COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A documentary featuring two Colorado Springs veterans is playing across the country. It's called "From Shock to Awe." It's a look at veterans struggling with PSTD and the controversial ways they overcame it.
The filmmaker, producer and veterans kicked off Tuesday night’s showing in Colorado Springs.
One of the veterans featured in the film and his wife, also a veteran, both say they want audiences to walk away with one overwhelming feeling: hope.
Mike Cooley was a U.S. Army soldier for more than a decade. Stationed at Fort Carson for several years, he medically retired. He spent years after his time serving dealing with PTSD.
"I was at the end of my rope, basically given up on everything,” Cooley explained. “I was suicidal."
The documentary follows Cooley and another Colorado Springs veteran as they participated in a ceremony involving ayahuasca, a controversial-psychedelic tea. Ayahuasca is traditionally used for healing and spiritual revelations. The active ingredient known as DMT is illegal.
"That's the biggest thing, yes it may be in the gray area,” Cooley stated. “It may be illegal, but would we rather be dead?
“We've lost more brothers and sisters being back home than we did on the battlefield,” Brooke Cooley added. “We continue to."
Mike Cooley says it healed him from the demons they brought back from war. To both of them life was new all over again.
“To experience that joy and that beauty of life that I had been completely shut off from for so long, it was like experiencing everything brand new," he said.
The producer of the documentary says the U.S. needs to do better with alternative medicines to help veterans.
"Our veterans are suffering and most military doctors realize that PTSD is intractable for many, many people, so if this works, why not give it a chance?" Janine Sagert said.
The trailer for the film can be watched below.