POSTED: Friday, March 16, 2012 - 10:01pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 16, 2012 - 10:14pm
TYLER — J.D. Collett is a certified peer specialist for the Andrews Center.
He's helped with 2 houses for homeless veterans in Tyler and he's working on getting a third.
Collett is a Vietnam vet -- and like many other veterans, he suffers from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"It was a nightmare. You know, I would go from depression for 5 weeks and never come out of a room and then go into anxiety attacks," Collett said.
KETK spoke with local social worker Susan Cason-Parks about the disorder.
"PTSD occurs when someone has witnessed something so horrific that it does not resonate with ones belief system," Parks said.
She says it's something that typically develops over time -- and soldiers experience it a little differently than those who haven't seen combat.
"It isn't one event, it's multiple events," Parks said.
She tells KETK, the disorder is a very real problem -- and usually involes flashbacks and nightmares.
Collett says he was recently riding with a veteran who had a PTSD related flashback while behind the wheel.
"There was a gum wrapper or something flew up in the lane...and he had a flashback that it was an IED. And we got crossways and went through the median and luckily didn't hit anything," Collett said.
Collett says after 38 years of suffering from PTSD, it was a friend who finally made him get help.
And he says it's now his mission to let others know it's okay to ask for help -- and there's plenty of it.
In addition to the VA, there are PTSD support groups all over East Texas -- including 2 in Tyler.
One of them is for veterans and their spouses.
"You know, I've seen 412 vets last month...just in an East Texas area, so it is a big problem," Collett said.
Collett says he's seeing even more veterans with PTSD as soldiers return home from the war in Iraq.
He says if you'd like more information about how you can help a loved one with PTSD, they'll be having a flag raising ceremony on Rusk Street Saturday morning at 10 -- or you can call J.D. at any time at 903-216-2381.