Local Veterans Highlight PTSD Ordeals In Controversial Documentary Film

Movie Depicts Unusual Treatment Methods

~ by Trevor Phipps~

Teller County resident and military veteran Matt Kahl, and his wife Amy, recently presented the first showing of a striking documentary called “From Shock To Awe. In rare detail, this film highlights the struggles Kahl endured on and off the battle fields in coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

Moreover, the film showcases how Kahl, a former  U.S. soldier who fought during the Middle East conflicts, turned to rather controversial methods in helping him and his family cope with the ordeal of constant pain and PTSD nightmares, resulting from his combat experience. 

 The movie recently played for the first time in a small theater in Colorado Springs. It showcases the struggles two local veteran families have had with PTSD. Colorado Springs residents Mike and Brooke Cooley, along with the Kahls, were the stars in the documentary filmed in locations in both El Paso and Teller Counties.

 The film starts with discussing the problems the veterans encountered with PTSD since returning from multiple tours in the war-torn countries of the Middle East. They both talk about the plethora of pills they got prescribed to by VA doctors once they returned home from the overseas conflicts. And unfortunately, the film documents and how these pills did nothing to help them with their symptoms.

In the movie, both of the veterans can be seen smoking marijuana as a way to cope with their mental illnesses, but they both end up reaching the conclusion that the cannabis is more of a band-aid solution.

 After years of trying different medicines, with limited success, Cooley and Kahl both d


ecided to research alternative methods for treatment. After doing their homework, the two decide to try psychedelic drugs to help them treat their PTSD symptoms.

The movie followed the two as they took their first trip to Orlando, Florida to a unique church that specializes in using hallucinogenic drugs to help people cope with their various mental ailments. The camera follows the two veterans as they spend a weekend at the church and go through four treatments using a special Ayahuasca tea.

 Ayahuasca is a drug/medicine that is found naturally and contains the hallucinogenic drug DMT as its active ingredient. Other cultures have been using plants that contain DMT for medicinal purposes for centuries, but due to its hallucinogenic properties experienced by the user, the drug has been outlawed in the U.S. and it falls into the same classification as do other illegal psychedelic narcotics such as LSD, PCP, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), ecstasy or MDMA.

 The film then focuses on the exploits of two former soldiers after they received their first psychedelic treatment and follows them after the experience, as they realize how much their life has changed in a positive way. Both of the veterans testify to the fact that they “feel like different people” after the Ayahuasca experience.

 Throughout the film, many familiar locations can be recognized. The film shows both of the veterans’ local homes (one in Colorado Springs and one in Divide) and scenes that were taken at places like a lake in a subdivision in Divide and the waterfalls in Green Mountain Falls.

 The purpose of the documentary is to draw the public’s attention to alternative methods that are available to treat ailments like PTSD, which are currently illegal. After the film’s premiere last month, both of the veterans and their families were present during a special question and answer session.

Many local veterans asked questions, in attempts to get more information about using the drug to treat mental illnesses related to experiences as a combat vet.  For more information about this film, or for future viewing opportunities, visit the movie’s official website at www.fromshocktoawe.com.