The following feedback is provided by participants of the PTSD Support and Recovery groups. Since our groups have anonymous participation, only the first letter of each person's name is included.
"The PTSD group has been so very good for me. With COVID, I have not been going as often as I would like. It gives me people I can rely on 24/7. I know we all feel the same way. It has been a miracle for me. There are great folks running and attending the group. I need for it to be there for us. Thank you."
A Letter to NEXTGEN
On December 13th I met Kris at the sheepdog house not knowing a single thing about the program in which I was walking in to. However, I did it because I knew that I was in good hands. I trusted those who carved the path for me to get there and would have followed them into any battle without a single afterthought. Those of you at Next Gen. have shown and provided a mental safety net for me to fall back on when I wanted to take my life due to the battles I went through, and was the last one standing in. Even still, it took over six months of going to the PTSD support groups that Next Gen. holds for me to gather the courage to speak up, but damn it I did. To me it was just a vent, but to others it was a cry for help in a language I could speak but didn’t understand. That cry for help has taken me to places that I would never have dreamed of. I would have bet my life before this program that the answer to all of my problems was on the other end of my .45 ACP, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. You all at Next Generation Veterans have shown me that. There are not enough thank yous in this world that I could give or call out to equate to what you all have shown me. You all have given me the strength to face my fears, puff my chest, and claim my stake as a man, as a combat veteran in this world and to be proud of my achievements. Not to wallow in my own self-pity, but come face-to-face with the torments
of my demons instead of running from their shadows. Finding who I am at the root instead of questioning why my branches wither away. The sheepdog program has taught me: self-care, what my values are, and how those need to be stapled to my core beliefs, how to set boundaries for myself so that these values can stay intact and undamaged. My 3 highest values are Loyalty, Selfless, and Fearless. Together these values will be what I put in my rucksack and have already begun my march into the deepest bellows of my heart and soul, to rearrange my negative thoughts and learn to see the good. “I am not my own fault” will be, and is taught to us every day. Not only from myself but also from the facilitators at this program who I have learned to trust as I have learned to trust you all at Next Generations. Between my Traumatic Brain Injuries (2), the sheer number of times that I have experienced temporal distortion (fight or flight), complex traumas, and substance abuse from alcohol, I lost my ability to stay in the fight. Sober living has brought me back to life and allowed me to see for myself the damage I was unknowingly doing to myself. Given me an opportunity to learn how to make more concise decisions, and even contingency plans for myself to fall back on, to sound the alarm
within myself so I know what to do should things begin to fall apart. The sheepdog program has, and continues to not only give, but, teach me new tools to add to my rucksack. I am currently deep in the bellows working day in, day out, cleansing my life one traumatic experience at a time, so that I can teach others how to do the same. This path is not for the faint of heart and you all chosen to save me knowing that I could fall again like so many others before me. This is why I wanted to reach out to each and every one of you, to say to all of you, thank you! for my sake, my children’s sake, the sake of others who I do yet not know, but will save them too. Thank you for allowing the “pay it forward” method to
continue its purpose and work its magic to vets like me who have drowned in 3-ft of water. I am three weeks into this program and have at least three more to go. Every day I wake up eager and hungry to keep fighting the good fight. Thank you, Next Generation Veterans. Thank you for what you all do in continuing the fight for us after we all have come home and allowing me to join your ranks.