Darrell Ling: Where is the Canadian Veteran Now?

If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that the world of sports has the power to help heal one’s physical, mental, and emotional traumas by offering them a safe place for growth. This much is perfectly evidenced in Netflix’s ‘Heart of Invictus,’ wherein we get a deep insight into the 2020/2022 Invictus Games, an event Prince Harry has established for this precise purpose. Amongst those to thus extensively feature in this documentary to navigate the same was actually Darrell Ling — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about him, we’ve got the details for you.

Who is Darrell Ling?

It was reportedly back when Darrell was just 18 that he enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces to step away from his unstable childhood, unaware his service time wouldn’t do him good either. He was honestly thankful it gave him “a job, a trade, as well as a career” as a marine electrician, yet the stressful situations he gradually found himself involved in definitely took a toll on his health. In fact, according to records, he seemingly even got injured while on active duty between 1986 and 1992 but still continued to be heavily involved with military responses to major calamities/disasters.

“My childhood wasn’t happy,” Darrell somberly elucidated in the original production. “Parents, they tried their best. But I think they were coping or dealing with issues that they couldn’t get help for. And for me, being young, I didn’t know that and [was] confused at why they were the way they were. I was desperate to leave. I didn’t know where to go. So, when I was old enough to join the military, I did… My job would be bringing the lines in at a fueling place and fuel the ship.” But alas, once he returned, he ended up developing alcoholism, shrunk into isolation, and ultimately became homeless.

However, after nearly a year of living in shelters, under bridges, or in the woods just trying to survive, Darrell reached out to his fellow veterans and accepted the help they unfalteringly offered. That’s when he really realized his triggers take him “back to the trauma. I have flashbacks, and sometimes I don’t know where I’m at, and somebody’s got to tell me to be back and present. It’s a horrible feeling to be scared of your trauma. It’s not a thing I wish on anybody.” What’s more is that alongside this complex PTSD, he also struggles with depression, social anxiety, plus abandonment issues.

Therefore, Darrell’s decision to partake in the 2020 turned 2022 Invictus Games in The Hague and then actually be selected for Team Canada was not a light matter in any way, shape, or form. It was hence all the more incredible that his mere involvement in his chosen three categories — archery, indoor rowing, and wheelchair basketball — helped him open up like never before. In fact, it even led him to concede to his support staff he was still drinking (he wasn’t 5 years sober) in the hopes they could further help him to a place where nothing and no one could hold him back.

Darrell Ling is Focusing on Personal Growth Today

From what we can tell, thanks to the unwavering support of his fellow veterans as a part of the Soldier On organization, Darrell has since grown completely determined to build his life back up. Therefore, he has successfully undergone rehab, is continuing to develop his therapy-driven woodworking skills, and is also learning how to socialize — his next immediate goal is to conquer this aspect.

After all, Darrell is thinking of starting to date, especially as he has truly missed having someone by his side to share his experiences and simply have fun with. Though most importantly, he doesn’t get triggered as much, and despite the fact he knows there will be setbacks along the way, he’s genuinely willing to keep growing.

Read More: Gabriel “Gabe” George: Where is the US Veteran Now?