It takes a lot of courage to choose a career that could kill you.
It takes a lot of courage to put your life on the line for the sake of others.
It takes a lot of courage to admit that sometimes, you need help too.
What takes even more courage, is to speak out publicly so that others are inspired to ask for help too!
A Platoon Sergeant receives the gift of hope, strength and life
U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition
By MaryTherese Griffin
"...this would be the start of my new life; the gift of hope, strength, and most importantly the gift of life.” Sgt. 1st. Class James Spraggins
Courtesy Photo | Sgt. 1st. Class James Spraggins Iraq 2008, (Photo courtesy James Spraggins)
ARLINGTON, Va. - “I was a disaster who was proficient at hiding the fact that I needed help. I was very confused on what was going on with myself and feared for the future.”
Those courageous words are from Sgt. 1st Class James Spraggins. The former Infantryman turned Army Sniper has deployed multiple times over his 15 year Army career and wants to let other Soldiers know a few things about his journey.
The events of September 11th encouraged Spraggins to enlist; he felt like he was honoring his family name by taking it overseas to defend the nation’s freedoms. However, after his last two deployments, Spraggins says he was a different person. “I no longer had the same mentality towards human kind when I returned,” and that included himself Spraggins said.
Spraggins suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was assigned as a Platoon Sergeant to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Knox, Kentucky. This was the first time, he says, he was away from his comfort zone. “I can remember feeling on top of the world (before PTSD), but then I lost who I was, I lost all hope. This began the complete spiral and destruction of Sgt. 1st Class Spraggins,” Spraggins recalled. “Those moments were some of the darkest moments of my life. I began neglecting everyone close to me so that I didn’t have to visit them or talk to anyone.”
Spraggins says he even began neglecting his basic human needs, like hygiene, for weeks and would skip meals for days to the point of complete exhaustion and he didn’t sleep. After suffering multiple panic attacks daily for several months he started thinking to himself that living was no longer an option. He sat with a loaded pistol in a church parking lot, thought about it, prayed about it, then he called his sister. “After failing in every direction, I turned for help. I made the choice to walk into Building 1480, the Behavioral Health Clinic on Fort Knox, this would be the start of my new life; the gift of hope, strength, and most importantly the gift of life.”
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