"I had to be willing to take a risk."
After much reflection and revelation I can look back at my experience, both positive and negative, and say that I am recovering all. What does that mean?
On this journey through life, things can happen to cause one to retreat from life and the land of the living. Due to the effects of trauma during my military service I lost many things— relationships, identity, peace of mind, sense of purpose, courage and the ability to overcome the challenges of everyday life. I became stuck. I was afraid to pursue happiness. I harbored in the back of my mind the thought that if I allowed myself to be happy, something would happen to destroy it.
My experience with Soldiers to Summits and the No Barriers Mindset, “What’s Within You is Stronger than What’s in Your Way,” helped me get “unstuck”.
What am I recovering?
My peace of mind. Using the concepts of “Aim High, Enter the Storm, Climb Strong,” helped me regain a sense of peace. The underlying sense of persistent uneasiness when in social environments or large crowds is decreased.
My confidence. I was asked to provide a series of workshops on post-traumatic stress disorder and mental wellness. Interacting with the class and being able to help participants identify the warning signs and symptoms, helping them reach out to get the care they need, sharing with them how important it is to their mental wellness was actually healing for me. This helped me realize just how important it is to be transparent and brave enough to speak about what some may find hard to share.
My relationships. I am finding more enrichment from the relationships in my life. I am able to be a better friend because I am able to take the time needed for self-care.
My sense of purpose. Prior to participating in the Soldiers to Summits Peru Capstone Expedition, I was at a crossroads. I knew I needed to make some changes since the other alternatives I previously tried were not working for me. Because I believe so strongly in what the Soldiers to Summits experience did for me, I have gone from being a participant to mentoring and outreach. It has been empowering to be in an environment that sees beyond the post-traumatic stress disorder/military sexual trauma (PTSD/MST) and sees me for me. I am more than those traumatic experiences in my life; I am a contributing, functioning, responsible member of society. Although, I have struggles, as anyone does in life at times, I am still able to have a life beyond those experiences.
What is the take-away? I took the step and reached out through my participation in Soldiers to Summits, letting my guard down enough to trust that this could help. I had to be willing to take a risk. For those struggling, you don’t have to struggle alone. You can live life again. There is no shame in asking for what you need and taking the necessary steps to do so. There is an innate desire within all of us to help others and to be a part of a community. Take the step to get the help you need to get back to living.