I broke my arm and … was diagnosed with PTSD and a brain injury, walking around like a zombie in ‘The Walking Dead,’ Jim Stanek recently told TheBlaze. I was isolating myself. I didn’t want to socialize with people … I couldn’t remember things.
For me, being a vet with PTSD, I’ve been called a ‘crazy war vet’ or that ‘I’m not all there,’ Jim said. One of my biggest things … we’re not crazy. We’re normal for what we have been through. I think that is truly one of the most important things for this country to understand.
Jim Stanek along with his wife, Lindsey founded Paws and Stripes. Paws and Stripes is a nonprofit organization providing service dogs for wounded military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury through integrating service dog training and education with mental health support.
What is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.
Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events can include:
- Combat or military exposure
- Child sexual or physical abuse
- Terrorist attacks
- Sexual or physical assault
- Serious accidents, such as a car wreck
- Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake
After the event, you may feel scared, confused, or angry. If these feelings don’t go away or they get worse, you may have PTSD. These symptoms may disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities. [LEARN MORE]
What is a Service Animal?
From the pamphlet, More Than Just a Pet, a service animal is not just a pet or companion. “Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself” (US Department of Justice). As a result, the person must have a disability according to a medical professional and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which can be either a “physical or mental impairment” (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC).
In addition, the animal must be trained to mitigate a person’s disability by performing such tasks as retrieving, leading, pulling, providing balance and/or alerting. They should also be able to follow basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, here, down and/or follow, as well as exhibit good behavior in public places. [LEARN MORE]