April 2014 I tried to kill myself. I was in such a state of depression that I still to this day don’t remember the exact date. After four days in the Intensive Care Unit because my heart rhythm wouldn’t go back to normal, I was “voluntold” I needed to check into the mental ward for further supervision. Meaning they were going to place me on a mandatory hold and that would prevent me from owning a gun, or I can check myself in and keep my gun rights. So I got placed in the VA Mental Ward on my own accord. In honor of my fellow veterans suffering with severe mental health issues I will just say my first day was not a pleasant experience. Probably the only benefit was somehow I got put on the chocolate pudding snack and cheese stick list. I had hit rock bottom in all aspects of my life. After a couple of days under a 24-hour watch I couldn’t take it in there anymore. It had been more than 72 hours and by law if I was no longer a threat to myself or others I could be released. When I pressed them for my release they put me on a mandatory hold. So I gave them hell. After a week of putting up with me, I was reluctantly released to my wife with a suicide prevention plan. The problem was the VA’s plan got me there in the first place. I went to the appointments, the groups and was zonked out on prescription drugs. That plan got me to this point. I was desperately needing help and that help came in the form of cannabis.
After serving in the Marines I became a federal law enforcement contractor and viewed cannabis as something I did in my youth hanging out on the streets up to no good. If it wasn’t for the Marine who saved my life that fateful night recommending it to help with my depression and pain I probably would have never tried it. I didn’t want to smoke it but I was willing to try an edible. So he gave me a 180 milligram snickerdoodle cookie and a 100 milligram capsule. He told me it was strong but I thought to myself what is this little cookie and capsule going to do to me. I used to take pain killers by the handful and wash them down with vodka before bed. Boy I was wrong and I paid for my stupidity. Literally I felt like I was going to die. The room wouldn’t stop spinning and I was curled up on the bed in the fetal position telling myself to stop being such a little bitch. I don’t recommend 280 milligrams of THC to anyone for their first dose.
With the assistance of google and a few knowledgeable bud tenders I had my strains, terpene profiles and dosages pretty much dialed in. I began to experience some real healing through cannabis and socializing with like minded veterans. Cannabis gave me my emotion back. Feelings began to pulse through me. I cried more in those first couple weeks than I had my whole entire life. All the bad emotion and guilty thoughts poured out of me. I even was able to open up in counseling. Each time I hung out with veterans I felt like I dropped my pack for a second. I wanted every veteran to know that cannabis could help them so I started the Weed for Warriors Project within 30 days of my suicide attempt. Taking my mission Nationwide. It was great for almost a year and then things started to unravel again. I ended up back in the mental ward. Overweight, out of shape, angry, paranoid, violent, homicidal and at rock bottom again. Cannabis alone was not the solution or cure I thought it was.
My second rebirth, a little bit fatter but this time I was optimistic. Every aspect of my life began to change. I started a new diet and got back into exercising. Took vitamins, minerals, herbs and spices. My family went back to church. I immersed myself into books regarding mental and physical health. I experimented with mushrooms, ketamine, and DMT. Took a real journey within to try and find my happiness. I realized I was stuck in negativity. Nothing but static and noise. You could say I built myself into a box along with a lot of similar veterans lost on this journey of cannabis healing. I needed to break away from Weed For Warriors to spend some time with my true happiness, my family. After several months off social media. Taking time to evaluate my path, recalibrate and redirect my energy to true healing. I couldn’t sell a lie anymore, cannabis and social events are not the answer to one’s healing. Cannabis is just a natural medicine to assist in the healing process. It is not intended to be used as a crutch that is preventing you from living life. WFW has grown into something that is in a completely different direction than where I am headed. I feel I can do more for veterans operating outside of the cannabis realm. My new mission is to teach and mentor veterans about whole-body wellness. Social meetings are great to spread morale but until you learn to work within yourself, the world around you will never change and you will never find your happiness.
Without balance in our lives we will not find healing. The six dimensions of wellness are: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental and social. By embracing these dimensions you are better equipped to manage the complexities and spontaneity life presents to us. When one or more dimensions are jeopardized, the others play a greater role to balance out the compromised dimension(s).
The six dimensions:
Physical: Maintaining a sound substantial body through regular exercise, proper nutrition, sleeping well, and avoiding harmful habits. Having a consistent well-rounded exercise program is crucial to physical wellness.
Emotional: Being in touch with your emotional presence and being aware and comfortable with your own thoughts and feelings. Emotional wellness relies on being able to express one’s thoughts and sensations and to be able to absorb those of others.
Spiritual: Having a sense that life is meaningful, has a purpose, and that we are guided in our journey. Spiritual wellness is about embracing the metaphysical and reaching beyond the physical realm of existence and experiences.
Intellectual: Being able to engage in lively interaction with the world around you. The intellect is about flexing the mind’s muscle and opening the mind. One’s intellectual being is about continued learning, problem solving, processing, and creativity. Intellectual wellness involves connecting with others on a cerebral level.
Environmental: Surrounding yourself with a healthy work and living environment free of hazards and focused on conservation of all-natural resources and the role we play in bettering the environment. Environmental wellness is about respecting nature and your surroundings and in gaining personal fulfillment from our surroundings.
Social: Social wellness is about relating, interacting and communicating well with others. Social wellness is also about being comfortable in your own skin to be able to contribute and engage in a healthy living environment. Including people in all aspects of our lives is tantamount to social wellness.
Our goal is not just mental, physical or spiritual growth, it is all aspects of our true wellbeing. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the very foundation our country was built upon. The pathway to happiness is whole-body wellness. Are you willing to take the journey?