Army Veteran struggles with PTSD during the pandemic

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Columbus Ga.(WRBL)- Overcoming PTSD is a tall order for anyone. One local Army Veteran was making good progress until the COVID-19 pandemic hit and sidetracked her recovery. 

Leatrice Person first join the Army in July 1986 while she was in college at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. After serving for four years, Person took a break from the Army and started a family.

Person joined the Army again in 1993. Ten years later she found herself in the middle of the Iraq War. While Person was in combat she was going through the unimaginable. During that time, Person was going through a divorce and her mother was dying of cancer. In addition to that, while in combat Person saw the horrors of war and that included seeing dead bodies on a daily basis.

“I think for about three to four days I had to walk past a dead body about everyday. As your driving by you see a dead body here or there and just the thought, just hearing it at night and not knowing when it was going to end or if something was going to happen to you,” Person said.

Person spent 10 month at war in 2003 and another 12 months in 2007-2008. When Person finally returned home in 2008 she knew something was wrong, but didn’t officially seek help until 2014.

“After a while I kind of knew something was wrong but did not really know. When you’re in certain positions and have certain ranks you just don’t want to go and say I have PTSD, people think you’re crazy and you just don’t want to be stereotyped,” Person said.

According to U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 15.7% of deployed veterans are diagnosed PTSD.

Person developed a fear of being in large crowds and loud sounds. While speaking with a counselor, Person was slowly getting over her fears but faced a setback when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Now, because of the virus Person is forced to seclude herself from everyone.

“I feel like I’m going backwards instead of forward. It took me such a long time to get to where I was and by staying in and secluded from everyone because of COVID it’s probably going to take me longer to get to where I was,” Person said.

Person takes daily vitamins to keep her immune system strong and she has made sure her home is stocked with mask, gloves and disinfecting wipes.

The Army Veteran doesn’t think she would’ve joined the Army if she knew it would’ve had a long-lasting effect on her mental health. 

 “I can be okay and then some days I’m here and I just feel like oh my God… I’m just depressed for what, it just comes over me you know,” Person said.

To cope with her PTSD the Army Veteran does DIY projects and spends time with her two dogs Audi and Lexi.

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