Living Through PTS

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On PTS Awareness Day, several thoughts come to my mind. As a community, we spend so much time focusing on the numbers and negative side of Post Traumatic Stress. Although I think it is good to be aware of this side, why don’t we spend some talking about the success stories?

Over the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of being an Eagle Leader in Team RWB and a panel speaker for National Alliance on Mental Illness. I also have taken part in several community and overnight walks for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Throughout these experiences, I have seen others overcome their battle with PTSD first-hand, and make a difference in both their lives and their communities. For myself, I have struggled with PTSD a majority of my life. From childhood experiences to the military and survivor guilt upon leaving the Army. For years I battled with myself not knowing where to turn. In 2016, I found Team RWB, and it has been an amazing growth experience and provided a network for the good and bad times.

This past Spring, an Army buddy of mine took his life due to his demons. That same week I attended the Northeast Regional Chapter Captain Leadership Summit. The level of support from the surrounding Eagle Leaders and Regional Staff was beyond amazing. The content shared that weekend really struck home and became useful tools for me to apply directly. Once returning home, I was able to take those tools and help other buddies who were struggling from his death and turn it into a positive reminder that we still have work to do on the home front. My Regional Staff was beyond helpful with buddy check-ins and helping with local resources through this time. It once again showed me how powerful Team RWB is and the ways they make a difference beyond our weekly and national events.

On this day while remembering those we have lost to PTSD and the constant work we have to do on the home front, remember those around you who have overcome the hardship. Give someone a hug, a “glad you’re here” phone call and embrace them for their strength to overcome their own battle with PTS or the loss of loved one. This is what is going to make a positive difference for someone else struggling and give others the strength to push through when times get hard. Although the battle never really goes away, it can be managed with positive support systems in our life like Team RWB and other national mental health organizations.