On Survivor, Marine Ben Driebergen was having a difficult time dealing with his post traumatic stress disorder. The bamboo logs burning in the tribe’s fire kept making loud popping noises that triggered Ben’s PTSD. “I don’t like loud noises like that. Like when they’re unexpected — it kind of put me in a bad spot,” Ben said.
Ben was in the Marines for three and a half years and has struggled with PTSD since he returned home. The Marine said, “When you go through combat and you come back, there is no way to adjust fully.” Like a lot of veterans dealing with PTSD, Ben felt like he was on an island all by himself. “Other people, civilians or whatever, have no idea what it’s like to be shot at or have people try to kill you. You can’t comprehend that without being there and going through it,” Ben explained. “And so those reactions are 100% real for men and women that have fought for our country. And it’s hard to be around other people that don’t understand that.”
While Ben has been able to manage his PTSD thanks to the support from his wife and kids, being on Survivor has given him the opportunity to help fellow veterans who aren’t so lucky. Ben said, “You know, winning the $1 million for my family is my goal, but there’s a bigger picture — and it’s bigger than me, my family, the game of Survivor. It’s about just being able to show vets who have gone through battle and war and depression and PTSD, there’s a way to life outside of all that hell.”
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
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