For U.S. soldiers, returning home from deployment can be a lonely event. That’s especially true for those suffering from PTSD; these veterans often isolate themselves from others, seeking the quiet and calm that they haven’t experienced since before their service.
Marine veteran Timothy Maynard of Greenville, N.C., has found a way to achieve that peace without isolation and now he’s sharing his secret with others.
After serving his country for eight years, Maynard struggled. “It was pretty bad,” he tells Josh Birch of WNCT. “I did a little bit of time with the rehabilitation clinic trying to get back to where I could kind of function with normal people and on my own.”
Then Maynard tried scuba diving through Scuba Now, and enjoyed it so much, he became an instructor. “Underwater it’s just kind of quiet, it’s slow, I don’t have to worry about distractions from other people, other noise,” Maynard tells Birch. “It’s just me and my breath. I’m just doing my own thing. So it lets me slow my mind down so that I can relax and I don’t have to stress.”
Maynard began to invite other vets to try scuba diving as therapy, and he must be a pretty convincing pitchman because over the past year, the Scuba Now shops in Greenville and Wilmington, N.C. have trained 400 veterans, bringing the total number of service members receiving instruction to over 2,500 in the past six years.
Scuba Now offers scuba certification, which normally costs hundreds of dollars, free of charge to any veteran who has earned the Purple Heart medal.
Maynard thinks scuba’s benefits have gone beyond just a fun hobby for him. “I attribute it to saving my life cause it kind of gave me meaning, gave me something to do again and now I just love it,” he says.
MORE: Meet the Marine-Turned-Doctor Helping Veterans Overcome PTSD