Veteran Shares Story of Living With P.T.S.D in Hopes to Educate the Public

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Enterprise native David Simmons joined the U.S. Army in 2003.

He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas for a year before he was deployed to Iraq.

Simmons hopes sharing his story will help give people a deeper view into what it's like to have P.T.S.D.

"I think if more of the public actually understood that, they wouldn't look at somebody that has P.T.S.D and say - Oh they're mentally ill, they're going to go crazy. I think if they actually understood what was going on in somebody's head and listen to that person they would better understand how to help that person," Simmons said.

David Simmons was a Tank Driver at the War Eagle Operating Base in Iraq.

He was two weeks into his tour on April, 4th of 2004 when disaster struck.

"The first day that we went out, i was the driver of the lead vehicle of a convoy and we hit an IED. That was actually the worst day that we had our entire deployment,” Simmons said.

When the explosion happened, he ducked towards the center of the car behind a windshield wiper motor.

"That's where a chunk of shrapnel, a little bit bigger than a nickel hit. I came within a couple inches of dying,” Simmons said.

Eight soldiers died that day, 60 more were injured.

"This was the first time I got blown up, but it wasn't the last. It was definitely the eye opener," Simmons said.

Simmons returned to Fort Hood on March 12th, 2005.

After a routine health screening he was diagnosed with P.T.S.D.

He was medically discharged from the Army in 2006.

It was a few years before he noticed anything out of the ordinary.

During a conversation with an injured soldier in 2007, Simmons realized he had a problem.

"For the first two years I didn't really think about stuff. All of the sudden everything came back and I just started thinking about everything. I remembered vivid details," Simmons said.

His friend suggested David go talk to someone with the V.A.

Since then he's been to a few V.A. clinics to see psychiatrists.

Simmons says the process has been frustrating at times.

He says talking to other veterans who suffer from P.T.S.D has been the most helpful therapy.

He says group treatment has become more widespread, but there needs to be more support channels for vets.

"It doesn't ever go away. It's not like a broken arm. A broken bone is going to heal. There are some things that when you see them, you can't un-see them," Simmons said.