Finding My Purpose
I was at Basic Military Training in 2016 when I learned that my childhood friend (and Army Veteran) had died by suicide. Devastated and confused, I took some time to myself after training to go home, desperate to be out in the fresh air to clear my mind. I spent a lot of time hiking and realized how therapeutic it was to be out into nature and experience all its beauty with gratification of a good workout and achieving a new goal as I pursued the Adirondack 46ers. In my many hours of contemplation of the meaning of life, I was able to work through my thoughts and process what I was discussing with my therapist. I continue to use hiking as supplemental therapy to this day and find that it always seems to help me clear my head and rid my mind of thoughts that weight me down. I learned through discussions with others that hiking has been a positive impact in many people’s lives from helping them battle addiction, recover from abusive relationships, or just simply escape their busy lives and negative thoughts. I now firmly believe that recreation is beneficial to mental health regardless of the experience, be it for some solitude and time to think or enjoying the beauty of nature and time with friends.
Veteran Recreation is my dream to connect veterans with PTSD, TBI, and other mental health related diagnosis together with those who support them in order to help them heal while adopting a new lifestyle habit that will change their lives for the better. Whether the activities they engage in offer them a new yearning for life through the activity itself, or bonding with other members helps create a support system for our veterans, the end goal is the same: To save lives and provide hope, enjoyment, and health for those who may be struggling mentally.