Sometimes we feel like we are falling into a bottomless pit and life keeps kicking us while we're down. Sometimes these moments leave us feeling hopeless and often times taking your life feels like the only option. I have had a lot of traumas in my life that pop up in my head often. You have to find a way to take away any power these traumas might have had.
Throughout life I have had an abusive step dad who use to kick the shit out of my mom. Eventually it moved on to me with severe verbal abuse to him pinning me down and telling me I was a worthless faggot who should have been aborted. He once grabbed my hair and threw me and I fell down the stairs.
Until this day I still don't know what happened that day of the snowmobile accident. I was sitting in my room playing NFL Blitz on N64 when he walked into the house dragging his leg. “Your mom is dead” he said as he went over to the cabinet and took out a bottle of Captain Morgan. I ran out to the lake and there my mom laid in a pool of her own blood. They had been drinking and crashed the snowmobile into the bank on the side of the lake. I took off her helmet and put her head in my lap. I was covered in blood and she stopped breathing a few times. I ran inside the house and grabbed a blanket. My step dad told me not to call 911. I said fuck that and ran downstairs and grabbed the phone and called anyway. She died in the ambulance and 3 times on the operating table that night but was brought back.
She was in a body cast for months and I had to learn how to cook, help her to the bathroom and help her get dressed. One day, the summer before 7th grade she dropped me off at my dads house and she left. I didn't see her for almost 3 years. Great...lifetime of abandonment issues here we go. She has been in and out of my life but I cut her out finally. When I was going through my divorce In 2015 she posted on Facebook calling me a pig and saying I was a shitty father for trying to improve my life. There were times she told people she wished I would drive off a cliff or kill myself. There comes a time where you have to understand blood doesn't make someone family.
I deployed 4 times while in the Air Force to Qatar, Camp Bucca Iraq, Balad Airfield Iraq, and Bagram Airfield Afghanistan. I was a .50 cal gunner in Iraq and Afghanistan on convoys/route clearance/QRF… we got mortared daily in Iraq, often in Afghanistan and had many people that died while we were there. Luckily I never lost anyone in any of my units while we were there. When I got out, there was nothing but horrible feelings. Survivors guilt, feeling like a pussy because I couldn't handle deploying anymore, the anger of betrayal because multiple “Jody’s” came around when I thought they were my friends when I was deployed. I had enough.
When I was going through my divorce in 2015 I felt a sense of failure, anger, sadness all the bad thoughts someone has when the are walking on the edge of suicide. I failed my marriage, I felt like I abandoned my brothers by leaving the military.
I decided to go on a trip to the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. It was supposed to be my last week in this world I felt hated me. I kayaked 14 miles up to basswood falls, in the middle of nowhere I spent 5 days thinking. I went fishing for my food, I went swimming, kayaking, howled at the moon. I was free. On that last day I decided my life had come to an end. I knew I had kids and people who cared about me but I could not fight the demons anymore. I took my Springfield Xdm 9mm and held the gun up to my head. An eagle was circling the lake and dove in for a fish. I saw a deer drinking water off in the distance. Bass were jumping out of the water. It was a peaceful ending to a difficult life.
I pulled the trigger.
“CLICK” the firing pin slammed into the primer...nothing. I loaded my own ammo. 1000’s of rounds were made by my hands. Never have any of my rounds misfired or malfunctioned. I dropped the magazine, pulled the slide back and examined the bullet that was in the chamber. The 9mm round had a firing pin dent in the primer. It was a dud.
I stared at that bullet for what seemed to be hours. I put the magazine back in the chamber and fired off the 19 rounds I had left. I was still here for a reason and I set out on a quest the next few years to find out what my purpose was. I started fighting mma again, practicing Buddhism and meditating on the regular. I started to learn about the philosophy of happiness and positivity. I started to go hiking and spending more time outside exploring and started researching recreational therapy. I continue to have my ups and downs but when I am feeling down I remember these principles I came up with.
1. Look at who you have around you!
Who are the shooting stars and who are the black clouds. Some people need to be cut out. Those energy vampires and people who feed on your sadness will make you feel like you are worthless need to go. There are those rare shooting stars out there that light up even the darkest skies. Keep those shooting stars close and make them the company you choose. They will build you up, support you, and give you some positivity when you need it most. But you have to accept their help.
2. Look at what you have!
I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a reliable car, I have the ability to work in many different career fields. Most of us are blind to what we have right in front of us. We want more more more when all we need is sitting in your house or apartment. Americans tend to be extremely materialistic and they fail to see that “items” will not bring you the happiness you need. Be happy for what you have.
3. Accept your past!
Look back at your past failures and accept the fact that there is nothing you can do about your past. Our failures do not define us...our actions now and tomorrow do. Anyone can change and become a better person if you forgive the past and accept the decisions you have made.
4. Is there anything you can do about your current situation right now?
We stress and dwell on things that we can not change or can not fix. Time heals all wounds and some things take time to fix. If you can not stand up and walk out the door to fix your current situation...breath. Take out a piece of paper and write down all of the things you need to do or fix. Prioritize your list and see what you can do right now. Sometimes all you need is a little order. Relax, stay calm, and take charge of your situation. Don't let it take charge of you.
5. Look forward to a positive future!
Positive thoughts breed positive results. Project what you want and present your goals to the universe and work for it. When I was a kid I loved Jim Carrey. When he was a struggling actor, he wrote himself a check for 1M dollars and said he is going to cash that check one day. When he was paid for “Dumb and Dumber”, he received a check for 1M dollars. Those who say they can and those who say they cant, are usually right.
6. Love yourself!
You can always do better if you stop hating yourself and start loving yourself. The shitty things you did in your past do not define who you are. You are not the same person as you were yesterday. Choose to grow. Choose to learn. Choose to help one another.
Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi
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The last picture of my past life.
Basswood falls MN July 2015
4/4/2019 03:49:06 pm
Thank you for your story! You are one of a kind.
4/24/2019 08:08:38 pm
4/25/2019 12:49:58 pm
Wow...just wow. Thank you
12/26/2019 03:28:45 pm
You shared part of your story and your process of helping veterans while I was at the holiday for heros event at the MOA. Obviously, this was a lot more detailed than our conversation and I have to say that you, your story and cause is so inspiring...
12/26/2019 06:08:15 pm
Thank you, there are little other words, actions speak better. Let me show you how I can help and get your word out.
2/15/2020 02:39:15 am
I needed this reminder today.
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Veterans sharing their experiences