Soldiers suffering PTSD critical of military response to the condition

Soldiers suffering PTSD critical of military response to the condition
A guarded gate at Joint Base Lewis McChord is shown Sunday, March 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- PTSD: It's the hidden but undeniable side effect of war. It affects more and more soldiers and their spouses who say the military isn't doing enough in taking care of its own.

Now, some Lewis-McChord soldiers are coming forward and discussing daily life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with KOMO Newsradio.

Carlos says he has struggled with PTSD every night since seeing an Iraqi fighter shot at close range.

"Every morning, I wake up with the same images," said Carlos. "It's so difficult waking up...knowing what you've done. It's like a bad dream every day."

Carlos isn't this soldier's real name. We can tell you he is an active duty soldier so we're concealing his identity.

Carlos is one of many young soldiers fighting an unseen battle with life after combat.

"I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't go and just go to a store," said Carlos who said he continues to fight depression, and uncontrolled rage.

"One day I was driving," said Carlos. "My anxiety levels were just so high, and I knew if I didn't go to the E-R, I would have probably done some things I would have regretted."

Carlos said treatment has helped -- a little. But getting that treatment isn't always easy for soldiers who say they're stigmatized and often put into situations where they're almost sure to fail.

Tim, a Sergeant, blames a cost-conscious command.

"It doesn't surprise me that they're doing this because it's a quick easy way to get people out of the military," he said. "I think it just goes to show that sometimes the military is covering up stuff that they don't want the public to see. And now it's out there and now they're going to have to do something about it."

These soldiers and others who spoke anonymously with KOMO Newsradio said they are tired of the silence.  These soldiers were asked to fight for their country and now they are fighting to get on with the rest of their lives.

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KOMO Newsradio Reporter Jon Repp's stories on PTSD air at 7:15 am and 5:15 pm Monday through Wednesday this week on KOMO newsradio.

In part two of "PTSD: The Hidden Price of War," Repp looks at how soldiers have tried to get help, and hear from spouses who often get caught in the crossfire.