Hi, I’m Louis. I joined the army in 1992 and got deployed to the former Yugoslavia as part of UNPROFOR. That period changed my life a lot, once home I just didn’t feel like I still fitted in.
I returned to the mission working for one of the military contractors and stayed until the end of the war in 1996. A lot happened during that time. Many great things but also a lot that got burned into my eyes. I wasn’t ready to come home, to be honest I wasn’t ready for life anymore. I came close to losing it all together.
Once home I started working a lot. Mostly short-term assignments as I was unstable really. I needed the time between these assignments to recharge. Like walking life on a string, just trying to keep in balance all the time. I tried to cope for many years, but things went downhill. I was eventually diagnosed with PTSD and received therapy from a variety of organizations including the army.
In the end things got worse. The therapy sent me back to war more and more, I started having flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety. The medication didn’t have an effect on me other than causing major depression. Again, I nearly lost everything not having the power anymore to fight.
They stopped treatment and the medication. I slowly started picking up the pieces again and I managed somehow, with the support of great friends that once stood at my side, and still do.
I’m trying, it’s getting better, but I have some distance to overcome still.
I applied for Veterans on the Camino and was selected. It will be a challenge, but I will be there with others who understand my struggle. It will be an honor to walk with them and to get to know how they continued with life. I look forward learning from them and hopefully it will lead to more peace in all our lives.