Disney Is My Drug Of Choice, Says Veteran With PTSD
"Disney is my drug of choice.
It's been the happiest days of my life.
My Family is the main function of my happiest days.
But, all this art and magic, creates magic.
It gives you a different feeling of peace inside.
Or, it does for me."
Guy Spagnoli was your typical young American kid when he was drafted into the Army, and sent over to help fight the war in Vietnam. While he was there, he saw and experienced the types of things that no one should ever have to be a part of. But, he did it, because his Country asked it of him. When he finally returned home, he returned a different person. Although he wouldn't learn of his diagnosis till years later, he now suffered from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The world was now different to him, and he reacted differently towards it. He suffered from panic attacks, nightmares, and was no longer able to watch the news, since many of its stories would trigger his PTSD. The doctors began prescribing him pills. But, as he has said, taking those pills would ultimately fry his brain. So, Guy turned away from the doctors' medicines and found a more appropriate way to find peace from his PTSD; through Disney.
Guy has now been to Disney World 50 times, and this version of self-medication is doing wonders for him. He was most recently there on July 18th for a Jodie Benson (voice of Ariel from The Little Mermaid) event. In a Reddit AMA today, he was asked what his favorite thing about Disney World was, and he said, "Everybody is treated equal, everybody is given respect, and everybody is treated like a guest whether you work there or not.". He has also worked on and off for Disney 11 times. When asked his favorite thing about working there, he said "The food! There are so many different restaurants down there and food from so many different cultures you can try."
When another veteran with PTSD asked him for advice, he told him to "Find the thing that makes you happy and doesn't hurt you or anyone around you." In other words, try to find your own escape, your own outlet, your own peace, whether it's Disney World or something else.
His favorite Disney quote is "Keep Moving Forward". As he says, "The key to my PTSD is to keep moving forward. If you live in the past, it will consume you." So, in that spirit, he is currently the main participant in a documentary in the works titled "Keep Moving Forward". It chronicles Guy's story, and the effect his Disney World fascination is having on his struggle with PTSD.
To help fund this project, the creators have launched a kickstarter campaign, which can be found here (video below).
Guy, congratulations on all you have accomplished, and we wish you the very best with the documentary, as well as all things to come.
Keep Moving Forward