Post-9/11 USMC Combat Veteran Shares Story of Healing, Growth Following Health & Wellness Program
In 2003, Marc joined the United States Marine Corps where he served for nine years. He deployed twice to Iraq, once in 2006 and again in 2007 as a crew chief and flight engineer where he logged more than 2400 flight hours. His team’s missions included in-flight refueling, air drops, cargo and personnel movement, communication relay and medical evacuation. When he left the Marine Corps in 2012, Marc used his GI bill to attend The University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a degree in computer science in 2016.
In late fall of 2020, Marc was struggling.
As fate would have it, he was connected to a Boot Campaign veteran ambassador and fellow Marine who shared in detail about our Health and Wellness Program.
Following that conversation, Marc reached out to Boot Campaign for help saying, “I know something is wrong with me. Over the last 4 months, I’ve had a series of undetected-by-me PTSD outbursts. Starting with mild unexplained frustration early on to complete confusion and inability to complete simple tasks under any pressure now. I’ve isolated myself away from my family and am oscillating between fear-driven hyper activity (going for running-sprints because of random adrenaline pumps) and lethargy and sickly-still while trying to search my mind for the reason I can’t command myself to get up and get my shit together.
I’m unable to sleep more than 3 hours and when sleep does happen, I experience nightmares of combat missions. I’ve made serious mistakes on very simple tasks. I started forgetting about food and went from a solid 230 lb to 187 lb in about 5 weeks due to a mix of forgetting to eat, reduced appetite and hyperactivity. My daughter and ex-mother-in-law stop by every few days to visit with food because my mother-in-law is convinced I am dying due to my sudden weight loss and “gray” complexion. I eat with my daughter if she brings food in the house, but I can’t seem to remember to pick food up off the front porch if I have it delivered.”
For 13 months, Marc, guided by our Boot Campaign team, put the work in to improve his life and was an active participant in his individualized care.
He shares, “The fact that I was able to extend my trust to the Boot Campaign must have been based on the personal approach and immense patience that was gracefully extended to me by these strangers who were able to reach me when my immediate and extended family, friends, and even I could not. It was the first opportunity to have hope that there was a way to get better and that I wasn’t permanently broken. That someone could help me and I wasn’t on my own.”
“I was personally welcomed into a program that included a social group who understood what was happening in my brain better than I did. They were simply asking me to trust in the process and put in the effort to follow the steps to get healthy again. All I was asked to do was to show up, trust in the professionals and try to follow their guidance. Thanks to the personal trust that had grown with the Boot Campaign team, I found that I could actually talk with the doctors and coaches openly, which then enabled them to offer me help.”
“I’m healthy and feel like my mental footing is not just where it was when this started, but better than I can remember ever being. I’ve got a close knit group of friends who I care about, and who I can trust to care for me. While the therapy and coaching improved my health, the most important change to me is that everything I’ve learned, I’ve been able to share with my daughter. I’ve watched her grow confident in herself and healthier, even as I have still been recovering. I’m back to being a dad who is acting like a parent, focused, sleeping, managing my PTSD symptoms and for that, I’ll be forever thankful.”