Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: Further Than Yesterday By Medric "Cous" Cousineau, SC, CD

Further Than Yesterday: That's All That Counts
By Medric "Cous" Cousineau, SC, CD
Genre: Nonfiction
Invictus Maneo Publishing

A high-functioning, Royal Military College graduate becomes a naval aviator in a high stress career.  What grips him and pushes him to the very brink of despair, so close that he almost steps off into a black abyss that is terminally irreversible?

Further Than Yesterday, is the first hand account that answers that question.  The story chronicles of a journey of Hope that delivers a unique perspective of the battles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder including the devastating effects of Institutional Betrayal by the Armed Forces.   The desperate suicidal aviator is saved by an unlikely partner, Thai, a service dog trained to intervene in PTSD.

Captain (Ret.) Cousineau’s story starts out following a young officer’s career that showed great promise before quickly turning into a sojourn in a personal hell that threatens his life, his marriage and his family after a perilous, daring high seas rescue.  For the rescue, Cousineau became the first RMC graduate to be awarded the Star of Courage.
With stark candor, the first person account follows not only his struggles to deal with a devastating injury and the complexity of addictions, but parallels the evolution of a misunderstood injury that has become the scourge of modern militaries and the societies that they protect.

Decades in Hell are replaced with a new outlook and a burning desire to help others obtain help through the acquisition of highly trained specialized service dogs to help veterans combat PTSD. The challenges of PTSD and the horrific effects on a family left Cousineau in a position where he needed outside help to secure the greatest aid to his recovery and re-integration with his family.  Paws Fur Thought became his way to give back that which he was so freely and fortunately given.

To fund the Paws Fur Thought Initiative, Thai the Service Dog and Cousineau undertook a grueling Long Walk to Sanity, a thousand and sixty five kilometer march over 50 days, during which he was forced to look deep inside himself and his injury, learning essential information in the process of teaching others about PTSD, the misunderstood mental injury that carries a huge weight of Stigma.

Further than Yesterday will challenge the reader to confront their own humanity, and their society’s betrayal of its military veterans.   The story is a raw, brutal and poignant journey that confronts head on mental health issues including the “Black Dog” of Depression and Suicide.

My Review

Further Than Yesterday is a heavy read. Written by veteran Captain (Ret.) Cousineau, he details a search and rescue mission that triggered the development of his PTSD. I really liked how Cous told his story. It started in the past and worked its way up to the present. He includes an immense amount of details regarding his military life, the mission, and therapy. 

Cous' story is incredibly important because he sheds light on what it's like to live with PTSD and the multiple symptoms that physically and mentally can shut a person down. Not only does he discuss mental illness in a realistic and raw way, he fights for the rights of veterans who need treatment and care. He doesn't hod back on describing the reality of PTSD.

I applaud him for writing a novel that will affect many people and help them connect with others who understand. Being paired with his service dog, Thai, is a beautiful story and you can easily see how much she has changed his life for the better. This is a must read. 

Author Bio

Cous, a Royal Military College graduate with a degree in English, was injured doing Search and Rescue in 1986, and was awarded the Star of Courage. He has battled PTSD ever since, and in 2012 was paired with his PTSD Service Dog, Thai. As a result, his wife Jocelyn and he co-founded Paws Fur Thought, an initiative that fund raises and advocates to pair other disabled veterans with their Service Dogs.  “Further Than Yesterday” is the first volume of a pending trilogy. Cous has been awarded a Mental Health Inspiring Lives award and recognized as the PetLynx Urban Animal Innovator of the Year in 2014. When not busy writing and delivering motivational speeches, Cous can be found reading, traveling, studying history, fishing, listening to music and walking his dog at the beach.  Cous also shares the house with his wife, her Service Dog, several cats and their grown daughter Jennifer when she chooses.

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