Well this is me talking PTSD with my hands with a group of local veterans, families, law enforcement, and some great people from some organizations who are doing right by our veterans.
A tremendous thank you to Torie Fisher and the entire staff at Backward Flag Brewery in Forked River for working with me to put this together. It was an evening to hang back, listen, learn, and make some great new friendships and connections with people who are all facing the same difficulties with post-traumatic stress and trauma.
We may not know where each other has been, but we do know the struggle all too well and when we step beyond the boundaries of feeling like we aren't worthy of what's happened to us, amazing things begin to take shape.
I did learn from a veteran there that troops in Canada do not have the same level of resources we have here in the United States. And although our system is far from perfect, I have to say that there are a lot of people who truly care about our troops and who are stepping up to help in whatever way they can. We are fortunate to have a lot of passionate people in our country who do care.
For the Canadian veterans out there, you are welcome here to learn as much as you can and to share with others. Your struggle is no different than ours here with post-traumatic stress and I know that many of you have served beside our troops here in conflict zones.
The shame of our injuries and invisible wounds holds us back, but it doesn't have to. The coming together that took place last night was one of positive forward motion and awareness that was down-to-Earth, real, and respectful of each other's path. Whether your trauma is war, injuries, domestic violence, car accidents, illnesses, abuse, or other, know that it is not a struggle you face alone...even if it feels that way. We are all here talking about what no one wants to talk about in a way that makes it safe for all of us.
Thanks to those that came out last night and to those that will come in the future. Pass along what you learn and be respectful of your own experiences. We aren't broken. We are simply highly experienced.