Randi is a 10 year Norwegian veteran. She served three tours in Lebanon as a radio operator (communications specialist), in the Balkans in 1992 as part of the UN Protection Force as movement control and driver. In 1996 as part of the Nato Implementation Force, and with the Stabilization Force in 1996-1997.
Much of Randi’s service was as an operation assistant and a driver for the CO. She was on the road quite a bit and shot at several times. She was evacuated from Sarajevo. She has spent time sitting in a bunker. In her words, she says she has “seen lots”. Randi struggles with the details of these conversations.
In addition to her combat exposure, Randi felt the stress of being one of few women in the Norwegian military in the mid-1980s. She found it difficult to earn respect. She also was restricted in certain opportunities as a result of some officers not yet accepting females in the military.
After the military Randi spent time helping others, in part to avoid dealing with her own problems. She has volunteered with Team Rubicon and for years she answered a helpline for veterans organizations, for which she is certified. She does not socialize with others much and stated that her volunteering is the only thing that gets her out of the house.
Years after her service, Randi began to admit to herself that something was wrong, with her mind, her thinking. She said that her head just did not seem right. She became ill and was ultimately diagnosed with type I diabetes. Randi thought this was the answer to her symptoms. However, as the medications did not ease all of her symptoms, she finally admitted to herself that she was dealing with PTSD.
Randi has difficulty admitting to this. To her, she was not physically injured and has seen others who suffered much more than she had, in her eyes. In her work with the helpline she has also heard stories from others going through significant suffering and hard times. However, she is finally beginning to come to terms with this and beginning to fight her own battle.
According to Randi, there is not much in the way of psychological help in Norway for veterans.
The Camino holds great hope for Randi.