Adversarial Growth & Post Traumatic Growth

Aug24

Adversarial Growth & Post Traumatic Growth

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I’ve been on one vacation my entire adult life. My mom took the whole family down to the Cayman Islands a few years back to celebrate her fift… Tweny first 😉 Birthday. I got to spend a week away from life. Thousands of miles away from stresses, responsibilities, deadlines. I turned my phone off for most of the trip. It was… Bliss. At least for a while…

 

I remember sitting on a chair in the sand, looking out and getting lost in the ocean. I remember saying, “Man, I could sit here forever.” I’m sure you’ve had an experience like that at least once in your life. It’s funny though… We can’t sit there forever.

 

It makes me think about happiness. What do we mean when we say we want to be happy? Without any thought, that would be my idea of happiness. The easy life, sitting, staring, admiring. No stress, no hard work or exertion, no responsibilities or deadlines, no pressure to please anyone…

 

Vacations are funny. The first few days are just that, that kind of happiness. But after a while we’re ready to go back home, go back to life. So, maybe our definition of happiness isn’t accurate and we’re chasing an idea we don’t truly want. After thinking about it I realized I hate complacency for than I like that version of happiness. Without work, without stress, without challenges, deadlines, and adversity, there’s no growth. There are some things in life we can only learn through crisis.

 

Maybe it’s time we abandon that definition of happiness and just call it what it truly is… A nice little break. Just enough to be able to take a breathe, appreciate nothingness, and then get back to the grind. And so I say fuck the calm, give me the storm. Fuck the peace, give me the darkness. Give me the challenges and the opportunities to grow. And this is where I’d like to rant for a bit about something…

 

Adversarial Growth & Post Traumatic Growth

 

It’s not uncommon for me to open up an inbox and see a message like this, “Do you think you’re the same now as you were before your injury? Did you still have the same motivation and drive? Were you as into fitness back then as you are now?” To date I’ve thought this was a stupid question simply because the answer is an easy, “Yes, I had the same motivation, drive, and passion for fitness before I was shot as I do now.” Today, however, I understand it’s a good question, it’s just not asking the right things…

 

I walked away from it all with something more valuable than motivation, I walked away with patience and mental fortitude. I walked away with the understanding that, even on our worst days, we can bank on the same sun rising tomorrow. Every traumatic and disheartening experience we have in life is an opportunity to grow, in some regard, as long as you’re not a pussy.

 

I have a new favorite word… Katabasis. It’s an old Greek thing that means “Going down.” Oh shit, I just realized it also means blowjob. FUCK. Stop, Derek. FOCUS!! Ok, so, going down in this sense means… Falling. We’ve all experienced something in life that made us feel like we were trapped down in a hole. Health, money, substance abuse, injury, a relationship… At some point we felt like we’d dug ourselves or found ourselves at the bottom of a hole and getting back to the top seems hopeless. Katabasis is that journey of falling and climbing back up. More importantly, it’s about what comes after. Returning back to the top, back to life, we have more experience now. We are stronger, more knowledgeable, and have a better understanding of how the world spins. You don’t truly understand what fire is until you’ve burned yourself. Get it?

 

It all makes sense in retrospect. Think about something that happened to you in your life… Think of a time when you felt errr miserable, trapped, hopeless. But now you’re here, that’s in the past. What did you learn from it? In what ways did it make you grow? Surely you can think of someway in which it positively benefited you for the rest of your life. Now you’re stronger, wiser, better…

 

If it works for the past, it works in the present and future as well… It’s just a bit more difficult. When we’re caught in the storm and there’s no sun on the horizon, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll ever see it’s shine again. But if we’ve been in the storm before, and we made it through to see the sun, we can know now and moving forward that the sun will someday show it’s face. The not knowing when is the hard part… We just have to know. It’s… Faith. Which is funny because that’s something I’ve always said I didn’t have. But I guess I do have faith. I have faith that no matter what kind of storm I may find myself in, someday I will see the sun.

 

Think of experience as a coin, there are always two sides. The negative side, the woe is me, the tragedy, the depression, the despair, the hopelessness. That’s our go to, that’s the side that everyone can see. So I’ll just be a blunt asshole about it and call it what it is, “The Weak Minded Side of the Coin.” Don’t take it personally, I’m talking to myself here. We’ve all got some weakness inside. The other side of the coin takes more for us to see… Self Awareness. When you’re trapped in the shit, sit around feeling sorry for yourself, see how much progress you make… That’s The Weak Side. The Strong Minded Side stops and says, “How did I get myself here? What changes do I need to make to get out? How will I grow? How will I benefit? How will I be better in the end?” In a sadistic kind of way, you grow to love the storm. You know you’ll survive. You know you’ll come out stronger. You’re fucking Lt. Dan shouting to the sky, “Is that all you got?!” You’re not afraid of adversity, you welcome it because you know there are some things we can learn only through crisis.

 

Most of the shit we really know comes from fucking up somewhere. Don’t be afraid to fuck up. Embrace fucking up but remember to look at situations and experiences and learn. Grow.

 

I’ve developed The Strong Minded Side of the coin of experience over the years. Not because I’m smarter or better than you, I was forced to. I had to grow to survive, and survive I do. The worst experience(s) of my life and forged me into the man you know and (hopefully) respect today. You’re made of the same shit I am, we’re not so different. If I can have a particular mentality towards life and adversity, so can you. That’s why I feel so awkward when people compliment me for being the person I am today… It’s not that impressive, they’re capable of being me to. We’ve simply had different experiences.

 

That’s Adversarial Growth, Post Traumatic Growth… Growth through incredibly dark times. It’s a beautiful thing though. Don’t let yourself get trapped thinking the world and life are against you, in one way or another, they’re always providing you with an opportunity to grow, learn, become stronger, and better. Changing your perspective makes the dark times slightly less… Overwhelming.

 

Fuck the light, Give me the darkness.

 

Straight Legless Katabasis
black_over_black_legless-2

74 thoughts on “Adversarial Growth & Post Traumatic Growth

  1. Derek,
    It’s posts like these, pouring your heart & thoughts out, sharing the bullshit you’ve got cages inside that makes you such an inspiration. There’s no auger coating, it’s real and comprehensible. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Interesting post. I am fascinated by how resilient the human spirit is and how we can change our outlook if we so choose.

    I recently gave up a six figure job in the city to move back to the county and be closer to my Mom and nephews. It has been a huge adjusting curve. Some days are really good, some are quite frustrating but I wouldn’t change a thing.

    We can’t see the light if we have never experienced the darkness. I think you said that. I agree wholeheartedly. Without pain there is no growth.

    I am grateful that you allow us to peek inside your life and give us a glimpse of what it is like to be in your shoes or head. Not always a pret picture but real. Real and motivating.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Man thank you. I needed to read this and I’m going through this right now. I know I will come out stronger but just embracing the suck

  4. You’re a great person through and through. And knowing the depression and dark times you struggled with, it’s so awesome to read your current mindset. It’s spot on. Very happy for you. I love reading your insight. It’s very well thought out, written, and logical. You have every reason to be arrogant but your humble attitude is refreshing. You’re doing great things derek!

  5. I love your talks from the tub. I love your posts. I love your rants. I love your blog. You help me keep everything in perspective. You help me keep moving forward. I’m in awe of you. I’m mostly floored by your honesty and patriotism and your humor. Such beautiful things. I adore the way you try to help everyone with advice or by example. Im a lawyer and we offer pro bono and reduced fee services for our veterans. It’s always been a passion of mine but because of you it’s become a way of life. Thank you for your service Soldier. Keep us moving forward. Xo

  6. Great words, Love reading your blog and IG posts.
    In life you’re either the hammer, or the nail, when you’re the hammer everything is a nail.

  7. The darkness… Yes, deep breath. Your thoughts ring true in my experiences. Perhaps the darkness allows us to really see – as opposed to the light. The isolation while in that deep dark hole forced and still forces me to hear my own self. My spirit is no longer drowned out by the chaos – thank you for sharing ❤️

  8. In the darkness the stars shine and you are the freaking NORTH STAR mister! Thank you for helping us poor slobs get off our ass !

  9. Thank you for that. It ties in with the quote I’ve been keeping in my head daily “It’s always darkest before the dawn”. There’s gonna be shit. There’s gonna be hurt. Fear. Struggle. But the sun will come up. The clouds of the storm will clear. We just don’t get to know how or when. Faith. ?

  10. Bravo Derek! Bravo! I give you a standing ovation of one. Very well written indeed and such an inspiration as always. We all have our struggles – some worse than others – however we can all learn a great deal from your journey from tragedy to triumph. I am so grateful a friend showed me your FB page a while back. You’ve pulled me out of many depression days with your wisdom and wit. From the deepest corners of my heart and soul, thank you!

    Much respect & love,

    ~ Ang

  11. Well…what you say is true. If I hadn’t experienced great personal loss and endured a good deal of time figuring out what the fuck to do and how to get past it and move forward I would not be the person I am today. I would not have people who now mean the world to me in my life. They would not exist for me. Even in the past few years there have been many times I have wondered how I would make it through the day or week without falling apart. But…I always knew that life is a roller coaster and the view is apt to change eventually. I enjoy reading your posts…a good outlet for ya.
    Catch ya later,
    Rachel

  12. Our mistakes, fuck ups, and experiences make us who we are today. We can have good days and bad one; positive ones and the negative- we are human. Dark times will pass, some quicker than others. You have a place in this world, and a purpose. Never forget it! I wake up thankful for another day on this side of the dirt. I work closely with cancer patients, and I see many of them vibrant and full of life while battling a horrible monster- if they can positive, I know I can…

  13. Hey man,

    He comes a cliché spill but honestly man your story is truly motivational. I joined the USAF back in 2012 and a maintainer on fighter AC. When I joined it was for several reasons but primarily to serve our fanfuckingtastic country. Best’s “you might be a veteran if…” Video got me linked after you back in ’14. Your story is remarkable and I want to start with saying thank you for your valiant service this day and age not every American stands behind the United States military. Beyond your story and overcoming the cards you were dealt while defending our asses stateside your videos/blogs have been a personal motivation with fitness and going through life in general. I’m not where I want to be at today, but tomorrow I’ll be one step closer. Darkness impacts all of us at different times in our lives man but we can never let it win or overcome us. Kind of a longer rant than anticipated but I just wanted to say thank you for everything you stand for. Stay safe man

  14. Derek, embracing the suck is a way of life now. It all depends on how you react to it like you said in your blog. Did any of us ask for the dark days that like to rear its ugly head like a prostitute with a penis, no! But, we just have to deal with it and move on. Surviving and thriving is built into all of us, but it is up to the person to tap into that and use our God given ability to trust ourselves and our faith to get out of the hole. Just my two cents worth reflecting on what you wrote.

  15. As a clinical mental health therapist, I have the honor of listening to other people’s darkness. Helping them see that there is opportunity to become stronger and a better version of themselves. But lately, I have been wallowing in my own and today I lost a patient to the curse of addiction. I wanted to come home and crawl inside the hole. But then I read this and really didn’t want to be a pussy so I went to crossfit, got some clarity and know what I need to do. Thanks for the kick in the ass.

  16. Life will fuck you up if you let it get to you. Just let it sink in enough to feel the pain but have the balls to push it back out. Everybody has their demons. Some control them and some succumb to them. The struggle is real. If you can’t understand that then you’ve never struggled. I like sitting on a beach but after a few days it becomes my life again. Same shit just in a different spot. Dont like your spot in life. Move to a better spot. Like Forrest Gump said, My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Take that box and eat the fuckin chocolates.

  17. The last month has been a true struggle. Today I just wanted to escape from it all, feel nothing, be numb. Thought about what I could do to make it happen. Then I see your Instagram post and here I am. Thank you for reminding me that I have made it this far so I might as well keep going. Here is to finding comfort in the darkness.

  18. I needed this. I needed to read this, in this very moment, it’s exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been trapped. Stuck and suffering because of my own stupid choices. For years I’ve been the weak side of the coin. Putting up with things because it was easier than dealing with what really needed to be done. I’m flipping it over now. Katabasis…. My new favorite word :). Thank you

  19. What wonderful insight. I pray those who read your thoughts and are in darkness, truly understand, no matter the darkness surrounding you, you WILL grow, adapt, overcome. As you said, eventually you will always see the sun. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Very well put, brother! It took me a rather long time to understand this after I was burned on the fire department. You’re truly an inspiration, even if you only tell people what’s already inside of them, show them what a human is capable of. You’re correct, you’re not any better or any more capable than anybody else, but if you make even 1 person realize that for themselves than you’ve done a great thing. And trust me, you’ve reached and awoken many many more than just one. Love what you’re about!

  21. “Fuck the calm, give me the storm” is going to be my new email signature. Strength and honor, Derek; thanks for sharing.

  22. I believe everything happens for reason, I never read blogs but came across this on Facebook and I really needed this thanks brother! #phamily

  23. After going thru a bad relationship and digging out of it, I thought the worst was behind me. Life has been looking up, attitude has been good, better than it has been in years. Then the bad health fairy slaps me with her ugly ass broom. But, I trudge along as I’m a fighter.
    I’ve watched you and several others who are adaptive awesomeness and I can’t help but think that my problems are minor compared to what you’ve overcome.
    I read your posts, watch your videos, laugh at your sense of humor. I see the ornery sparkle in your eyes when you’re up to something.
    So, I put one foot in front of the other and I continue to trudge. I remember these things you’ve shared and they remind me that I can move past the pain in my back, neck, legs, head….
    Because you’ve done it. You’ve gone thru more darkness than I could ever imagine, surely I can get thru my own form of darkness, right?
    Whether you know it or not, Derek, you are truly a blessing to many of the people who follow you.
    Thank you for that blessing.

  24. It’s funny. I seem to always go to the dark while on vacation. I’m not good with relaxing – I have a full-time job, a part-time job, and go to school full-time so I’m always busy, but it’s gotten to the point where I seek the chaos instead of the quiet. The quiet is when the anxiety and doubt set in. It’s even worse when I’m on vacation. I’m originally from Ohio but have lived out of state for 10 years now. As soon as I get there for a visit, my mind immediately goes to, ‘I won’t be here after four days. I have to leave my family again.’ It’s a physical feeling in my gut, the homesickness while being home. I begin to countdown the days until I get back to my normal life. I crave the simplicity, chaos, and routine of being busy. But on the other side of the coin, I understand why I’m doing this. I truly enjoy all the work I put into everything because I know all of my hard work will pay off. It may take a while to get there, but I will put in all the effort I need to so I can get to where I’m destined to be in life, because I know that it will be worth it.

    You’re truly an inspiration, Derek.
    Thank you.

  25. Hi Derek, I love hearing your thoughts and feelings on life, so much of what you say resonates with me. A few years ago, right after the birth of my 4th child, by husband lost his job unexpectedly. The devastation that it reeked on our family was immense. For the first time in my life, I truly felt like an adult, because the weight of my responsibilities was overwhelming. To be able to still provide for my kids, keep our home, and marriage intact seemed impossible. There were times I felt my heart could not survive the stress, that it would actually just stop. And sometimes I fantasized that it would, so I didn’t have to deal with my problems. But life goes on… I am now stronger, more resilient, and more empathetic. (Poorer too, but I’m working on that ☺️ ). I am grateful for the experience and appreciate everything so much more now. Your point is a good one, and I completely agree. Thanks Derek, as always for sharing your heart and soul with us ❤️

  26. You should write a book. It could really help some people out. I’m not talking about some self-help BS, but you can really interpret both sides of the coin and why we tend to fall back into those dark places. Keep doing what you’re doing brother.

  27. Falling can be easy to focus on, or dwell on. Getting up after the fall is the hardest part; but it has to be the goal. Thanks for the reminder after a hard shift! Without resistance there can be no growth.

  28. Good read brother. Love the mindset, probably because I have almost the same outlook. I don’t really feel like I have been through the worst of what my life has to offer me yet, but when it comes, I’ll learn from it, grow from it, and move along. Shit happens man!

  29. I started following you during a very difficult time in my own recovery and you have been incredibly helpful for me. I’ve been on this roller coaster of a recovery journey from fracturing 20 bones (3 limbs) last year. I appreciate your passion and motivation, and sharing it with us because some days, it’s just exactly what I need. Not to make you feel all awkward and shit, but thank you.

  30. That was a pleasure to read, insightful and honest as always. I won’t share my story here as it can be a little rough for people to take me being so open and blunt about certain things that happened to me but I will say that I took this approach myself and it does damn well work as long as you really are accepting, dealing and moving past and not just burying and sweeping under the carpet for it to bubble up n bite your ass down the line some day ?.
    Thank you as always DW and take care xx

  31. Rise and shine mother fucker

    Embrace the suck

    ☝?️ Two mottos I live by ! Great read

    I’m still looking on tinder for you ?

  32. I love reading your missives Derek. They are enlightening and thought provoking. It humbles me since they speak to me, so eloquently. Even though I sit in a completely different world and reality than you, as a suburban mom, with mostly “first world” problems. Thank you for sharing your words. I love them. Thank you for serving our great country…for your sacrifices. Words are definitely not enough to express my utmost gratitude. Keep the words coming. God Bless! (Why do I have this incredible urge to bake you some snickerdoodles or something?). 🙂

  33. While the dark grows us as individuals; trials and tribulations, it’s the light we look towards. The beautiful horizon we can appreciate because of the hardships we endure daily. Without that glimmer of peace or calm or anything that is tranquil, the dark times will be for naught. The dark grows us so we may enot the wonderful and delicate light this wold has to offer, and it is so abundant and glorious, that if we pass those experiences up we are fools. Work hard, have rough times, be in the mud, but once you emerge please go enjoy the splendor’s of this life. We only have one shot, so why not make it glorious?

  34. While the dark grows us as individuals; trials and tribulations, it’s the light we look towards. The beautiful horizon we can appreciate because of the hardships we endure daily. Without that glimmer of peace or calm or anything that is tranquil, the dark times will be for naught. The dark grows us so we may enjoy the wonderful and delicate light this wold has to offer, and it is so abundant and glorious, that if we pass those experiences up we are fools. Work hard, have rough times, be in the mud, but once you emerge please go enjoy the splendor’s of this life. We only have one shot, so why not make it glorious?

  35. Derek,
    First I want to thank you for serving our country from the bottom of my heart. Being a soldier I am sure you have decided numerous times which side of the coin you were going to be on a day to day basis.
    I read a lot of what you write from the soul. You honestly hit the guts with the
    truth with everything you write in a way I can’t describe. There is passion in the way you express your logic.
    Growing up I was the “strong minded side of the coin”. I wouldn’t let anything get me down even though I didnt have the most ideal up bringing. To this day I am commend myself with how I dealt with the pain. I always said those were the moments that were teaching me life lessons. I embraced it with the toughest as smile. As I get older I find myself more and more struggling with the weak side of that coin. Always looking into situations to deep and then I struggle with it for days until I feel like I could lose my mind. This is when I want that beach with the endless blue skyline/water line. Run away from it all. I know that isn’t the right thing to do. I need to face the situations, right. But anymore I don’t want to … I just say Fuck It.
    Anyway … I love to read your shit. Makes me feel like I can do it. Seriously you need to get a book out. You, my man, are way to awesome not to publish this shit you write from your gut and heart.
    Once again, thank you!!!

  36. Dark days, I’ve had plenty of those. So tore up on whiskey, by yourself, listening to Johnny Cash and weeping. Fucking pussy! I have had great days too. Amazing days! My babies being born. Those were great days. Mentally I can be pretty fucked up. I am very successful in my field of work because my ethic has always been strong. I do not become complacent. Never have. There is no satisfaction. Just a constant desire to be better. Maybe for some of the wrong reasons, a big fuck you to the doubters! I was raised by a man who always told me it was easier to hate then to love cause then you never really have to sacrifice anything. Heart was something you had when you beat the odds by kicking the shit out of the guy who was twice your size because if you didn’t you knew when you got home the old man had a ass kicking waiting for you. I wish I was as successful in my personal life as I am in my professional, but in that I am a failure. Maybe not so much as a father cause I learned what not to do, but definitely as a husband/ boyfriend. 36 and I have been through two marriages, one engagement and plenty of other short relationships (if you would call them that) with women. WOW! What a fucking rant! Anyways…. Reading your blog reminded me of something else my old man always said, selfpitty and suicide is for the weak. Life is hard! Giving up is easy. I respect you and I relate. Thank you for your sacrifices!!

  37. Thanks for sharing. Currently I am recovering from another surgery. I’ve lost count on how many I’ve had in my 30 years of living- both legs, left foot 6 times, countless hand surgeries. Once they operated on my hand, my foot and my stump at the same time – three casts that was a fun Christmas break from school ha . My Mom probably knows the exact number and all the details. This last one has just been a very slow recovery process. It helped in some ways but hurt in others. The side effects and complications are overwhelming. I’m disappointed and angry. I was hoping for the best and it didn’t go well. I’m a BKA on the right – (but I’m really fortunate that my amputation happened in the womb and I’ve never known any different and I have my knee. I know that’s a big blessing in the amputee world.) It’s my other deformed left foot that is always causing problems the one that’s supposed to be my “good foot”. I didn’t do myself any favors hopping on the poor deformed thing so much for so many years (always baby your good foot Derek. Trust me.) Anyway this post was very encouraging to me. I need to start the climb back out. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I’ve been so depressed since finding out that the surgery wasn’t very successful. I didn’t walk for 4 months – no weight baring. I just finished 4 months of PT. So I had to use a wheelchair and move in with my parents for a year. They’re great but no one wants to move in with their parents the week they turn 30. I’m walking again but I have a limp now and I never used to limp. I had a lot of pride in that. The doctors and my prosthetic guy would always say “you have such a good walk. Amazing” Now it’s my “good foot” causing me to limp. My team of doctors now they’re talking about me needing surgery on my ankle. Overwhelming. I’m trying to avoid that. But sitting here being depressed about it isn’t getting me anywhere good. Time to suck it up buttercup and move forward. It was easier when I was the cute little blond girl in pigtails hopping the jog-a thon but it’s a harsher daily reality as a adult. People always think I’m inspiring- whatever. But YOU are actually an inspiring person! Living in pain is tough. But I’m tougher. Sorry for the novelette. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us fans. Keep on being you. Much love and respect. – Tess

  38. Mate, we share so many of the same views. I have admired your work and your attitude towards life in general since I first stumbled across you on Instagram a few years back.

    I had a TBI while serving with the British army back in 2011 and have been through so many of those dark days myself, I would 100% say that I am not the same person I was before the injury. I have grown both mentally and physically and learned so much about myself. It’s been an incredible journey and honestly although at times its been so dark that I couldn’t see the way forward I wouldn’t change it. It’s forged me into the person I am today, given me a greater understanding and appreciation for life and if anything, has doubled my drive to better myself.

    Later that same year my now best friend lost both his legs in ghanners, we didn’t know each other at the time but we were drawn to each other in hospital due to our drive to not let our injuries define our future. I was blessed with a friend who encouraged the good in me, we push each other to challenge ourselves daily, we’ve got each other through some incredibly dark times and come out stronger for them.

    I truly am thankful for the trials we have faced as without them, like you said, you become complacent in life. Unable to enjoy the good things if you cannot understand what the bad times are like. Through all this I fell in love, got married and moved here to the US and I honestly don’t believe I would be here today if it wasn’t for the dark days I’ve seen.

    We’re currently now planning and fundraising for an attempt to summit Everest in 2018, starting with Kilimanjaro early next year. Justin will be the first double above knee amputee to do so if we achieve our goal. The bastard has put the brakes on it somewhat though due to having another 4 inches taken off each stump, although he assures me it will all be worth it when he can fit into his new motor haha.

    I hope you see this and know that i really do admire what you have archived, you are an incredible voice for the veteran community and an inspiration to us all.

    Keep being you mate.

    Tim.

  39. it puts life in to prospective ?
    I’m certainly going to appreciate my break I have coming up in October ??
    shall read this again
    thank you for your words your honesty and your heart ❤️??

  40. For a long time I told myself that I lived for those I’ve lost that can’t live! But was I really living? Was I really doing something to make them proud? Or am I really just trying to convince myself of that? I was just complacent in my ways of the struggle, and complacentsy KILLS! I wasn’t living to live, I wasn’t living to love, I just exsisted! There’s nothing worse no drive, no purpose, no sense of self worth. I will always have the thoughts and reminders of where I have been and what I’ve done for myself and others. I will be that lady talking about the good ol days, when I was in my prime( needless to say I haven’t hit my prime, but when you feel like a valued part of a combat team it’s a fucking great feeling that can’t be replaced)

    WAKE UP…… Your killing yourself and everything you ever learn! Complacency kills soldier, so why am I allowing myself to do that to myself? It took me almost 6 years to realize I need to live a life for me, what do I want, what do I need, and why am I not getting it? Well it’s finally happening I packed up my stuff , got in my truck with my pup and drove! I drove to Alaska to start a new life , a new me, a me that doesn’t need a vacation from my situations! Living a life that everyday I feel I’m headed towards the me that can accomplish anything! I’m starting school, I have short term and long term goals, I’ve learn how to manage some of my triggers and live with them! I’m finally got the focus I had when I was deployed and it’s driving me to be a better more badass me.

    The inspiration and strength you need to change is inside yourself, you just need to want the change you speak of! No one can give it to you. My hero said ,” Any excuse is a good excuse, if your weak enough to use it!”

    Thank you Derek for your honest talks about shit people don’t want to talk about, it’s refreshing! Keep being your Badass All American Tub Taking self!!

  41. Another really good one bro. You are getting this writing thing down to a science. Every plant that grows needs bothe the light, and the darkness. To much of either will choke it out. Keep this up. Love reading it

  42. Working with people who are at their worst everyday you can see those who are lost in everything that is wrong and those who take each moment, even the wth did i do to deserve this ones) and just move forward. Your explaination was awesome and will truly show others that even shit, even though it may be nasty to deal with, eventually stops smelling. Keep pushing through and helping others!

  43. Katabasis is a word I’ve not heard outside of strategy or Ancient Greek class. It’s interesting to see it in this context, relating to life. And, not to drag down the happy mood, but now I’m wondering if there is a nested katabases situation where people could get stuck in a spiral.

    The answer to finding your way out is still the same: Faith that you’d come out of the nest of hells.

  44. Amazing read. I survived MST, diagnosed with PTSD and although my trauma is not visible like yours, at times it can be just as physically painful. Some days are a struggle still. I have found peace through prayers, friends, support, Crossfit, and reading and following your blogs and posts. Thanks for sharing Derek…

  45. A great saying for me on bad days is that I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%, and that’s pretty good.

    Humans of New York are doing an awesome series on vets currently, check out them out oh Facebook. Hearing the no bullshit honesty is the only way!!

    Chin up love!

  46. That was not only a great explanation of growth and mindset through trials, but presented in a manner anyone can easily understand.

  47. First time reading your blog and I love it. I am in the middle
    Of my darkness and struggling to find the tiny little pin hole of light. Most of my darkness I make myself. I am going through divorce had some deaths in the family and friendships go bad. I hope there is light and hopefully I find it. Hugs and kisses

  48. Nice dude. I’m Currently on deployment right now. I can definitely relate to having some dark moments in my life at times. Constantly thinking about what I can change when i return. Things I might have been able to salvage before i left. Vacation… man I could use one of those. But you’re right. We live a life through crisis and we never learn shit if hadn’t we gone through some fuckin’ misery and strife in our life. It builds character. Helps us know what to love and what not to love about the things we run into in life. Things that drive me to be more successful are my wife and kids. without them, I’d have a hard time being more motivated about shit and wouldn’t think twice about doing some stupid shit had they not been in my life to make me stop and think. I dig your stuff man. We all have dark sides and miseries. Thanks, for sharing yours with us. one love brotha! Time to get back to the grind! MERICA *pounds chest** lol tits

  49. Love the message here, especially the LT Dan reference. You have to face the tough shit head on, ask for more, and you’ll always come out stronger in the end.

  50. I want to say thank you for harnessing your thoughts and writing this post. I really, really needed to read this before I start my day. Please keep writing, you have a gift and an important message to put out in the world.

  51. Amen!!
    I’m not a cross fitter.
    I’m not a guy.
    I have never been in a war.
    I have both my legs.
    I am a mummy to 8 children and I’m a wife. I survived a dreadfully abusive childhood, abandonment and rape. I’m living now to teach my babies how we kick butt in this world, how we get back up and thrive. In my own way I have faced battles, walked through dark halls never knowing if my enemy is hiding waiting to pounce, and I’ve made it through many dark nights of the soul so I stand and shout ‘spot on’ to this post! It left me crying and cheering.
    One of my favourite quotes is ‘I’ve learned to kiss the wave that throws me against to rock!’ That’s why your words resonate so deeply, thanks Derek.
    Looking forward to reading the others!! I’ve loved your Instagram for ages and it was wonderful to see that we get to see another side of our bearded hero.
    Big love from Australia ?

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  53. I admire your strength so much. I wish I thought the same about myself. I won’t go into my whole life story other than I struggle everyday. Not a day goes by that I don’t cry and just pray that this unbearable gutwrenching emotional pain will go away. Some days my strength just isn’t there. I don’t know how I do it sometimes but I do whatever I have to do so I can wake up the next day. Thank you for being real and sharing your life. It gives me hope.

  54. This is great. I recently came to this realization too, that personal storms are meant for us to weather so that we can grow and evolve our lives into something better. I’ve spent the majority of my life running from the reality of my childhood trauma, and beating myself up and playing a victim card. But when I realized that I can use that shitstorm for a boost up out of a hole, my life started to change for the better. For the first time in my life, I was somewhat thankful for my shit past. Because without it, I wouldn’t be growing into the person that I am becoming today. It really is a beautiful experience and it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who knows what that feels like.

  55. Great read, this is very inspiring and is really making me think about the shit storm which is kicking my ass. I feel like I can’t do anything right and I’m not accomplishing anything I want to no matter how hard I try. This blog really makes me push through, every time I battle I think about how much harder it could be. Thanks for doing what you do brother to help and motivate the people in the world around you.

  56. Thanks Derek! Reading your posts is like having a heart to heart talk with someone you’ve never met…I might not know you but I know enough that I trust you and that’d you’d have anyone’s back. I Love hearing your thoughts and knowing we’re all capable of learning your mindset if we want to. Thank you for helping me focus back on what’s truly important in life, I needed that reminder today.

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  58. I have been following you on IG and today was directed to your website from your ‘diet plan’ post (haha, I loved the video) :). I try to read your posts as often as possible because they inspire me, make me laugh, motivate me, make me think, make me nod my head in agreement, reflect on life’s choices and laugh some more. You’re such a motivator and inspiration to myself and to so many others. Thanks so much for sharing your story, wisdom and sense of humor with us. 🙂

  59. My idea of happiness. Sitting outside on the porch after showering off a long hard day of work watching the sun go down. Body is sore and tired, ive got a beer, glass of wine, G&T or margarita (no mix allowed) and good music drifting through the screen door. I can smell dinner cooking, see kids and dogs running around and hear laughter. I like knowing I fucking earned my bit of peace. I pulled my godamned weight and now I’m gonna sit and bask in the results.

    I’ve felt the press of the dark but I can’t admit to pure suffering, and I always wonder if mine’s yet to come and how I’ll handle it. But I agree about the love for the storm and the darkness, its not something to hide from cause how will you know when you’re truly happy? Not until you’ve lived outside of happiness i’d bet. Besides, living in that storm, that darkness, even just the edges, I’ve learned things about myself I could never have understood otherwise. Now I can ride the storm and see in the dark and who wouldn’t fucking want to do that?!

  60. I sighed deeply reading this. Although my ptsd is unlike your own , a vision of my murdered son has taken me to a darkness that makes me never want to see the light. And then I read this. I smiled. Teared up and thought wow….6 years later I’m still struggling hard but I’m here. I’m existing. I’m surviving. You are a godsend (I’m not religious. Irionic) I am not unique. I am not alone. I just need peace. Thank you wild wooly man.

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