We worry about our American soldiers during battle, but what about after the battle is over?
A Traverse City Vietnam veteran is drawing attention to post-traumatic stress disorder and how he faced his demons head on.
9&10’s Sarah Grimmer shares his inspiring story.
Vietnam War veteran, Tim Keenan, says his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder was keeping him from living life fully, until he decided to face his fears in a unique way.
“Things were different I was very intense, impatient,” says Vietnam War Veteran, Tim Keenan.
When Tim Keenan returned to Grand Rapids after his Vietnam deployment, he was a very different man.
“I wasn’t the same person I was, everyone was having fun and stuff, I couldn’t have fun like I used to,” says Keenan.
Tim was struggling with PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
“And my parents would have to wake me up in the middle of the night because I’d be standing up beating walls,” explains Keenan.
Tim says his PTSD struggle continued for years, he just got better at hiding it.
“I never told my wife about it I didn’t tell my kids about it, but I was always weary, I kept a smile on my face but no one knew,” says Keenan.
Then Tim decided to face his trauma head on by hiking the Appalachian Trail.
With every mile the trail brought back memories of lost friends and sleepless Vietnam nights.
“Remembering them and remembering people and remembering friends who lost their lives whose family must miss them so much,” says Keenan.
The hike brought a sense of peace.
He was starting to form happy memories on the trail.
Tim was so inspired, he decided to make another journey back to the very scene of his trauma, Vietnam.
“It was very very emotional and I got up there and lit candles and I was able to remember all my friends, it was remarkable,” says Keenan.
Tim says he’s a changed man and open to what the world has to offer.
“There’s so much goodness in the world that I sometimes didn’t allow myself to see, but I sure do now I savor it,” says Keenan.
Tim’s advice to other veterans: get help and talk to anyone.
Tim recently published a book about his journey, called "."