My books are part of 'Wolf Photography' which has the following aims:
1) To raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Veterans and others and to help bridge the gap between family members, their loved ones and care providers
2) To promote the use of creativity as a coping mechanism (eg photography, writing, music, painting etc)
3) To signpost people to avenues of medical, emotional and financial assistance
The aims will be realised via this book, the main website (http://www.wolf-photography.com), blog and through exhibitions and talks. A by product will be raising awareness of people's rights on Intellectual Property (mainly copyright). Please visit http://www.wolf-photography.com/html/IP-UK/respectIP.html for information on how to protect your Intellectual Property.
I started writing poetry in 1981, while serving with the Royal Air Force Police. It was a way of releasing some of the tension that had built up during my two year tour in Northern Ireland (1983-1985). When I left the RAF I was not told about PTSD and no diagnosis was made on my discharge medical. No one, including myself knew that I had the condition. We weren't encouraged to talk about such things in those days and suffered in silence ... much like many of us do nowadays.
After a six month break I served in the Metrolpolitan Police. My career in the civillian police was cut short after an incident involving an explosion in London which triggered a flashback to an incident in Belfast.
I served with various Citizens' Advice Bureaux from 1990-2000, starting with Newquay as a full time unpaid volunteer for four years. During that time I setup the organisations first voluntary social policy unit, SNAK (Saturday Newuqay Area Kitchen - a resource for homeless people to get some food, support and leads for accomodation) and worked on discrimination issues affecting voluntary and paid workers within NACAB (the National Association of Citizen Advice Bureaux). I later obtained paid work at Kingswood CAB as a tribunal representative. My last post was as manager at Truro CAB.
I was eventually diagnosed as having PTSD in 1995. Along the way I found myself in Native American (First Nations) healing circles where I met a teacher named 'WhiteEagle'. Being aware of my connection with wolves on a deep level, she gave me the name 'SnowMoon Wolf'. It's there that I learnt how to cope with PTSD and to be realistic about my expectations of myself.
I joined the NHS as an IT engineer in 2000 and changed my last name to reflect my spiritual path. Through my work I became aware of a high level of racism in the work environment, mainly through ignorance, and setup the Minority Ethnic Group for the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust. I also became a union representative to help people over the 'Agenda for Change' process.
I never stopped fighting for people's rights right up to the point of being retired on ill health in 2006.
Words of a Wolf was compiled in 2009 and published in 2010 as a tool to help raise awareness of the plight of Veterans, particularly after experiencing very poor levels of service and awareness in the NHS and social Services in the Nottingham area.
Photography is also an important part of my coping mechanism and I tend to escape with my camera as often as posible. When I'm in the wilderness I escape from the chains of human society and feel at peace. I feel connected with the Earth and the many creatures that we share this space with. Some of the journeys I undertake are very difficult, both pysically and mentally ... but to see something like an osprey taking a fish, polar bears sparring or a wolf makes it all worthwhile.
I want to continue raising awareness of how PTSD affects veterans and promote some understanding of what we go through so that perhaps the next generation of Veterans won't have to have their dignity stripped in order to be understood or sufficiently cared for by the system and various services in our respective countries.
I am also using exhibitions to destigmatise disability, particularly mental health.
Monies raised from the sale of my books and photography are used to facilitate exhibitions by the Disabled Artists' Network, an international camera club and an international poetry group. You can find out more on www.wolf-photography.com.
Villayat 'SnowMoon Wolf' Sunkmanitu