COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For the second year in a row, a panel will be held at USC to discuss post-traumatic stress disorder. Event organizers say the purpose of the panel discussion is to erase the stigmas associated with PTSD.
"Life becomes about coping. You're coping through [PTSD] each day," U.S. Navy veteran Candace Terry said.
Terry says she was diagnosed with PTSD after an incident in 2004.
"I experienced military sexual trauma while I was in the military. I remember right after it happened, one of the things that they told me, they said, 'you have PTSD and you're going to have this the rest of your life.' And that's a scary thing to hear."
She says those scary words are affecting people of all kinds.
"Generally, whenever someone hears PTSD they're thinking of a combat veteran, which kind of excludes all of the other populations that also deal with PTSD – general populations – car wrecks, sexual assaults, assault, and battery," Terry said.
Now serving as president of the Student Veterans Association, she says Thursday's panel is a discussion that everyone can be a part of.
"It's not just the university, it's not just veterans, it is the entire community that should come together to normalize PTSD and try and reduce the stigma."
This year's theme is "Shattering the Perception."
"We're just going to be talking about day-to-day experiences, living with PTSD, how it transforms over time and the healing that happens. It is a completely natural and normal thing. It's nothing to be ashamed of," Terry said.
Terry says PTSD doesn't go away, but it does get easier.
"I have grown a lot from it. I wouldn't have become the advocate that I am for veterans," Terry said.
Thursday's panel is being put on by the Student Veterans Association, the Veterans Alumni Council and ROTC.