Military veterans learn glass-blowing to combat PTSD

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TAMPA, Fla. — Like so many of his fellow veterans, Marine sergeant Chris Stowe suffers from PTSD, but Stowe has discovered a unique treatment that works for him: blowing glass.

“I got blown up a couple times,” Stowe told Fox 13. “I ended up getting diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.” 

Stowe says that the focus, teamwork, and self-expression that comes from blowing glass helps veterans suffering with PTSD have an outlet for their frustration. They can move on from their troubles, if just for a moment. Stowe founded Operation Zen at Zen Glass Studios in St. Petersburg, Fla., to help teach other veterans the art that has helped him recover.

“You’re not thinking about things from before, you’re not thinking about things in the future. You’re not ruminating. You’re not being depressed. You’re literally just thinking about that piece of glass,” said Stowe.

The VA estimates that somewhere between 11 and 20 percent of all veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Glass blowing is one of many creative ways people have found to help deal with PTSD, from playing music to riding horses, but one thing is clear: veterans need our support, and if you are a veteran who is struggling, or know someone who is, it’s always a good idea to seek out help, in whatever form works best for you.

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