>>ALL OF IT FROM MY SIDE OF THE VEHICLE BECAUSE WE WERE PULLING SECURITY. I WAS TRYING NOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO IT THOUGH BECAUSE I NEEDED TO KEEP MY EYES OUT. IT’S VERY NERVE WRECKING EVERY TIME THAT YOU GO INTO THE VIRTUAL REALITY. YOU DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GONNA EXPECT AT FIRST AND YOU KIND OF LOOK AT IT AND YOU KNOW IT’S A HEADSET AND SOME HEADPHONES, LITTLE BOX THAT SPRAYS OUT SMELLS. AND SO YOU FIRST KIND OF, EH, WHAT COULD THIS REALLY DO?>>THE EQUIPMENT THAT WE HAVE HERE IS ALL VIRTUAL REALITY. SO, EXPOSURE THERAPY IS A TREATMENT THAT’S BEEN AROUND SINCE THE ’70S AND WHAT WE’VE DONE IS SUPPLEMENT IT WITH VIRTUAL REALITY EQUIPMENT SUCH AS SOUNDS, SMELLS, WE USE AN OLFACTION MACHINE, AS WELL AS, A VIRTUAL REALITY IMAGES THAT’LL HELP THE VETERAN GET MORE IN TOUCH WITH THE TRAUMATIC MEMORY AND OVER THE COURSE OF THERAPY IT WILL HELP THEM IMPROVE THEIR SYMPTOMS OVERALL.>>YOU DESCRIBE SCENES THAT AFFECT YOU STILL AND YOU TRY AND FIGURE OUT WHAT YOUR TRIGGERS ARE AND THE THINGS THAT WILL TRIGGER YOU IN TO HAVING A FLASHBACK OR INTO AN EPISODE AT ALL.>>WHAT HAPPENS IN POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IS AN EVENT OR A MEMORY, A TRAUMA GETS PAIRED WITH A REALLY HEIGHTENED LEVEL OF ANXIETY. AND SO WHAT WE CAN DO WITH THE VIRTUAL REALITY EQUIPMENT IS ILLICIT THAT MEMORY AGAIN TO THE POINT WHERE THEY CAN LEARN A NEW ASSOCIATION WITH THAT MEMORY. AND SO OVER THE COURSE OF THE SESSION THEIR ANXIETY REDUCES AS THEY TALK ABOUT THIS MEMORY OVER AND OVER, AND OVER AGAIN.>>AND ABOUT HALF WAY FROM WHERE WE ENTERED TO THE EXIT PART OF THE CEMETERY WE RECEIVED SMALL ARMS FIRE FROM THE SOUTH WEST CORNER. IMMEDIATELY HIT THE GROUND AND WAS SCANNING MY SECTOR AND JUST TRYING TO SEE ANY TYPE OF POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION FROM THE BUILDING. ONE THING ABOUT POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER THAT PEOPLE GET VERY CONFUSED, IT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT IS CURABLE. THERE’S NO, IT’S NOT SOMETHING THAT’S GONNA GO AWAY. IT’S GONNA BE WITH ME FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. AND WHAT IT IS THAT’S GREAT ABOUT THIS PROGRAM IS THAT IT SHOWS YOU HOW TO HANDLE AND MANAGE YOURSELF. EVERY TIME THAT I LEAVE THIS PLACE I JUST FEEL SO MUCH MORE HOPE INSIDE OF ME THAT I CAN HANDLE THIS AND THAT I’M GONNA BE OKAY, YOU KNOW? AND IT HELPS ME SO MUCH. THIS PROGRAM AT UCF, THE RESTORES PROGRAM, LITERALLY SAVED MY LIFE. POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER TO ME IS MY LIFE AND I CAN’T STOP BECAUSE IT’S NOT GONNA STOP FOR ME.

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