Natacha Dupuis, MCpl (Retired)
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Natacha Dupuis, MCpl (Retired)

I recently retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after more than 16 years of service. During my last mission in Afghanistan I gradually started developing mental health problems. 

I recently retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after more than 16 years of service. Over the years, I was part of the Royal Canadian Hussars, the British Columbia Regiment, and the Royal Canadian Dragoons. During these years, I took part in several missions, such as the ice storm crisis of 1998, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, twice.

During my last mission in Afghanistan, after witnessing the gruesome death of two of my brothers in arms, I gradually started developing mental health problems. Upon my return home, I was in tatters, constantly reliving the incident, and I had nightmares, panic attacks, flashbacks, etc. This is when I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

I decided to do everything I could to pull myself back up. I accumulated several tools that I started putting into practise, such as meditation, hypnosis and visualization. But the one that helped me most was physical exercise. And it was Soldier On that got me back into sport and training. The program gave me a good mountain bike, which helped me stay active, fend off isolation and have fun.

The other Soldier On participants have been a huge inspiration in my battle. I hold on to every little victory. Today, I am attending college, in the Security Management Program of La Cité in the hope of finding a new job I might be passionate about.

Natacha Dupuis, MCpl (Retired)
 
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