By Jamie Warner –
After multiple combat deployments, the loss of several Marines and close friends and the death of his younger brother, Bryan found himself battling depression, anxiety, grief, and anger.
A short time ago, Bryan’s life seemed to be going exceptionally well. He was a homeowner, a successful Marine officer, married and had a son he absolutely adored. But there was a different side to Bryan that very few people knew about, a side that he intentionally hid. A side that was angry, bitter and emotionless. “I knew that something was wrong with me. But I thought I could fix it on my own. I thought that there was no other option but to fix it on my own.”
Bryan says that his mind was constantly racing, that he was constantly on edge and developed irrational fears that he couldn’t explain. “I couldn’t sleep, and when I did, it wouldn’t be restful sleep.”
After returning from his last deployment in 2015, Bryan and his wife separated. A short time after, the Marine Corps decided to separate him as well. “I was completely shocked,” he says. “The Marine Corps was the only thing I had done my entire adult life. It had become my purpose. And when that was gone, I was completely lost.”
Things became seemingly insurmountable for Bryan. “I felt like I had failed on every level of my life and I had become increasingly convinced that my death would be the best thing for my son.”
Bryan went to his command for help and was sent to treatment. “(At the time) I don’t think my command knew what to do with me. But neither did I.” At treatment, Bryan says that he started to address his symptoms but that he couldn’t put his finger on the problem.
Bryan began to lose hope that he could be “fixed.” During one of these treatment programs, he was introduced to the Mighty Oaks Programs Manager and a Mighty Oaks Alumnus. He remembers them asking him, “If what you are doing isn’t working, why not do something different?” That challenge resonated with him, and he submitted his application.
Bryan says that he was still reluctant to go. “I was very skeptical about the faith aspect of the program. I had a falling out with God years earlier, and I didn’t think that either of us wanted anything to do with one another.” Bryan says that he’s not entirely sure what he expected to get out of the program, but by the end of the week he says that he was a totally different person. “I decided to accept Christ based on the evidence presented. No one pressured or forced the issue.” That decision became the pivotal moment in his recovery. “I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders, and for the first time in years, I was at peace.”
“I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders,
and for the first time in years, I was at peace.”
Since attending the program Bryan says that his life is finally getting back on track. “The problems I was struggling with before are still there, but they do not control my life anymore. And I no longer have to fight these battles alone.”
Bryan says. “After struggling to understand my purpose beyond the Marine Corps, God answered my prayers in an email!” Bryan attended his Phase I Team Leader training in March. “I thought that I was beyond repair. Mighty Oaks helped me to see that wasn’t the case. And I want to be able to help other struggling veterans by sharing what I have learned.” He says that he intends to return to complete his Phase II training soon and become a MOWP Team Leader.