The following is a statement in support of John Doe as part of his claim for PTSD.
First I would like to establish my credentials. For eleven years I worked with John at the State of Illinois. As state employees we worked side by side on a daily basis. I had plenty of time to observe some of his mannerism and habits.
John came to me one day and asked if we could go grab a beer together. As I worked with him I could tell at times he was having issues. While sitting at the bar John would keep scanning the room and became agitated when someone walked behind him. He was hypervigilant and very suspicious. Over time he and I developed a rapport and he began to open up about issues he was having. We had discussions how he didn’t trust people and how he came to the conclusion I was OK because of similar experiences in our background. He talked about his marriage and how he was headed for a divorce. The major complaint he said his wife gave him was that he was cold and distant. He himself said that he had trouble opening up to people and making friends. What he described was typical of PTSD sufferers who have trouble with relationships and social situations. He even mentioned hating to be in places that got crowded and when in those situations he hastened leaving.
As we developed a stronger relationship John divulged more about what he was going through. We discussed the possibility of him being seen by a medical professional for PTSD. We discussed the effects PTSD could have on future employment and if they would prevent him from getting a job he wanted. During these conversations he asked what kind of things are typical for someone suffering PTSD. I asked him to tell me what he was feeling and I would confirm if they were symptoms. He mentioned that he felt lots of anger and would get mad very easily for no apparent reason. He also explained how he felt guilty and had let some of his fellow Airmen down. He mentioned he had thought about suicide but that his kids kept him from doing so.
John often talked about how he had trouble sleeping and having nightmares from his experiences. He asked if I had seen the movie Black Hawk down and I said I hadn’t. He told me he had to leave the theater in the middle of the movie and had chest pains, found it hard to breath and was sick to his stomach. When we were discussing what we were going to do for the 4th of July John told me he was going to drink himself into a stupor so he didn’t have to listen to the fireworks. To this day he says they make his heart race, hands get clammy and gets out of breath when they are going off.
John also came to visit from time to time to talk about how things were going with his work and issues he was having. He was authorized to carry a gun as part of his duties because of the areas he had to go into like in East St. Louis. At times we would be standing in the parking lot and as a car would go by and his hand would go to his gun. He would quickly realize where he was and that things were fine and relaxed. He then explained what having issues he had at work. He said he felt they were trying to fire him and wanted advice how to handle things. As I tried to fully understand his employment situation I asked questions about how he may have brought about the hostility from his supervisors. It was apparent that some of his issues were his fault and had a lot to do with resentment of authority.
Also at times while talking to John I noticed the alcohol on his breath. He also mentioned at times that his plans for the weekends involved lots of beer and “drinking until he was numb”. In a short time while talking I could see John go from appearing at ease to angry and then moved to tears. The loss of his marriage and strained relations with his daughters weighed heavily on his mind. There were also times he would snap at me for a question I asked and then he would apologize that he shouldn’t get mad at me and knew I was trying to help.
I have knownJohn for more than 11 years and have seen his struggle with this condition. He is no longer working for Illinois and did finally divorce. He still talks of having rough nights and nightmares. He has remarried and his wife is very much more understanding of his condition. She is aware of his nightmares and panic attacks. She has become a calming influence and helps get him out of places when she notices his having panic attacks. She has helped him to cut back on his drinking.
In my more than elevenyears experience in working veterans I have worked with literally thousands of veterans and am familiar with the symptoms of those who suffered from PTSD. There is no doubt in my mind that John is suffering from PTSD. His experiences as a fire fighter and part of a helicopter crew in Mogadishu have had a lasting impact on his life. He has sleeping issues and nightmares, he was self- medicating with the use of alcohol, he has difficulties in social and work settings, he has anger issues and avoidance issues. John also has had suicidal tendencies or at least ideations. I haven’t witnessed any violence on John’s part but have heard that he threatened the man his ex was with at the time of his divorce. Hypervigilance and panic attacks are a common mode of operation for John. John might not be aware of it but he has had memory lapses and forgotten events and things we have talked about. He has missed appointments unless I remind him. He does a lot to avoid thinking or talking about his experiences in Somalia and gets angered easily about it. He can with great concentration talk about it but only with those he trusts.
I am making this statement based on what I know of John and how his condition affects him. I also swear that the previous statement is made to the best of my abilities and is the absolute truth.