While Chris served, he described it as a culture shock when he arrived in Iraq and that “It was a whole other world compared to America.” When he was deployed, he felt prepared mentally and physically, but as Chris stated, no training can ever fully prepare you for war. Overseas, he was constantly in a “kill or be killed” mentality once he left the safety of the wire.
Transitioning back to civilian life made it difficult to not always feel on edge. Chris returned in September 2007, and he was just happy to be home and alive. While going through the reintegration process, Chris recalled the Colonel naming off statistics on how many members of their team would suffer from PTSD, anxiety, or depression and thinking that would not happen to anyone he knew or himself. Looking back, he realized how prevalent mental health challenges are for his fellow veterans.
Veterans have a special bond with each other, and Chris stated that is because they understand what each other have gone through and experienced. Many veterans do not talk about their service because others cannot comprehend, and it is difficult for soldiers who have been on the front lines of war to be vulnerable. After coming home from deployment, many soldiers think that if they can fight in a war, they can overcome mental health challenges on their own, and that is where the stigma comes from.
The biggest piece of advice that Chris had was to take care of yourself physically and mentally. While it was hard for Chris in the beginning directly after deployment, he found playing guitar and working out helped fill his mind with other healthy activities instead of focusing on the negative impacts of what he experienced overseas.
Favorite Local Restaurant: Ale Emporium
Fishers Park: Brooks School Park
Favorite Local Business: Fishers Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Favorite Way to Spend a Saturday: Coaching my kid’s soccer in the morning, then going to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, followed by taking the family to the Adrenaline Family Adventure Park and finishing up with dinner at Bubba’s 33.