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Updated: Thu, 05 Dec 2013 11:25:09 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

PTSD-suffering veteran speaks out about suicide attempt



Master Cpl. Kristian Wolowidnyk was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned from Afghanistan in 2010. CBC

Master Cpl. Kristian Wolowidnyk was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned from Afghanistan in 2010. CBC

As Canadian defence officials investigate the fourth apparent suicide of a soldier in the past two weeks, an Edmonton veteran is talking about his attempt to take his own life.

Master Cpl. Kristian Wolowidnyk fought in Afghanistan as a combat engineer. After he returned to Canada in 2010, he suffered from flashbacks and hallucinations.

Eventually, he was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The apex of the bottom, if that makes sense was about a week, two weeks ago, when I was told I was getting kicked out of the military,” he said.

The military deemed Wolowidnyk unfit to work. Shortly afterwards, he tried taking his own life.

"If I've tried and failed, there's obviously other people who are thinking about it,” he said.

Wolowidnyk survived. Now he and his wife Michele worry that other soldiers may not be so lucky.

Stigma around mental illness

The four deaths from apparent suicides have put the spotlight on how the military deals with soldiers who suffer from PTSD.  

The stigma surrounding mental illness makes some soldiers reluctant to seek help, the Wolowidnyks say. They say help is hard to get without a fight.

"I think he fell through the cracks to a degree, because of how far this got,” Michele Wolowidnyk said.

“I think that had there been some proper management of what's going on and who he's seeing, maybe it wouldn't have gotten this bad."

On Wednesday, Wolowidnyk received a bit of good news.

The military has redesignated him a "severely wounded soldier” meaning he can leave the military at his own pace.

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