My name is Kristopher, I am a honorably discharged veteran of The U.S. Navy. I served from 2001-2008, I have experienced war, deployments, and time away from friends and family. Nothing compares though to the constant battle I find myself with today, I live with major depression and I attempted suicide in September 2015. Through the grace of God and medical science I was able to survive being in multiple organ failure and two weeks of being in a coma. I spent seven months in the hospital doing physical and mental rehabilitation. I take 8 medications every day just to cope with life.

One of the most difficult parts of being a veteran and living with mental illness is waking up to bad news on a daily basis. When I hear about another terrorist attack or some other attack here in the U.S. I feel a call to action, but I’m resigned to the fact that it is past my time to fight. Everyone wants to feel safe and secure in their homes, but as someone that suffers from major depression I can tell you it’s nearly impossible for me to be hopeful. It’s hard enough to get out of bed everyday let alone feel the threat of possibly being blown up or shot while spending time with loved ones.

People have many opinions about mental illness, I used to be a person that thought I could just will myself through all my depressed feelings. This led me to many difficulties dealing with all aspects of my life. I also have borderline personality disorder, that borderline is between psychosis and mood. I have failed way more times in life than I have succeeded. Somehow I’m still here and fighting everyday to be a better person. My current relationship is ending because I just don’t feel emotions the way most people do. I just cannot connect on a deeper level with my girlfriend who loves me dearly.

Getting back to feeling hopeless, when the attacks in San Bernadino happened in 2015 and the recent attack in Orlando 2016 I felt helpless because I have friends and family in both locations. Those attacks add to the feeling of hopelessness that I already battle everyday. Those are just two attacks in a slew of just horrible human on human violence. Police shooting citizens, citizens retaliating killing police the world is very depressing place to me.

Mental illness is a challenge for sure, but it is something that we all have to deal with directly or indirectly. Whether it’s you or someone you know, we are all affected by the stigma of mental illness. Mental illness should not be looked down upon or something to fear. Maybe just a little compassion is what the world needs instead of distancing ourselves out of fear or ignorance.

By: Kristopher