SAN ANTONIO -- A veteran who said he was sexually assaulted in the Army said bodybuilding saved his life.
Michael Beason said in 1990, his 1st sergeant sexually assaulted him at his first duty station in Korea. He said even after court proceedings, the impact of the trauma stayed with him.
Beason said the next 26 years of his life were a living hell. He was angry, depressed and suicidal.
"I'm a mess. I have no direction. I was just a mess and I didn't know what to do," said Beason. "Being a veteran, I know how to clean my weapon. I loaded my weapon. And I pulled the trigger. And it just jammed."
Beason took that moment as a wake-up call and knew he had to change the direction of his life.
"It's the weirdest thing. It all started with YouTube videos. I started watching every YouYube video on body transformations as I could," said Beason.
Beason turned to bodybuilding to not only cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. He hit the gym and lost 85 pounds in seven months.
"You can't tell me to change. You can tell me the problem but you can't tell me to fix it. You can't tell me what to do. I'm not going to listen to you. I had to be the one who wanted that change. Starting with my body, watching it transform, it was amazing," said Beason. "You need to really see this and believe in this and follow the process because it's not an overnight thing. It is a journey. I've been working on this for two years now. And I am more excited than I was then I first started."
He's now training for his first bodybuilding competition this June in Austin called the 'NPC Adela Garcia Classic.'
"I want others to see that it's okay to have PTSD. It's okay to feel the way you feel. But it's not okay to hide away," said Beason. "We're stronger than we give ourselves credit for."
Beason's experience has led him to start a charity that's called "From PTSD to Freedom."
He helps other veterans cope with PTSD and trauma through exercise. He also has a YouTube channel where he vlogs about his fitness journey.