There’s a blessing in my life and it is one that I will never take for granted.

 

For whatever reason I am trusted.

 

James* (not his real name) is a Corrections Officer in Canada.  He connected with me a while ago, and as so many others before him, he was at the end of his resilience to fight this demon called PTSD.

 

“I’ve lost so much it’s forever changed me.  I don’t smile or feel a lot of happiness.  Not because it’s not around me but it’s just an emotion that rarely peeks itself out from me.  Same with feeling loved.  I know it’s there.  I just don’t feel it much anymore.  What I do feel is anger.  A lot of it… feel like the world would be better off without me…”

 

None of what he said to me was either new or surprising.  PTSD has a rhythm and course, it is never a straight shot to wellness more a meander around the sink hole.

 

Thanks to the dedicated folk that are part of the PTSDChat community I now have those who have been where James is who in their turn now help others.  So I introduced James to one such member who when I first chatted to her was a ball of rage and pain.  She now stands tall and strong, resilient and beautiful ready to lend a hand up to any who are where she once was.

 

Now we have another.

 

“Hi Kate

Just to update you on some things.  I’m doing well.  On some new medication & the battle carries on.  But I’m extremely optimistic about the future.  I’ve been doing some work with *** [deleted to protect his anonymity, suffice it to say that he has become an advocate for First Responders with PTSD].  I was asked & agreed to give a few words at the ribbon cutting ceremony.  I’m super excited & nervous as I’ve never given a speech to government officials before.  But I’m going to be speaking from the heart.  Just wanted to say thank you for listening to me when I needed someone.  Not only did you listen but you acted and set me up with *** [our PTSD Warrior].  Love & Respect to you my sister.”

 

When we first spoke James was haunted by thoughts of suicide, the pain was overwhelming, he felt isolated from his wife and children.  The loss of his friends, the survivor guilt was immense and too much.  It was the darkest and most painful experience to live through, but I knew that he would get through to here.

 

PTSD isn’t a life sentence.

 

It can be healed.

 

You have to fight to find the appropriate healing mechanism for YOU.  You must advocate for yourself but above all, you need support from those who have been there before you who can look you in the eye and say, “You’ve got this.  You’re going to get through this.  Trust me.”

 

Be a PTSD Warrior.  Fight this thing and then help others fight theirs.  That is how we defeat it.

 

@KateGillieART is the founder of PTSDchat.org.  Kate is a true PTSD Warrior and is an inspiration to others.  This blog first appeared on Kate's website here