Suffering from PTSD, Sean, struggles to fit in with society upon his return from fighting a war in Afghanistan.

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Sean says he joined the military to be a mechanic. When he volunteered to go to Afghanistan, he joined a security team with the infantry. He says there were a lot of close calls, and a constant edginess. “Essentially what kept you alive over there was that constant fear of something could go wrong,” Sean said.  “Coming back it was like, I don't know really how to explain it. It just, we didn't, you didn't fit in anymore. You didn't fit in. Coming back they just thought it was a joke. Like laughing at us. Like, "Oh it wasn't that bad." No, it was that bad. When the mortars come in, those explosions go off and rock the ground you stood on. It was serious. It wasn't a joke. It's almost like a fear that stays with you. A fear that instills itself in your soul and you can't get rid of it.”

Sean says he found it difficult coming back to the states where people didn’t watch each other’s backs the way he and those he served in a war zone with did. “It’s like nobody wanted to listen. You can really see it in someone’s eyes whenever they’re not there anymore. You might normally talk to your wife or kids, but they don’t need to hear the stories that changed you. It would haunt them or just get to the point of unbelievable. You can’t talk to nobody. You don’t know what to do anymore.”  With a 50 percent disability, Sean receives $829 per month to live on. “It’s not enough,” Sean says.

July 2017:  With window blinds drawn against the sunlight outside, Sean makes himself a meal from a can of soup.  “I watched, just like everybody else, my world fall apart. I came back, wife was already pregnant by somebody else that she had moved into my house. I had such animosity. Like, I was tired of the world. I was tired of the world turning it's back on me so I turned my back on the world and I became a hateful, cruel person.  Over there I had a purpose. I enjoyed protecting people. I wanted to make sure everybody came home, even if that meant giving my life. Being a homeless veteran was the easiest thing to walk into.”  Sean says seeing the goodness in other homeless people helped him. “Seeing that good in them -  It’s enough to keep you from killing yourself.  These people who have given me a home off the streets - they remind me of me before, before I deployed. Just somebody who'd just give you the shirt off their back, you know. They don't owe you nothing. They just did it cuz. And that reminds me a lot of how I used to be. How I want to be once again. Someone who cares for others when nobody else will.” 

July 2017: With window blinds drawn against the sunlight outside, Sean makes himself a meal from a can of soup.  “I watched, just like everybody else, my world fall apart. I came back, wife was already pregnant by somebody else that she had moved into my house. I had such animosity. Like, I was tired of the world. I was tired of the world turning it's back on me so I turned my back on the world and I became a hateful, cruel person.

Over there I had a purpose. I enjoyed protecting people. I wanted to make sure everybody came home, even if that meant giving my life. Being a homeless veteran was the easiest thing to walk into.”  Sean says seeing the goodness in other homeless people helped him. “Seeing that good in them -  It’s enough to keep you from killing yourself.  These people who have given me a home off the streets - they remind me of me before, before I deployed. Just somebody who'd just give you the shirt off their back, you know. They don't owe you nothing. They just did it cuz. And that reminds me a lot of how I used to be. How I want to be once again. Someone who cares for others when nobody else will.” 

August 2017:   Sean, 28, rests with his dog, Zeus, where he shares an apartment with a couple living in poverty, who took him in.  Sean found the dog in a dope house where he says Zeus was being beaten.  An untrained companion dog, Sean says Zeus can detect when he’s about to have a blackout.  “Blacking out is the worst. It can happen anywhere. It’s almost like I can watch but I have no control over what I’m doing. It’s like a sudden aggressive, mean, hateful personality that can arise if someone yells at you, for no reason or something like that. One little nip to my leg to get my attention - it’s his way of saying, stop. He’s pulled me out of situations that could have been detrimental to me and others.”   Sean says his dog means everything to him. “Like when you feel there's no purpose for you on this planet anymore, that will eat your soul alive. That would be the reason you commit suicide. When you don't feel like you'd do anybody any good. If it wasn’t for my dog, I would have pulled the plug a long time ago, but I couldn’t do that to him, he’s always been there for me. Despite how cruel you can be, he’s gonna love you with all his heart, and that’s the bit of hope I need. Zeus is a loving dog. He has love in his soul. Even when things are crappy and you’re sleeping on the streets, he gonna sleep right next to you, and he’s not miserable. He’s just happy you’re there with him.”

August 2017:  Sean, 28, rests with his dog, Zeus, where he shares an apartment with a couple living in poverty, who took him in.  Sean found the dog in a dope house where he says Zeus was being beaten.  An untrained companion dog, Sean says Zeus can detect when he’s about to have a blackout.  “Blacking out is the worst. It can happen anywhere. It’s almost like I can watch but I have no control over what I’m doing. It’s like a sudden aggressive, mean, hateful personality that can arise if someone yells at you, for no reason or something like that. One little nip to my leg to get my attention - it’s his way of saying, stop. He’s pulled me out of situations that could have been detrimental to me and others.” 

Sean says his dog means everything to him. “Like when you feel there's no purpose for you on this planet anymore, that will eat your soul alive. That would be the reason you commit suicide. When you don't feel like you'd do anybody any good. If it wasn’t for my dog, I would have pulled the plug a long time ago, but I couldn’t do that to him, he’s always been there for me. Despite how cruel you can be, he’s gonna love you with all his heart, and that’s the bit of hope I need. Zeus is a loving dog. He has love in his soul. Even when things are crappy and you’re sleeping on the streets, he gonna sleep right next to you, and he’s not miserable. He’s just happy you’re there with him.”

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