He was at the top of his game, living what looked like the perfect life. Wife, children, large house, successful business, financial prosperity and a happy smile. Everyone wanted to be him, except him.
25 years ago he tried to rescue his father while scuba diving off Terence Bay. He was just 15 years old swimming to shore while trying to keep his dad on the surface in case there was a chance at reviving him. There wasn’t. He became a nomadic teenager, frightened by relationships, feeling empty and desperately seeking unbroken sleep. His addiction became work and making money. As a high school student, he held down three jobs and earned $40,000 a year. Isolation and distraction became his best friends.
After much personal turmoil, he finally reached out for help. While going through treatment for PTSD, he found himself thrown back into the raging ocean once again – literally. This time in Mexico, and insteadof trying to rescue his father, it was a 15 year old boy. The horrific scene from his youth repeated itself resulting in the retrieval of a teenager’s body from the bottom of the sea. So much pain and sorrow and so much to question.
A renewed faith along with the support of professionals and loved ones helped him survive. He now refers to his family as a living story of redemption and feels it’s time to share. Today, he calls his hardships gifts. And his PTSD? Something that can be lived through.
“He is me.” – Jonathan Lewis
Thank you to Jonathon Lewis for sharing your story with us. You are helping us change the way people think about mental illness and putting the spotlight on where we’ve been, where we currently are, and where we hope to go.
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