Bliss in the Barn joins fight against PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is categorized as a psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and affects thousands of people across the country.
But, like any other psychiatric disorder, there are ways to treat it and eventually beat it. Cindy Bliss, owner of Bliss in the Barn, is aiming to help veterans of war from across the state to battle against it.
After returning home from deployments overseas and in the battlefields, Bliss said, many soldiers remain affected by the memories and experiences they have had over there. Battle can be intense, she said, and their memories can stay with them for “a while.”
The initiative kicked off June 27, which is PTSD Awareness Day. The plan is to do profiles on veterans who suffer from PTSD every few weeks until an event in November at the Bliss barn. Bliss is partnering with Operation Warrior Refuge to find veterans willing to talk about their troubles with PTSD and help them open up in their profiles and connect them with others who may have similar circumstances.
“We are looking to speak to anyone who has a story that would benefit other people. Sometimes you need to hear somebody who has been there and done that for inspiration,” Bliss said.
Bliss comes from a family with a military presence and has seen loved ones battle through PTSD. It is not just soldiers, either, she said. Families who wait on their loved ones to come home from battles suffer from the anxiety of waiting for them to come home safely.
Julie Devine, an equine specialist and therapist with Operation Warrior Refuge, said the organization is excited to be part of such a “meaningful event.”
“A huge part of reducing the number of lives PTSD claims each year is through education,” Devine said.
Reducing the stigma surrounding PTSD with therapy, education and providing treatment can save lives, she said.
Many people do not talk about PTSD because they feel it makes them “less than the next person,” Bliss said, when it actually is an injury just like any other. Because it has to do with the brain, she said, and people cannot tangibly see any issues, it is consistently ignored. But it needs to be treated, she said.
“The mental part of it, you don’t know,” Bliss said. “We’re looking to make it real. Make it public. People look the other way and don’t want to talk about it. I think if you make it not so ‘hush-hush’ they’ll be willing to talk.”
The profiles will be written throughout the summer up until Nov. 11. At the Bliss barn, an event will be held on Nov. 4 where veterans can come and interact with each other, play games and socialize.
The goal of the event is to develop a sort of “normalcy,” Bliss said, with the soldiers to show them how they relate to everyone else and establish connections with other people.
Overall, Bliss said, there is not much anyone can say or do to thank veterans enough for their sacrifices. Providing them with a refuge and a place to interact is just one thing that can be done.
But, overall, Bliss said, the goal is to save lives. It will not be enough to repay their service, she said, but it is “the least we can do.”