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Wow so, so much is happening.

Just finished up the winter season up at Wasatch Adaptive Sports(WAS). Did a ton of snowboarding, I really put my body through the wringer. But I am in so much shape, much so! I am looking mighty fine. I have abs again!

Now all the rec therapies in Utah are gearing up for the Spring season. I've been spending a lot of time with Continue Mission. The founders are former WAS employees who started their own nonprofit to do rec-therapy for veterans. It's not even a year old, and it has so many local sponsors. Part of the goal of the nonprofit is to also give back to the community by doing service projects, and they are really finding a good home in Davis County. My mom works at the animal shelter, and they want me to see about having a group of us volunteer up there. So I am excited!

I am experiencing burn out from school, and work. And other life stress. I've fallen behind, but I am working with my advisor to get caught up. My memory went to shit, and I took my last final while having the onset of a sever migraine. I didn't do too well but I passed. I'll get a B in the class probably, I haven't been back to check my final grade yet. I am half way done, and when I am done I get two months of pay while I job hunt. Which will be a vacation.

Went on a 16.7 bike ride yesterday. Got a tune up for the Trek at Masher's in Bountiful which is a Continue Mission sponsor and so I got a great discount. I bought a bike rack for the Jeep and they helped me with the install which I greatly appreciated because when I picked up the bike and rack on Friday I was having another migraine come on and couldn't think very well.

Therapy has been hard, and probably a contributing factor to being so sick lately. But good therapy is hard, and I am trying to break the chains of being the person who is expected to just fix everything. I devote a lot of my energy to other people who some times don't appreciate it leaving me feeling hurt, and therapy is trying to teach me to direct that energy towards myself. And that through working on myself I will find healing and balance.

I'm really finding a place being a voice for veterans, and I am glad that through my treatment I am able to get support for others who have only begun their journey. I was on KSL recently, and there are some other things in the works. And I talk to donors for WAS, and hopefully for CM. Next year I will be applying for the Bush bike ride, and I have the support to train and be a great person to consider for the whole experience.

I think that is all there really is to say for now. I should really take the time to do a huge deep update, maybe I will in the few days. I have some things I need to get out there, and need advice.
Hi LJ, I guess updating more often translates into updating quarterly.

I am still working at Snowbird, and man this winter has been busy!

I have been going to the gym 5 days a week since January, and I have many fitness and work out goals that I am working towards. Work has been keeping me out of the house a lot too. They want me to help teach snowboarding next year so I have been going through some vigorous training. Unfortunately my hip flexor muscle is pretty tight, and I tore it Friday and had to stop a little earlier than was planned. I didn't realize there was a muscle there until I hurt it haha. Funny how I never needed to think about that in the military, they had us doing the right stretches though so that is why it never came up. So there will be a lot of mountain climbers in my future.

I am going to get my bike from Evanston and all tuned up ready for some light trails. I can't wait to get started, because I already am excited to ride the trails at the wild life refuge in Farmington, and some other roads and trails around the Great Salt Lake.

I got a code for the Promotive.com website through Snowbird, and oh my god. I always wondered how skii scrubs could afford nice, new gear. Now I know. Over 300 brands supply discounts like 50% MSRP. I can get a Rino Rack bike rack for the Jeep for 50% off, and Smith goggles for the same. There's brands like Carhart which will help me get some work pants for trail crew, and there are even some tactical brands geared for shooting.

Camping, climbing, paddle boarding, cycling, hiking. My whole world just opened up. I'm going to take advantage of it!

Still sober! Got a year under the sobriety belt now. I'm in dialectical behavior therapy now and that shit is amazing. It was developed for borderline personality disorder, but I think it helps a lot for a broad spectrum of disorders that have a hard time with emotional regulation. It has definitely helped a lot. I really wish I had this stuff taught to me growing up. I guess we just assume either you learn it on your own, or you're dysfunctional.

The Jeep got a make over. 17" Rockstar wheels, 32" tires. Hardtop. I increased the value of it! And we're going repelling locally next week, then we're headed to go repelling in Moab the weekend after that. We're excited to get Harrison involved. We want to get him away from that sedentary life style that is killing his father quite quickly and effectively. The man's like 300 lbs, at the age of 30, with all these health issues that are hush hush to us. We would like to instill confidence, and love of the out doors.

Been doing some back country clinics at work as well. Which is really exciting. They picked up a split board just for me to do the clinic with since one of those bad boys is like 900+$. I also learned how to skate skii. Which is hard, and an amazing working out.

I'm hoping that I will be super fit in time for trail crew this season.

Oh and I haven't even talked about School yet! 3.71 GPA so far, half way done through my Energy Management program! I also got a 94% on my hard midterm full of energy calculations and such. The Energy Manager for Alta graduated from my course as well, and the resort made a position for her. I am hoping that I can get hired on by Snowbird as an Energy Manager. If not, I think I still want to pursue more college, particularly finish the computer engineering degree I started.

My life is so different from where it was last year. And the year before. And the year before... ect. I am finally living the way that I have strived for, but couldn't because I needed to deal with PTSD and addiction. I can't say that I regret having to go through that, because I can not say for certain that my life would be at this place had I not had the journey that my recovery has taken me.

Robin got me a pedi and mani for Valentines day, so my nails are nice and clean. I didn't realize how stressed out my cuticles made me feel when they get all over grown and nasty. Now I have shiny bright orange nails on fingers and toes, and no itchy irritability from OCD.

Oh yeah I was diagnosed with OCD due to PTSD. So yeah... agoraphobia, OCD, insomnia, all because of PTSD. And that's probably not all of them. It's a fucking awful disorder to live with, but I am mastering it.

10984283_10206362393163522_8372000454005713831_nSnow Shoeing at Snowbird

10996389_10206383774298037_6968435378875609501_nMani Pedi Date

WP_20150117_005Jeep Before

WP_20150213_004Jeep After
Yay I'm married again. Well, it's just legal in my state again. Which doesn't mean much at the moment, because Robin is already recognized by the VA. That never went away.

Anyway things have been busy. Been working, and school. Been socializing. Took two finals in the last week. Did really good on the one I was fearing the most. My grades aren't the best, but they're not bad either. Two A-'s, and hopefully an A. I start more classes next week. And that's pretty much how the accelerated courses will run, but at least I will have a degree December of next year, in an awesome fucking field. Which is good. I'm extremely excited to be working in a field that is so brand new, and going to help change the world. Also the money will be nice.

Got the contact info for a guy who was looking for energy management people to help start collecting data and benchmarking emissions of buildings in Utah. Which is second to transportation for emissions. Anyway.

Going to a fund raiser for my job next Saturday. Then next week will be fall break. I am so ready for it. Have a few projects planned with Peter. We need to replace the water pump on the Jeep, and the fan clutch, and probably flush out the radiator. After that I am going to finally get a hard top, and hopefully some new tires and rims. Though it may take longer for that to happen.

Oh, and I have been sober for 10 months now. I barely miss alcohol anymore when I see it on TV, and I don't have any strong cravings anymore. Off the pills the VA was giving me as well. I am not sick constantly from side effects anymore. Oh and I am at an amazing healthy weight of 128 lbs. I say healthy because I have muscle mass from doing trail crew.

While I am super stressed out because I am so busy these days, life is good, and I have been living it. Oh, and Wasatch Adaptive wants me to stay on for the winter and do snow shoeing tours, and get some serious time in on the mountain so that I can go out and help with the veterans and the kids more. I am so excited, but at the same time sad that trail crew season will be ending.

I really have a lot to look forward to these days, which is some thing I didn't realize was missing from my life since Iraq. I am helping people now, and helping people recover from their trauma. My therapist at the VA says that is a big sign that some one is getting a grip on their trauma. My PTSD symptoms are down 50%, and my depression is pretty much gone. It comes back from time to time, but it doesn't stay long, and is only usually around due to some anniversary. Which despite being my favorite season, fall is full of trauma anniversaries. I'm just happy that I am surrounded by safe people now, and my work understands completely.

It's been a while..

Hi LJ. No I haven't forgotten about you, I just feel oddly uncomfortable when I write about my life these days. I have been sticking to pen and paper journals for the most part.

How has life been... well pretty intense. But life is good.

I've been scuba diving, snow boarding, cross country skiing, hiking the subway, ect. ect. Everything for free (except the subway hike) due to the awesome rec-therapy program at the VA. Once I complete my open water cert I will be going to the Catalina Islands and scuba diving in the ocean.

I got a dream job working with Wasatch Adaptive Sports, working on the trail crew program which involves conservation of Utah's natural parks and trail heads, as well as working in some educational capacity, and doing activities with disabled children. I'm learning so much about conservation, and the ecology, and it is amazing to be part of two non-profits that work towards maintaining the national parks I grew up with, and love so much. I also am technically employed through Snowbird, so I get resort perks as well.

I got married to the most beautiful person in the world, and the love of my life. And now she gets free health care through the VA, so we don't have to pay out of pocket anymore. I can also use her on my VA loans now, which helps because her income is a lot more than mine. My disability rating went up, most importantly they have given me a rating for my asthma, so I no longer have to worry about the VA charging me for my medications.

I stopped drinking, and started living life. I've been more active, lost 20 lbs, eat healthy. I am fit again!

And today I am meeting with an academic adviser for SLCC's green energy program to hash out adding an AAS degree to my engineering degree so that my VOC rehab counselor and I can re-do my graduation training plan. I am super excited, the AAS degree in energy management is brand new, and exactly what I was looking for as far as education goes.

Robin and I are preparing to move to Summit County and get out of the city. I am excited to live surrounded by nature. I am excited to own my own place, and to start converting it to sustainable energy.

While anxiety, agoraphobia, and insomnia make my life difficult at times, it is nice to know that I can take life at my own pace. That if I need the day off, I can take it without any sort of penalty - job wise, or relationship wise. And I have found a lot of happiness in cooking, and taking care of my wife when she has rough weeks at work.

Unfortunately my grandpa Jones passed away, and we held his funeral on the 26th of May. His 80th birthday is Saturday. It was hard to say good bye to a person who has had such a positive impact in my life, but he was ready to go, and he was in a lot of pain. I miss him, but I am pretty good at mourning him through bird watching, and nature.

I guess that I have pretty much covered all the bases.
Was having a bad day until I checked my voice mail to find one from HAME, my old apartment managers, for Anna stating that she needs to pay rent for this month. Fucking lololololololololololol.

Aug. 11th, 2013

In 20 days it will be the first year anniversary of meeting the most amazing, sensitive, loving, and caring person I am fortunate to not only have in my life, but to be committed to.

It's crazy how fast time has gone.

So... Harrison has called me mom.

And at the Zoo two Sundays ago, (this is a vague recap cause I didn't hear it) we went to their bird show. At the end they ask for donations, so I gave him a dollar, cause it's cool you hand it to a bird and it puts it in the box for you. And Robin overheard him telling the trainer how his moms brought him and gave him the dollar to donate. Really fucking emotional moment for me. Moms. Like one of those secret moments you don't show to the outside world but hold close to your heart.
Then on Friday I was trying to keep tabs on adults who were talking to me at one of his little league events, and he was trying to talk plants vrs zombies to me, and he called me mom twice to get my attention. Then as soon as I looked at him to talk to him about the game he sheepishly corrected himself and said I mean Michelle.

And then today... again called me mom a couple of times. In front of Robin who is cool with it, and thinks it's amazing. Man. Guys. Robin looked at me right away and I looked at her, like such an incredible moment. She was tearing up out of happiness.

I never thought I'd have kids, ever. I never wanted them after how bad my parents fucked me up. I figured no matter what I never wanted to be responsible for messing up another human being, and with my PTSD I couldn't be a good role model. Not to mention I pretty much raised my brother, and that turned out bad.

Now here's this 8 year old boy in my life who adores me, wants to play legos with me, wants to play plants vrs. zombies and Skylanders with me... and if he can't play video games, he wants to draw pictures and talk about it. And he thinks I'm this amazing adult because... yeah I'm a nerd and I guess child like with my thinking cause I like video games, and cartoons and legos. And he'll show me the stuff he builds with legos, and tell me the story of whats going on with the lego guys, and I can add to it and he thinks I'm the greatest person in the world.

I never thought I would experience anything like this in my life. I don't ever want it to go away.

Funny Spoiler.

Hi Livejournal!

Wow, it's been a while since I have updated here. I have been doing more journaling in my small personal journal I carry with me these days. Anyway, I thought I might do an update here, because this journal has been an archive of my life for the last 10 years.

So, I am on week 7 of prolonged exposure therapy, and it has helped me immensely. For example I was able to go to Costco, on a Saturday, during peak times, without a massive panic attack. My anxiety levels did rise, but not to the point of fleeing, or crying. And most importantly, I didn't avoid it. I bought cheese, and a pizza.

Overall my PTSD symptoms are easier for me to handle, and I don't know if it's because of all the education about PTSD and MST I have learned from group and therapy, or that I am habituating to them. I still in general have a lot of anxiety, and get triggered by things on a daily basis, but it is less than what it use to be which feels incredible to me.

Things with Robin are going extremely well. We haven't had a fight since mid January, despite having conflict here and there. I think we have established healthy boundaries, and loads of trust for each other. We both came into the relationship damaged from our exes, and I think we are finally letting go of that. Most importantly Glenn and Mallory have accepted me as part of the family. Their kid Noah loves me, and I think I have become a pretty good role model for Harrison especially where school is concerned. We do a weekly family dinner on Friday nights, and we have been spending more time around them in general. Glenn even fixed my power steering! All of this has removed a major stress out of Robin's life. Glenn has been less douchey about letting her spend time with Harrison.

Robin and I plan on officially moving in together next month, despite me practically living with her already.

I'm back in school, and doing ok. It's been bumpy, but I haven't given up. And I don't feel completely overwhelmed. My first Trig mid term is next week, and I have been studying hard for it. I want an A damnit! The best part about being back in school? Robin's complete support. The VA was late paying me, as usual, and it's amazing to be with some one who is understanding, doesn't criticize me(I think Robin has criticized me once, and that was a miscommunication), or demand I quit school because the money isn't good enough, reliable enough.

In general I'm in a constant state of just wow because of healthy our relationship has been. Part of my treatment has included learning the difference between healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships, and I am proud to say, for the first time in my entire life I am in a healthy relationship. Not only because Robin is just so fucking amazing, and supportive, but also because her family supports us as well, and accepts me as a part of them. I don't just have a partner, I have a family.

John, my therapist, says that it's amazing to see two people with anxiety disorders heal and support each other. He also mentioned that if we decide to have a commitment ceremony or marriage, that he is invited. Which is the highest compliment I have ever received regarding a relationship I have been in from an outsider.

Leaving Anna was a hard decision, and the choice left me homeless and with out means, but some times I think you have to weed, before you can till, and grow things that give nutrients. I was a mess in August, but I have worked hard since to be back on my feet. While I'm not walking, I have some one I can lean on, who leans on me, so that when we're both ready to take that step we can do it together, and not alone. Things were hard, but I have been rewarded for my hard decision ten fold, and I can imagine the life I would be living had I stayed with Anna and it is a hellish nightmare of emotional, mental, and financial abuse. I am glad I am not that person anymore, and that person is a ghost of the past.

My future is bright again, and I get to spend it with a new family, and a beautiful, sexy, partner who compliments me in every way. And I know I compliment her, and encourage her to grow, and dream.
So I know I don't update anymore, and when I do it is very cryptic and dramatic. Usually the only times that I update are when I am having horrible PTSD, and don't feel comfortable talking to people on the phone or in person due to how vulnerable I am. It's hard to talk about some thing I don't understand myself, when my breath is knocked out of me by raw emotion. Anyway, now is not one of those times, but I am feeling emotional and needing to reflect on some thing.

I don't know where I was on the 21rst of November, or what I was doing to miss the news on the internet, but I found out that 17 days ago Anne McCaffrey died. I am pretty upset about this, despite the woman's accomplishments, and her age. I really haven't been impacted by a celebrity's death before, usually I feel sad, then move on knowing that I really didn't know them, and while that still holds true concerning my relationship with Anne McCaffrey, I did have a very personal relationship with her books. Specifically Dragonsong and Dragonsinger.

I really want to type out a huge reflection on this, but I think I can sum it up best just by saying that her books helped me through some really hard time in my life, and helped inspire me to pursue an education despite everyone around me telling me I wasn't worth it.