. It’s all coming back; it’s total night and day. And now I see the sun, every day.”
To see Javier share his own story, click here.
About Endeavors Unlimited®
Endeavors Unlimited® is a part of the Endeavors® continuum that provides case management, life skills training, and supportive employment opportunities for adults with disabilities so that they can achieve a life full of stability, successes, and self-sufficiency.
Founded in 1992, Endeavors Unlimited is dedicated to employing individuals with disabilities. National and international businesses and government entities rely on Endeavors Unlimited to perform at a level that effectively supports their customers, their employees, and their professional business image. Endeavors Unlimited is uniquely capable of providing two-fold premier services: supportive training and employment opportunities for disabled employees and commercial services for business and government entities.