- Working together to make a difference to the Military family
- The power of Peer Support
- Armed Forces Day – Celebrating the Military Family
As the National Charity of the Royal Navy, beneficiaries lie at the heart of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity’s purpose, it is our duty to remain focused on their needs. Since 2007, the charity has funded projects and facilities that boost morale for those who serve today. It also distributes millions of pounds annually to military charities which care for the children, families and veterans of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
The Ripple Pond was set up by two mothers whose sons were both injured whilst serving in Afghanistan. They recognised the need for support for the loved ones of those physically or emotionally injured whilst serving in the British Armed Forces. The Ripple Pond provide peer support to The Armed Forces community, this includes anyone over the age of 18 who is supporting a British serving person or veteran and needs support for themselves.
This generous grant will allow The Ripple Pond to continue to support The Armed Forces Community and make a difference, allowing them to be put those in need of support in contact with other families in the same situation. Members can give and receive support which helps to reduce the feelings of isolation that members of the Armed Forces community can so very often experience when they are supporting a loved one.
Mandy Lindley, RNRMC Director of Relationships and Funding:
“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with the Ripple Pond, as we consider them one of our most important service delivery partners. By working together, we can help ensure that Royal Navy families affected by a loved one’s physical or emotional injuries can access the support they need.”
“This beneficiary is a Royal Marines family who we have been able to help thanks tothe continued support from the RNRMC. Amy and Joe have been living with Joe’s PTSD for many years. They try to re-enforce the positives and ignore the negatives, working hard together, which at times is not easy. Their message is simple: as bad as this illness is, with determination and support, we can come through it as a family.”
In our house PTSD is not my husband, it is a third party, an uninvited guest we all need to keep in check. The children know about him and they know it is not daddy. It is a disorder, an injury of the brain we are all working towards re-wiring, re-enforcing the positive links and pathway’s, and ignoring the negative.
For several years it has been all consuming. If I don’t take this time or effort or energy, if I don’t pick up on when things are taking a turn for the worse, notice if Joe is struggling and don’t step in in time there are consequences for all of us.
We are critical to Joe’s recovery; he needs us there every day to support him. I simply didn’t have time to think about myself.
When he is doing well we all rejoice and enjoy him taking part in more but it is a very narrow edged sword as very quickly the extras, putting out the bins, reading the children a bedtime story can become overwhelming and tip him over the edge. I am then left juggling the demands of four children confused and upset at daddy’s outburst. The mother bear instinct kicks in to keep them safe and defend them from PTSD.
Sometimes all Joe needs to resolve the issue is a hug, some kind words and then several hours downtime to discuss what just happened and talk through strategies for next time. Because there will be a next time. I am realistic.
I still do not know if a full recovery is possible or what that consists of but what I do know is that we get better at managing the symptoms of PTSD. The tough times come when I take my eye off the ball and do not give him the time or consideration he needs. Since his diagnosis, the main thing I miss is someone to look after me. Joe used to do that. I could keep the household running, through deployments and house moves because he would support me and look after me.
Therefore, charities such as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and The Ripple Pond are so important. They have given me respite, helped in times of crisis. The Ripple Pond offers support daily. With meetings, online or in person and through social media. It is a place I can offload amongst people who understand whilst positively supporting others. I tend to go on when I am feeling good and try to spread positive stories as that is what we need, and I find it therapeutic.
To me The Ripple Pond is the only organisation that has really been there daily to talk to, to listen, to signpost and for peer to peer help. The feeling you are not alone or on your own. When you feel you are failing at juggling everything there are others who understand.
I remember my first meeting introducing myself when I heard of others who had been living with PTSD for 10-20 years. It hit me like a brick. We were in the depths of crisis and had been for months, I barely knew which way was up, there was no way I could see this situation continuing for twenty years! But as the shock wore off, I realised these people were living with PTSD. It had not gone away, their status quo had not changed. There must be some equilibrium that can be reached that can be sustainable in the long term. These were strong people who had suffered a lot but had overcome and whilst they had bad days, they got through them. And with The Ripple Pond they did not have to get through them alone.
I have made friends, some who live locally, who I can meet and even share jokes with about living with PTSD.