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Awareness over post traumatic stress disorder, especially in the Military, has an absolutely abysmal track record. It’s gotten better in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of giving support and resources to members of the armed forces. When there isn’t the right kind of help available, some people will take matters into their own hands. That can mean doing something very negative, or something very positive…
In the case of Robert Consulmagno, a Marine Veteran in his 40s, he found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and it has been a life-saver for him. He has struggled with PTSD, bipolar disorder, flashbacks, depression, and severe mood swings. When he was just a small child, his father committed suicide which was the catalyst for a lifetime of difficult battles. He never met his father, but his stepfather was a piece of shit who would abuse his mom in front of him. He was put in a full body cast at 8 years old after his stepfather threw him down a flight of stairs. During the holidays one year, his stepfather kicked down their Christmas tree and proceeded to beat his mother. These experiences would have broken a lot of people, but Robert pushed through.
Needless to say, that’s a lot for anyone – let alone a child – to take in.
Consulmagno joined the Marine Corps in 1991 as an escape from his difficult past, but he soon learned that you can’t just run away from your demons because they’ll follow you. He was getting into confrontations with his superiors, getting into a lot of trouble, being threatened with court marshals, and constantly dealing with anxiety over whether or not he would be sent home.
After being informed by Veterans Affairs that he was “100 percent disability”, and spending most of his adult life thinking he just had normal anger issues, Robert realized that he was actually struggling with a disability and he needed to find a way to deal with it instead of trying to bottle it up.
Enter Jiu Jitsu…
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