Melissa and her dad

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My father has always been in my life. He's a hardworking man who has always done absolutely everything he could to give us everything we have. As a teen, he was a field worker, traveling to make what money he could. In Vietnam, he served two tours of duty with the Marines. For as long as I can remember, my dad was very quiet and very strict. 

What I didn't know was that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a result, I never really knew my father although he lived with me my entire life. I never talked to him much or hung out with him, and even hugging him was a little awkward. He has always been there for events and holidays, but I never felt like he actually was present or that I could talk to him. Last year, my father received treatment for his PTSD, and he returned a completely different person. I remember the day he came home, he walked in and he looked me in my eyes and said "Hello!" and hugged me. At that moment, I knew my dad was in there and happy to be home. I felt like at 20 years old I got my dad back. 

— Melissa, Clovis, California