On September 11, a special interview on KCAL9 featured one Vanguard University student veteran and the board president of Strength in Support (SIS), an organization serving veterans and their families.
From the marines to studying religion at Vanguard University, Rory Self is no stranger to stress. Dealing with the challenges of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something many veterans face. SIS Board President Dr. Evan Fewsmith said in the interview that SIS encourages veterans to drop the “D” in PTSD. He described the issue as being more of an intense stress rather than a disorder.
Post Traumatic Stress is “something that not only our military is suffering from, I think our whole nation after 9/11 has been experiencing a heightened since of stress and grief, and so in a way we can all perhaps relate to post traumatic stress and what that feels like and not just our guys coming home,” Dr. Fewsmith said.
SIS offers many services including counseling, workshops and the opportunities for comradeship. Upon his initial return, Self did not seek help. He dealt with stress, nightmares and anxiety. When he finally went to SIS, Self found their workshops challenged him with manageably stressful situations to stretch his capacity to handle stress.
One workshop Rory found particularly helpful was the golf workshop, where he learned to cope with different stress factors: performing the task, having people watch him and helping others all the while. Dr. Fewsmith said the golf workshop is purposed to provide socialization, comradeship and fellowship. “Part of the first step of any kind of healing is just bringing them into the fold,” he said.
Through the workshops and many SIS services, Self said veterans learn that “we can work through this, and not just alone, that we can do it with someone.” He added: “We’re not just going to get medications pushed to us, we’re going to get a team and a friendship along with it.”
To view the interview, click here.