How Project Sanctuary Helped Me Make the Playoffs

Written by guest blogger, Roberta Fox, Project Sanctuary graduate and freelance copywriter.

When my husband returned from his deployment last year, the reintegration period was tough. It felt like all the progress we’d made in communication since getting married had come undone. It was disappointing, but even worse was the fact that the deployment had caused regression in the progress he’d made with his PTSD.

I had a hard time figuring out where my husband fit in at home since I’d gotten used to doing everything by myself while he was deployed. I also struggled with feelings of resentment and abandonment from him leaving on the deployment to begin with. So, when we decided to go to Project Sanctuary, I had the impression that it would be focused around helping our communication and how we deal with PTSD. I had no idea that our retreat would help me grow as a person and teach me that I could push through anxiety in order to do things I didn’t think I was capable of like make the playoffs in a sport I play recreationally.

I’m not great with heights, and it definitely showed during the climbing wall and ropes course outings we had on our retreat as both caused me significant anxiety. At several points, I suffered panic attacks and debated turning back. It was only because of the support of my husband, our group, and the Project Sanctuary counselors that I was able to push through the fear and complete the adventures. In fact, once I had faced the anxiety and completed the first ropes course we did, my husband and I went back and completed it two more times.

When we got home from our retreat, I had a bonspiel (curling tournament) two days later. It was my first bonspiel in about a year, and it was difficult. But, when things got bad, I kept remembering all of the support that everyone at our retreat showed me when I was on the ropes courses and the climbing wall; I remembered that I had a group of people cheering for me in spirit and would still support me even if my team lost every game.

There was one point where I was rushing my shots and I remembered one of the Project Sanctuary counselors telling me that I wasn’t holding up the line on the ropes course; to take as much time as I needed. I started applying the same principle, stopping to catch my breath and calm myself, which made my shots more accurate. I even used some of the things I learned at the retreat to help my teammates and keep their spirits up. Long story, short: it was the first time a team I’ve been on has made the playoffs. We ended up coming in second in our bracket. And Project Sanctuary helped make it happen! So, if anyone is on the fence about attending a Project Sanctuary retreat, I would encourage them to do so. It helped me grow as a person, and could help others, too.



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