How to find healing when dealing with the fear and shame of PTSD


Robert Simpson with his wife Debbie

Robert Simpson with his wife Debbie.

Robert Simpson is a Veteran of some of Canada’s peacekeeping missions in the world’s worst hell-holes. He’s now happily married, but his life descended into the darkest places before he found his way home. Taking a cue from U.S. veterans who formed self-help groups, Rob introduced a Veterans and Families Support Group, which as he desribes it “is simply Veterans and Families coming together to heal, to share, to support one another as we battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We call it PTSD, and we are open to ALL Veterans and their families as well as the Widows, etc of fallen Soldiers and Veterans. As well we invite serving members of the Armed Forces to join us.”

In his blog, A Veteran’s Point of View on Facebook, he writes about the fear and shame of PTSD and talks about how other Veterans across Canada can form their own self-healing support groups. BONNIE

By Robert Simpson

Today I want to talk to you about fear. Many people are afraid to come forward when it comes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They feel that others will think of them as weak or lacking moral fiber. Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, you are a very brave person to admit that you are having trouble, rather than to suffer through it alone and in silence. 

So, we are going to have a little test. I would ask you all (both Veterans and serving members) to be honest when you answer the next few questions. Do you dream a lot about what happened to you while serving overseas? Do you sometimes seem to relive it when you are awake? Do you think about it a lot during the day? Do you feel like people don’t understand you? Do you find that you get upset a lot about things or feel cornered? Do you seem to drink a lot, use drugs, smoke more or have your family say you do? Do you have trouble getting to sleep or fear going to sleep because of your dreams? Do you ask yourself, “Why did this happen to me?” Do you sometimes think you are better off dead? 

Then you need some help. One of the first steps could be to come to one of our meetings. We can point you in the right direction to get help, and we are there to support you. We have members from Canada and the U.S.A. who know how to get you that much needed help. 

Now some questions for the Families. Do you see that the Veteran or serving member has any of the problems which I asked them above? Do you feel that the person who left came back different and you feel that you no longer know him or her? Do you feel helpless and don’t know what to do or say? You too should come out to one of our meetings. 

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, March 20th at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 99 Thomas Avenue in Wallaceburg, Ontario. Turn off Margaret Avenue on to Napier and it’s at the end of the street. For more info, please contact me at 519-627-4037 or email me robthegolfnut@yahoo.ca

For those wanting to start up OSI-PTSD groups in your own areas, call yourselves a support group, since the OSISS folks gets a little antsy if you want to use their name. Some advice. See if you can find a Church and a Padre. Not a bar. Everyone here finds comfort in the Church. Do not forget the families. If you guys want some advice, I’m here. Also keep it loose with the agenda and set your chairs in a circle. 

Also keep an eye out on Facebook – A Veteran’s Point of View by Robert Simpson. Please note we are open to widows, wife’s husband’s family members and friends. Together we can help each other heal. LEST WE FORGET.

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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7 Responses to How to find healing when dealing with the fear and shame of PTSD

  1. Pingback: Cognitive Processing Therapy and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder « Thinking Outside the Box

  2. Thank You Bonnie for posting this and for your kind words. I want to encourage Veterans, Serving Members and their Families to not to be afraid to reach out for help. Also I want them to not be afraid to speak to each other about PTSD as Soldiers we are trained to be fearless in battle. Too often we are forgotten after we are casted aside when our bodies or minds break down and we are medically discharged. I must say that they are getting better at helping and understanding our needs. But to all I say be brave and help one another, for we alone know what we’ve experienced. I know how long and hard my journey home has been. I am trying to lead other on to that path. Too often we feel totally alone. But we are not and those like myself have a duty to go back and help our Brothers and Sisters in arms to return, to try to become Human once again. I am not afraid to do this, to help the others and their families to heal.

  3. Bonnie Toews says:

    Rob, you are an inspiration and role model for others to follow. The public has no conception of the true compassion of our soldiers in the field and for others. The assume they are trained to kill, which they are, but “in country” our soldiers are also our humanitarian ambassadors. These are the qualities that are going to save our vets, once everyone learns to reach out and to trust each other again. Thank you for spear-heading this program.

    Bonnie

  4. Wayne DeHaan says:

    We need a whole lot more verbal traffic on this subject, It is a silent killer & a life sentence to anyone not receiving help!!!
    Thank you Rob!
    Pro Patria!
    Hatch.

  5. Robert Simpson says:

    We’ve passed our first year in the group and we are looking foreward to the next year. We as a group are helping each other. As we face each day in our fight to become human again we can find strength in each other. Sometimes just being able to have an ear to put foreward our struggles or fears, is what is needed. No one is to be left behind. We are our greatest strength, just like when we were in our units, we help each other to make it to the end.

  6. Rob, I’d like to agree with Bonnie and say, you are an inspiration. Hats off to your, sir! Thank you for doing this very important work. I’m looking forward to engaing in discussions and learning for you.

  7. Thank You Dee my training as a member of the Canadian forces, 8CH (my Regt) and the 3rd SSF taught me to adapt and over come. I have always been a fighter and I do not know how to give up. It can be as much a curse as a blessing. I feel that by passing on to others helps to find a cure so to speak. I know my wound is going to be life long. Each time I’ve had a set back I’ve learned and I have advanced further from the cliff and the jagged rocks below. It has been a battle which sadly kills some of us. For the worse effects is the loneliness one feels when suffering from this wound. I know that the OSI Clinic in London has told me that they have learned from me as they are treating me. The young man I see in Windsor who will soon complete his training is learning from me and he shakes his head sometimes and asks how did you survive? How do you keep going? I helps to be a fighter and when I see someone suffering like I have all these years I know what they are feeling and I can help and comfort them as they learn for deal with their PTSD. My support group have said we always felt so alone. I believe that having Veterans, serving Soldiers and the families together allows both side to understand the hell. If I in my own little way can help ease the pain in others then I will do so no matter the cost to me. I hope to Show others the lessons I have learned and hopefully they will be able to find some peace. I have said I think I know the path home now, so I must go back and help others come home too.

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