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A sister’s story of her soldier brother and his post traumatic stress from serving our country in Afghanistan

Posted by admin on February 15, 2014 in PTSD |

Jennifer who works in our client services department at Mosaic has provided this human interest story of her brother (an infantry solder in the Canadian Military deployed to Afghanistan).  Thank you again Jennifer for this poignant and emotional story that I’m sure will help other families in knowing they are not alone in dealing with PTSD.

Living with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is becoming a reality for many Canadian Soldiers returning home from missions abroad. There have been so many tragic stories lately in the news about soldiers who had been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) taking their own lives. “The military has already determined that eight per cent of personnel who served in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2008 suffer from PTSD. There are thousands more veterans who are, or will be, seeking professional help for other combat-related mental illnesses, such as depression and general anxiety”. (http://rabble.ca/news/2012/10/ptsd-rise-hidden-casualties-canadas-war-afghanistan).

I can recall the day my brother left for each of his three tours to Afghanistan. As an infantry soldier in the Canadian Military he would be deployed to Afghanistan for a six month tour of duty on each occasion. He would eat, sleep and live amongst the mountains of Afghanistan protecting and defending our country in very hostile and dangerous conditions. I can’t imagine what feelings these soldiers go through being away from home and away from family and friends.

As the sister of a soldier, I had my own overwhelming feelings. I was so proud that my brother was putting his life on the line to serve and protect our country, but at the same time held fear that this may be the last time I would see him. It was a long six months of waiting and wondering. Every time the phone rang, my heart stopped. Was this “the call” that my brother wasn’t coming home?

We were one of the lucky families in that our loved one did come home. However, he had changed in ways we would never fully understand. After months of seeing doctors, specialists and case workers my brother was finally diagnosed with PTSD. It was a long road getting the help he needed and PTSD will always be something my brother has to deal with but it is manageable. Along with on-going treatment, family has helped in so many ways. Mental illness can sometimes make the individual feel weak and hopeless. Family, friends and loved ones can offer support by educating themselves, recognizing that mental illness is a disease and by becoming involved in the on-going treatment and healing process.

We as a society are getting better at sharing and talking about mental illness but we still have a long way to go. People suffering from mental illness should not feel alone. We can change this by speaking out and sharing our own stories of mental illness. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Helpful Resources that might be beneficial to individuals and families experiencing PTSD.

http://www.woundedwarriors.ca

http://veterans.gc.ca/eng/mental-health

Written by:  Jennifer Kendall

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