Sport Diver - - Contents -

Si­mon Chance talks about the im­por­tant (and quite in­cred­i­ble) work of Depther­apy, the lat­est MSDS, plus news from Project AWARE.

Watch­ing Depther­apy’s re­cent pre­sen­ta­tion at the NEC show, I was deeply moved by one par­tic­u­larly heart-rend­ing video por­trayal of a sol­dier’s drift to­ward self-harm, and sui­cide, to es­cape the hor­rors of Post Trau­matic Stress. When­ever I meet these guys, it takes me a while to re­mem­ber what they have been through, as they al­ways seem so dis­arm­ingly pos­i­tive, charm­ingly open, and re­lent­lessly cheer­ful. As I have come to un­der­stand over the years, how­ever, more of­ten than not the sunny dis­po­si­tion we see has been achieved only through tremen­dous in­ter­nal strug­gle, in­cred­i­ble self-hon­esty and a hard, of­ten soli­tary, and gen­er­ally bru­tal per­sonal bat­tle. They have no ap­par­ent ego, but this is gen­er­ally be­cause they have been through, and sur­vived, a level of au­t­o­crit­i­cism that few of us will ever face. The other amaz­ing thing about these folk is that they gen­uinely do not be­lieve there is any­thing amaz­ing about them­selves at all; quite the op­po­site, most have ex­pe­ri­enced pro­foundly di­min­ished self-worth, and deep de­spair, de­spite de­serv­ing noth­ing less than the high­est praise. We joke lightly of de­mons and ghosts at this time of All Hal­lows Eve, how­ever such things are only too real for any­one fac­ing the night­mares of PTSD. And this is the truly tragic na­ture of PTS; in most cases, the more de­bil­i­tat­ing in­juries are largely – or even en­tirely – within the ‘self’. As Dr. Richard Cullen, Depther­apy’s doughty doyen, ob­served in his pre­sen­ta­tion, it is of­ten guys like Chris Middleton and Andy Searle to whom show booth vis­i­tors grav­i­tate ini­tially, as their phys­i­cal in­juries evoke a kind of in­stant sym­pa­thy for at least a mea­sure of what must have been en­dured in their re­ceipt. We un­der­stand read­ily that such ham­mer blows will likely carry with them an emo­tional side­bar, how­ever the dif­fi­cul­ties of oth­ers suf­fer­ing less phys­i­cally man­i­fest harm can be harder to ob­serve and iden­tify, and all too eas­ily missed. In­deed, feelings of iso­la­tion and aban­don­ment can be ex­ac­er­bated if oth­ers are not recog­nis­ing such pain, a mes­sage Depther­apy is keen to spread. While cur­rently fo­cused on help­ing mem­bers of the Armed Forces – us­ing div­ing as an ac­tiv­ity, and PADI cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a fo­cus – the ‘blue­light ser­vices’ can be sim­i­larly prone to the more-in­sid­i­ous ef­fects of PTS, and Depther­apy are look­ing to that di­rec­tion also as funds per­mit. So please visit: www.depther­ to learn more – and try to reach out, if you think some­one may be suf­fer­ing.

Si­mon Chance re­ceiv­ing a cer­tifi­cate from Depther­apy

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