A Warrior Saved
It happened three months into Rob’s first deployment to Afghanistan. His marine platoon air dropped into the center of Marjah and fought for their lives to get out. Nine nightmarish days later, the city was secured.
After completing his second tour, Rob returned home for good. He went through the motions of living a normal life, enrolling in college and rekindling his relationship with his girlfriend, but in his words, “I could never escape that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.” When his relationship failed, the flashbacks and depression that he had been staving off hit him full force. One year later, Rob hit rock bottom. He says, “On a cold Friday night, I drank my bottle of whiskey, wrote my suicide letter, and drove off to the gravel pit. Once I was sitting up against a tree with my gun I called the police and told them where they would find my body, and then hung up.”
Fortunately, a park ranger arrived faster than Rob anticipated. After 30 tense minutes, Rob surrendered his gun. He says, “I told myself as soon as he turned his head away from me I would shoot myself. No matter what I told him to do, he never turned his head away.”
It was only the Park Ranger’s assurance that he could find help outside the VA that convinced Rob to give up his weapon. A few days later, Rob enrolled in Save a Warrior (SAW), with support from the David Lynch Foundation. A five-day “war detox” conducted in a camp setting, SAW offers innovative and evidence-based resilience programs for returning veterans as an alternative to suicide. Transcendental Meditation (TM) is the center-point to SAW’s integrated approach to rehabilitation.
“We were taught how to relax our bodies and free our minds using Transcendental Meditation. For me, this is the greatest tool for healing: twice a day for 20 minutes, and all of my anxiety is gone. Transcendental Meditation is something I never would have tried without going through SAW.
I learned more about myself during that week than I ever had known before. It didn’t change my past but it taught me how to accept it and live again. As one of the TM instructors put it, “It is okay to look back, just don’t stare.”
Save a Warrior gave Rob a community of brothers who understand the struggles of PTS, suicide, and depression. Transcendental Meditation re-instilled Rob’s trust in people, life, and gave him and his fellow veteran brothers enrolled in the program an individualized and drug-free solution to alleviate pain, find peace, and move forward with their lives.
Today, Rob is the “happiest and most content” he’s ever been. His friends have noticed the profound change in his demeanor: He is in love, studying chemistry at a University in Ohio, and prioritizes giving back to the community that saved his life. Rob’s desire is that David Lynch Foundation and Save a Warrior are recognized and supported, so that these two charitable organizations may further their mission of helping veterans and their families who are fighting to overcome trauma live productive, satisfying lives.
“We are the sheepdogs, and we always help our own. If not for these caring Warriors I would not be alive. I hope to use what I have learned to help save more lives. They deserve it,” Rob says.