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Very Lucky to have Support

Heroes Remember

Very Lucky to have Support

When I joined the military, it was if you were hurt you never got help for it. If you sprained your ankle you go down to the drug store and go buy stuff down there because it was one of those you don’t want to be hurt and you want to always deploy. So if you are hurt, you don’t deploy. For me it’s just an accumulation of everything and crowds, I don’t like crowds. And like I would do nothing without my wife. These camps have been the first time I actually did anything long term without my wife there. A lot of anxiety. If things start moving too quick, out of control then that’s one of my triggers. If everything is not perfect because you got to make sure everything, all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted and if they are not then my old way of thinking then it’s not good, something is going to happen. So I am working on that. Like the anxiety, the crowds, loud noises when I know they are coming aren’t a problem but it’s a slow road but it’s coming. Everybody looks at PTSD and they just look at the soldier but they don’t look at the family. And the family suffer from it just like the father, the mother or the son or the daughter does. Everybody suffers for it and hopefully slowly it’s going to start coming to more light and the “Friends and family” program with the games here, to bring them in so they can actually see it too. You know like they just see me but if they see other people and the challenges that they are having and then you know the challenges that their kids are having. You know it kind of brings everybody to the same level and that’s the biggest thing. Like I signed up for it and my wife signed up for it because we just started going out when I joined the army but my kids never did sign up for it and they’re the ones that have it the hardest, the family. You know like my son was born in ’99 and I think before he was ten I had four deployments or something like that before he was ten years old. I never taught the kids how to skate, I never taught them how to walk. My wife did all that and she’s still with me today so… ya, I’m very lucky.

Mr. Reist speaks about symptoms of PTSD and how he copes.

Mike Reist

Mr. Mike Reist was born December 18, 1969 in Waterloo, Ontario. Having had a great uncle as a role model, Mike made the choice to join the Canadian Forces, only advising his family of these intentions two weeks prior to attending infantry training. Mike joined with 2 RCR, 2nd Battalion Infantry Division and held rank of warrant officer. Mike has a long record of service overseas - Cyprus 1991, Bosnia 1992,’96, ’99, Africa 2000, Afghanistan 2003, ’07 and Haiti in 2005. Mike had 27½ years of military service. Mike is very proud of his military career and is quoted as saying, “It’s the best thing that ever happened!” Upon medical release, Mike was stricken with PTSD and has become an advocate in speaking out about this condition. He is presently active with the Soldier On program and has competed in the Invictus Games in Toronto 2017 as part of Team Canada’s wheelchair rugby. Mike presently resides in Gagetown, New Brunswick with his wife and family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
September 29, 2017
Person Interviewed:
Mike Reist
Royal Canadian Regiment
Warrant Officer

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