Let's be Frank...
One of the things that we agreed on when we started Poor Girls was that we would use our platform to inspire people with food, but also start opening up conversations with people about issues that they deal with. Our goal is to start taking the shame and embarrassment out of the things we deal with behind closed doors and to create a space where people can open up, feel safe, get it out and hopefully start to heal.
So, today we want to introduce you to Frank Albert.
Frank has been brave enough to open up and share his story in hopes that anyone dealing with something similar can feel understood, not alone and hopefully seek some help.
Frank Albert is a silence breaker, a conversation starter to help bring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder out of the darkness.
Around June last year I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). I am 53 years old and have been a volunteer surf life saver for over 35 years, I have witnessed a lot of trauma being a crewman on the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, Ballina Jet Rescue Boat and currently in my position as Surf life saving duty officer ( all these roles as a volunteer )
Over the past 2 years I was first on the scene at several shark attacks, holding limbs together and assisting medical crews, I performed CPR on a 7 year old boy for 45 mins only to have him die in front of me, I did several body recoveries from local waterways and found the body of a 20 year old girl at the bottom of Lennox Point after she had jumped. My brain could not process all this trauma in such a short period of time.
Just prior to being diagnosed my wife and my close friend the Mayor of Ballina (David Wright) noticed a change in me, I didn't notice anything until one day I started crying and could not stop, at this point I decided to go and seek help.
I had to walk out of home and my family as I didn't want to be around anyone, I found a small Balinese hut in a backyard at Suffolk Park and locked myself away from everyone.
At this point I was not able to work ( I am a Team Leader with Ballina Shire Council) I started seeing a Psychologist and she had told me that I had to get off Social Media. A good friend of mine who was also going through a similar condition helped me create a fake profile for Facebook so I could keep in contact with my family. A fellow named Frank Albert was created, no reason just liked the name.
Over the following weeks we were updating "Frank's" profile and I always had a love of all things nautical but particularly the anchor. Suddenly an idea was born, and we decided to make a t-shirt with the anchor and Frank Albert name. We had no idea where this was going to go but we just knew we had a message and we wanted to get it out there somehow. This message was about PTSD and the struggle that it is.
The anchor symbolises strength within us all, and reminds us that we are stronger than we know. This has become synonymous with my Frank Albert creation and is now the emblem Frank Albert is recognised for.
To date, we have had such great support from all over the country. People are slowly hearing our story and realising that they are not alone in their PTSD struggles. We have had great support from emergency services personnel and their families in particular and we have become a really great support for many of them, and them for us.
Frank Albert is a not-for-profit group as we do not make money on the proceeds of sales. We use an Australian clothing manufacturer and have the screen printing done locally here in Byron Bay.
The end goal is simply to promote the word of PTSD and that it is real.
Sufferers and their family and friends can overcome their difficulties sharing and talking with others and we simply hope that our message gets out there to the wider public so that they know they have support.
If you wish to support Frank on his mission, please head to www.frankalbertclothingco.com where you'll find his online store, more info on PTSD and his blog.
If you wish to share your story with us, please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org (please know that this will be a confidential email between us and we would not share this to our blog without your permisson x)