Q&A: US Army Veteran Discusses His Experience with PTSD


A former sergeant first class in the US Army discussed PTSD in an exclusive interview with Drug Topics.

Farron Dozier is a US veteran with nearly 25 years of experience. He was a sergeant first class with the US Army and has since become a sickle cell trait advocate, which helped him find a community he was passionate to be a part of after his time in the military.

Dozier sat down with Drug Topics to discuss PTSD among US veterans, from the common misconceptions surrounding the topic to his own experiences. In this personal yet eye-opening interview, Dozier tells us about what the term PTSD means to him, how it has affected his life during and after service, and the common disconnect between health care providers and veterans.

Drug Topics: Could you give a little bit of background on your history in the army and where you were stationed?

Farron Dozier: Yeah. So, I joined at 19, influenced by my uncle who was an Air Force Reserve. He told me to join the reserves first because if you don't like it, if you do full time, you're going to be stuck in that contract. I did the National Guard first for about almost 5 years. And then I became actually AGR, which is active guard full time for the National Guard. So, I did that for 20 years. From there, I was stationed all over, been to Norway, Germany, Michigan. [I] went to basic at Fort Jackson, Fort Sam Houston for a little bit. I was supposed to become a medic, but I got injured during that training. And so, I was recycled and then sent to Fort Lee.

US Army veteran Farron Dozier sat down with Drug Topics to discuss PTSD among US veterans. | image credit: piai / stock.adobe.com

US Army veteran Farron Dozier sat down with Drug Topics to discuss PTSD among US veterans. | image credit: piai / stock.adobe.com

Drug Topics: What has your experience with PTSD been like?

Farron Dozier: Yeah, initially, I played basketball, so I've always felt that I had a level of mental toughness. However, in my transition out of the military, through my physical pain and then the emotional pain, it was definitely something I had never experienced before. Going to the hospital, to the doctors, the mental health providers, trying to figure out what's going on with myself took a long time. I've been in this process about 14 years. And then I've been retired probably about 12 years this year.

So, I've just started to get a better understanding of myself, of the stories and the things that happened to me that I made up a lot of the stuff that was caused from myself, I can honestly tell you that. But the anxiety, the severe depression and anxiety, stress, worrying; it's just been something I've been recently able to start to manage.

Drug Topics: Do you think there are common misconceptions surrounding the topic of PTSD?

Farron Dozier: Yeah, it's destroying. It’s destroying us as a society. It’s destroying us as they label us as veterans, because again, people forget that we’re people first. The 2% of us or the 1% of us that chose to serve this country, we're no different, except that, you know, again, our mindset shifts.

Another thing I've learned is, I was trained to objectify another human being as a terrorist and then train to kill that terrorist, but 1 day, my brain is going to remember that that's a person. But that's not a veteran issue, that's a human being flaw. So we as people are dealing with this type of conversation.

But the labeling of it I think hurts us the most, because we get labeled with that PTSD, and then all the things that come with that training and all the things that come with that history or that person's experience, it gets labeled. And I believe that the mental health PTSD label [has] so many layers. So you can't just label it that unless you actually talk to that person to find out exactly what they are dealing with and even if they can articulate it. Like I said, I've only been able to do this because of the work that I put in to stay alive and to become an advocate for [sickle cell trait]. So, I've dedicated my life to something else. But after 24 years, it was half my life in the military. So, the labeling of PTSD, it's a human being flaw. However, it's how we objectify one another, and that's something that I'm learning that really hurts us as a society period.

Drug Topics: Are there certain trends you’ve noticed when it comes to clinicians dealing with PTSD? Or do you think there’s a disconnect between physicians or people who don’t really have experience as veterans, but they’re still being asked to treat them?

Farron Dozier: Well, I'm going to tell you why it's tough off the top. As veterans, for me, I remember being taught that civilians are not going to understand you. So now you get taught that from 19 years old until you're 50-something. I was 43 when I retired. But you live with that in the background of your life. So, when you come to a person who is supposed to help you at the VA, and they're not a veteran, you already have that stuff in the background of the disconnect. So, you're not even going to know, you don't even know what I've been through.

And so for me, I had to start setting that aside when I decided to go for the [cognitive behavior training] to allow that person to hear me. But even before then, when I was still serving, I was dealing with my mental health. The guy at the Air Force Base, I don't know, it's like we just couldn't connect. I heard him, but we just couldn't connect and for whatever that was at the time, I don't know, I can't put my finger on it. But I can tell you that I saw this guy almost once a week and I heard him, but there was just something in that space. He was an Air Force officer. So, I don't think it's just whether you’re a civilian doctor or a military doctor, I think it's in the listening of one another. There's definitely a disconnection.

Stay tuned for part II of our interview series with Farron Dozier discussing PTSD among US veterans.

Don’t get left behind: Sign up today for our free Drug Topics newsletter and get the latest drug information, industry trends, and patient care tips delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Videos
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.