Monday, June 17, 2013

8-year old creates PTSD TKO to knock out PTSD in Veteran dads

Jesse Gourley, Founder of PTSD TKO

Evansville, IN -- Jesse Gourley is a typical, fun-loving 8-year old, who loves camping, writing and drawing. Already she carries a heavy load on her heart for one so young, experiencing firsthand what PTSD has done to her father. Jesse has experienced fear, hurt and anxiety in a time of her life that she should be solely enjoying her childhood.

Shawn and Jesse

Her mom, author and owner/founder of Military with PTSD, Shawn explains that she has done her best to ease things for her children, telling them no more than needed, about why daddy acts like he does and seems so angry at times. Shawn knows though, that children don't really understand PTSD. Unfortunately, most adults don't either.

Shawn explained to me how TKO came to be: "Jesse came to me with the idea of TKO. They bet me they could raise more PTSD awareness than I could and said the theme was 'Momma said knock you out' and from there it went."

Brother and sister duo

Thus Jesse started and become the founder of PTSD TKO Project, a place for kids and teens to come together to share their photos and stories, to educate other children as well as to learn that they are not alone.

Meaning of TKO

Original 24 children that help start TKO

Shawn Gourley showed me this FB page where Jesse tells her story on Facebook, explaining why she wanted to start this group:
People like Daddy are on Facebook, and they will see the PTSD TKO, and they'll want to knock out PTSD with us. I want people to understand that if Daddy is having a nightmare about a helicopter, yells, and shoves Mommy out of bed, that isn't the same as a bad dad where you need to call the police. The mom and the kids have no choice but to go for a drive because they're scared of the way he's acting. If they call for help for him,then the police will come, and they won't understand that he doesn't mean to be scary.
I think people like Daddy who have nightmares and make their families need to go for drives are the ones who get sad and commit suicide. I hope when they see the pictures of kids fighting back, they will know even when we get scared and leave, we still love them and are proud of them. Then they won't be sad enough to leave this world.

Two days ago, Jesse wrote a letter to President Obama, to ask for help so that no more kids would lose a Veteran parent with PTSD to suicide. She hopes that the president will help "save our Vets" save her dad.

In the meantime, Jesse is actively involved on her Facebook page, talking to others, teaching and learning more as she goes. The biggest thing that she gets out if this though, is feeling that she is not alone.