The answers lay within our own hearts – Live, Learn and Share It
After a very long and gruelling 2km hike up the mountain to refill our water containers, we had decided it would be best to leave them here, hike back to Base Camp 1, break it down and hike back up here to set up Base Camp 2 right beside this endless flow of fresh melting glacier water.
Well, in theory that is, upon waking up today we realized that with the over night drop in temperature it had froze up what little water was trickling yesterday, to which now we wake with a “not so very flowing stream”, of fresh water.
Before I continue writing I’d like to take a minute right now to express my ( our ) gratitude and send much Love, Appreciation and Respect to Dylan Van Rooyen, Aaron Cyr and all of the members of The Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society along with Nasir and all of his team at Surrey Honda for believing, supporting, motivating and inspiring us to be on this PTSD / Mental Health Recovery Expedition.
Within the action of our expedition and writing of this blog by the end of this adventure you will understand not only why, but the how it’s all possible for you also to achieve absolutely anything you set your mind to and just how important and valuable it is to have the support from your ( our ) community no matter where we are in the world.
After we ran our first Camp back in the summer of 2015, I had slipped into a massive depression and couldn’t understand why ?
Why I had crashed so hard ?
Lack of sleep – probably a huge part of it
Lack of proper nutrition – yup, that too
I had been on such a high from each step I took, with every door I walked into so many people welcomed me with open arms and jumped at the chance to help support my goals and dreams with whatever it was that we needed to succeed.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you just how many doors were slammed in my face and knives savagely stabbed into my back since the 2010 Olympics, and here it was the complete opposite. Each and every human I spoke with smiled, offered to help and shared hugs and handshakes with each step of the way.
But now, was the worst moment of it all, and boy oh boy, never in a million years expected it or would have ever guessed it to have completely buckled me, not only to one knee, but right back to my bloody knuckles.
When our first Camp was over, and everyone went back to where they came from, I had completely collapsed into my bed and laid there paralyzed with depression and this over whelming feeling of failure.
It felt as though I had just got off of the dreamiest, fasted, most exhilarating year long ride I had ever been on and landed right back into the bottom of my grave again.
Although it had felt as if I had accomplished the impossible. It was only 9 months ago I was homeless, hopeless, hungry with no where to go and not a penny to get there, out in these mountains with Meathead flipping our tires, barking at the wind , shaking off the opiate with drawls desperately struggling to keep warm and hunting for food – these past 9 months it felt as if we had climbed Mt. Everest backwards 13 times over again.
You would think this would make any man ( or woman ) feel a sense of pride, I should have been proud of how far we have come, my ego should have just sat back and laughed at the world while saying “I told ya so, doubt me now fkers”!
But, with that sort of shitty attitude I assure you will always come a dam good bitch slap to your own face.
Wait a sec, it would soon dawn on me that who in the heck is ever going to come to a Camp for first responders with PTSD when in fact – “nobody even knows what PTSD is” ?
If I didn’t know of it, what made me think for a minute that anyone else knows what PTSD is ? Or that some ( many) humans no matter what uniform we wear are only minutes, days, months or just a few years away from this term they call PTSD from consuming our careers, families and our own lives while slowly, mysteriously , secretly taking us down one by one.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing “the people”, it didn’t exist.
I sunk deeper into my pillows and let the bed swallow me whole.
Like a Dumbass, I had went ahead and jumped at my goals and dreams without even thinking. Not for one second did I think that you need to put the cart behind the horse not in front of it.
In the process of this camp / movie dream of mine, sure I imagined how the final chapter of the book ends, that’s a great thing and the work we put in to achieve this certainly comes each and every lesson through many, many failures that I needed to learn before the final page is turned.
My first lesson was thinking I had reached the top of the mountain and all was going to be downhill and smooth sailing from here on in.
But like a watery mirage on the desert dunes, that thought would soon turn to dusty sand pretty dam quick.
I had assumed by all of the networking I had done over the months and by accomplishing what I set out to do, tirelessly for months on end, that all of a sudden a genie was going to pop out from the bottle and magically hand us new camping gear, boats that floated, life jackets, meals and was even crazy enough to think that 100’s of volunteers would come leaping out from the forest to help us – be able to help more people.
Excuse me while I sit back and chuckle to myself for a minute as I think back to those days.
The reality of it all is , that first camp, those first 7 – 9 months of work was only “the tying of my shoes stage”, before putting them on and taking that first step towards our dream.
The road ahead sure does have a lot more going back to the beginning over and over again with more and more failures , closed doors, stress, anxiety, depression than I could ever begin to say in words right now.
However, with each step, and every time I picked myself up off the floor, was a very valuable lesson to learn – these were my greatest gifts and truest of tests as if to ask, “is this really a dream of yours, or just some bullshit fantasy” ?
I needed to get back out and flip that tire some more.
One of the lessons I had learned ( and please pay very close attention ) is that when we start to feel good, healed and on the road to good health, freedom and happiness is actually where the problem can begin.
What I had done after only a few months of flipping that tire in the first place was started to sleep, dream, and felt I didn’t need to go back and forth to that tire anymore.
I felt healed and all I wanted to do was go share it with the world.
I thought I had all the answers.
Mistake # 1 – what ever tools your using in your daily formula that makes us feel better, healthy and alive again – we must never walk away from routine.
Our healing is never ending.
Our recovery and the work we must do to maintain a healthy drive must be a part of our daily routine.
I had walked away from that tire and got so caught up in wanting to start the camp, that I felt I didn’t need to battle the enemy in my mind any longer.
Where in fact the better we feel, the more we need to get out and make ourselves as uncomfortable as possible, especially when we are feeling good or better.
I can not not express in words enough just how important it is, to get out in the muck, the rain or the sunshine and just dig in deep and “move the energy” weather we like it or not.
This self care practice is vital to preventing any mental, physical, emotional health challenges, and will certainly help us recovery when we are immersed in the process each day no matter what kind of BS lands on your plate, it will soon become just another day at the office and we will routinely work our way through it the same as we do every – single – day with no excuses.
Our Recovery, is our Responsibility and nobody else’s.
While out training everyday again, and flipping tire’s with Meathead soon came the idea of how we can raise awareness to PTSD.
I had a friend of mine at the time suggest we make a You Tube video of us flipping this tire around the mountains would certainly get peoples attention.
I asked my bro, what the heck is You Tube ?
As I looked up to the mountains I thought what a silly idea, who the heck would give 2 shits about me flipping some big old tractor tire around the mountains and shrugged off the lame idea and went back to flipping.
There came a day when I looked up and thought, well, maybe he’s right, I really have no other choices than to try and make a You Tube video so Meathead and I set out on our way to start recording ourselves to make a video of us flipping our tires.
Next very big obstacle was , who’s going to edit this, how do I edit this is , why can’t I find a flat area to rest my shitty little camera on which soon to learn also that you can only hold X amount of content on a 5 mb card and of coarse you need a special computer that can read that card, and of your lucky you have the right cable and also disk space on your shitty computer.
Believe you me , this was the beginning of my absolute nightmare and endless struggle to the leash I had fought my entire life from being put around my throat.
I was now just another bee who had landed on the edge of the web – eternally stuck within the Inner- Net of it all.
While up here in the mountains, it sure feels great to think that I have escaped grasp of the spider,s web, but in reality both balls have already been tightly secured and shackled to it while it has consumed the mind and my soul has unwillingly been sacrificed to the master who spun it’s Brilliance – a very intelligent design for it has now captured the world.
We had put in as much effort into flipping our tires as we did before the Camp, and soon came up with the idea to flip the tire 30 kms – in 30 days across 7 mountains while shackled in 60 pounds of solid steel chains.
To most, this would seem like a very difficult journey during the cold harsh winter month of Feb, when in fact it’s just what we do everyday anyhow so why not raise awareness to PTSD at the same time ?
Put in the work – get out of your head and outside to battle the enemy on your own terms.
Santa Clause is not going to come down the chimney and just magically give our lives back.
Our recovery, is our responsibility.
It is also our responsibility and duty to teach and share our lessons and tools with our next generation to understand how important it is for them to know how to manage their responsibilities. Prevention is key.
The answers lay within our own hearts – Live, Learn and Share It
Photo’s by the ever so badass Ms Jillian A Brown
Thank you for your time, and support.
Your Friend, Our Voice
Terrance J. Kosikar
This Expedition was made possible thanks to the support and inspiration from our good friends ..
Josh Vander Vies
Nesters Food Market