Two weeks telemarking in France last month was an unforgettable, humorous and humbling affair. Not purely for the future of the Armed Forces Para Snowsport Telemark team with the support of GB Telemark but learning about the affects of PTSD.
Never content to tickle the surface of a subject. Nor one for small talk. With Neils say-so I probed. He shared many stories. Challenges and achievements. We laughed.
Together we explored his brain injury and subsequent discovery of PTSD. The affect on his life and his family’s for the last 20 years. The info videos we see do not go to the depths of what is experienced. They do not explain the intricacies of the mere challenge to exist.
Working and training together I had insights into everyday life, coping mechanisms, how his assistance dog helps him, his wife’s support, balancing functioning and short circuits caused by trauma.
The work Neil does to raise awareness and support for his fellow comrades in the UK is remarkable. It’s not easy. No athlete, no businessmen could beat the stubbornness, integrity, strength and courage that I witnessed. To operate and function day to day. Difficult to find appropriate words. But I’m glad I have gained an insight of what life with PTSD is like. I am not glad that others endure this. But they do.
My understanding has reached a level far beyond. We hold each other’s hand and cope the best way we can.
Love and respect to all those and their families that live daily with past trauma.