Texas Veteran Shot by Deputies Shares Message of Hope
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A 25-year-old East Texas veteran says getting help with PTSD saved his life, after being shot by Smith County deputies in an apparent attempt at "suicide by police".
Cameron Dossey, a Navy veteran who served tours in Afghanistan and Africa, now has a strong message to other veterans to get help.
Dossey discusses his service, saying, "I don't like people thanking me for my service, because there's things I'm not proud of."
Dossey's family says he came back changed. Dossey admits he struggled with depression. "You know, the last couple of years... getting stuck in my own head, all I hear are my own thoughts." Thoughts turned into actions.
"I tried to commit suicide three times." Family members were unable to reach him.
Dossey explains, "I never wanted to talk to my parents about what I've seen, because in my mind I'm carrying the visions and the price for freedom around in my head, so that they don't have to." His family urged him to get help.
Dossey recalls, "I called the Green Zone, a counseling service for veterans, and I left a message but never got a call back. At that point, I did make an attempt to reach out." Another call was returned by a different organization, but was unsuccessful at identifying the deep depression and PTSD Dossey was in denial of.
Dossey recounts the phone call: "I'm so-and-so with the Veteran Crisis Center. Do you have an issue?” I said, “Not at all” and he said, “Okay, talk to you later. "
Then, on December 9, Dossey was intoxicated and suicidal. His parents called sheriff's deputies for help. Armed with a knife, Dossey pushed his mother out of the way and lunged. "I got shot and I remember laying on the ground telling my mom I hate her," he recalled. It would be a long climb out of that dark spot for Dossey.
"Between the individual that shot me, the doctors that cared for me and Dr. Williams.... They essentially found a way to change my perception on things. It saved my life." Dossey was checked into ETMC's Behavioral Health Center, where he was diagnosed with PTSD and finally opened up to someone.
"About a week into that, that's when things kind of started to change for me. I saw a network of people who were there for me," Dossey says. Home now, Dossey is working on reconnecting with his two young daughters and focusing on trying to reach other veterans.
"It is a little heartbreaking, because I know there are a lot of people out there that are a lot worse than I am." He has a message for any other veterans who may be headed down the same road he was:
"Try it. Because I was in your shoes, and it changed my life when I opened myself up to the idea of letting someone else in."
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