A Veterans Story: How CBD Helped Me Get My Life Back
I found a rhythm after returning home. I was attending school and getting reacquainted with old friends. During my time in the Army I developed a love for running, being back in Montana afforded me nearly endless trails to explore.
I complimented my running with backcountry hiking. A 30-mile run or a 15-mile hike into a backcountry lake were my weekends. Suffice to say I was enjoying my new life. But, after a few years removed from the Army, I began to realize that I never really “shut off” the mentality I relied on while I was overseas.
How CBD helped with pain relief and sleep
I noticed things: I would sleep around five hours a night, and never really get a good night’s rest as I would shoot out of bed at the slightest sound; I was always watching the people around me; I could never settle down and was constantly on edge.
Worst of all, I was living with the guilt of always wondering if I had done enough for my friends who were injured overseas. It was clear that I wasn’t as carefree as I imagined I was.
I had joined the Army straight out of High School. It was something I knew I had wanted to do for a long time. I felt that service to others, in some capacity, is something I needed to do. And the possibility of some adventure didn’t hurt either.
So, while my friends packed up for college, I shipped out to basic training to become a combat engineer and see what the Army had in store for me. Five years later I returned home. I had lived in the parts of the country I had never imagined myself in, made all sorts of friends I never would have met otherwise, become an avid runner and gone on a couple deployments.
I was happy I had spent time in the Army, regardless of the ups and downs I had experienced, but I was ecstatic to be home.
It didn’t take long for me to find a groove. I had enrolled in school at the University of Montana, my love of running soon included the endless trails of Western Montana and I was back to spending time with my family and old friends. But as time went on, I began to notice things that didn’t seem right. I was constantly on edge.
I was still watching the side of the road as I drove around town; even on backwoods dirt roads, passing over culverts would cause my heart to race. And my sleep was terrible. I’d awake to the slightest bump in the night. I felt as if I had a constant weight on my shoulders. I figured this was just stress. I was close to finishing school and in the process of applying to graduate school.
I ran harder. Things got worse. Soon, I realized what that weight was. I was consumed with guilt. I felt as if I hadn’t done enough for my friends who had been wounded or killed while I was deployed. Then it clicked.
I knew what the signs were. It just never occured to me that I could be one of “those veterans.” I was diagnosed with PTSD. I ran harder.
When it rains, it pours. All my running and hiking, combined with the wear and tear from the Army finally caught up with me. I tweaked my back and could barely walk. A slipped disc, I was devastated. I used a cane for months. I was given every sort of pharmacological intervention possible to relieve my back pain. Pain killers, muscle relaxers, sleep aids, and others to counteract the damage those were doing to my stomach and liver.
I spent weeks and weeks on the couch. I could barely sleep due to the pain. Cortisone shots became a weekly ordeal for me. My hips and lower back were so tight and contorted they looked like an accordian on the X-Ray. Nothing worked. Depression set in.
Finally, I got tired of hoping my body would respond and decided to force it to get better. I researched everything I could about hip and lower back mobility. I learned ways to ease pain naturally. Ways to help with sleep. How related physical pain can impact other aspects of your life.
And the interesting thing was that I kept running across something I had never heard of before, CBD. The hemp plant had been used in different forms for thousands of years. And this hemp extract, CBD, was showing incredible promise in all sorts of wellness arenas. I decided to give it a go.
I soon found that my yoga became easier, more rewarding and my mobility increased. I felt that the CBD oils I had been taking had “lubricated” my joints and got them moving again.
My range of motion got better and my posture began to look normal again. I found when I took CBD before bed, I got a solid, uninterrupted night’s sleep. I actually felt refreshed. My daily activities returned to normal when I incorporated CBD into my routine. I wasn’t on edge and had no anxiety. I was thinking clearer.
It has now been a couple years of CBD being a major part of my health and wellness. I found something that helped me more than I ever could have imagined, and helped me in so many different ways. All from one little plant.
-Kyle C (Army Veteran and Glacier Organics co-founder)