One man’s struggle with PTSD, 40 years later

One man's struggle with PTSD, 40 years later

(BPT) – Bobby Barrera’s career as a Marine ended abruptly at age 21. While in Vietnam, on his first mission, a land mine explosion took his right hand at the wrist and left arm at the shoulder, and left him with severe burns over 40 percent of his body and face.

Coping with the physical challenges of his injuries and struggling to find a new purpose for life was almost easy compared to dealing with the psychological impact of war trauma: something that would remain with Bobby for the next 40 years.

Bobby went on to marry and have a family. His children had children, and he created a fulfilling and meaningful life for himself. He returned to college to earn a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. For nearly four decades, Bobby counseled veterans with mental health challenges caused by war and volunteered with DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a veterans service organization that helps veterans of all generations get the benefits and services they’ve earned. He went on to become the national commander of DAV in 2009. What Bobby didn’t realize – or want to admit – was that for more than 40 years, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It wasn’t until Bobby and his wife moved to San Antonio, Texas, to retire that his PTSD symptoms became overwhelming. After moving, Bobby felt immediately lost. Being new in town, losing his network of friends, no longer working and coping with chronic pain triggered long-suppressed symptoms of PTSD. Soon, the nightmares began. Then came mood swings, increased anxiety, and feelings of isolation and hopelessness – and eventually, thoughts of suicide.

Health & Fitness

Bobby’s wife pushed him to seek help – which led to a PTSD diagnosis. He questioned how he could have overlooked his own signs of PTSD for so many decades, while helping countless other veterans who struggled with it.

PTSD symptoms are caused by experiencing traumatic events and not by an inherent individual weakness. Roughly 15 percent of Vietnam veterans are impacted by PTSD, and an estimated 20 percent of recent war veterans have symptoms of PTSD or depression. It can lead to a higher risk for unemployment, homelessness or suicide.

Bobby is learning how to cope with his diagnosis. He is meeting more people, getting involved at church and spending time with his family. He began to volunteer again. His recovery is ongoing. Bobby credits his wife for encouraging him to ask for help and believes that doing so gave him yet another chance at life.

If you are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, you are not alone. Resources are available at www.DAV.org/veterans/resources. If your situation is critical, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.


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* A somewhat controversial topic among Metroid fans is Metroid Other M, and its portrayal of Samus having a form of PTSD. In this video we discuss how she’s always had it, and how it makes her a better, stronger, more interesting character. Though, she could still do without the voice acting.

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How PTSD Makes Samus a Stronger Character | Gnoggin How PTSD Makes Samus a Stronger Character | Gnoggin

15 Responses to “One man’s struggle with PTSD, 40 years later”

  1. Daniel Owens Reply

    Thank you for this vid. Been saying this since 2011.

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  2. Dakuu75 Reply

    Her ptsd, as explained in this video sounds the same like, a wife who is abused by her husband, runs away, changers her name, goes like 6 years without seeing him then all of a sudden, shows up on her front door. (I'm not trying to imply Ridly and Samus are in those roles, not at all.) I'm saying it's like… you escape a horrible SOMETHING/SOMEONE and think they're gone… then boom, they just appear outa no where. Ppl get Ptsd from situations like being debt, having debt collectors harass them 24 hours of everyday for years, then they finally claw themselves out of it some how… the next time they receive an over-due notice or large bill, could trigger a panic attack or something. Ptsd isn't strictly combat related, it can do with any high-stress-trauma of multiple variety…

    Anyway, dunno where I was going with that ramble. I liked the video. Cheers~

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  3. tenchimod Reply

    The Metroid Manga at least makes her PTSD plausible and is used to build her background. Other M bastardized her character by making Samus into a submissive housewife with separation anxiety. By Other M she had defeated Ridley no less than twice if you only count Metroid 1 and Super, and no less than five times if you count the Prime games. To think that she would suddenly have another paralyzing bout of PTSD when facing an enemy she had single-handedly conquered is, quite frankly, ludicrous, if not plaid.

    Also, Samus didn't destroy Zebes, Mother Brain destroyed Zebes.

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  4. J C Reply

    This was too good. Hopefully Fusion gets a remake and continues forward!

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  5. 뿡뿡! ^__^ Reply

    I didn't need this video to explain why Samus was afraid of Ridley or to explain that humans have emotions, or to explain to me that being a bad ass is not the being fearless. A person with no fear is not a bad ass for not being afraid. A person full of fear is a bad ass when hey fight against their fear to do what needs to be done.

    I didn't need these things explained to me because, unlike most gamers/people, I'm not a moron. At least not when it comes to understanding human nature.

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  6. 뿡뿡! ^__^ Reply

    Aran is pronounce the same as Aaron and Erin, not "Uh-Rawn."

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  7. M NJ Reply

    The manga was great though (like my favorite manga honestly) it was nothing like other m

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  8. Cactusman129 Reply

    i think you put more thought into this than sakamoto did

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  9. Moses - Reply

    To me, as indicated in another comment, the issue is not whether it makes sense or whether it can be justified. (Anything, especially in fiction, can be justified and rationalized. If tomorrow Nintendo announced that canonically Samus has been a space hamster piloting a synthetic gynoid made to look human, I trust Lockstin/Gnoggin would have a video up stating why it was obviously the case the whole time). The issue is whether it is supported by the previous games and previous depictions of the character. I, and many others, hold that on the latter question, the answer is a definitive no.

    For example, almost any video game character with a series in which they fight enemies could be diagnosed with "PTSD" in the same way Samus has been (and she doesn't meet the criteria for diagnosis even using the guidelines in the video; having a panic attack in response to a real threat isn't PTSD). So it would "make sense" if Mario has PTSD about Bowser, or Richter Belmont has PTSD about Bowser, or Solid Snake has PTSD about metal gears. It might make sense for this to be the case, but it would in no way be supported by the previous games if in the next entry in each of these respective series, the protagonists started flipping out over something they have done multiple times before.

    Whether Samus has been depicted without PTSD is because of limitations in technology is irrelevant (and that doesn't seem to be the case since they did not take the opportunity to characterize Samus similarly in any game previously). Whether they "should" have depicted Samus with PTSD in every game is an entirely different question than whether they "actually did" or intend to portray her as such. In both cases, I would have to answer in the negative.

    In any case, whether it makes sense or not, or whether Samus was originally "supposed" to be a certain way or not has no bearing on the way her character has been established throughout the decades. And what Metroid fans such as myself find de facto offensive/wrong about Other M is that it represents such a huge retcon of a previously established character in a way that is diametrically opposed to the way she has always been depicted. Other M's Samus is a totally different character, like a What If comic story, or an alternate universe take on her.

    I get that people want examples of realistic trauma and recovery from it done right in their favorite medium of videogames, but Other M is not the game you want to hang your hat on for PTSD. Any attempt to do so requires a hefty dose of denial, forced eisegesis, and massive retconning. Even as a standalone Metroid title it doesn't make sense in context either.

    I personally think Fusion conveyed far more about Samus in a way that was actually insightful, and even depicted her realistic response to something genuinely frightening (SA-X) as a seasoned bounty hunter.

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  10. Steve Morris Reply

    The problem with the PTSD thing is that it kind of comes out of left field. There really wasn't any build up to it. If other M had questioned Samus' mental state prior to the Ridly event and sown the seeds of doubt in the player then the hesitation would have made more since. Other M did a poor job in including the player and giving them a reason as to why she acted like she did. There was a disconnect in the players expectations and Samus' actions that left most people confused.

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  11. Rubber Ducky Reply

    Bad guy samus is a ball SAX confirmed

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  12. TF Allspark Reply

    this video gave me chills!

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  13. Grapple Gaming Reply

    you know what they say,

    what doesn't kill you makes you wear tighter clothes…

    …wait a minute…

    View Comment
  14. antione richardson Reply

    damn i didjt know samus was going thru so much o.o i understand alot more not ? ty so much ?

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  15. Samus Aran Reply

    Great vid <3

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