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PTSD AND ME: CPL CRAIG SILVERSON’S STORY

By September 3, 2014 17 Comments

Slide1My friend Craig Silverson is a Canadian veteran of Afghanistan and a brother in the faith. I admire his courage. You can follow Craig on Twitter at @CraigSilverson and on his website FAITHPLATOON.COM


We reached our objective shortly after 1100 hrs and dismounted from our vehicle.

We proceeded on foot.

Moral was good and that’s always a bonus.

Everything seemed familiar. Nothing that we hadn’t already done before. Routine. This would change in a fraction of a second.

With tremendous speed, a streak appeared overhead. Immediately I felt tension in my chest and all sound was removed. I braced for the concussion. Nothing. They say you never hear the one that gets you. I knew I was alive.

I quickly looked around to assess the situation.

My wife and kids appeared fine, however, their smiles had turned into faces filled with fear and bewilderment. I was at the mall. A sizable skylight had been the window to an aircraft landing at the City Centre Airport. Immediately the army of people engaged in their holiday shopping came into focus. The grip on my chest was still present. Fight or flight!

It was time to go home.

TIME TO GO HOME

I returned from Afghanistan in 2010 and everything appeared to be normal.

Connecting with family and loved ones was welcomed. Mission complete! I was now eager to begin my four and a half weeks of post deployment leave.

I had big plans. Number one on the list was not shaving!

Midway through my leave I grew restless and felt isolated. Although I was at home with my family, I felt alone. I was unable to connect and became anxious to return to duty.

My first day back to battalion did not start off well. We were informed about the passing of one of the members from our unit. All sound was removed. Our fallen brother had taken his own life.

We felt the concussion.

He was only in his early twenties.

He had problems with addictions in the past. Sadly, he had submitted to his battle with depression.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder had just knocked on all of our doors!

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

I’ve dedicated a lot of time working on perfecting my “fieldcraft:”
improvised shelters,
survival tactics,
camouflage and
concealment.

As an Infantry soldier, learning to hide things becomes an inherent part of your job. This would also include injuries, both the visible and invisible.

My first sleepless night wasn’t that bad – when it exceeded nearly twenty days consecutively, this raised some concern.

Night sweats, high readiness, guilt and fear where just some of the issues.

Any minute of shut eye I could muster was quickly raided by nightmares! During the day wasn’t much better. My interaction with people became limited and this included my own family. Going to my unit had it’s challenges too. I spent the majority of the day camouflaging my emotions. I became the ultimate grey man. Marking time.

Eventually my anxiety had made me it’s POW (Prisoner of War).

POW

I became physically ill.

This opened up the door for some false support. I found myself at the base medical building seeking treatment for various physical ailments. I was exhausted and completely mentally rundown. I had lost forty pounds and developed a strain of pneumonia in my left lung. This left me on bed rest for two months and with the perfect excuse not to be seen. However, this would make matters worse.

Returning to duty became increasingly difficult.

More sick leave was required.

The next wave of emotion soon hit.

Actually it was more like a full on tsunami.

Anger. Fight or flight.

Targets up!

An attempt for control by a soldier deconstructing.

To be continued…Read Part 2 here.

Cpl Craig Matthew James Silverson

APPLICATION: Please leave a comment for Craig below.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Craig I have been waiting for this. Patiently. Speak man, and continue.

  • Lonya D'Orsay says:

    Good morning Craig. I admire your courage. I am married to a retired soldier who served two tours in Afghanistan. Even though it did not happen to me, I can relate to what you are saying. I have watched my husband suffer many of the symptoms that you describe. Please know that you are a hero to my family and that you are in our thoughts and prayers. God bless.

  • Jennifer Kilmartin says:

    Hello Craig, good morning to you. Thank you for your courage to speak out! I have a few friends who have PTSD as well from being combat in Afghanistan. I have family as well who currently serve and deal with forms of PTSD.
    Continue to be strong and know that you are not alone! I look forward to reading more about your life and the things you deal with and how you cope. Best of all how you went from point a to point b 🙂
    Keep It Real!

  • Kendra says:

    Craig, thank you for sharing. I hope all of the readers know that PTSD doesn’t just happen to soldiers. It can happen in an office environment too.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks Kendra for that context. So true.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks Jennifer for your encouragement to Craig and letting us know how PTSD has affected your family.

  • bob jones says:

    Amen!

  • bob jones says:

    Awesome feedback, Lonya. Its hard to see someone you love suffer. That’s what Craig is all about – helping others by sharing his story and standing with them.

  • Kerri Nykolaychuk says:

    PTSD can happen in a number of situations from abuse, neglect, trauma, violence or witness to violence. It can also be manifested in a physical form in which someone can be consistently misdiagnosed. Thanks for sharing your story. PTSD is one of those “invisible” disabilities that family and friends don’t often acknowledge or know how to acknowledge. We need more awareness.

  • Absolutely! Thank you Kendra for your response. PTSD is not limited only to certain demographic. I hope my experience can translate to others as well. Blessings

  • Thank you for your comments and thank you for the support! Blessing to you and your family.

  • Lonya please know that your words mean a great deal to me. You and your family are in my prayers.

  • Mr. Fowler…I am sorry for the delay! I appreciate your support and look forward to more of your writing. I assure you that this is only the beginning. God Bless

  • I couldn’t’ agree with you more Kerri. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. Blessings

  • I would like to thank everybody for the feedback. Thank you to Pastor Bob for allowing me this platform and opportunity to express myself. God Bless

  • bob jones says:

    Yours is a story that needs to be heard, Craig. Good going. You’ve got the platform for Part 2 coming up.

  • Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much Craig for sharing. I have friends who are serving and have served this country through services. I often pray for them and just listen to them when they want to talk, most of them are non-christians . Your story is such encouragement to people who suffer from any kind of situation like Kerri mentioned. May HE bless you and restore totally people like you .

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