My Name is Peter. I have PTSD, but have never been to war. #BellLetsTalk2017

#BellLetsTalk2017 starts with acknowledging the accomplishments of a difficult 2016, and thanks for those who made it happen.

For many folks 2016 was a difficult year. For many, it wasn’t only a year of political upheaval and lost celebrities, but a year of embers, ashes, and torpedoed dreams. I guess you could suggest that the year 2016 had a flair for the dramatic , Internet Outrage Machine, Echo Chambers, FakeNews™, et. al. Which is why, despite the fact that I was able to muster enough recovery to start my own business, 2016 remained the year of the dumpster fire.

Make sure you check out all the stuff on offer over at!

That said, I’m extremely proud of the success that I have had in 2016 with my new company, Peter Thurley Communications and Communications Services, a writing and communications consulting firm, which I officially registered in May. I have completed a number of really fun contracts for some small businesses and not-for-profits*, and was invited to join The Eric Drozd Show on 570 News as a regular guest on the Opposing Views panel.

I was also successful in publishing two national editorials on federal cannabis policy, appearing in the National Post in August, and the CBC News Online in November alongside

Unfortunately, I don’t get to choose the headlines, which, themselves reiterate stigma.

opportunities to visit two of Canada’s licensed cannabis producers, where I could increase my knowledge in a cutting edge new industry.

I remain indebted to the support of Curt Hammond at Pearl Street Inc for helping me put together my branding and website, and for giving me the push off the edge and into the small business deep-end. It’s been a lot of fun, and there is a lot of promise for the future in my little writing consultancy.

It really is because of the generosity of our friends and family that we’ve made it through this past year, just as the year before. Without your support, love, prayers, thoughts and gifts, we wouldn’t have been able to do even half of the things that we did. It is literally because of you that there was food in our fridge this fall.

Our words simply cannot express how grateful we are for the love we have heard and felt from our loved ones in 2016

Unfortunately, 2017 is starting with some further challenges to my mental health moving forward.

While my most recent CT scan/Ultrasound results came have come back clear, my mental and physical health has deteriorated over the past year. After some climatic events that necessitated a quick response from family and close friends,

I was fast-tracked to see a psychiatrist and on December 17th, I was formally diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This means even further changes to the way I orient myself to the world around me. While some things have already changed, there are more changes yet to come. I’ve already started the process of moving from one kind of anti-depressant to another, which is always a tricky thing to do. Moreover, most of my worst moments come through recurring nightly nightmares, and so my doctor has prescribed a new kind of sleep aid that is said to lessen nightmares. I’ll be continuing to make use of cannabis not only for pain relief, appetite loss and nausea, but also to help control reactions to external triggers beyond my control. I’ll need to minimize the effects of triggers on me as much as possible, and yet I am not always aware of what may trigger me. I beg your patience with me in the coming weeks and months, as I learn how to identify and manage them, and especially as my medication shifts.

You’ll probably see little Dolly with me even more than in the past — that dog has literally become my life force; she is has become a calming, relaxing and reliable companion in my life. Indeed, over the past year she has provided me with so much joy and light, often becoming my go-to friend when I am feeling my worst — there really isn’t much that can overcome the love of a dog for their person.

Most of the times I have talked about PTSD before have been in the context of war, and yet, here I am, with the diagnosis. Everything is still so new, so confusing; as my mother reminded me just the other day, PTSD treatment for ICU and hospital-related trauma is cutting edge stuff, only really available in the past 5 years or so. Indeed, it was a 2015 article in the National Post with the shocking headline “Blood seeping from the walls, killer doctors: ICU hallucinations haunt a staggering number of patients, provided to me by my therapist at the time, where I first learned that this was possible. I knew I’d been affected, but I didn’t realize it was that bad.

But it was. And it is.

And now here I am.

It’s #BellLetsTalkDay2017.

This year is the first year I learn to live with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

My name is Peter, I’m a civilian, and I have PTSD. #BellLetsTalk2017

*I do fun projects for non-profits, small and medium businesses and political activist organizations. If you need any writing done, whether for your next newsletter, your website, or your next fundraising campaign, I’d love to hear from you. Check out my work at | | or send me an email to

— There would be more images to this post, including a screenshot of a previous post on PTSD and an image of Dolly, once Medium’s servers decide to cooperate :)