A Canadian Armed Forces chaplain who was sent to Afghanistan to give spiritual support to the troops came home with post-traumatic stress disorder himself, despite never seeing combat.
Maj. Michel Martin takes listeners to his dark corner of reality, describing a heart-wrenching descent into anguish, depression and anger in a CBC Radio documentary entitled Looking for a Place to Rest. It was produced by John Chipman for The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.Martin moved into the armed forces as a reservist while keeping his day job as a civilian pastor. He was on the front line dealing with the mental suffering of the troops.
The sudden suicide of a soldier under his care, before his deployment to Afghanistan, began his spiral of emotional stress.
"I had a burden on me, I felt guilty," Martin says.
In his short time abroad, he managed the death of nine fellow soldiers, six of whom were Canadian.
Fuelled by stress, Martin went through the motions of his posting until it caught up with him.
"You do your job, and you do not realize it was difficult until you break down."
On his return to Canada, Martin was unaware of what he was keeping inside until a colleague, David Mancini, forced him to face his PTSD head on.
Martin’s wife Evelien Martin-Brulleman has been doing everything she can to help her husband through his distress, as well as working to keep their family together.
"PTSD destroys a lot of people. I never thought one moment that I would go through it one day. It almost destroyed me."
Chipman’s documentary, which airs Sunday, takes listeners further into Martin’s intense and unique struggle with the disorder.Listen here