THE REALITY OF MENTAL ILLNESS – PTSD
by Richard Cullen | 30th May 2017
Ignoring Chris Middleton on the left of the photo, not easy to ignore Chris, not easy at all BUT the five guys to the right were on the PADI Open Water Course on our May Expedition at Roots Red Sea.
Everyone was very proud of these guys, they confronted their demons, some had been in very dark places before the expedition and had been there for many years.
When you sit with these guys and hear their stories, the delays in receiving treatment for their PTSD you cannot help be moved.
Some are quite happy to describe themselves as broken, some think of themselves as bad people, some live their experiences in Iraq and Afghan everyday of their life and particularly everynight in their nightmares.
Sadly the majority of the population do not see mental illness as being as serious as physical illness. What these young men have is an INJURY as surely as others have devastating PHYSICAL injuries these young men and many others who we deal with have devastating MENTAL injuries.
Watching these five guys change and grow during the week was humbling, overcoming survivor guilt, the trauma of battle, in one case hand to hand combat, of being close to death is hard to come to terms with. These guys showed amazing resilience in addressing their demons and as we knew as soon as their heads dipped under the clear, warm waters of the Red Sea their lives changed. The demons disappear the noise and hubris of daily life disappears. The noises, the sounds, and sights that cause distress and in some cases flashbacks are gone.
This is the healing effect of the ocean. At the end of the week different men, men who had found a challenge in life again, men who had found that in addition to diving they have developed a strong network of close friends who will be there to support them moving forward.