Everyone has those days that are their best and worst days. My best days were meeting and marrying my wife, having my three kids, and meeting Jesus. My worst day was April 8, 2000. I just celebrated one year anniversary in the marines. I was promoted to Lance Corporal and selected to be part of a training exercise with the MV22 Tilt-Rotor Osprey. It was exciting to be one of the first infantrymen to fly in the Osprey. I served in 3rd BN 5th Marines as a machine gunner. Upon arrival at the airfield we were notified our helicopter assignments were switched. My best friend was now stick 2 and I was assigned to stick 1. During descent, the rear Osprey an engine stall. We watched as the bird rotated upside down and crashed. 19 Marines were lost that day. My best friend George Santos was a far better man than I. Life felt like a gamble.
The memory of the 19 Marines that gave their life that day, was a war in my mind as I raised my own family. PTSD is a fog you live in. It invades your ability to make rational decisions, and pervades your sleep with vivid dreams. It clouds your values and interrupts your thoughts.
Eventually, with the stresses of life, my PTSD began to cycle. Owning my own business, managing a DIY home purchase and raising three kids was a big weight soon after my wife’s employer downsized and laid her off. My capacity to cope BROKE. We needed help.