Georgia State Alumnus Doc Todd creates HIP HOP album that could be used for PTSD therapy

Georgia State Alumnus creates an album to help veterans stuffing from PTSD. Photo by Vanessa Johnson| The Signal

Georgia State Alumni Doc Todd has dropped an album that may be able to progress veterans along in their struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Todd said he has been receiving praise all across the board.

“[The response] has been overwhelmingly positive. From a prominent neurosurgeon tweeting out ‘this may be most powerful cognitive B therapy for severe PTSD that I’ve ever seen’ to high level government people saying this is the best album I’ve heard in all 2017 to people calling my cellphone saying this going to have my life,” Todd said.

The album, named Combat Medicine, targets changing the mindset of veterans to better impact their lives.

“It’s an action based not an awareness based initiative at empowering our veterans on a personal level and their mental health and their professional capacity now,” Todd said. “Reminding them of who they are and what they signed up to be and saying it’s not a victim mindset but an empowerment mindset.”

According to Todd 22, veterans commit suicide every day, with numbers adding up to eight thousand suicides a year. Although Todd has not experienced PTSD, he believes that it drives veterans to suicide because of the structure they lose when leaving the military.  

“That’s one of the fundamental pieces of the military, is it provides structure and control of your everyday life and one of the things people don’t talk about is when that structure and foundation just completely disappears these people are unable to stand back up and create organization, foundation and structure in their own lives,” Todd said.

Georgia State Director of Military Outreach Mark Eister said that the disappearance of structure negatively impacts the transition from the military to the education system. The two are stark opposites of each other, according to Eister. The military provides what to do and when, while college is more of a free for all.  

“When you step onto a college campus there’s none of that, no structure. It’s completely up to you to register for your classes and get where you need to be, so you can be prepared,” Eister said. “When you transition from the military where you have a place to live to no place to live and no structure and if you are going to be using and receiving VA benefits for housing and your school none of that is automatic. This lack of structure is not overblown, it’s a really big deal.”

Todd delivers a call for action, challenging veterans to seek out help while reassuring them that they are not alone.   

“Whether they get help from a traditional institutional sources like the VA or seek private help, or peer to peer counseling. Whatever that looks like for them personally,” Todd said, “We’re not advocating any particular treatment plan. We’re just saying that PTSD is active, it can be crippling to your personal health and well being. It’s something you’re not going to tackle alone.”

Eister said that out of the 2,800 military-affiliated students across all six campuses and online, there are some that deal with PTSD and Georgia State does provide them with resources that they can access.

“We understand PTSD and we have a number of students who are experiencing PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). On all the campuses there’s counselors trained in this [and] it’s all part of their student fees or we send them to outside organizations that have free counseling,” said Eister.

Otherwise, those going through PTSD may succumb to addiction in order to deal with the pressures of the transition from soldier to civilian. This a topic Todd showed in the music video for the song ‘Not Alone’, however he also shows how they can overcome that obstacle.   

We show a veteran throwing vodka down the drain and essentially throwing drugs in the trash can,” Todd said. “We show them going through that spell of addiction or dependence on an outside source, but then we show them getting out of that.”  

His album, although aimed to veterans, is not limited to that audience. The message can be adapted to any individual in a situation where trauma is a cause of stress.

“Post traumatic stress is not subjected to the veteran community. It could be a sexual assault, a car accident. It can be anything that creates some high level mental trauma. Anyone who’s experienced trauma is going to relate to PTSD.”

Eister confirmed that the PTS in PTSD can easily be experienced by anyone and that the “disorder” part is when the the stressor starts to impedes onto everyday life.   

“Everyone goes through a post traumatic stress when they’ve seen something. It can be a horror movie all they way up to seeing people killed on the battlefield or losing you buddy and everything in between.” Eister said. “The ‘Disorder’ is when the stress is so pronounce that you can’t function normally, so now you’re having trouble coping.”

However, Todd addressed another issue faced by the veteran community known as survivor’s guilt in his album. He said the best way to deal with survivor’s guilt is to not linger on what could have been done.

‘Never get em back’ deals with the topic of survivor’s guilt. A lot of veterans struggle with, ‘why did he die and I didn’t die?’,” Todd said. “They play the scenario over and over again in their minds and I just thought it was important to come out and say there’s nothing that you can do that will ever bring them back. No action that you can take now. You have to try you best to move on.”

Eister said the majority of the time veterans experiencing PTSD just need a support group made up of individuals that understand where they are coming from and that is why Georgia State provides the PAVE program, where newly enrolled veterans have the chance to be mentored by a seasoned veteran.

“A lot of it is just having friend and having other veterans on campus. Part of this PAVE program is you’re with other veterans who’ve been in it,” Eister said. “The healing can start that way and they’re still in class.”

Combat Medicine Playlist

PTSD (feat. Abe Rivera – Voodoo fix)

Attention (feat. Pablo Pkasso)

Not Alone (feat. Bingx)

Lay Em Down (feat DTL)

Asalamalakum (feat. Pablo Pkasso & DTL)

I Disappear (feat. Patrick Sewalk)

Driving (feat. Liv Ray)

AWGIU (feat. Pablo Pkasso)

Never Get Em Back (feat. Pablo Pkasso)

“I purposely didn’t bring in some of those more complex elements to lyrical hip hop–to where you have to discern the meaning to something. It’s intellectual it’s strong but it also has a lot of clarity, so you’re not going to miss the message.” -Doc Todd, Georgia State Alumnus