My marriage was failing, and I was even pushing my kids away.
I had lost all hope and was planning my own suicide.
In October of 2000, I joined the United States Army and graduated Soldier Leader in my cycle out of Basic Training.
I deployed to Iraq in 2003 and served my country with pride. I began to push people away, avoided situations that reminded me of being in Iraq, and began to isolate myself. I had been injured in combat and was Honorably Discharged in 2004.
“I'm a runner, I run from everything, instead of facing my fears,” I said.
Looking back, I realize that I am a fighter: I fought for 10 years to complete my bachelor's degree; I fought through dropping out of schools and multiple visits to the mental health unit; I fought to reconcile my past and accept who I am as an individual; and, lastly, I fought to obtain the healing necessary to reconcile the stigma that accompanied my diagnosis. It wasn't until after I was diagnosed that a sudden, severe depression accompanied my high anxiety. I had neglected myself for so long that I was almost beyond repair. I started to write down my thoughts and, when there were only fragments, I wrote songs or poems.
That’s right, I never graduated high school―and still would not change that.With my family’s support, I was able to graduate from college in 2010 with my Associate’s Degree.I worked hard and, in 2013, became a Peer Support Specialist for the VA, which has helped me become the person I am today.I started treatment that day―actually, I started my RECOVERY that day.
I started medications and classes, and began to spend time in the world outside.
I saw the value of peer-reviewed journals, books, and online social media.