I have to admit these past three months have been extremely difficult for me. My girlfriend broke up with me in June and it really took me by surprise. As we all know, the heart never breaks even between two people. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen into a deep depression compounded by anxiety. If you don’t know, I’ve been living with PTSD and major depressive disorder for the past 12 years. It was something I developed while serving in the military.
I’ve managed to spiral downward into a dark place I haven’t been in several years. It’s a place I hate. It’s a pit of despair, self-doubt, self-loathing and just abyssal darkness. It’s a place where everything that has caused me pain in my lifetime, re-emerges and haunts my every thought. It’s causing me to cut myself again. The suicidal thoughts are persistent as well. It’s a constant struggle to fight all the urges. It’s exhausting. If I hadn’t been through this four times before, I’d probably be hospitalized already, if not dead. This is no fault of my ex. These are my demons. I want that to be clear. She didn’t cause this, my inability to process thoughts properly caused this.
I’ve been trying to be productive by painting and spending time with my friends and family, but to be honest, I’m pretty useless at this point. I’m seeing a psychologist at the VA clinic but it’s just frustrating. They know my history, so I am taking no pleasure in going over every detail of it once again.
I’ve decided that I know what works best for me and that’s getting away for a bit. I don’t want to be committed to a hospital again, so I’ve decided I need to do a little walkabout. I have a 1,100-mile hike planned in January traversing the Florida Trail, but I don’t feel I can hold onto what’s left of my sanity that long. I trust my instincts and my heart and they’re telling me to seek closure and to at least try and mend an important friendship as well. I need to desperately find clarity. I need to fix my mental health. I need to heal from pain and exhaustion, and not by the way of a blade.
Last year, I paddled 2300 miles in a canoe to find clarity and it was life changing. In the same spirit, I’ve decided that walking 500 miles from Oak Grove, Kentucky to Lawrence, Kansas will bring me several things: clarity, closure, save a friendship, save a life, and help people understand mental health issues like PTSD and depression better.
I hope that people will share this journey and reach out not just to me, but to anyone they know who is struggling at the moment with mental health issues. Maybe even send notes of encouragement telling me what they would walk 500 miles for. I’ll be updating this blog daily going into deeper details about my struggles and feelings.
I haven’t set a start date yet, but it will be before the end of this month.