SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The invisible wounds of war are a heavy burden to carry, long after deployment.
Tom Voss, an Army veteran who served in a scout-sniper platoon, knows this feeling well.
"I took shrapnel to the head from a rocket-propelled grenade. And then I also had a lot of survivors guilt around the death of my platoon sergeant because that day I was given the day off," said Voss.
He says while deployed, there's no time to process these war injuries.
"You have a lot of these questions come up, years and years later. A lot of veterans struggle with, could I have done more, can I be forgiven? A lot of these moral questions," said Voss.
After serving, he wanted to bury the traumas of war; in the beginning, he was incapable of dealing with the stresses caused by combat experience.
"I was using alcohol and then on top of it abusing the medications that were given to me to kind of numb myself to the experiences, because I didn't know how to process them or move through them or move on from them on my own," said Voss.
"I had a lot of suicidal ideations, so that's getting to the point of like, how am I going to take my own life?"
Voss decided he needed to make a drastic change.
He and a fellow veteran walked 2,700 miles across the country, from Wisconsin to California. It was on that trek where he began to heal and learned about holistic approaches to deal with trauma, like meditation and yoga.
Voss now travels the world, teaching veterans and their families these techniques.
"It's really up to us as veterans to educate the community about the experiences of what it's really like in combat and how it impacts veterans coming home, how it impacts communities, coming home. And most importantly, how it impacts families," said Voss.
Voss chronicled his trek across the country in a memoir Where War Ends.
It's available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most places where books are sold.