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James Whitley

Trooping as a Vet with PTSD and issues in crowds.........

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It's my hope that this post will reach other Vets that are out there wondering about Joining the 501st and have PTSD / Anxiety issues.

 

I had my 1st troop the other day. My wife came to be my spotter and get suited up. I'm not gonna lie, excitement and anxiety was kicking my @$$. We got suited up and headed to where we were doing the photo shoot. Mind you I was not expecting the amount of people that were going to show up there or be in the Venue after we came in. (Roughly 500 per 30 min if I remember correctly) we were in there for about 2 and 1/2 Hours taking photos of the 20 of us in Armor against the Icy back drops of the park we were in. Not to mention the 100's of others that we took with people. I will say that it's the largest crowd that I have been in the past decade, with ZERO Heighten alertness going off and almost no Anxiety (Except for falling and busting my 4th point of contact on the ice.)

 

There is something about the anonymity that you get looking through green lenses and your head in the bucket. I cannot tell you how rewarding of an experience this was for me. To be able to get out in public and not feel that crushing anxiety and have your body go in to overdrive. 

 

If you are a Vet and are wondering about getting a shiny white white suit, 2 words DO IT!!!!! 

 

ODdizJ3.jpg

Edited by James Whitley
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That's awesome man! :D  That faceless bucket feeling is great.  Helps me stop being such an introvert.

 

If you ever get nervous or have issues (goes for anyone, for any reason) be sure the handlers know what's up, and don't try to "be tough" and ignore it!  I've seen too many people go down with heat issues because they wanted to be the tough guy and not drink enough.  Handlers jobs is to keep everyone safe, and they need the help by knowing what to look for!

 

 

Are those stormtrooper ice cleats I see?

Edited by Alay
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@Alay Yeah, We all had them on, Still had one trooper take a nasty spill. Would have been much worse with out them. Yes I'm the one with the strap across the tops of my boots =P Also I been there with the heat, Iraq tends to get pretty warm in the summer =P 

 

 

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Awesome work and congratulations on getting out there and giving it a go. I must admit after a marriage breakdown and living in a dark flat for a few years I wasn't very good at getting out in public, I don't do well in crowds especially with people I don't know but it's amazing how much being in a costume changes that terrible feeling, it's like it isn't even there, you forget all about a lot of things in costume and it's the smiles you see on kids faces that make it so worth while.

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Really nice job, James, and thanks for sharing!!

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Excellent work James

Every troop from here on in hopefully gets better and better for your comfort as you grow accustom to the fun and thrill of it all.

I can only try and imagine how you feel but remember you will always have the support of your fellow troopers and as Alay mentioned, the all important handlers, they have your best interests at heart.

Congratulations for getting out there sir.

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Wow!  Great to hear you getting out.  While many are not vets, a lot of people struggle with anxiety, crowds, social interaction, etc.   I am dealing with my own mental illness and have found that talking about it is a great thing, and that the acceptance socially now is incredible.

Thanks for your inspiration.

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Awesome place to troop, would love a wonder round there.

 

Whilst I'm not a vet with PTSD I do struggle with crowds and busy environments, but the armour makes most of that go away.  Okay I've had a few moments but the spotters did their job and got me out of there.  The armour isn't just a costume, it's a whole new world that many of us other wise would not be able to join.

 

 

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Awesome post and since I don't post much, I would like to add my "two cents"...I am currently active duty Navy (Master-at-Arms Chief), been down-range twice, and I cannot begin to explain how rewarding it has been to be able to "suit up" in my armor with out having someone shooting at you! Although, there are times when I find myself falling back into "the zone" patrolling around different venues that I troop, but the amount of joy I've been able to give back to the community...I don't think I will ever get over the "physical" reaction I get from kids when I look thier way! LOL 

 

I agree with James; Get out there and do it! 

 

And those vets out there that have questions, please don't hesitate to ask; I know I would be more than happy to help and with the amount of support I've recieved from my local Garrison, I am more than certian that we can help!

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Hi James, it’s good to hear about your experience I too have had a similar past and have found being behind the mask has helped me with crowd issues and being in busy public places. 

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Wonderful story. I’m glad you were able to go there with fellow troopers and have a good time.

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