For those that don’t know – in my previous day job, before I came back to America April 6 of this year, I led a multinational team of awesome guys and girls (from about 8 different nationalities) that ran protection details for vips traveling in developing countries and other hostile environments. These included corporate leaders, military commanders, dignitaries, Ambassadors and other state officials from many different parts of the world.
This was a job that has allowed me to do things I would have never been able to do on a cop’s salary.
I traveled the world; I got most of my Muay Thai training and experience at the source – in Thailand – which is something not many people get to do. I was able to self-finance a full fighter’s gym.
Sure, it was sometimes dangerous… from having to constantly navigate criminal and terrorism ridden areas, to smuggling over $2 million across the corrupt country of Afghanistan to be able to use cash for things we couldn’t write a check for, to knowing things that most people will never be able to understand.
But it was mostly hurry up and wait.
After about ten years in these places, I came back home.
PTSD is real.
It might not always be noticeable and it might not always be in-your-face present. The person that is suffering may not even know they’re suffering until its too late. But Post Traumatic Stress is real.
You never know what kind of demons someone faces every day.
I just got a call about a former team member of mine that took his life this morning. For the most part, Chris was “happy” on the outside – he would even do charity marathon runs for Veteran suicide awareness several times a year.
He has been called a Marine, a Close Protection Operator, a father and a friend. Most recently, he was called coach as a CrossFit Affiliate Owner.
What haunted him?
There was a lot.
Mostly I think it was the fact he wasn’t there in 2015, when 3 of our friends were executed. The Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) sat in a parked car waiting for us to pass and then ripped through the armored Land Cruiser.
There was absolutely nothing he could have done when the explosion violently threw the 8,000-pound truck 100 yards in the air like it was a toy car. Just like there was nothing I could have done any different to change the outcome. I don’t talk about August 22, 2015, very much, but it is the very reason why I ended up on the path I have.
Survivors guilt is real.
I struggled with it for a long time, until I found out that every route we could have taken was covered in the exact same way as the route we did take. Every direction had a similar setup, with a loaded car waiting specifically for us.
I say all of that to say this: if you’re struggling, reach out to someone. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic or as drastic as surviving a car bomb in Kabul Afghanistan, but whatever it is – if it’s enough to haunt you, it’s enough to get help or talk to someone.
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
On the other hand, everybody knows someone that is struggling.
One simple phone call or text could make the difference between living and dying.