Raising awareness of post-traumatic stress is Alabama Veteran’s new mission

New documentary project tackles stereotypes



When a 107-millimeter rocket exploded three-and-a-half feet away from Colin Wayne Erwin in Paktika Province in Afghanistan, the former Alabama Army National Guardsman and DoD contractor miraculously survived, walking away with a lumbar contusion, permanent tinnitus and shrapnel in his arms, stomach and leg. But he also came home with post-traumatic stress. Four years later, Colin Wayne, as he’s known professionally, is a well-known sports and fitness model who is sharing his story in the hopes of helping others.

Since the rocket attack four years ago, Wayne returned to the Middle East as part of a USO celebrity tour, a trip covered by filmmakers from Malka Media. Wayne and Malka Media are now working together on a new documentary, “The Face of PTSD,” to help raise awareness of post-traumatic stress.

“My involvement with Malka Media productions on this project came from working on some former projects with them,” Wayne said. “This particular documentary has been discussed for over two years.” It’s something that Wayne says “hit home for both us … bringing awareness to PTSD and Veteran suicide” as issues within the Veteran community.

“We believe that the mainstream media has chosen to go with stories that have shock value, rather than telling the stories of Veterans who deal with the disorder but still lead highly productive lives,” the film’s director, Derek Brown, recently told Military Times. “The Face of PTSD” is in pre-production and recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the full length documentary.

Wayne says, for him, it took family pointing out that he had changed. “My mom actually was the first person to tell me, ‘Colin, something’s different with you.’” His advice for other Veterans is to not be afraid to seek help.

“The biggest issue with a lot of Veterans, in my opinion, is that they don’t want to admit that there is a problem, much less a mental problem,” Wayne said. As for friends or family who may need help, he said “Let them know that you are there for them, and that you do care.”

For Wayne, who sought treatment after returning from overseas, fitness was part of his answer. “I saw a psychologist when I got back from Iraq and Afghanistan and they both advised me that physical fitness was a great activity to help me mentally, as well as physically.” His advice to others? “Join a gym and keep yourself accountable to continue to work on your body, which in turn helps you mentally.

June is national PTSD awareness month. You can help raise awareness by joining VA’s efforts to spread the word about PTSD and effective treatments. Learn, connect and share. Everyone makes a difference.

Author

Megan Moloney

— Megan served at VA from May 2013 to July 2018. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Jimmy Scott    

    What a joke, so this (redacted) clown is the only who suffers from PTSD. Pretty boy try three wars 15 conflicts, 17 concussions confirm TBI. 100 percent disabled. Son it’s ok to share your story, however by no means you are the norm. Of course I don’t blame you but the bureaucratic leaches from the Alabama VA and the USO. As a former green beret, I can assure that after getting hit twice by IED’s and being blown 15 yards from where I kneeled by a 122 mm. You son were lucky. Don’t forget to tell them the numerous times you think of suicide, the days and nights you play Russian roulette with you 38 wheel. Please don’t forget to tell them how you cry for no reason at all. Tell them about how a smell will trigger the memories memories of horror, here you can tell them how walking through a market place three IED ripped into a populace of mostly women, children and elderly folks. And how after wards you run into the carnage moving bodies and limbs a side to render aid to the living.. Oh and how about the countless friends you saw killed in countries you want to forget. Somalia, Colombia, Angola, Itaq Afghanistan, Lebanon. You see son, we are out here we live it eat and nothing seems to be working. So go right a head and tell them your story. But don’t forget to tell then your but one story.

  2. Peter Garland    

    Wow, you hit it on the head about the lazy media – what a bunch of bums, trying to work people up in ever-increasingly irresponsible ways. Gives a very distorted idea of America and Americans.

    Sounds like a good video you’re making.

    Mental exercise is at least as important as physical activity. For me it is writing, reading, researching, publishing – but a healthy body needs a healthy, active, involved mind. Learn another language that you can use! (I learn five! I read their literature and study their history.)

    Good luck with the video. Hope what we’re doing over in those warring countries is worthwhile. Those bums over there murdered the father of our great Warriors’ coach, Steve Kerr.

    Thanks for the article

    Peter Garland
    Oakland CA
    Formerly 11th Marines, Da Nang, etc.
    US’nAye
    Go WARRIORS!

  3. Alan Miles    

    “stories of Veterans who deal with the disorder but still lead highly productive lives” well said.

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