Every life has value and must be preserved, nurtured and celebrated to its greatest potential.

OneLifeWarrior advocates an unapologetic approach to living through Health Awareness and Risk Reduction in overcoming the challenges of life. It is our goal to create a living OneLifeWarrior metaphor of Resiliency and to inspire all Warriors to take the initiative in determining the course of their lives regardless of the adversity that lay before them.

OneLifeWarrior is founded as a multi-year campaign to foster Resiliency in service members, families and in America’s citizens. The OneLifeWarrior Campaign is dedicated to developing a Warrior spirit in everyone. Being a Warrior means combining physical and mental toughness with assuming responsibility for one's actions. “One Life” seeks to raise the national conscience on issues of individual and family wellness programming and long-term care for veterans. The Resiliency Run is the annual demonstration of our commitment to the ideals of the OneLifeWarrior Campaign.


OneLife News:

The Dark Side of TBI

The latest Rand study concludes that of the 1.64 million soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, 19.5% suffer from the effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) sustained during their deployment(s). My slightly damaged brain tells me that 1,640,000 X .195 = 319,800 young men and women meet the criteria for experiencing a TBI during their service in combat. The Rand Brief (Invisible Wounds: Mental Health and Cognitive Care Needs of America’s Returning Veterans) goes on to tell us that 57% of this enormous population HAS NEVER BEEN EVALUATED by a physician specifically for a TBI.

The news is not all bad, however, in that many of our service members (53%) have actually overcome cultural, institutional or practical barriers to help seeking behavior and sought treatment for behavioral health problems such as PTSD and Major Depression.

So what is the point?

If we add PTSD, Major Depression and TBI as the three major drivers in mental health problems in re-deploying soldiers with as many as 33% of all service members suffering from one or all of these maladies, then the number soars to 541,200 moms, dads, sons and daughters effected laying the foundation for a post war societal catastrophe similar to that experienced by the post-Vietnam generation. If we remove the humanitarian consideration and talk simply in terms of dollars and cents, the cost of the suicides alone since 2001, measured in Soldier Guaranteed Life Insurance, Lost Training Investment, Social Security Death Gratuity and other costs is $2.2 Billion. As a survivor of suicide, I can tell you that the river of tears that flow in the wake of suicide dwarfs the monetary measure.

Rand explains that the costs associated with providing our veterans high-quality care more than pays for itself in less than two years as an investment in productivity and reduced long term fiduciary pay back.

Since the war began, we have seen great advancement in the development of prosthetic limbs, robotics, and other forms of adaption technology as well as a shift in culture toward persons who have suffered amputations and other traumatic physical injuries. It is not uncommon at all to see service members missing limbs running marathons and living perfectly normal adaptive lives. Likewise, albeit at a much slower rate, the landslide of behavioral health data generated by the war has greatly advanced our scientific understanding of PTSD, Major Depression and especially TBI.

As it appears that we are making headway on the overall treatment of mental health problems coming out of the war, it is important that we gain access and treat this large population of TBI Survivors by helping them understand that the prevalent symptoms generated by these injuries are in fact behavioral health related. Much of the focus on TBI is on the neuro-psychological cognitive, executive function, fine motor and speech deficits with the effects of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation following as distant after thoughts. Much like the easy to identify effects of losing a limb, TBI research and testing is focused largely on the easy to identify and measure fore mentioned effects, which are more physical or ability related in nature.

The “mood” effects must be studied and treated in therapy with the same emphasis as the fine motor and other effects. And by treatment, I mean resisting the old standby of throwing jars of psychotropic medications at the mood problems to mask the effects of the chemical imbalances generated by the TBI. Let us instead favor starting with cognitive psyche therapy to develop coping strategies and skill sets prior to better living through chemistry in the form of low dose anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, which have become a standard and unsustainable practice complete with often devastating side effects.

I know of what I speak. After suffering an embolic stroke as a marathon runner in August of 2014, I was plunged into the world experience of the wartime TBI posse and let’s just say it has been the most humbling experience of my life. My participation in the confusion, fatigue, reduced ability and especially the irrational anxiety, worry, sleeplessness and depression opened a whole new window of understanding for our generation of TBI survivors. As the saying goes, “rapid injury, slow recovery”. And I have clung to the kind words of a doctor who wisely advised, me, “Jack, do not grieve what you have lost, embrace what you have, and aspire to what you will recover…now do the work to get there.”

I offer the same advice to my peers in this journey with a re-emphasis of the OneLife Warrior central themes…don’t quit, get up in the morning, put on your shoes and live your life. Don’t believe everything you think. The world is richer for the light of your life here, so shine on. You are precious, irreplaceable and unique among all people. I love you and thank you for your service and immeasurable sacrifice to others.

In closing, let us turn our awareness efforts to the behavioral health component of TBI and tie that to the broader success in physical adaption and behavioral health treatment. By shining a new light into this dark corner of our service member’s re-integration, the path to a “new normal” and their destiny as America’s Next Greatest Generation will be realized.

God bless you, OneLife Warriors…keep running, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Robin, Meet Carol

Robin, meet Carol.

Carol and Robin had a lot in common. They were both loved by their families, had sapphire blue eyes, loved to laugh, suffered from debilitating mental illnesses, and died by suicide. So… Robin, meet Carol.

Both Carol and Robin left their families straining to answer the question, “why?” and trying to fill the vacuous chasm of emptiness left by their untimely departure. The simple truth is that they died for the same reason nearly all people die from suicide. People who make the decision to end their lives overwhelmingly do so for one reason and one reason only. In the wake of on going studies and cutting edge scientific theories on interlocking spheres of phenomena; common conditions and psychological profiles that present suicidal ideation and high risk, I do understand that there is no singular reason. I do believe, however, that Robin and Carol, and Jeff Barnes and the other 40,000 moms, dads, grandparents and children who die by suicide every year in America, did so for one very not so simple reason.

They didn’t want to live like THAT anymore…whatever THAT is…sad, lonely, injured, afraid, addicted, angry, sick, or confused. They had been convinced by the loathsome Spector skulking in the dark peripheries of our sadness that by ending their lives the pain would stop…and they would have peace. Suicide offers the permanent false solution to the temporary problem. And regardless of the severity of the adversity in our lives, all problems are temporary. Suicide is a liar, a coward and a thief. It steals from us all the precious light of life from this world, stuffed from the beating hearts of our loved ones, leaving us poorer for want of their smiles.

Robin meet Carol. See the kindness in her mother eyes and if you can make her laugh as I know you can, you will enjoy her belly roll, punkinhead melodic laughter to your own delight.  And Carol, see the genius of this man and realize that we all fell in love with every character he ever played because he illuminated the best attributes of the human condition in an inhuman world. He, like you, deserved much more happiness here than you both experienced. We will see your angelic faces again some day, but for now, sit and enjoy each other’s company and laugh together on yonder shore, while we try to make sense of the rest of our lives without you in the messes you left behind.

Carol, meet Robin. Tell him of your children and the wild animal babies you cared for and re-habilitated as a Wildlife Biologist. Tell him of Unity College, fly fishing and canoeing in Aroostook County as the moose watched you on a mirror lake. Tell him that I loved you and never got to say goodbye.

We miss you both and wish to remind all the lonely, sad, injured, addicted, anxious people in the world to never, never, never stop trying. The sun will rise tomorrow and with it the hope of a new day. Get up, put your shoes on and live your lives, running, walking, crawling your daily marathons…you can do it.

God bless you, One Life Warriors…keep running and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Prayer Poem of the Day

From a OneLife Warrior today….

“Grant to little children
Visions bright of Thee;
Guard the sailors tossing
On the deep, blue sea.
Comfort those who suffer,
Watching late in pain;
Those who plan some evil
From their sin restrain.
Through the long night watches
May Thine angels spread
Their white wings above me,
Watching round my bed.
When the morning wakens,
Then may I arise
Pure, and fresh, and sinless
In Thy holy eyes.
Glory to the Father,
Glory to the Son,
And to Thee, blest Spirit,
While all ages run.”

Sabine Baring-Gould

God bless you, OneLife Warriors….keep running and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear what I hear? Blessings to all this Christmas Eve….a special message to everyone who finds themselves alone on this special night of all nights. You are in my thoughts and prayers tonight that you may find peace and comfort. I will light a candle for you tonight and say prayers that you are not truly alone as the presence of the Lord surrounds you.

I, too, have spent many a Christmas Eve far from my home and loved ones awash in the memories of my childhood and Christmas Days gone by. Bask in the joy of this night and the knowledge that you are truly loved. When you lay down your head tonight remember that the light of your life makes this earth a richer and more blessed place. With the morning light comes the hope of a new day born and a better tomorrow.

Do something special for yourself and find another person to greet and share kind words with, especially a stranger who may need you.

In closing, remember how much you are loved and, again, you will be in my thoughts tonight and tomorrow as you always are…my OneLife Warrior. Above all, never, never, never quit and fight hard for the quality of your life and the happiness you so richly deserve.

God bless you, OneLife Warriors….Keep running, and I’ll see you tomorrow…Merry Christmas, Peace and have a Happy New Year….!!

E.B. White’s Note on Humanity

OneLife Warriors, I wanted to share a post by good friend Dave Bois to lift your spirits today…thanks, Dave. Credit to the author et al…

White’s missive, penned on March 30, 1973, when he was 74, endures as a spectacular celebration of the human spirit:

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Sincerely,

E. B. White

We must never dismiss Goodness in the heart of Humanity, even in its darkest moments…the spark of life that has carried us thus far will, in turn, lead us from the folly of our fate…I for one, refuse to give up on us, and I have seen the darkest sides of the human experience, believe me. So too, have I looked into the eyes of a dying man as he fought to not “go gentle into that good night” and witnessed the ember of this hope seen with “blinding sight, on sad height”. Patiently, I will wait on the weather’s “bluff,” the “break in the clouds” and the restoration of our path to flowered fields. Join me, I’ll meet you there…

Keep running, OneLife Warriors…I’ll see you tomorrow!