I have a bond with fellow veterans that cannot be explained or broken. It would be the same for law enforcement and firefighters.
I could not live day to day knowing that my fellow veterans were taking their lives. I still have compassion.
However I carry my own demons that have to be dealt with.
I find I am at peace when I am on the water alone in my kayak. It is the only time I do not feel the constant depression I normally feel. I can escape the triggers of my PTSD because I am alone without the distractions that could trigger it. I am looking from the universe that healing energy that I need to become whole again. Will I get it or find it? I don’t have an answer yet but I have time to work on it.
What is my biggest demon? Years ago when I started doing underwater recovery in order to stay sane and not bring it home to my family I consciously threw a switch that disassociated myself from death. Although I was doing this to bring closure to the families. What does this mean? It meant that I could do my job without becoming emotionally involved with body I recovered. You have zero feelings about death your void of any empathy or compassion when it comes to death.
A prime example is a woman at work whose son is a veteran went to a hospital stating he wanted to commit suicide. After a number of test they released him and he went home and carried out his plan. Now he being a veteran I should feel something but nothing. It really depressed me and made me angry at myself. I had no words for her none that carried any weight or meaning. After 2 weeks I had a chance to explain to her that I wanted to say something but my words would have carried no weight and that I respected her to much to do that. She understood.
I have had to give up things in my life and I want them back. Just to be able to shop in a crowded store would be great, or to go to a concert, a movie, to eat in a restaurant without looking for an escape route or asking fr a table close the door.
I have allot of time on the water to try to figure out how to turn that switch back off.
One of the things that is helping me is that I am 1/4 Cherokee and I am researching the spirituality of my Cherokee ancestors. I am more interested in their belies before the Europeans came. I feel that I have a spirit guide who protects me and I have other guides who steer me away from bad things and ideas. I had a woman trying to talk me into going to this weird church and the whole time this voice kept saying walk away this is not your path.
Anyway we all have our own path to go down. I am trying to find mine so that I canc sleep in more than 2 hour shifts.
There is a woman Paddling around North America, do you remember her name?Maybe not but she will soon fade into history because its not news.
I am paddling the East Coast and if successful I will continue through the Gulf eof Mexico. You will forget my name too. However, you will, I hope, remember the cause. That is the important aspect of my journey.
I want your conversation with others to be, I met this guy who is kayaking to raise awareness about veteran suicide and PTSD. I wish it to be a daily part of your conversation and to spread the word through social media as well.