A retired Fort Hood soldier and paratrooper living in Williamson County is discovering novel writing is helping him with his post-traumatic stress disorder. He's been through five combat deployments from Desert Storm to Afghanistan in 2013. He served at Fort Hood from about 2009 to 2015.
Retired Captain Dino Gutierrez admits he has done everything to cope with returning from combat with invisible wounds.
"I had to do 120 miles an hour on my motorcycle because I needed that edge," he said.
He said the binge drinking and his PTSD led to ruined relationships.
"I did some mistakes," he explained. "That's probably what led to my divorce."
He said, back then, his demons controlled him. But now, he's in charge and armed with the mighty pen.
"Quietly I creep up and my knees bark in pain but I suck it up," he read from his first novel "Stranded".
It takes place in a post-Apocalyptic America and is loosely based on his experiences overseas.
"I just spun it up to be more exciting, more bullets flying or whatever," he explained, while sitting at Parker's Corner Market in Liberty Hill.
He now calls this chapter of life a blessing.
"One 'cause It's helped me and, also two, I have the ability, if you read my novel, you'll see it's entertaining. One of my editors says it could be a movie," Gutierrez said.
He hopes he can be an inspiration to other soldiers and veterans, especially those who are in denial about having PTSD. But he also hopes it can do one more thing.
"Give them an escape because some veterans just miss the chaos," he said. "I admit in combat it's a lot simple, either you're alive or dead."
Gutierrez is planning to release the sequel to "Stranded" in the late fall or early winter this year. For more information about his book, click here.