‘This is never going to get better, it’s eventually going to go downhill,’ PTSD over the years


We first brought you Mark McQuate’s story about a year ago. 

That’s when he started his nonprofit, 1 Marine 1life.

But since then, he’s had to make some tough choices.

“I didn’t want to give it up.” 

McQuate has had to come to terms with his changing health.

“It’s deteriorated to the point that I can no longer on a day-to-day basis run an organization.” 

McQuate started 1 Marine 1 Life last year to fund scholarships for kids.

But now, he’s facing a growing opponent in his PTSD.

“What I’m dealing with now is we don’t know what the extent of the brain damage is,” he says. 

It Took McQuate nearly 10 Years to come to terms with his diagnosis and realizing it’s progression has been another process. 

“A lot of times I’ll not know where I am or what I’m doing and I have to go back a few days later and work backwards to try to remember what I did,” he says. 

While some veterans see PTSD effects fade, others are see severe symptoms up to five decades after combat, according to the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. 

“It’s a big reality check,” says Missy McQuate, Mark’s wife. 

She has seen his symptoms snowball over the last eight years. 

“He doesn’t know who I am sometimes, he doesn’t know where he’s at, there’s sometimes he thinks nighttime is daytime and daytime is nighttime.” 

Mcquate says without Missy’s help, he would be on the streets. 

“You can’t go 2, 3, 4 days in a row and not know who people are or not being able to wake up, sleeping for long periods of time,” he says.  

But still, they’ve had to have some difficult conversations. 

“If he would have to go into a home if it got to a point where I couldn’t take care of him anymore,” Missy says. 

“Unfortunately this is never going to get better, it’s eventually going to go downhill. And that’s a reality that I have to put myself in,” she says.  

But for right now, they’re focusing on the positive. 

“One foot in front of the other, for sure,” she says.  

And for the veteran, one frame of mind that never seems to fade.

“Even though things aren’t getting better, I’m okay. So what can I do to help those who aren’t okay?” says McQuate.

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