Carrie was sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier shortly after Basic Training outside of the local Enlisted Club. Since then she has struggled with PTSD and the associated symptoms every day.
Read Carrie's story in her own words below.
Then I guess life stopped, though I didn't know it then.
I had graduated Basic Training and was in Indiana for about 3 weeks. A friend from Basic was also attending a different school there and we had agreed to meet later at the enlisted club. I went to the club and she wasn't there, so I milled around for a while. I noticed a well-built guy following me. I went into the bathroom. When I came out he was still there. I blended into the crowd and decided to leave. He apparently saw me and followed me outside. He grabbed me under my arms and then dragged me. He did what he did and I sat for a minute picking gravel out of my hair. I guess it was shock. I was 18, Catholic and a virgin. I sat on my bunk for awhile after I managed to get back to my barracks. I then took a shower. Then I guess life stopped, though I didn't know it then.
While the assault only lasted a few minutes, the symptoms of PTSD will last a lifetime. I struggled with alcohol abuse as I tried to self-medicate my pain away. I distanced myself from those close to me in an effort to isolate myself and my shame. The anxiety is unbearable, and often leads to somatic symptoms including nausea and vomiting. When my anxiety is absent depression strikes and I find it nearly impossible to even get out of bed in the morning. Depression is a real downer that seems to suck the life out of me. Sometimes my self-worth is so small that I feel like I shouldn't exist and this manifests into suicidal thoughts. Sometimes my emotions and anxiety is so intense I feel like I need to break the skin to release it, and I got a lot of tattoos to counter my thoughts of self harm. I often dissociate and feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience, mine has manifested so that I will lose my train of thought mid-sentence and people will look at me like I've lost my mind. It is not uncommon for me to suffer from nightmares related to the incident, and insomnia tends to follow when I am afraid to fall back to sleep and have another nightmare. Living with PTSD is a daily battle, and I'm tired.