Combat PTSD with combat sports.

I’ve spent the better part of the last 4 years using physical fitness to cope with my PTSD. Having a mental health disability is challenging and often misunderstood. Yes, I look healthy but I don’t feel so good on the inside. Even with the gym and my ability to keep my disability at bay I still felt like something was missing. This past summer I hit another low point.

August 9th I came home from work and I started drinking heavily. I was trying to fill that hole in my heart with alcohol. One thing leads to another and started drunk texting everyone I cared about telling them how much of a fool I am for letting things get to me. Thanks to an old battle buddy he talked me through that moment and I was able to sober up and get my wits back. I felt like a hypocrite, It was at that moment I realized I needed a new challenge and I thought really hard about my present state. I had gained a little weight, I was bored, and I was tired of trying to be the best at exercising.

As I started to reminisce about my time in the army it had accursed to me I missed Combat Sports. A sport of pure grit and personal responsibility. A challenge as old as time and a true test of one’s discipline and sportsmanship.

With that revaluation, I started researching MMA classes in my area. Knowing I was a little rusty, mid 30’s, and bad joints I was a little apprehensive. Yet, I was determined in my quest. That’s when I found former UFC champions school Pettis Martial Arts.

I arrived and met an old friend there for my day 1 trail. After the first rear leg kicked I was hooked! With every strike I could feel the anxiety, the tension in my chest, the worries just disappear. It was absolutely euphoric! It was exactly what I was missing.

Pettis Martial Arts is a family friendly environment with world-class instructors. Since joining I’m now looking at participating in my first contest in 10yrs. Win or lose, I know this is what I needed to keep moving forward.

Author: 22fitness

I am a South Milwaukee native, I graduated from South Milwaukee High School in 2002. Upon Graduating I joined the United States Army as an Airborne Indirect Fire Infantryman. Where I served over 8 years and 2 Combat deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

In June 28th, 2005 I was awarded the Purple Heart. From being wounded in action when a roadside bomb struck our HUMVEE. From there I continued my career and deployed again to Iraq from May 2007 to August 2008 to take part in what has been named “The Surge”. Throughout my career, I achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and received numerous awards and accommodations. 

Upon exiting the service I found myself battling severe PTSD, depression, and anxiety. 
after losing my own brother to suicide in December of 2015. I became an advocate for people suffering from mental illness. In August of 2016, I marched 22 miles across Milwaukee county in an effort to raise suicide awareness. After the walk, I went on to find “22 Fitness” a free fitness program dedicated to helping those that struggle with PTSD and Depression. Throughout the year I host several 22-mile walks, and community workouts, and several public speaking engagements, to continue to generate awareness of the mental health issues within our communities. 

I am currently the Manager of Operations for Commercial Recycling Division, Goodwill industries of southeastern Wisconsin and metropolitan Chicago. 

I am married to my high school sweetheart. Together we have 3 daughters and reside in Hales Corners Wisconsin. 

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