Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects a stark number of veterans, both servicemen and women. The US Department of Veteran Affairs actually estimates that around 30% of all Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD at some point in their lifetime. Still, PTSD can be found at every level of service and doesn’t just come from direct combat. It can also come from experiencing sexual assault, which is something else that the VA provides alarming statistics about.
Even with its high prevalence, PTSD is something that can present itself differently in all veterans. This also means that a healing path for one, may not be the same for another. Service dogs, crocheting, and hiking are methods that have helped others deal with their personal PTSD journeys. For one Las Vegas veteran, she finds the most healing by helping others recover. This is her story.
Jill Chambers Describes How She Developed PTSD as a Result of the Attacks of 9/11
Jill Chambers comes from a family who boasts generations upon generations of dedicated service men and women. Among those to serve? Her father, grandfather, and five uncles. “I loved my dad so much, he inspired me,” she says. “I really wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
And that’s exactly what Jill Chambers did. She went on to serve the United States Army for 30 years, earning the rank of colonel by the end of her service. On September 11th, 2001, she found herself inside the Pentagon working as the Military Secretary for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
She explains how she was directly involved with the ensuing rescue attempts after the tragic 9/11 attacks. “We had to go back inside and start to do accountability and get people out. We ended up staying out there for about three or four hours until we figured out how to move everybody over to Crystal City.”
That’s also the pivotal moment that changed her life and brought on her PTSD, though she wouldn’t process that fact until much later.
“The impact of that day was significant, but I didn’t realize it until probably seven or eight years later,” Chambers said. “Nobody had really heard of [PTSD] at that point. But you have those feelings and initially for me, after going to so many friends funerals it just wears on you.”
Now She Helps Other Veterans Combat PTSD While Still On a Journey to Overcome Her Own
After progressing on her healing journey with PTSD, Jill Chambers launched “This Able Vet” to provide resources to others who might be struggling.
“It’s such a positive thing because you can really take those experiences, like the ones I’ve had, and use them to your advantage to remain healthy, but grow stronger and have more resilience for yourself,” Chambers says of her diagnosis.
Jill holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Human Resources as well as another Master’s of Science in National Resource Strategy. All the tools she provides are founded in fact-checked research and completely free.