Ok, so I guess I will give a litte background; my wife and I have been together for 18 years and we have a 14 year old
daughter, 2 german shepherds who serve as ‘service’ dogs for me or ESA’s and 2 cats that belong to my daughter that help
her with her anxiety. I was a part time photoshop/motion graphics artist and photographer for a while. Part time because
it was the most I could handle without getting overwhelmed. I had gotten injured while serving in the military and have
PTSD from that injury. I had been trying to deal with it for years and finally figured out that I had been walking around
with a TBI for about 22 years. I have been trying to go through the VA, which is probably a lot like beating your head
against a stone and consist mainly of getting phone numbers for help, calling those numbers and then the person on the
other end giving you another number to call. Or some combination of red tape and rejection.
Like many other people like me I have had all kinds of problems related to PTSD which just gets worse over time if left
untreated. Over the years it had made working regular jobs more and more difficult until finally it was just better for
me to do freelance work doing things I had gone to school for. But my symptoms got worse over time and I got more isolated.
Eventually I wound up in a doctors office and was told that I weighed 450 pounds and had type 2 diabetes. My blood pressure
was through the roof. This meant I had to start taking a bunch of pills and I had to start pricking my finger everyday to
check my blood sugar. It was depressing to say the least that my life had degenerated to such a state. But the more I
thought about it the more angry I got about it. I didnt want to go out like that and wanted to do everything that I could
about it. So I quit smoking, learned all I could about cleaning up my diet, started strength training, lost over 150 pounds
(and counting)got rid of type 2 diabetes, and learning about sublimation and using outdoor things I was familiar with to
help with my ptsd.
During all of this we had been living in a run down trailer owned and rented out by my wifes uncle. We had had issues with
him for a while, as in trying to get him to fix things like floors that had holes in them or sockets hanging out the walls
or broken heating and air units, shorted out wiring etc. His response was to change the lease or threaten to kick us out.
And at times we were struggling and he knew it so we couldnt really do anything about it.
During the last few years we had been living there our daughter was being bullied severely in school. She started cutting.
She wore long sleeves and kept everything to herself so her mom and I had no idea any of this was going on for a while. When
we found out we got her into counseling. She had always been a bright shining light wherever she went but now was totally
introverted and depressed. She had to go to the hospital a couple of times because she felt like hurting herself again.
After a lot of individual therapy and at home therapy she started doing better.
Around this time we heard from my wifes uncle that he was going to sell the property and that we had to be out by October.
We had not gotten our tax refund check back yet so we planned to just use that for the money we would need for deposits and
such to move somewhere else.
Then we heard that Hurricane Florence was forecast to hit us and we knew we would not be able to stay being
that we lived right on the coast next to the water in a run down trailer. In my particular case high winds are a trigger for my PTSD
so I knew I didnt want to be anywhere near it. It would just trigger my fight or flight and I would be stuck in that mode for the
duration and I did not think I could take that.
My blood pressure had been a lot better than years before but for whatever reason lately it had been worse and a couple of weeks
before the storm hit I had to go to the hospital because it had been so high. As we did not have anywhere else to go during the storm
I felt the safest thing to do was to take my wife, daughter, myself, two dogs, and cats and pack as much of our stuff as we could and go as
far west as we could get. We made it as far as we could with not much money. We wound up finding a pet friendly shelter and rode
the storm out for about a week and a few days.
While we were there we got video over the phone from people back home of what the storm was doing back home. We could see the water
was surging and flooding everywhere. Houses were halfway covered or more. We were not sure what we would be going back to.
But we were fortunate to meet some people who offered to take us in and help us out which was wonderful because since the storm was
over the shelter was kicking people out but because the roads were closed, damaged or flooded, especially where we were from there
was no way we could even attempt to go back. Even if we could we didnt have a penny to our name. We were able to take our stuff we
had brought with us and our pets and have a solid roof over our heads.
In the meantime we were able to get information about our house back home but had to wait to get back to see for ourselves because
all the roads were still damaged or flooded. Eventually after what seemed like forever, which was actually September the 27th by now the
roads were clear enough for us to drive back home to see what the house looked like and what we had to do.
After driving for 2 and a half hours we pulled up and saw the landlord had put a padlock on the door. It wasnt even October yet, not to
mention the storm. We got out and were able to look in the windows and see some of the damage and the tree that came down on the roof,
water damage, mold etc. We tried talking to him on the phone but he threatened to sue us. So we had nowhere to go but back to where we had
been before. I regardless everything we had left behind was ruined or lost. Photographs that can never be replaced, clothes, electronics, little
knick knacks you wouldnt think twice about that you bought for a loved one that didnt seem like it mattered that much at one point but hurt
your heart now to think about because there is an empty place where the memory used to be.
We didnt have anywhere else to go so we could only continue to stay with the people who had taken us in. We were thankful to have somewhere
to go, and soon we were able to get our tax refund check that we had been waiting for we bought a few items of clothes, and some other basic
stuff we had to have. We used the bulk of the tax money as rent. We got our daughter enrolled in a good school. She was starting to build her
self esteem and confidence and was improving. Everything was working out really well and it was looking like we were going to be able to stay until
tax time next year to help us get back on our feet and get everything sorted out. But then one of the folks we are staying with had a problem at work
and had a lot of money cut from there salary and they cant handle the extra expense. So now we will have to be out by the first of the year.
My wife has been able to get a job but wont start getting paid until February. With everything that has happened and that is going on my symptoms
are very bad. Worse than they been in a very long time. I have been good at bouncing back before during tough times but this one is different.
A lot of stuff Im not going to say here but Im pretty much just running on Faith at this point. Im far from perfect, Ive made mistakes. But I
care about what happens to my family and I just want them to be ok.
I have computer parts I can trade or sell, knives, backpacks, flashlights and thats about it. Im more than willing to pay back anything
borrowed. I grew up working on a farm, with horses, working in the fields, framing houses, construction, all sorts of stuff outside, I went
to school for visual communications/photography/graphic design. I am willing and able to do whatever I can. I just need to get my family somewhere
safe and give them a chance at a normal life so they have a future. I dont want them to be out in the cold or in the woods. Shootings, stabbings
drugs and gangs are common here. I just wanted to get us away from the storm not strand us in a nightmare. Its Christmas Eve, I am praying for a