PADI DIVING SOCIETY NEWS
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.deptherapy.co.uk to learn more – and try to reach out, if you think someone may be suffering.
CREDIT: MARCUS BLATCHFORD
Simon Chance receiving a certificate from Deptherapy