Crash sets a new life course after years of struggling
KRIS Ford's life has been up and down for years; and it all started when he left the army.
The Yeppoon man's struggles with life came to a head on November 17 when a car crash landed him in hospital.
Kris shared his story with The Morning Bulletin on life after the army and how he's on the road to recovery.
Kris, 31, joined the military after high school; he was medically discharged in 2005 with a back injury.
"Things started to fall apart when I left the military," Kris said.
"Things were up and down; at times my mental health was good, then it was bad.
"I found it really difficult to assimilate back into civilian life.
"I started hanging around with people that I shouldn't have been...I didn't care about anything," he explained.
It was a failed relationship that saw Kris pack his bags and move to the region in 2011 to stay with his mum, as he tried to get his life back on track.
Kris explained that being put on prescription medication for his injury didn't help his situation, as he stayed home for nearly a year not wanting to go out.
"I fell into this trap of being satisfied with being medicated," Kris said.
"It was a horrible existence; I couldn't handle the medication anymore."
Kris made the decision to get off all his medication to start fresh.
The ex-serviceman recently found motivation to get his life back on track and had been feeling good about himself again. But just over a week ago Kris had a setback after a disagreement with a friend saw him jump in his car and speed off.
Kris's car crashed at high speeds into a tree near Yeppoon's surf life saving club.
"I think my brain played every part in the accident, I got in the car and used it as a weapon against myself," he said.
Kris doesn't remember a lot about the crash, but he ended up in hospital after badly fracturing his left leg.
"It (the crash) made me realise that a lot of people care," Kris said.
"I've had a lot of mates contacting me."
Kris now realises it is okay to ask for help.
"The accident was a build up from years of trying to hold it in, and I just lost it," he said.
"That's the thing about servicemen; we like to try to fix things ourselves.
"I've learnt now it's okay to ask for help."
Kris is now looking at life with a positive attitude and looking forward to the future.
He's planning to spend some time at a veterans retreat, before looking at rejoining the military and studying psychology at university.