Marine Veteran Is Nurtured by Nature After Injury
June 22, 2023 | 3-minute read
Courtney’s story of military service starts like a lot of Veterans’: “I graduated high school, wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do with my life,” she says. She talked with a Marine Corps recruiter and was in boot camp within three weeks, feeling intimidated and trying to find her place. Shortly after that, she was injured.
“Then that’s when everything really took a deep dive,” the Veteran administrative specialist recalls. Fitting in as a woman in the Marines had already been a challenge, and then being injured — “that’s something that’s just very frowned upon,” Courtney says. “I was losing friends. I was partying all the time. Pretty much doing anything to avoid my feelings.”
The injury, which required four hip surgeries to repair, hurt Courtney’s mental health as well as her physical health.
Peace and Serenity
“It felt like I was not finishing the mission,” Courtney says. “I didn’t know who I was. I lost a lot of my identity.”
After she was medically discharged from the military, Courtney was automatically set up with an appointment at VA. She realized she needed the support and attended one-on-one counseling sessions. She was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
“Treatments helped me a lot with trauma, especially any type of violence that’s happened to me, and also how to deal with stressors, anxiety,” she says.
For Courtney, who leads a busy and independent life, that has meant slowing down when she feels overwhelmed and making herself feel safe.
“I grew up hunting, camping and fishing,” she explains. “I really love nature and spending time with my family in the mountains and just getting away from the city.”
In the slower pace of the great outdoors, Courtney looks for a spot by the river where she can sit, relax and listen to the sounds around her.
“It’s just the perfect peace and serenity that anybody could ask for,” she says. “I believe having outdoor hobbies really helps with my mental recovery.”
Combining time in nature and therapy still helps Courtney today. “Those type of things have really centered me and put me in a better place mentally,” she explains.
“It’s such a relief for me to be able to go and have someone — other than my family or friends — someone else to talk to who can actually help me and give me really good advice,” Courtney says. “That’s something that I actually look forward to every week.”
“I’m so proud that I put myself back together and understand what I needed to work on to heal myself to live a better life,” she says.