written by my sister, Kayla Mae Williams
This father’s day I was reminded of how lucky I am to have my father in my life. He has always provided for all his children and offered emotional support as well. Growing up, I always saw my dad as a superhero. He worked a sheriff, fought in the military, and put bad guys in jail. I didn’t realize then just how strong my dad truly was.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is defined as a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
It is so much more than a textbook definition though. PTSD is waking up in the middle of the night screaming due to horrible flashbacks, crying when a certain smell hits you or being afraid to ever enter a certain building again. PTSD can affect anyone. According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, 20 percent of the vets who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
I’ve seen it with my own father. One day, when I was fifteen, we had a long talk about mental health. As a clinically depressed teenager I felt lost and confused; like no one understood me. Until my dad told me about his experience with mental illness.
At 18, fresh out of high school, my father joined the military. He fought in the war against terrorism in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. He served for years and saw many terrible things along the way. He told me the hardest thing he ever had to do was shoot a child. It became a routine, don’t feel. Just shoot and survive. And while the work was noble, it was most certainly life-altering. Many years later my dad started to think about his own mental health seeing everything I was going through. I had been in and out of both inpatient and outpatient care facilitates. I was seeing a therapist and a physiatrist and on multiple antidepressants and mood stabilizers. It wasn’t until my therapist suggested a family therapy session that my dad realized how important it was to deal with his own demons as well. He went to get evaluated and was diagnosed with PTSD. He began seeing his own therapist.
PTSD doesn’t only affect veterans, it can affect anyone who has lived through or seen a traumatic event – with it now being spoken about in mainstream media due to the celebrities it has affected.