As I sat and watched My House Rules last night with David (my partner) I reflected on the behaviour of one of the contestants.
His behaviour could be explained as strong, committed, or bullying. This housemate is ex defence, so did he learn this behaviour, or was it in his genes. If it was learnt during his time in Defence, could this increase the impacts, or even cause PTSD?
David is ex defence and has completed 5 tours. He was medically discharged from the army 18 months ago and suffers PTSD.
The reason for my reflection on PTSD and it’s cause is that as a partner I would give anything to be able to support David to his recovery, however most of the time I do not know what to do, say and often feel guilty for not understanding.
I watched David in the last 3 years of his service go from proud to be a member of defence, to a man who hated defence hierarchy and everything it stood for. Don’t get me wrong there were elements of defence that provided support to David, however there were people in Defence who publicly ridiculed and bullied him.
Towards the end David did not always behave well when dealing with these people and anyone who knows defence knows you do not stand up against your superior(s). I saw him broken and beg them to understand what was happening to him. Instead of support they found a way to destroy him. He is now rebuilding his life slowly but still cannot let go of what he has lived through.
So was it his tours, or was it the bullying, or was it in his genes or was it a combination of everything?
This week I will share some stories of our life with PTSD from the heart and some tips we have found to help us live with this and continue to recover. It is not just the person with PTSD who suffers, it is also families and loved ones.
So do you think bullying in Defence contributes to PTSD. If you have a story I would love to hear it, as anything I learn only has the potential to improve how I support David through this journey.