Climbing has literally saved my life.  I want to emphasize that for several reasons.  First, people in general think climbing is dangerous…and they are correct to a point.  It involves calculated risk, though, as opposed to blind risk.  My opinion is that driving down the freeway at 60 mph is more of a blind risk than climbing is, but that’s just me.  Second, for a lot of people, climbing does not have any face value in terms of societal contribution or the formation of critical character traits necessary for the important decisions to be made in life.  They could not be more wrong.  Let me repeat: Climbing has literally saved my life.  The first major decision to be made in life is to keep living.  Climbing has given me a reason to do that.  I am a disabled Veteran who served as a machine-gunner in the Middle East for the United States Armed Forces during the war that will never end.  As a result, I have a very severe and chronic case of a mental disorder called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a right ankle injury that multiple doctors said I would never recover from, and a serious appreciation for government-issued peanut butter and liter upon liter of potable water.  There can be a lot of suicidal thinking with PTSD, as evidenced by the Veteran suicide rate and its correlation with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (these often go hand-in-hand).  Long story short, I spent 18 years with an ankle brace on that effectively immobilized my ankle so that I could walk and the last 18 years on medications and in therapy for PTSD (which will continue for the rest of my life), including close to three dozen stays in the inpatient psych ward for suicidal ideation and close to 50 electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments for the same.  I began bouldering, a fancy term for rock climbing low to the ground (think ~20 feet max unless you highball, which can practically turn into free soloing, but that is another subject), on 30 April 2016.  This therapy suggestion was made by my psychiatrist, a brilliant and compassionate man who used to rock climb himself.  Let’s just say it was an instant addiction, and a very healthy one at that!  I am happy to say that at a point just shy of 10 months later, I had very few suicidal thoughts and I was able to walk and rock climb without my ankle brace!  Oh, and I still have a reason to live – “I’m not done climbing yet!”