This place is a Shangri-La and the expedition has been really challenging. There's been plenty of time to be introspective and share stories with other soldiers. I've found that there's been something to learn from each one of the team members and I'll be taking their advice back home with me. We're a great team!
I heard about the expedition through the Outward Bound program. The OB program really helped me out in terms of my outlook and perspective on life. I think that I had grown negative after my return from my second tour in Afghanistan. It was hard to settle because things had been such a roller coaster of emotions. On my first tour in Afghanistan, every time we rolled back through the gates alive, we felt like it was a huge accomplishment, like we'd cheated death.
When you return home, it's hard to adjust, because you don't have the social network that you have when you're with your unit.
It's kind of like you're surfing on a big wave.
When the wave crashes, you get stuck in the sand. You pull your head out and look around and the waves are still passing by.
You're back home.
After two pay checks, you're basically on your own.
I was able to bounce back because I had a really strong social network and a loving girlfriend who really gave me something to look forward to when I returned to Canada. Some guys aren't so lucky...
I think that it's important for a person who's struggling when they come back from tour to know that there are people out there to help them. A lot of them are fighting losing battles by themselves, because they're told to soldier on!
The True Patriot Love foundation is one of the vanguards dealing with these issues, putting a spotlight on mental awareness instead of brushing them to one side.
My goal for Island Peak is that we ALL get to the top and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that we do, to show to fellow CF vets back home that there is life after the military!
Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are pre-moderated/reviewed and published according to our submission guidelines.