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A Daughter Struggles to Make Sense of PTSD

A commemorative Army dog tag similar to the one worn by Caitlin's father, was designed by her aunt and passed out at Richard Bryants' funeral service. Caitlin recently had a tattoo artist replicate one on her foot. (Photo by: Margarita Brichkova)

A commemorative Army dog tag similar to the one worn by Caitlin’s father, was designed by her aunt and passed out at Richard Bryants’ funeral service. Caitlin recently had a tattoo artist replicate one on her foot. (Photo by: Margarita Brichkova)

Twenty-one-year old Caitlin Bryant lost her father, Richard Lewis Bryant, to a heart attack in 2008. But she and her brother Mitchell had grown up watching him battle a war within himself after returning from serving in Vietnam. As part of our first-person series What’s Your Story, Caitlin Bryant describes what her family’s life was like, living with her father’s illness.

My dad suffered really badly from PTSD -– post-traumatic stress disorder. And that was due to the traumatic things that he had seen in the war and he never really sought proper treatment.

“He tried committing suicide when I was 11 years old. And we saw it as a huge cry for help because he did it in the parking lot of the VA hospital.”
He just never seemed comfortable. He never seemed at peace. He always seemed like he was trying to relax and he could never fully relax.

He started doing a lot of drugs –- specifically speed -– to kind of alter his reality and see a different side of things from the war.

He tried committing suicide when I was 11 years old. And we saw it as a huge cry for help because he did it in the parking lot of the VA hospital in Loma Linda.

They put him in the psychiatric unit of the hospital for a week. He kind of just tried to laugh it off and play it off with me and Mitchell saying, “Do you really think I belong with these crazy people here?” You know like, “Ha, ha ha.” Continue reading