I got to spend last weekend with my college roommate Carolyn Schuyler on the opening weekend of Wildrock, a natural park and playscape she founded to help people heal from trauma.
We interviewed three veterans who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder but discovered that spending time in nature could help them heal – and re-integrate in civilian life after deployment. We quickly cut these together with images of the beautiful 20-acre park in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“I had hit rock bottom,” explains veteran and military spouse Sarah Akers. “And the moment between choosing to end my life and not choosing to end my life was literally, ‘Well, okay what now?’ Life hasn't changed, but I said, ‘I'm going to be here, so now what?’ And I literally got up and started walking because I couldn't sit in the middle of my kitchen. And I realized that I had no idea where I was going, but there was something very cathartic about walking, and putting one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other. Hiking, in nature.”
I am lucky to never have suffered PTSD, but I can attest to the power of nature to calm, heal, and give us the big picture of life.
Check out the finished video here. Congratulations to Carolyn and her staff on the launch of this great non-profit!