Hell or High Seas: Suicide Attempt Survivor on the Big Screen - OC87 Recovery Diaries

Hell or High Seas: Suicide Attempt Survivor on the Big Screen


I don’t know why the round didn’t go off. I wasn’t meant to die then, but I still think about it all the time. . . What am I still doing here? Is it a second chance?

—Taylor Grieger


September is National Suicide Prevention Month. At OC87 Recovery Diaries, we’ve featured many stories that focus on suicide prevention awareness. One of those features, about a U.S. Navy veteran whose life shifted dramatically after a suicide attempt, has been developed into a feature length documentary, titled Hell or High Seas and is being released in theaters and will be available for streaming next month.

Hell or High Seas follows U.S. Navy veteran Taylor Grieger and writer Stephen O’Shea as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime—sailing around Cape Horn, the world’s most treacherous ocean waters. The documentary is a moving portrait of a veteran using his own painful journey with PTSD to find healing for himself, and to pave a smoother path for veterans returning to civilian life. Hell or High Seas is an adventure film with a deep, universal message about perseverance and hope.

The film will be screened in select theaters and will be available for screening next month.

You can check out the film’s website for details.

It’s a heartbreaking fact that each day in the U.S., 22 veterans take their own life. For Taylor, return to civilian life after serving in the U.S Navy was incredibly difficult as he was unaware that he was struggling with PTSD. At his lowest point, he attempted to take his own life.

I don’t think what anybody ever says out loud is—You hurt all day, and you see the worst things that you can see in this world, every day of every second. . . and when your body’s running away from you like that and it’s trying to adjust into a new climate, and a new pace, and you’re in that much pain, you don’t want to live in this world anymore.

It was the insight of his high school friend, writer Stephen O’Shea, that convinced Taylor that he was not alone in his struggle. The two men decided to sail around Cape Horn in an effort to create awareness about the shocking reality of suicide.

The film presents Taylor’s transformation from suicide attempt survivor into activist. His epic journey was healing for him. His dream, which is now a reality, is to take veterans on adventures on similar ocean journeys and create a life-changing experience for everybody.

If I could get those guys on the water, I think it’d give them a different perspective.

You feel alive out here on the water. You’re a part of it all, you’re working with the winds, you’re working with the water.

She beats you down, but at the same time, she rewards you when that sun comes out and it’s just a ray of sunlight coming out over a glacier.

We are happy to share Tackling PTSD on the High Seas, an OC87 Recovery Diaries feature that tells part of Taylor and Stephen’s journey. We hope you can experience the full-length journey/film and will be as inspired by Taylor and Stephen’s mission-driven adventure as we are.


EDITOR IN CHIEF: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman

See Related Recovery Stories: Depression, Mental Health Short Films, PTSD, Trauma

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.