About this series
Ottawa Citizen 11.06.2013
In 2012, the Citizen's Chris Cobb won a fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) that allowed him to research and write about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"I started covering this topic almost two years ago and since then have met many veterans whose lives have been shattered by the trauma they suffered in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda — pretty much any mission in recent years," says Cobb. "PTSD's devastating impact on individuals, families and communities isn't well understood. I'm not sure anyone without direct experience of PTSD can fully understand it.
"I want to acknowledge the memory of infantryman Cpl. Tony Reed, a bookish man who in three and a half emotionally draining hours in the kitchen of his Petawawa home taught me more than anyone about the ravages of PTSD. 'You're out there doing the job without fear. You can't have fear. But your camera is always rolling,' he said. 'You take it all in, package it up and put it away but eventually the movie starts playing in your head and it keeps playing. The camera is always on playback.' Tony called himself 'Jekyll and Hyde' and cried out for help. It didn't arrive in time. He died in December last year, aged 43, just weeks after our meeting.
Dr. John Bradford's mental breakdown hit without warning less than half an hour after he watched Canadian Air Force colonel Russell Williams brutally murder two young women. During his long and distinguished career as a doctor and teacher, the internationally renowned forensic psychiatrist had become skilled at emotionally detaching himself from all manner of horrendous images.
Video: Former soldiers battling PTSD
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.