Christopher Underwood served his country for more than two decades. From 1990 to 2012, he handled deployments at U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard sites around California, as well as in Germany and the Middle East after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He rose through the ranks with an interest in politics honed by a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s College.
But those years took a quiet toll, not just on his body but his spirit, and led to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Although he sought help through VA programs, his PTSD affected his relationships, commitments and social and family obligations. His downward spiral and isolation eventually destroyed his marriage.
“I was feeling the onset of PTSD, but I wasn’t really knowing what was going on. Everything was turbulent upstairs,” Underwood said.
“I started down a dark path, not with drugs or alcohol, but isolation,” he added. “Between 2012 and 2014, I was just trying to find myself.”