The Beauty and the Brokenness: Living with PTSD

The Beauty and the Brokenness: Living with PTSD
Published: Jun. 13, 2018 at 9:35 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2018 at 9:54 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A new exhibit at Richland Library Main aims to show you "The Beauty and the Brokenness" of living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It will be on display throughout the month of June as we recognize National PTSD Awareness Month.

Two local veterans who have their photography on display told WIS they never knew how therapeutic taking pictures could be.

One of those veterans, Katie Nash, said "I hit rock-bottom," before she gained the courage to seek help for PTSD.

Nash, along with Exie Kannas are two of many vets taking part in a Trauma Recovery Program through the WM Jennings Dorn VA.

"We have to get outside our comfort zone and we have to be willing to say, 'hey, I need help,'" Nash said.

The group is encouraged to take pictures of images that represent how they feel living with PTSD.

"I took pictures before, all the time. I like taking pictures but I never looked at it that way," Kannas said.

Now, those pictures are on display at Richland Library Main as part of a three-wall exhibit.

"I think it's important to see PTSD through a different lens, to be able to see what it's like for people who live it every day," said Elizabeth Codega, the Trauma Recovery Program Coordinator with the VA.

Each wall represents a different phase of living with PTSD, as well as life after treatment.

"When I first walked into the zoo, there was a little spider monkey and it looked as though he was trying to get away from the other ones and he was hiding in the corner and I felt him because that's what I felt like at that time," Nash said.

Kannas also described one of her pictures that's a part of the exhibit.

"The flamingo just came straight up to me. It's like trying to introduce you, 'hello, what's your name?' And I kind of looked at it as socializing. Some people don't really want to be around others," she said.

Both veterans say it's just another form of treatment to consider.

"Not only medication, but there are other resources like taking an art class, or just volunteering – doing something else, to help someone else, in order for you to heal," Nash said.

The exhibit will be on display through June 30.

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