Table of Contents
The Darkest Days: Deployment, Trauma, and Loss
This is going to be a very raw conversation, relating to hopelessness and PTSD. I can speak with authority because in March 2013 I was in this space.
This was the most danger I had ever been in next to combat, however, the danger was from the man in the mirror. It was after my deployment to Afghanistan from April 2011 to February 2012, and a Traumatic Brain Injury followed by the loss of four of my Soldiers to wounds sustained in combat, the death of Doug Cordo from an IED, then the loss of my mother at the end of the deployment.
My Entire World was turned upside down and had no idea what was about to happen. After my mothers funeral I found myself back at Ft. Wainwright, AK waiting for the return of my men. I made my way to the Class 6 store, another term for a liquor store on base and began self medicating just to sleep. Rinse and repeat every night. This developed into a myriad of problems for me. No sleep, at least meaningful sleep and fatigue 24/7.
It seemed as if I were going to battle PTSD all alone. The night terrors, and night sweats were getting irritating. Almost a year has passed and I’m still all over the place emotionally. What the hell was going on. DO I self refer for help, can’t because I don’t want to lose the respect of command or my men. I know how everyone thinks about this. It’s pure weakness, so I convinced myself.
I started to lose hope, like I was never going to be normal again, ever. I found myself having frequent suicidal ideations. This is a problem I thought to myself. Who do I talk to? EAP perhaps? No, Command will find that out too. You know what? Suicide seems like the only way out. March 2, 2013 I made my decision, it felt like a huge weight lifted, I’m feeling peace with this decision. This can’t be real I thought to myself.
Go time as I peered at the locked and loaded Rock River AR15 in my room corner, I stood up and walked forward. What is that noise, as I peered up to my ceiling. “Damn it!” It was the two kids in the apartment above me. It totally took me out of the emotional state to execute. After all a high powered rifle would penetrate the floor above me. I had no desire to hurt a child. I drank to sleep that night and was awakened by my phone the next morning.
The phone rings and I see Ryan’s number and name. What’s up buddy? I said to him. Ryan then asked me if I heard about Corey Smathers? My heart sank when he said that. I knew something was terribly wrong. No what happened I said. Ryan then said a sentence I’ll never forget. “He shot and killed himself last night.” I buried my head in my hands and sat there quietly. I told Ryan I’ll be in the barracks shortly to check on everyone.
Finding Healing: How I Overcame PTSD and Reclaimed My Life
Corey saved my life that day, unfortunately is when he took his own. I could not give my guys permission to do the same. I fought the isolation, the intoxication and the despair until I was medically retired from the US Army on September 11, 2014. The irony of that day.
This is just a glimpse of what it is like to lose hope and the consequences of this action. I am so grateful to still be alive today. I no longer struggle with PTSD, the Anxiety, the Depression and all the roller coaster of emotions anymore. I’m very grateful that I took an active roll in finding a better way of healing.
No my mission is spreading as I got to start a nonprofit 22zero.org with my best friend Nick Davis. We have worked very hard over five years, healing thousands of people as an organization. Nick and I have also started a for profit business to bring these healing solutions to the civilian and even corporate worlds.
anxietyguys.com started in November 2022 and is very successful. This entity will eventually fund all administrative costs of 22ZERO.
You’re Not Alone: Reach Out and Begin Your Journey to Healing
If this resonates with you and you’d like a conversation please sign up on my calendar below and see how we can lead you through our protocols and you can feel the heal.