I came out of the war with a lot of mental health problem; at that time, I didn’t know what had happened to me.   I have never experienced this mix feeling some time sadness, other weakness, loss of appetite, nightmare, insomnia, sleepy and anxious.    I continue with my life but then my girlfriend the woman I love told me that she has an affair.   I felt betrayed and something crack in my chest.  It makes my condition worst I went a whole week without eating or drinking anything but alcohol.   Since I didn’t know at that time anything about mental diseases looking for help was the last thing on my mind.   We didn’t separate immediately but I knew it was over and I was so disturbed that I begin looking for a way out of the best job I ever had.   The cold war ended, and the Army open up a way out for volunteers to get out service before his/her time.  Guess what; I used that door to get out, not because I want too.  It was all those thoughts of desperation, sadness, a broken heart, it was all the thing that came over me at the same time.  I was drowning in my thoughts.

I have an early out; my girlfriend stays with me until I left Germany.   I didn’t get medical attention because I wasn’t feeling sick.  So, I spent the following six years of my life drowning in alcohol and drugs to cope with my symptoms.   Other times I stay at home for a whole month or more without going out.  The depression, anxiety, and PTSD kept me from prospering in my life.   I matriculated in college when I was feeling well but that last about few month and back from where I started.   I went thru that about three times in those six years.

I got a job at San Juan VA Medical Center in the diet department taking the food to the hospitalized veteran.  It was a good job, but I want to prosper and because my condition I  medicate myself with alcohol and drugs; nothing hard.  None the less I was on the wrong path.  I went to see a Dr.Fuertes for a fungus that had in my nail.  She saw how I was and without me say anything she gives me a referral to the PTSD clinic.  Nothing happens those people from the hospital didn’t do anything.  So, I continue destroying my life.  I went to get help to PIC or Psychiatry Intervention Center, and I received about three or four referral to the Mental Hygiene Clinic, and after some time they gave me an appointment and assigned me a Psychiatry and a psychologist to help me with my mental condition.  Dealing with VA was hard.

I move from the kitchen to Nursing Service; in the area of the escort service.  There I learned about my condition talk to another veteran about it.  It took me a long time to become the man I once was, but I did it.  I am not cured, but I know how to deal with my condition.  I occasionally drink like once or twice a year only on special occasion.  I stop smoking the 25th of January 2017.   I keep taking my medication and working on my condition.  I wasted precious time that won’t come back due to the negligence of some employees at the VA Hospital.

The taught of going thru what I went with my German girlfriend prevent to have a stable relationship.   Every time I begin feeling something for a lady friend; I sabotage the relationship because my heart wasn’t healed yet.  Now I am ready for a serious relation, but I haven’t found a mutual attraction.  No love that comes later after you get to know the other person.  Sometimes the physical attraction doesn’t work, but when you get to know what’s inside the other person, you fall in love too.  At my age is difficult because most of the woman come with baggage just like the men too.   Probably my destiny is to die without love and alone.  Who knows but I won’t quick until I find that lady or die trying.



I love to write and always have an inventive mind, and I am a dreamer. My first language is Spanish, but for some unknown reason, I like to write in English. 

                                                                            Author, Melito Santos



  1. Hey Carmelo, It’s Chris Evenson. I just read your article about PTSD and man I thought you were writing about me! I went threw some of the same stuff that you did! Drinking and smoking my nightmares away. Relationships never worked out and I was constantly depressed and through it all I kept seeing things in my head from the stuff we saw in Desert Storm. One day I finally swallowed my pride and went to a Vet Center and began treatment. I was diagnosed with PTSD and depression. I received medication which helped my nightmares go away as well as medication for my PTSD itself. I also had physical pain, anxiety, headaches, mental confusion and I finally began to receive treatment for this as well. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a few other disorders. The VA finally acknowledged Gulf War Illness and I finally received help for everything.
    I finally met someone who understood me and supported my conditions. We got married and had a couple of girls. Now that I understand what I am going through, I also realized that I basically wasted away 20 some years of my life – time which I will never get back!
    Now I try to enjoy every day, every minute that God has given me. I still am haunted with the war and all my physical/mental conditions. I also found out that I am not alone! I wanted to tell you this to. You are not alone! PTSD is normal, given all the stuff we saw. It’s a bitch having it too. For the most part I avoid things that set me off and spend most days at home with my kids.
    I had to stop working all together because my disabilities. I am no longer mad at the world. I am working on finding an inner peace with eveything. Along the way I found God and I go to church and even joined a church group/bible study. Baby steps…….just want to feel normal you know.

    Just remember that you are not alone and I will forever be your friend, If you ever need anything, please let me know. You can e-mail me at anytime,

    I am so sorry that you went through all of this too! I know how painful it can be!

    God bless you brother!



    1. Thanks Chris. I am receiving treatment now and I also have to stop working. I have fibromyalgia and other condition but since I waited so long to get help. I am still working on my claim for my multiple condition. I am doing well but the nightmare comes and go but I know now how to deal with my problem. Thank you for you friendship and understanding.


      1. You bet! Wow we have the same illnesses! I had no idea – I thought I was the only one! I am so sorry that you are going through all of this too! If you need any help with your VA claim let me know.
        I am at 90% disablied right now (70% PTSD, 40% Fibromyalgia, 30% IBS, 30% Asthma, 10% Tinnitus)
        I also have Gerd which VA denied as well as skin cancer (Melanoma/Basal Cell Carcinoma) twice on my face/head.
        I also have Sleep Apnea which the VA denied by I filed an Appeal on that awhile back. Just waiting now.
        I often try to think at what made me sick. Was it the shots, the pills we had to take, the oil well fires, chemicals from bombings…
        I have tried to stay/think positively about everything and it helps.
        I go up in the Rocky Mountains whenever I can to escape from it all. (You have the beach and the Carribean!)
        Please let me know if you ever need anything k. WE are not alone!
        God Bless and have a nice 4th of July!


      2. Thank you. I have 20% the rest of the claims are on appeal. I still have them on the local VA waiting to go to Washington. They move kind of slow. My problem was I did it by myself without help from someone with knowledge but I am on the right track.


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