Veterans Frank Poupart-Roldan and Edwin Medina echo the warrior testimony below: Wounded Warrior Project® mental health workshops are life-changing --
Sorry in advance if this is a lengthy email...
After a solid day of reflection, I realized I didn't get the proper chance to thank you [both] like I should have. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity you provided me. All I've wanted since August was to wake up ONE TIME and and say to myself that I will be ok. Well, with a clear mind and tears in my eyes, today was that day. I feel like Project Odyssey was a changing point for me. That night around the fire was the first time I've cried in months. And, as Jonathan said, "People give a f-- about me."
I was able to say something in front of the others -- although it came out as total gibberish -- because I felt I was cared about. My paper I threw into the fire said: "I will stop hating myself." The loss of function, aggravated by my loss of status and identity, had diminished my self-esteem and fractured my body image, which in turn fueled my anxiety and depression. It had stripped away many of the characteristics that formed my identity and at the same time caused disability and loss of my livelihood. My most prominent emotion had become fear. My safe place had become aggression and/or isolation. Jokes masked my true feelings.
I learned a lot in a few short days, left to wonder if two more days would have brought me to an ever higher peak. I know the following to now be true: failing is not an option. It's a hard truth to swallow, but failing could cost me my family, my health, and as brutal as it sounds -- my life. The Odyssey provided me a second chance at life. It helped me turn a little light on in my head that maybe, just maybe, my family isn't better off without me. I've GENUINELY smiled several times since Thursday morning and it feels awkward because it's an unfamiliar feeling. My mind has been less focused on my demise and I find myself thinking about things like hope, faith, and pushing forward. I have you [both] to thank for all this. I want to get better. I want to be a better version of what I was before this.
You guys are amazing. I'm glad I took the time to talk to you [both]. You were [both] clearly meant to find each other and help veterans.
My wife thinks that maybe I should start TELLING people my story rather than writting about it; showing my tears instead of hiding behind them. I think she might be right.
Saying "thank you" doesn't seem like it's enough. I know I'm still going to hit rough spots, but I'm gonna try my hardest to not s-- on everything you have done for me and give up. My family and I are eternally grateful for the last four days.
I sense a change.
I FEEL a change.
I have to change.
Retired United States Army