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 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