Such is the reality of many of our servicemen and women after deployments to Afghanistan and elsewhere that the email I received back was not the sort of news I had hoped for. For the last 18 months or so this wonderful family has had their lives turned upside down and inside out as they learn to deal with a diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression.
Once I read that news I wrote back and asked if they would be interested in catching up in person seeing as I was going to be relatively nearby. They ended up inviting me to spend the night and I was so pleased to have the chance to visit them.
I had no idea what to expect when I got there, but was welcomed with such warmth and hospitality and big hugs. I won't down play the situation that this couple now finds themselves in, but I have to say that although the diagnosis has turned their life upside down, and has made them completely re-think their plans for the future, I was so relieved to hear that my friend has sought the help he needs. There are still bad days and good days but what gave me hope and confidence was seeing this couple dealing with the issues together. We talked for hours and it was a very frank and open conversation. There are some tough days ahead but I am optimistic that they are heading in the right direction, they have great support and are doing what they need to do to get through this. I will be cheering them on now too and will not let so long pass between catching up.
PTSD is going to be such a huge problem for many of our wonderful heroes and they need to know that we care and that it does not change the way that we feel about them. We are still proud of them and, more than ever, appreciate their service and sacrifice.