Post-traumatic stress disorder needn’t overwhelm sufferers, says a Channing Knull, a former member of the Canada Armed Forces.
The Wounded Warrior Run B.C., which raises money for PTSD support, made its way through Nanaimo this weekend. Knull, Wounded Warriors Canada ambassador and B.C. run support member, was a naval reservist tasked with recovery following a Swissair plane crash in 1998, when 229 died. He had an severe anxiety attack during the operation, due to previous trauma. He was medically released and eventually sought help from Veterans Affairs in 2010, the first step in his recovery.
Knull said people suffering from PTSD can self-isolate and come up with coping mechanisms, including alcohol abuse, “anything to not deal with how you feel.” It is something that must be addressed, he said.
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“At that time, the belief was that you couldn’t be healed. Then I met a friend of mine, Chris Linford (retired lieutenant-colonel), he wrote a book about PTSD and he told me he felt as though he was, perhaps, fully recovered,” said Knull. “I feel I fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I’ve had a lot of therapies … It’s very much like the run, one foot in front of the other.
“Some days are good, but there are some days where you grind it out and it’s a little more prevalent in my day, but you learn a lot of tools on how to keep yourself grounded and keep yourself safe.”
Knull has been associated with the B.C. run for its five years and said it has come a long way.
“We started out as a third-party charity that donated our funds that were raised to Wounded Warriors Canada,” said Knull. “I’d had a friend that served in Afghanistan and he had some programming and some therapies and we were very impressed by the results he received … this year we’ve evolved. We’ve simply become an event of Wounded Warriors Canada.”
Knull said $42,000 was raised last year and thus far in 2018, approximately $52,000 has been raised – the goal is $100,000.
As of January 2017, Wounded Warriors Canada also encompasses first responders suffering from PTSD, according to Steven Topham, Wounded Warriors Canada’s national partnership director.
The 2018 run ends Sunday, Feb. 25 in Victoria.