Veterans Day is Sunday, and all this week we're hearing stories from Colorado veterans who participated in StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative in Colorado Springs earlier this year.
Christopher Provost is a veteran who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. After being a cross-country skiing athlete in high school, Chris joined the National Guard to do skiing and biathlon.
At StoryCorps, Chris talks to interviewer Hazel Diaz about coming to terms with his PTSD, the process of getting treatment, and the role his wife plays in his healing.
On leaving the military:
"I didn't realize how angry I was when I got out of the military. That was a big thing... in dealing with the post-traumatic stress."
On enrolling in the VA:
“[My therapist] kinda encouraged me to get enrolled in the VA, which I had not done for five years after retiring from the military. Partly because I felt like other men and women needed to get... I was hearing about the shortage and the backlog, and, you know, all the amputees that weren't getting their appointments... And, you know, people killing themselves in VA parking lots because they couldn't get their therapy appointments. And I'm like, I'm fine. I've got a job, I've got a house over my head, I've got a car. I'm doing fine. They need help before me. And so I was kinda putting... I guess it was a displacement."
On participating in Huts for Vets, a veteran-specific rehabilitation program:
"[The people at Huts for Vets] are just like, 'no, you're not taking a slice of the pie, Chris. You earned that slice, and that slice is due you. And you are just as effed up as me, and your emotions as just as raw as mine.'"
This conversation was edited from its original form in both audio and written form for time purposes and clarity.
The Military Voices Initiative from StoryCorps is sponsored in part by the Peak Military Care Network.