Ray Hoelscher served in the United States Navy and upon returning to civilian life, he recognized pretty quickly he had PTSD. However, Ray simply didn’t want to take on what seemed like a huge undertaking, which was to address it and seek help.
Like so many people, Ray turned to drinking alcohol. He literally was trying to find the solution of dealing with PTSD through drinking. Unfortunately, his drinking didn’t rid him of PTSD, but rather, only made it worse.
Having pride in himself and the fact he was a Navy Corpsman, he was not going to allow himself to seek out help to deal with the PTSD.
In Ray’s Own Words…
In this video, Ray Hoelscher shares his story and experiences with Shields and Stripes.
As a corpsman, Ray unfortunately had to bare the emotional consequences of not being able to save lives of those injured in combat. He didn’t know how to fix what was happening inside himself, and he knew there would be issues if he seeked help through the navy. Due to stigmas and culture, he knew seeking help would mean he would never be accepted back into his community in the navy.
Ray soon found himself being medically retired from a job he loved, and it was a difficult time in his life. He gave up on taking care of himself, both mentally and physically, and spiritual as well. To his family, Ray used to be a man who held himself with a sense of pride.
“The way that Shields and Stripes approached things from such a different way. In the short span of time I’ve been here, I was mentally, physically, and spiritually addressed in in a satisfying way, in a way that felt comfortable, not pushed on me. It was on my terms almost. And I’ve never had that. Jen looked me straight in the face and told me it wasn’t my fault.“
As an athlete at Shields and Stripes, Ray was able to regain his self worth and pride back, and do it on his terms, which has never happened for him before. He’s learned there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and he knows how and where to seek help should he need it in the future.