A group of military veterans is connecting with audiences around the country! And sharing their experiences of war is helping them cope with PTSD.
This is a clip from the combat hippies, a performance group made up of military veterans.
Anthony Torres, Army Veteran, Executive Director, Writer & Performer with Combat Hippies said, “I deployed in 2004, to Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq.”
Anthony Torres was part of a mental health team sent to help United States troops. He didn’t realize until years later that he suffered from PTSD.
Anthony Torres said, “Things like hypervigilance, sensitivity to sounds, anxiety, depression.”
He started a writing workshop for war veterans. That turned into an ensemble of Puerto Rican military veterans sharing their experiences through the spoken word.
Hipolito Arriaga suffered from PTSD when he returned from Iraq.
Hipolito Arriaga said, “I was pushing people away, I wasn’t talking, I was isolating. And, I can’t just sit home on the couch and disconnect from the world; I have to come here and work.”
The show, titled “Amal”, is a raw look at war, death, and drug addiction.
Angel Rodriguez, Vietnam Veteran, Actor, Writer Combat Hippies said, “Every time we go in, we shed tears and those tears are real.”
Helping veterans through the healing process and encouraging others coping with trauma to do the same.
“I’m doing this not to perform, but to save my own life,” Arriaga said.
The show is made up of a mix of spoken word, live and recorded music.
The combat hippies are on a national tour and have played cities like Miami, Denver, and Milwaukee.