Columbia, SC (WLTX) - There are many stereotypes surrounding veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many of them are negative and paint those living with PTSD as violent.
However, the Student Veteran Association at the University of South Carolina is aiming to change that perception.
"PTSD, it is the normal reaction of human beings who experience extraordinary events,” says Dr. Nancy Brown with the College of Social Work at USC.
On Wednesday night, six panelist, with different military backgrounds, all living with PTSD in their own way are hoping to educate and knock down perceptions.
"PTSD is not scary,” says Candace Terry, Student Veteran Association President. “It doesn’t mean that I'm going to lash out at you and go into this rage fit."
Terry, served in the Navy. She along with Samantha Fergus shared that PTSD among veterans isn't only caused by combat.
"Military Sexual Trauma,” says Fergus. “It is a type of PTSD that definitely haunted me in my sleep and in my day to day life."
Now Fergus is a voice for veterans who also dealt with a sexual assault.
“You have lived through the worst part of whatever it is that you went through,” says Fergus. “Don’t be afraid.”
All the panelist shared their story. They also shared how they coped and are now living with their PTSD. Dan Nevins lost both of his legs in Iraq. Now he gets his peace from teaching yoga to other veterans. He hopes to help them find their own peace.
"The more that I can steer them to the present moment, the more chance that they get to realize that what's possible for their life is so great and so profound that all it takes is a decision about taking action right now."
PTSD is brought on by trauma and can affect anyone, not just military veterans.
"PTSD is just a way of living,” says Terry. “It’s a way of living with the stress of a traumatic event, as opposed to this scary, overbearing illness that it’s presented as in media.”
Terry wants veterans to know that they can get help if they need it. One way is with the Student Veterans Association. All they have to do is reach out.