WICHITA FALLS (KDFX/KJTL) Many veterans in all walks of life, who have served in a number of capacities, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Veterans Freedom Retreat is taking place at Coyote Ranch Resort.
It’s a combination of efforts from Patterson Auto Group owner Harry Patterson, the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire, NM and many volunteers who are dedicated to helping veterans.
The mentality the retreat wants its participants to have is to drop the “D” in PTSD.
“We’re not saying that there’s some clinical diagnosis that doesn’t exist, we get that people are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the issue becomes a majority of the veterans hear the word disorder and they automatically assume I’m stuck, this is at good as things get until they come up with a magic pill here’s where I’m at, and that’s not reality,” National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center retreat program director Markus Podell said.
So they teach that the reality is something has happened to you that is specifically traumatic to you.
12 veterans who live with PTSD are joined by their significant others for a week to learn ways of coping and reconnecting.
“In order for that person to kinda regain their life and regain their family life you gotta bring in all pieces of the equation,” Podell said.
Those guiding the group also fight PTSD.
This not only allows them to help others, but it also opens the door for inner growth.
“We’re all a work in progress, every retreat that we host, someone says something that challenges my perceptions or the way that I think,” Podell said.
“Everybody has their story and we all need to share our story because when we share our story, that’s when we start healing,” Co-facilitator and US Navy veteran Christine Cookson said.
They were welcomed Sunday by political leaders, Patterson Auto personnel and program directors.
As a Vietnam veteran and PTSD survivor, Patterson would like to see this be implemented across the country.
“Us old guys think that we can do anything that we can handle anything but the fact of the matter is that we can’t and sometimes it’s just our dumbness that we have to face that fact that we need help,” Patterson said.
A retreat emphasizing that PTSD doesn’t discriminate and it’s unique to you, but there is something you can do about it.
The organization follows up with those who have gone through the program.
Thanks to donations and sponsors, the retreat is free for veterans and their partners.