In the US, 6.8% of adults will experience PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to experience it.  Veterans are another group highly likely to experience this sometimes debilitating disorder.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event. This disorder is now a recognized medical condition known to produce emotional, behavioral and physical changes. Due to this recognition and a large volume of scientific research, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD have improved dramatically in recent decades.


June 27 is National PTSD Awareness Day. The US Senate officially designated this day in 2010. In honor of this day, we share an UNTOLD story written by Photojournalist, Lorna Dancey.  This story features a veteran and his nightmare that never goes away.  PTSD is real and can affect every part of someone’s life.  If you know someone suffering from PTSD, please call the Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at 1-800-273-8255. Their wellbeing could be depending on you.


His nightmares didn’t start right away.  Neither did his screams.  He was tough and didn’t think he would be one of them who suffered at night reliving the horrors of the days gone by.  After seeing so much destruction, he would thrash around and his screams merged with everyone else who had to endure the terrors of the war.


He was listed in Special Forces and led his squad as a sniper.  He was a proud soldier and fought for his country. He enlisted in two tours in Vietnam and was honored to do his job.  His life was not his own though, it belonged to the mercy of his Country and ensuring the safety of others.  Part of his squad’s responsibilities was to protect the people of the non-hostile villages from the Vietcong, but more often than not, when they arrived, it was too late.


“The Vietcong fought a guerrilla war of ambush, terrorism and sabotage and the terror they caused was everywhere.  The Vietcong raped the woman and left them for dead, murdered the men and slaughtered the children. The first tell-tale sign of their terror was the smoke in the air, you could see it from miles away.  The squad always knew the outcome of the villages before they arrived. Once you have smelled death, it stays with you; you can never rid yourself of it.”


 His hatred of them was more powerful than fear, he wasn’t afraid to die anymore, he had been shot 3 times and stabbed more times than he can recall. He saw so much death, things he still can’t bring himself to talk about.   War destroys a person; there is no coming back from that and no coming back to who he was before…


Photo and story by UNTOLD Contributor, Lorna Dancey.