The Devil In Me
Artist: Brad Carraway
Medium: Color Pencil
Show: Vol. 2
SSG Brad Carraway (Ret.) served in the SC National Guard 1/178 Field Artillery unit and retired in 2008. He was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from 200405 as a Combat MP \ Convoy Security Platform. Decorations: Bronze Star w\ V Device, Combat Action Badge. He is a graduate of the University of SC, holding degrees in both Graphic Design and Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Psychology. He is a Certified Peer Support Specialist (SCDMH), with a goal to become a counselor for fellow combat veterans who are struggling to understand and heal their emotional scars from traumatic experiences. He is actively exploring the use of creative expression and art therapy as a form of treatment for combat induced PTSD.
From the Artist:
“I have always been an avid lover of nature and wildlife. The only thing that I loved more than nature was creating art inspired by it. But as I grew up, I drew away from art and used my talents less and less. On returning to normal life after my deployment I found that I was having problems letting go of the war. My experiences in the combat zone had changed some fundamental parts of who I was and how I saw the world around me. At the encouragement of my family I sought help, and was diagnosed with PTSD, but none of the conventional forms of treatments seemed to help.
It was at this time that I had a counselor suggest that producing artwork may be a good tool for me to use to relax my anxiety and to cope with my PTSD symptoms. Since then I have submerged myself in art and I have found that the creative process has been the greatest catalyst to my emotional healing and is a perfect form of therapeutic release. Exploring my artistic talents and discovering how the creative process can be used to continue to help me heal is an ongoing learning process for me. The subject matter, artistic mediums and rendering styles that I use in my artwork is constantly evolving, and my artistic style is still in transition.
So it is too with the recovery process for someone suffering from Post-traumatic stress.
PTSD is a complicated anxiety disorder, and finding the proper fit of treatments and coping mechanisms can be elusive for many. Every day can be a challenge for someone with this disorder and no two people suffering with PTSD have the exact same issues. This is because a lot of how we learn to deal with the stress from traumatic events is ingrained into us in our early years of development and through the lessons that we learn in our experiences in daily living.
For combat veterans, their families and mental health professionals, the biggest challenge is often finding the best ways for them as individuals to take those traumatic experiences and the powerful emotions they generate and move them out of the here and now, and put them in the past, where we can deal with them in a healing way and then move on with the rest of our positive and fulfilling lives.”
~ Brad Carraway