Feeling nervous or fearful can be a daunting task. I could not even begin to imagine how hard things must be for somebody struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For one British war veteran, everything came flooding back in a public moment.
Paul Guest is a British athlete who competes in various events for the Invictus Games.
During a wheelchair tennis doubles match in Sydney, a helicopter flew overhead. This caused Paul to revisit a dark place that left him paralyzed and partially deaf and blind.
Before becoming part of the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers fellowship, I had locked myself away from life for over 10 years. I tried taking my own life many times. Being part of this has, and will, give me my self-respect back. It’s given me hope and shown me a way forward.
Paul went into a state of panic. His PTSD can be triggered by loud noises such as fireworks or the sounds of rotary blades from a helicopter. Midway through the match, he began panicking and shutting down.
Thankfully, Guest’s Dutch teammate, Edwin Vermetten, knew exactly what was going on with Paul and he did the best thing he could do at the time. He grabbed his head and moved in for a hug and a pep talk. Edwin’s touching embrace has captured the hearts of the world who admire him for his quick-thinking moment of kindness.
I took him by the face and said ‘Look at me. We are a team so let it go.’ Look into my eyes and sing the ‘Frozen’ song, and we did. For him, this was the moment he let go, and he did. He literally let it all go.
The pair returned to the court after the incident. And they went on to win the doubles match against a US team.
The Invictus Games started in London in 2014. Prince Harry was inspired by a visit to the Warrior Games in the United States. In fact, he realised how important and powerful sports can be to help rehabilitate and impact the lives of those suffering from injury, both physically and mentally.
It is the only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
“I’m not used to people being there to cheer me on but this is what Invictus is all about. All the nations are cheering every single one of us on!” Paul Guest, #TeamUK competitor-Advertisement-
— Help for Heroes (@HelpforHeroes) 23 October 2018
We’re all glad that Paul Guest has a teammate as incredible as Edwin. He knew exactly what to do at that moment. It just goes to show that a kind word or a friendly hug really can go a long way to help somebody in need.
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