THE REALITY OF MENTAL ILLNESS – PTSD

a deptherapy blog

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30 May2018

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.

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The photo was taken at Monday's beach bbq at Roots Red Sea. The second photo is the guys with their instructor Andy Frith on the left and Chris Middleton (never miss a photo opportunity) on the right; on their way to dive the Salem Express.

What is pleasing for the management team is that four of these guys have already signed up for more diving, with Jason taking his partner to Roots to do her Open Water Course.

Life is like a book, everyday of our life we write in that book and as different phases of our life pass we open a new chapter.  For these young men it is as if they have taken their book outside and the wind has blown a few blank pages over, pages on which they have not written. BUT now they have opened a new chapter, a chapter that offers light and not darkness, that offers a future they can see, a future full of hope.

There will be difficult times going forward, that is why we have our Buddy Peer Support Scheme, that is why there is a very active May 2018 Expedition chat on Messenger.

To five young men who have impressed so much in their determination to make themselves well again: Thomas 'Tin Tin' Oates, Tom Swars (Swarbrick), Stuart Anderson, James Wilding and Deptherapy's own Braveheart Jason Cowan may the words of Sean Fitzpatrick always be with you:

'Be the best you can be'

And never forget how Deptherapy works - you are our strength, we collectively are your strength.

"The strength of the pack is the wolf, the strength of the wolf is the pack"

Start filling this new chapter of your life with your new stories.

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