This Marine Escaped PTSD Inside A Mixed Martial Arts Octagon [PHOTOS]

Shane Krutchen is an undefeated MMA fighter.

He’s also a former Marine whose unit, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, spearheaded the invasion into Iraq.

The unit saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Krutchen came back damaged and, due to then-limited infrastructure to deal with PTSD, fell through the cracks and into the world of drugs.

Until he started to fight.

'It's almost like my rebirth,' says Krutchen.

'I haven't fought in a year, but I feel better than I ever have.'

'I just keep coming back, and they never understood why.'

'It's that I have a whole nother drive in me.'

Shane working out 72 hours before the fight.

'Working out actually calms me down.'

'Some of the things I experience in my life is extreme edginess, extreme.'

'I can't sleep at night, if I get over 4 hours of sleep a night, there's something wrong.'

'I'll see bikes leaning on telephone poles, and I think ... '

'Is that going to blow ... you know ... that's what an IED is, you know, you just never know.'

'PTSD is a chemistry change in your brain, you sit and think of all the bad times,' says John Roberts, Wounded Warrior Project.

'And it's like replaying a movie in your head over and over again.'

'It's hard to explain all the pain I've endured,' says Krutchen.

'I went to Iraq in 2003, our unit was part of the initial push in.'

'I'm very family oriented ... one of the hardest things was seeing children suffer.'

'I've seen so many kids just next to death at times.'

'You can't do anything for them, and if you say that to your unit, then you're weak, because you want to help someone.'

'I saw a father get killed, and even though he was an enemy combatant, it hit close to home because his wife and his kid were crying.'

'The things I've seen, the things I've done, things I've witnessed, and I was 17 at the time.'

'I was having nightmares. I asked for help, and I was known as a weakling.'

'Next thing you know, I'm getting letters from the Marine Corps saying, You're not allowed to handle weapons, you can't wear a uniform.'

'I got no severance check, there was no help, no job placement.'

'Literally I was an ostracized individual.'

'I went to the VA .... they didn't even know how to handle it ... they said go see the psyche.'

'Put me on like 9 different medications. That was my downfall.'

'The first time I ever fought, I didn't even know what MMA was. My buddy said 'you want to come see some MMA?''

'I was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol at the time, and ... '

'This guy walks up to me and says ... 'I'll give you a bar tab if you fight' ... and I actually fought.'

Later: 'So I drove to California on a whim, I had $US5,000 in my pocket and a Lincoln Continental.'

'I was thinking ... I'm going to train serious ... become some famous fighter.'

'It didn't turn out that way.'

'I was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels or a bottle of vodka per day, and polish off a twelve pack if not two twelve packs a day.'

'Then I found cocaine ... it got really bad, it got really violent.'

'My life was crap, it was going down the drain ... June 14th 2009, I remember that was the day I decided to end my life.'

Krutchen's failed suicide attempt included attempted overdoses of cocaine, narcotics, and alcohol.

'I met Norbie at a Wounded Warrior surfing event.'

'I blew off Norbie a lot, but he just kept calling, and the day I tried to kill myself, when I came to, there was more messages from Norbie.'

'He was like, 'hey Marine, I don't know why you're not answering, you know you're loved, bro, and if you don't answer I'm going to come down there and kick your door in.'

'I was like, all right, picked up the phone, 'what's up Norbie.'

'Now he didn't know what had happened, but it was almost like in his heart he knew what happened.'

'He showed me that people do love me, and people care, and they're not giving up on me.'

'Since that day, I haven't touched a single drop of narcotics, pills nothing.'

'I found that MMA is my medicine. And I haven't taken any medication in over four years.'

'I lost a few really close friends, you know my drive in life is them.'

'I know if they were here, they would push me, and I know if I fail, I would let them down. I'm not going to do that.'

In the last few years, he's earned two college degrees, won 10 professional MMA fights, and gotten married.

When Krutchen met his wife, Krystine, a yoga instructor, 'It was literally love at first sight.'

'She kinda contradicts the PTSD. I do everything adrenalin-based, and she does everything peaceful-based.'

'I think my favourite thing about Krystine is that her backbone is titanium, she has to hold me up half the time, I love that.'

Because veterans often feel uncomfortable around civilians, Krutchen now heads up a support group inside the gym.

He offers advice, points of contact, and motivation to the other veterans.

The night before the fight, Krutchen cleans his chopper, preparing mentally.

Krystine knows that there are times when he needs to be alone.

This is one of them.

'It's weird to make a date to fight somebody,' Krutchen's coach says.

'When I pray before I fight, I pray for all my brothers on my back, that they will watch over me, make sure not just me, but my opponent doesn't get injured.'

'When Shane goes in the cage, I feel anxious, because I know he puts his heart and soul into this.'

'And emotionally, any kind of misstep on his part would be more devastating to him, than a broken eye socket, because that'll heal.'

'When the cage door closes, boom I'm ready. You know, because, it's a different Shane.'

'When the cage door closes, you hear the click behind you, and it happens really fast ... ' says Krutchen's coach.

'It happens really fast.'

Krutchen spars a bit with his opponent before taking him to the ground.

'Choke him out!'

Shane wins via submission.

'Thank you to all the service members all over the world,' says Krutchen. 'We got a group of Wounded Warrior guys here, show them some love, thank you all for showing up.'

There's a lot you missed in the Wounded Warriors YouTube video ...

(image url='' alt='Attached image' link='lightbox' size='xlarge' align='center' nocrop='true' clear='true')

You can watch it right here >

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.