Treatment Works


Hello hello welcome to the Kensington quarter. I am Jeff and I am Tom. Today we're very lucky to have Stephanie Davis who is the suicidal prevention and coordinator of eastern Ba. Kansas he's from Kansas Kansas. Va Every oh she has a PhD in counseling. Psychology correct awesome. How are you doing today? I'm doing okay. Thank you so much for having me on your version years. We have been super excited. This episode with you. I'm kind of repeating everything everything we literally just talked about for ten minutes which was good. I guess I'm curious though. Yeah he did. Mention Your P. H. E.. What is your educational background? So I did my underground Undergrad at University of Iowa and I had an undergraduate degree in psychology. And I remember that my sister wrote in my graduation. Asian card. Practice this Stephanie. Would you care for fries with that. People has undergrad in psychology. Doesn't get you a whole lot. I'm an Undergrad in psych ward. Well so so then I was look I knew I wanted to go to graduate. School and I was really desperately clueless in terms of how to narrow down schools and my roommate at the time was a huge basketball fan and so I ended up at. Ku Yeah yeah so I went straight into the PhD program. There for about six years. They are so amazing. So yeah well you know I I like I said earlier I have a history degree. So yeah I'm not really doing much other than mopping-up Soda on my computer with that thing. But I know I'm always curious to know What was the process like? I'm curious personally because you tom as we said earlier. We're both premed we're kind of in that situation. We've got a long long road of education ahead of us of got any tips or pointers or yells pitfalls to avoid anything like that or just you know live it and love it and do it or yeah. That's it. I think that I just got so accustomed to being a student for so long. It didn't occur to me not to be and so that was just my daily lived experience since was kind of slogging day in and day out and I do remember sort of freaking out about writing that dissertation But then realizing that man it's just a big paper. Oh it's no different than anything else. It's I had a CO worker. That used to say. How do you eat elephant one bite at a time and that's true? Yeah you wake up and you're at the end of it but I still do have those moments where I stop and recognize Nice. How grateful I feel that I don't have a paper pending over my hedrick upcoming test? It's it's nice. We definitely relate to that. We got absolutely hammered in class. Last week it was ugly today. Tau But on the flip side we always talk about to like both of us have lived life for the last decade. So we're having like the time of our life right now. I would take the student any day over the real world and coming at it from a non traditional route probably gives you an an entirely different perspective. You know anything that was. The thing that I struggled with was everything that I learned was about theory and I really wanted to get to the application part but like what do I do this. How do I actually help people because this is why I'm in this field and so I could memorize a whole bunch of facts but then once I got thrown into into the actual field? It was terrifying for me because I was like. Oh my gosh what if what if I do the wrong thing. What if I say the wrong thing is like the education really starts once your education station inside the deal right? So how did you end up with the car with Veterans Affairs. Then how did that happen so in Graduate School for Psychology Psychology. You've you start kind of the experiential piece you start with the practicum and the practicum advisor sort of assigned as you to to that. Whatever wherever you're going to be and so my very first practicum was at the Leavenworth? Va and my very first. Patient was a World War Two veteran and he looked at me. And he was like what's a little whippersnapper like you get help power you gonNA help me and I literally just had. I don't know and I had to come every week on Wednesdays at va and I carpooled recalled an every day on the way there and on the way back I would cry because I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing and I also knew how important important work was terrified that they would be better off with somebody else that I wasn't the right person to be helping them but I knew I needed to learn but I didn't want that to be at the expense of anybody in the end. In retrospect I don't think it was. I wish I did just fine but so I never imagined that I would have ended at the Va.. But Yeah I did another practicum at the. Va Than I ended up in my internship at the VA I did a post residency at the Va and then just hooked hooked. Because they're just really isn't anything like working in this environment. There is so much need and the people that I work with are so incredibly grateful and this feels just. It's important work that you're doing my my internship. Oh boy that was probably two thousand. One misses the warriors I ask because the mental health as we awareness as we know it now was not present than correct with into a lot of things have changed mental health since then yes and I mean I I think especially the way that we do psychotherapy A lot of what I was originally tot was a lot of underlying theory are- but then ultimately the end product was a lot of supportive work which is lovely and there is absolutely a place for supportive psychotherapy. I completely we believe that. But as the science sort of caught up to the practice we recognize a lot of what we do is what we call empirically based psychotherapy and these are. I'm protocols that have been just. They researched the dickens out of them and they know that they work and they know exactly why they work. Jeff are are both huge advocates for mental health. I think with our own kind of personal battles with a lot of dating so I think for one kind of drawn to it a little bit. Yeah absolutely absolutely a unbear- I personally very passionate about this and you obviously not in a professional context like you are but like just you I think my main thing is is one on the weatherman school. Whatever it's just I want? I want to be open about my experiences with it because I I at least in my mind I still think. I think there's a lot of things about mental health. That are taboo. Obviously I'm not a professional like you but I think just you know having people that are open to sharing their experiences and telling them telling people what an amazing experience it was for them. Because you honestly going to therapy and you don't feel whole process. It's something that literally changed my life and You know I don't know if I mentioned this earlier but I think my my kind of my my backup plan. I'd love to go to med school but is to get into some sort of counseling link position. If you know that his work as I am I I've seen what is done for myself and I. I think it's such important work. What absolutely and I appreciate appreciate that perspective in terms of US sharing your own lived experience? I mean that's what this takes. Its for whatever reason. Mental health concerns half. You've had this stigma associated with that and really isn't any reason for that and oftentimes say if you saw your buddy Limping all of a sudden. You wouldn't hesitate to say. Hey man whatever your hood. But we see people withdrawing we see people shutting down we see people. I selecting and dropping out of society in for whatever reason people aren't like hey buddy what's going on and that's exactly what we need to do is just recognize that mental health conditions physical health conditions. It's we've all the same we just have to be able to talk about it for a while. L. And just from the military perspective from a lot of things is that until about fifteen sixteen. It was I mean I remember I I. I think the first time I ever thought about going to see someone was two thousand twelve and I was might've in two thousand thirteen actually i. I just got promoted to staff sergeant and one of my peers. I would not do that like he was like. You'll never see seven and I was like aren't man. Yeah and it was a big thing. Think for a long time it because they technically. They're not supposed to be like. Hey this guy went to see mental health. But once it's a known thing you Kinda Shun for worked for a long time and looking back on it now when I was younger I probably was that guy too because I mean I got promoted quickly so like twenty two twenty. The three hours of staffs are and I was kind of like many guys kind of weak you know and then you kinda grab go through some things and then you realize you got misuse yourself. And I think the stigma uh is is really what it stops a lot of people from reaching out to help. Because it's already hard enough. They will stop working. That's okay I don't act now. We gotta really fortunate. We've got a very talented sound editor. He has everything out for us. But OUGHTA you know you go through these these things in life and it's I think it's hard to watch somebody obviously go through these struggles but at the same time we haven't from childhood we haven't conditioned people yet to be like is everything. Okay in that manner we because for so long. It's been if a person's feeling suicidal or persons withdrawn like that that they have an issue that you can't help them with no matter what happens in life. They're always going to feel that way whether it be their week. Think crazy miserable. You can go back to just sixty seventy years ago and look at the practices. We hadn't psychology at the time. It's it's medieval flight light at you. Admit that you're feeling bad. They're gonNA start boring holes in your head. It's funny one of our favorite shows called Madman. I haven't I know it's an entire phenomenon a society. It's one of the things they hit on. Their lot is a ton of drinking in advertising world but in the first two episodes of going to therapy is a big thing and it's kind of like it becomes like the rumor mill like. Oh I I heard. His wife saw it. They're pissed it's funny now because it shows that Jackson position now like our age like I got it there take a badge. It's real will you. Then you the example table you gave the comparing to you. Know Senior Buddy limping. I really think that's a great way to look at it and you don't. We don't really talk about it in those types of terms but I mean it is a very very real and in most cases very fixable phenomenon and loonie and But yeah it's it's it's still one of those things and I. I see it getting better all the time and we still have work to do and what what is it. Maybe getting too personal but do you do you. You see a Lotta open acceptance of kind of like mental health and in the within the VA Association. Like what's what's it like around here. What are the attitude in your opinion? Well I feel like I get a skewed perception because I am in mental health and I think sometimes I forget that everybody isn't the same way so I'm forget forget that there may still be some stigma out there in the world because that's just us. This is what we do on a daily basis in even had a co worker the other day. That said Stephanie. Sometimes I just come in here to ask you a specific item on our agenda and I end up walking out and saying why did I end ended up talking about my childhood and my parents just like you just do this and I was like I genuinely can't help it. I'm curious about people. Can I just ask follow up questions. I WanNa know how what makes them tick. And that that to me is fascinating. I don't I don't know why right. That's something that shouldn't be acceptable to talk about what we did. Our first ever episode was on dealing with depression anxiety and stress in what we said but one of the things that blew my mind is that we started getting a lot of feedback from people especially by deployed with and I just I I mean I knew people struggled. I mean my my first point. I'm still in this the other day. My first point I think brigade wide. There's been like over twenty suicides from only thirteen within seven. I think this is somewhere around there. Some crazy But we I would just get feedback from people that were like. Why didn't you had issues like that? Like you've always been like this like strong leader kind of person knows like yet but I think it takes people like us. It's been able to talk about it for to become a national conversation because it's still in. I think the generation head of US I think it's still viewed as only the people with real real issues. Who are going to shoot up a hospital or something to ones that had mental issues? And that's just not doc true and would you when you try to tell people Like no that's not true or if you saw me like at dinner or something and I told you that guy had issues that people were now. You're pretty well put together. I don't think that's true now. It is bad one hundred percents years. I think that's I think for me. That's the biggest hurdle is is is. I think there's a conversation that's dare. I just don't believe people are really willing to to talk about it just yet and then it really seems the winter. They are willing to talk about it when it happens to someone close to them when it's their son or daughter than it's time to talk about it and for me. I think that's the wrong look at it and I absolutely think that that's why there is such power and conversations like these because people can see somebody and say oh. That's that's neat. I recognize myself in that person and recognizing that depression anxiety. PTSD SUICIDAL NATION IT. It cuts across all socioeconomic status race gender ethnicity religion geography it cuts across all of that. And that's it is powerful when people speak out. I don't know if you remember when Jason Candor who was the former Secretary State Surrey was in the mayor's for Kansas City and he last fall publicly stepped away and said you know what I'm struggling struggling with. PTSD UNLESS I call the Veterans Crisis Line. Because I've been struggling with thoughts about suicide and I remembered reading that on social media and and I just got chills and I was like this man has just done more to reduce the stigma of talking about mental health. I can ever do in my career because this says my job. But this is his he's person and I quickly reposted that and the very next day Part of my job is I respond to calls that have been placed to the veterans crisis line. And then they'll send a console out and so then I get that console and I got a call from a veterans crisis line respond and she said You know I just spoke with somebody who called the crisis line and he mentioned that when He. I saw this article about Jason Candor. It kind of broke something in him because he too is pretty prominent and he recognized himself in that and he couldn't deny himself any longer than than struggling with PTSD. He's been struggling with suicidal aviation and so I was able to just at that moment. Reach back out to this person. And just start connecting him on his healing journey and so it just was this really. Poignant reminder of the power of those conversations what I mean at its core really what that is that's leadership by example. You know I mean you you you don't tell people what to do. Show them how to do it. And I mean that it does take a large amount of personal courage. Do what he did. Because I mean you know it's easy for me to he'll be talking to one of my twenty year old classmates and say you know. Hey Yeah I've struggled with depression. I've done this but when you're in the public eye like that you're absolutely right. That's that's absolutely amazing. I actually wanted just to jump back and piggyback on what you were saying though about the conversation the whole the whole idea and You know will you were making that point i. It hit me that when I was going through therapy for the first time I I think that was actually the conversation aspect of it was one of the most useful tool for me personally because I learned not only I learned basically as long talk about what I was feeling by the examples of other people. I didn't know how to verbalize what I was going through but I I sat next to someone who did in you know gave me ways to learn it and give you an showed me by example how to how to do this and you know it's funny because I probably if I'm talking about my feelings I probably instead of using two different adjectives. Now probably twelve and I probably need to expand that to a couple hundred but you know it still. It's it's it's a it's a skill isn't it. I I mean so many things with mental health. Our skills it absolutely is skill and it's also the minute we put words to an experience. We begin to shape it and so sometimes the very words that we use shape our own perception of what happened. That's part of why trauma that happens. When somebody is pre-verbal when it happens in childhood they never can really get it out and process it really understand what happened because they were never able all to put words to it and when we use those words so in our brains you know the right half his dominated more by emotion and imagery in the left at half half is dominated by logic and language and so in order to get an experienced across the Corpus callosum? You you have to put words to it in order to then be able to sort of logically analyze it otherwise it just gets stuck over here in this amorphous imagery and emotion and you can never really define it essentially have your brain working together to to work through experience and so we start putting words to it and start appointed over to the other side of the brain and then absolutely you can so not only does that help them to sort of make more sense of it and we're that experienced falls on your journey but then there's also a skill to be able to share your story with others in a way that can be healing and helpful to them and there's there's a whole aspect in suicide prevention that's called safe messaging and it's everywhere from social media to the the traditional news media to people who share their stories in a public light and and make sure that we're doing that in a way that is safe breath and that provides hope to the audience to the listening audience his except the end of the day most suicidal aviation is driven by treatable underlying in conditions or solvable. Transient problems. And so I think it's really important to get out there. Exactly what you're talking about that message of like. Hey this stuff works it really does. Anyway it's still funny because I can say from again from my personal experience like I was so adverse to going to go through the process and basically what happened with me is my my mom as Lee said Bananas Seven. I can't watch you do what you're doing to yourself anymore. We we need. We need to figure something out. And I you know I ended up going through the process. And you know that I probably I actually went to an outpatient clinic where I was basically going in for therapy everyday every day and And I remember that first week I was like this is bullshit. I don't WanNa be here and then after got about the my second week I it was like the light. Flip Donnas like Holy Shit this actually works and it's I mean it's a really empowering feeling to and you know I think that that's the the at least in my mind. I think that that's is the messages that you you can were. You can learn skills and there are people that will help you and it is. It's very empowering to know that you don't have to live the way you're living and I mean because my my main hiccup with me ever going and actually getting held. It wasn't a lot of people people I feel like. They think like. Oh they're embarrassed you know and for me it was never that as much as I I- humbly thought that I was more intelligent than the person I would be talking into. So why in the world would sit and I and but I do bring this back into the two one bad therapy session. I had ad that really shaped I went. And I talked to someone I think after my third deployment and she handed me a sheet with like pictures pictures on it and was like take with you throughout the day in anytime you get like anxious or angry like right down like next to the picture like which one I was like. You know like that will not be. Thanks I walked out and I was like checked out of the points. You want us up another point. I was like no thank that you and I left and And I remember walking out of that and being like was she a child psychologist did not know what she's talking about am I like am losing my mind and I was on ever go back. I'll never go back and I mean you and I kind of had that conversation when we when we first started going and Tom was going through stuff and I I was really encouraging him. You know to try to try something else essentially and I think that I obviously I have not a professional. What are your thoughts on that? But you're say going and seeing a therapist it doesn't work for you. I mean you be your own advocate right like try something different and present and is you so much The I mean as much as we see psychology as a science and I think he wants to be a hard science. There is an art art to it as well and I think that it is. There's a piece of that connection between the therapist and the client who that's that's a really important piece of the puzzle in fact there's some study out there that talks about like the What are the actual change agents in psychotherapy forty percent of changes from extra therapeutic things like it has nothing to do with therapy session and like a small sliver of it has to do with the actual techniques but most of it is relationship? And so you've gotta have that good fit and so if if it's not a good fit absolutely go find somebody else. But I think that the and I'm so glad that you had the courage to try somebody else time because I think that that's the danger that happens sometimes when somebody does have a bad experience ends with therapy or a bad experience with the Va and if they are very vocal on socks think of how many people's People's lives you may have just inadvertently negatively impacted by saying. Don't go get therapy there because it doesn't work and and I I think it's really important. I'm so grateful that Y'all are saying like Oh shit works like come on come on over. That's also part of of love like the cancel culture. We're going through right now is that we will talk about Things that are shared social media wise. You never really see the thousands of lives the. BA saves a year. You see the one or two people that had a bad experience and that that's a really hard thing to go through right now when you know you get I know that Topeka for really really long time and I. I don't know the statistics now but they were as high as third in the nation. PTSD CARE for a while. Oh in terms of like are nationally renowned UCSD unit. Yeah absolutely so there will be yes so there was a lot of people that would be your your pizza's great but then shit on Kansas City. And it's like I'm sure there's great professionals I can't see to. It just needs work like it you need to know and so that that's the hard part for me. Is that you you know Jeff and I've talked about this is that it's It it's hard when you we were in a society title now where it's singular Vince. Release shape and you. Don't get all the full story a lot of times but we don't. I don't think that we talk a lot about the success success stories anymore for and I think that's what we kind of try to do. I don't I can't name names physicians at work. Your can I probably case good probability probability. That should not do that. But there is a a nurse practitioner here if she's listening hopefully told her about it whatever she's dope like she has a shoutout totally fine. Yeah always mess up her name to two last names but I've Rama Karachi Joanna Roxy Roxy Yohannan. Yes yes Saito. There's two days in life. I can't do spell and talk science words. We just horrible and last names. I can't I mess all impacted anytime I call from Patricia. I'm like Joanna Roxie there at everytime they're like E-eh rockies here I'm like all right cool and then I looked out the bottle and I'm like on Saturday. It's the other way havoc avenue but anyway she is amazing and I I kinda got pushed off onto someone. That was intern. Here who was awesome mm-hmm as well but she was only she had told me we set down. She's at. I'm only going to be here. Be Able to be here for you for about four to six sessions depending on how you want to do this. I said Yeah Cool. Let's see let's start. It was cool and I talked to jeff and I was like man you know. I've never been on meds before. I've never even tried this this route before. It's never been a thing for me. He's like I think you should try if you think it's going to help you. Trump coup so I went in. That was the that that by four was the biggest challenge for me It wasn't the therapy to ask him to talk to. Somebody was easy but going in and having that stigma of like especially in today's farm big Pharma World of being my unease Janis pills. That's how I felt you know and I was like. Hey what do you think about this. And she's like well. We know we have these like PTSD tests you can take. We had the anxiety and test. And there's one more one more tests you can take and see where you scale it and so is scaled on all three. Depression was the scale. And I'm like all three whatever she's we'll take you back we'll talk somebody and I net Rachi and I sit down and shake looks dead so no bullshit like it was like We're on we're good. We're good here. We just talked about and when I told you that she was just so real with me she was just like Yeah Bob. Aw and she's like oh by the way are just like you can't add until you. You may take these pills and you may have erectile dysfunction so so just so you need to know okay. But I wasn't ready for that as far as I. It was a sigh of relief but it wasn't for me Alec walked out of there and I was like Oh my God my my whole life just changed. You know what I'm saying the Guy I had that like that moment where I was like that was really actually cool and it was the first time and for example. This is how much I never went to see a doctor. When I got out of the military I sat down to the reputation? represented represented representative the representative and said list. Everything you have As far as what you could claim where where you broken down and I was like I've I've only been to sit called for my knee when I tour I toward the PC L. my knee and had surgery and he was gay got that but what else and I was like. No I don't have anything else. Got My wisdom teeth out. Like I don't have anything else on file like I've never been and he was like was anything bothering you and I'll say my oboe. Yeah right now I don't I don't have anything else not end but he after I you know the sign. Everything's in way news like online. Do most people have anywhere between fifteen to thirty things they write down to see and That kind of blew my mind. I think that was the toughest part for me was like I've never needed help for so. Ask Him for help. Already tough enough and then it was just cool. I thought they did a really good job. Overall team of making someone like me feel comfortable. Someone who wrestled with the fact of light do actually need help. I probably do but can I just tough it out without killing myself. We'll see but my life would be miserable. So is that was. That was a far for me. Yeah yeah and it sounds like When you're sitting down across from Roxy and she can just be a human being and I think that the field of mental health has gone that direction but I I also think that as somebody is in the field for a while like you start to learn how to just be your own self in the therapeutic session? Listen I mean. It isn't October and push into you know it's like we're all human beings and we're all doing the dam best that we can with what we've been given and sometimes life gets overwhelming in. We need each other. And that's not an issue that is a part of the human and condition. We all need each other from time to time we are. We are herd creatures by nature and we have to have human connection for survival. Warm will any of you mentioned earlier. I think that that's why I think for so many people. You isolating such a huge red flag right. I mean I know that that's one of mine like when I start. It's it's like literally like that is like number one on my list like when I start saying no to social stuff for stuff with my family like. I know that it's like okay. Something's there's something else going on here. Yeah I do safety plans with anybody who comes into the hospital with thoughts about suicide sometimes. During during times of stress they get thoughts about suicide. That's the number one thing that I hear and I oftentimes give the analogy of you. You know our our brains are built to to propagate our species survival of the fittest wolf pack. If a wolf knows that it this sick and dying what does it do it leaves. It goes off alone to die and because it doesn't want to infect the rest of the pack it doesn't bring the pack down in terms of being able to get food it sees itself as a burden on that pack and so it goes off depression. A depressed oppressed brain is a physiologically inflamed brain. So her brain knows it is sick and so those signals of the brain is telling lean somebody isolate but what we know is that depression isn't contagious. And actually that's the last thing that you want to do when you're starting to feel depressed oppressed if need to connect more because that sends those safe signals to the brain and it gives you the availability of of connection and Karen optimal getting help can absolutely trying to earlier. But I just did when I got that Middle Egypt was watching madman again and I and so I was like well I gotTa Start Watching Madman. Admit again we're going to watch it so I started by about three weeks ago. I text him. And there's a scene in madman towards the very end where the main character basically stops at a bus stop in gives his car away to a stranger. I taste Jeff. I'm watching. I'm laying in my bed watching mad and I thought he would get the reference and I said hey man to ride. I just gave my car away to a stranger enact quoted the madman par and he was like what he thought. I gave my corals clipboard to the story was that homage vitamin having a rough week. And I login thought that like he was had just given his car to a homeless person in more ah like it was like showing up at his doorstep with the policy can save you a whole like failure to communicate situation. But like I literally was like I was like Oh my God he just I did. I went on by literally got my keys was getting ready to drive over his house. I was legitimately worried worried about him and then you know. He texted back through from the show. Like death man you were you were willing to get in your car. Hard drive over to his house. And that's what we gotta do not afraid to do that. And maybe you maybe you feel like a jerk when you realize that you didn't get the madman quote and that just kidding but but my God what if they weren't events the thing to this and that's what like I for me. It's huge. I hard when because I still have a lot of connections to a ton veterans like across across the board a ton of veterans. And I I really do believe that. It is imperative if the people with our backgrounds and now our backgrounds who we are now. I mean a lot of veterans and newspaper articles. I mean we get hit up worm. Student loan my board Kansas. You know we started this. And we're kind of seen alive in the public eye that way and I think when people see like Oh oh my God. These guys are doing successful things while also be challenged with whatever problems. They're having life and they're are able to talk about it. That's huge like that. That's a big thing and I believe that it gives people haven't reproach now to not have to worry so much how. How am I going to be frowned upon or looked at differently? If I speak out about what's bothering me won't in in honesty like I mean that's part of the I I feel like this podcast in general is usually fair pubic for France. The have that chance to connect with other people have these conversations and I mean Tom will tell there's been multiple times where like I've been having a crappy day and we'll have to. We'll have something like lined up for. We'll have podcast lineup. And I will show up and I'll I'm just like you can tell I do not want to be there and it's like it's funny how it can like literally just sitting down and taking time away from Yale. The things that are bothering mm you like it can be. It can be very therapy. We went we got done at least two where I showed three. Just literally Pissy as all get out and I have walked out of there smiling. So it's it's it's a positive for us to whether we are actually doing mental health topics or we're just talking just talking with with books. The local community at Lawrence Weekly. We did warn. And I've mentioned it every podcast since my my street going over we did one that by jeff literally was like did on go on go on needed. Don't want to be there and I was like Mary van and shows out and we've oh they're kind of like we know what to expect. Expect weren't even sure who wanted to do it. And then it was like one of the wildest things I've ever heard in my life and to a great podcast that we both left him. Where like that was fun because like yeah we? We haven't had any really where we've read. I I had one was sick and rescheduled. But we haven't like we never Roy. We've never rescheduled anyone. But we there's times when you show up to do things just like with anything life. There's times we show to do things like I don't even know how this is going to go like I. I feel like I've got more important stuff at my play right now and I know it's been it's been a really positive experience all the way round. Well Yeah and I think too is that would anything you do in life is if if it starting out to bring And I use success loosely not financially successful but when you start to see a Pros versus cons list. And you're mostly pros from something you you start to value it a little bit more and that was the hard time for us because we're both so busy so you're trying to schedule these podcast with people. And you're trying to mitigate that the one the stress between new but then also the third party you know and so when we started doing that I actually. We actually started getting like we'll get responses from people that are like hey like justice episode. Thank you guys so much in the war dude is happening. It's forty I see this like as the podcast for me has always been kind of like a creative outlet which is always. That's one of those things like I think was personally for me like going through my mental health journey like getting back to doing. The things I loved was like the B. I remember. I've told Tom this story before. I don't know if I've ever told it on air but I remember one of the things that my therapist told me newseum start reengaging with your old hobbies seabees and I used to when I was growing up love to read a lawn and I kinda got away from an and I picked up a book. My brother got me probably like two years before Christmas us and I remember I was sitting there reading that book and it was the first time in belong time I actually felt something that I that was like positive and good like I literally. I remember goosebumps on my arm and I was like. I think that was kind of like my lightbulb moment for therapy that I was like. Oh my God this is amazing and so I do. I think that I think that engaging in those things you love and finding creative outlets I think that's so so important when I'm also hearing from the two of you that this thing is so important to you because you know you're reaching other people you know you're helping and that's that's sort of the secret sauce. I think when most people but I think veterans especially is that. y'All caller way more likely to do something to help somebody else than you are for yourselves. And so when we can find that outlet when we can find something that connects both of those where you're helping other people. Oh by and large you also start to get there yourself you know. I agree because one of the things I way I struggled with a lot is losing people see. I'm trying to say this without sounding insensitive To me suicide is one of the most useless Most preventable deaths obviously obviously obviously be. Because there's a choice involved no matter which outlet you WanNa do it but the surprise of it is something that I that I have found. Never goes away doesn't matter if it's somebody that I thought could you know what was going down a bad pat hat or just someone that you would never suspect it from which happens a lot. I just think that we as veterans need to do more than post on facebook. Hey I'm GonNa do twenty to push ups a day great movement. I'm who who would. That's fine not helping anybody because awareness without action doesn't lead to any lasting results and for me and I know we'll one I've they really don't care what people think it to me. It just seems like a very selfish like hey anita social media kind of I need these likes some opposes video of me. Doing these push ups. That's high always felt about. I've never done one so that's how I feel about it but that's not to say there aren't good people. People out there. The organizations that are are doing it but I just think there needs to be more awareness brought to it and I don't think I don't think people know how I think that's why they what do absolutely I was just GonNa say. I don't think I would hope that. Most people might find pictures of kittens playing the piano. If all they why not want our likes you know I think that somebody. That's posting about veteran. Suicide genuinely wants to be part of this helpful movement and we we are all aware. I think that that's something that you know. At first. It was that twenty two number now. It's Twani Veterans Day. Now I'm curious about this was the twenty two do. It was kind of not not opposite on a made up statistic but it was based on something like was. Was It actually twenty two a day or was it twenty something. We still win when they started to dig into that data and it was when they're pulling together the state's Va DOD CDC Who are pulling all of these numbers and it's really hard to narrow down? Exactly you know. Make sure you're not double-counting something making sure and so they've they have refined their processes in in terms of how they're doing that it was. That was the number on it. It there was some question as to whether or not they were actually counting hunting active duty deaths by suicide and so what the number is now is one hundred twenty. Three Americans die each day in our country by suicide. Eight of those twenty our veterans and one to two are active duty service members an end the the data seemed to be a pretty consistent for the last several years It's important to note that of those twenty fourteen of those veterans aren't connected did with the. Va for care. And so and of the six who are connected. Only three are involved in mental health care and so anytime. I am talking to a group of veterans or a group of community members. I'm saying you know you know like we talked about before. We do know that we can address those underline underlying conditions and problems. That somebody isn't going to be stuck in that. That place of pain for forever we can treat. We can heal. We can move forward. And Life's not going to be there but if we don't know who they are. We can't help that and so that's why it's so important for traditional now and nontraditional veterans service organizations and for community members and for business owners and for providers in the community to recognize this. Because I they may not know who those fourteen hour but you do during your facebook feed. And they're in your contact list and so we all have to be in this together together and the va recognizes what we may not be for everybody. That's okay we don't have to be it for everybody. But we've all that to be holding hands across this country in providing this web of support and not being in these silos not being territorial about help shoot Shii being there for each other and reaching out to anybody that you see. That looks like they're struggling. Absolutely would go the thing I love most about the BA though was Just how simple it was and I think that's something honestly. This not talked about enough when you talk about e- even if it's active duty members getting out once they're there it's not to the. Va Isn't present when you're getting out because it is you go through everything when you're getting out we know about the Va.. But I I think a lot of times that when we're looking at Getting out of the military there so already I was bitter. I was so ready to be done. It took me about a year actually when I was like okay now. I'm okay okay again to talk about things I was just like I was done and I I think a lot of people get out in their first reaction is. I'm going to distance myself as four as I can from anything that has to do military related. I don't Wanna I'm going to grow my beer. I'M GONNA grow my hair out and I don't WanNa see another veteran And it wasn't a bad for me obviously. Va So I I just the simplicity of it is what made it easy. I I thought it was. I thought it was when you think about saying. Hey I need help to somebody that you don't know I I guess in my head. I never envisioned their reaction and I never thought about that WHO somebody and they're like Arlan. Coolidge let's get you some help your like that so I've got another question can you mentioning this. Liam basically like action is really what what we need to solve this problem in neo domino. I've been back back at school. You obviously were plugged in with y'all sorts words of whether they're pre med pre farm in Greek life or in you know one of the premed fraternities or prevail fraternity. Feeling a lot of people who you know I I look at every day I talked to someone. Oh I need to find something else to do. You know that. What what what kind of opportunities do you have for like say those folks around here at the Viv worldwide twenty minutes down the road? Basically I think top. Pick me up a ted after we got here a little late. But that's just me. It was about twenty minutes. Yeah I mean you guys are really close. You guys are providing a great resource to our community. Our veterans are. You guys have a lot of opportunities for students if they wanted to get involved over here. So there is voluntary service and there's a very specific process awesome people go through in order to become an actual volunteer. Va so Y- and they do that. They make it that way for protection because they. I want to make sure that somebody coming here is genuine and going to have the time and have the energy and the availability to continuously be there. Ah You know time after time. So so that's kind of the best way in terms of the VA per se. But I think there's just so much more that we can do in our world in general. I think that one of the most important things like we've been talking about is to reduce the stigma of talking about health and one simple the thing that people can do is in context of suicide prevention to abolish the word commit. Typically we think think of you commit a crime and so what that does I. Yeah it what it does is it lends to that stigma of step person is doing something wrong or bad and what we know is that nobody ever chooses suicide. Sometimes people I picture it. They're just dangling off the edge of a skyscraper in their whole non all they've got and then one more thing just piles down on top and they can't do it anymore more and they succumb and so nobody ever chooses it and so we can substitute towards like that person died by suicide that that person ended their life but just that one small step can really help but I mean that's kind of a kind of a problem cross mental health away. We talk about it in general unrelated. Just you're saying something as simple as the verbs we use rain like I have depression versus I suffer from depression. Those sorts of things absolutely. Yeah is calling somebody somebody schizophrenic. Oh that's not the entirety of there being. This is a human being with thoughts dreams and hopes and fears and and it also is diagnosed with schizophrenia. You know have a very ID. We have a very very bad habits. Sometimes of making those things about that person's identity when like you said it's not it's it's just it's it's something they're they're they're struggling one small aspect of a much greater will potentially powerful person. Right that made. I happen to be very good at animal noises. But that's not the entirety of my beam. If that's that's all it took for me if that's all I was known for for Tom. Animal Noise Guide light. We can maybe have competition and we're going to record let for second only I can only do like maybe maybe a soft bark a useful skill. Where where do you think it goes From here from the from we're we're here. We're talking about these conversations But we're all three In Jason Hcc all these guys are their advocates. But where does it go from here. What what is the next logical step? Says some of the other things is that people can do obviously recognize those signs and symptoms of of suicide risk the American Association of Suicide Allah she uses the acronym is is path warm which is Kinda dumb acronym but it's the only thing that they could. But so you know recognizing and is that person struggling with aviation satellite station Substance Austin us. A sense of purposeless nece increased anger or rage. Feeling trapped feeling hopeless withdrawing wind from friends and family feeling increased anxiety agitation. I'm real reckless risky. Behavior Those are some of those things as where sometimes when I'll be talking with somebody I'm like are you kind of flirting with death. May like yeah. I'm not actually trying to end my life but but I'm kind of flirting with that can be that risky behavior and then out of character mood swings so when you start to see those signs or if if somebody is posting on social media questions about death or dying seeking access to means just kind of asking about what combination nation of medications might be lethal or asking about purchasing a gun for all those things that we can key into and when you see it directly reach out to that person the va uses the acronym save so. It's look for those signs of suicide. Ask the questions and it's important to actually ask the question they. Are you having thoughts about suicide. Yup Don't beat around the Bush I- early on in my career. I asked somebody one time I said. Are you having thoughts. Lots of hurting yourself. He said No. I'm not having thoughts of hurting myself. And having thoughts of killing myself and studies have shown people. Just want you to ask the question and oftentimes people are afraid will like if I say that word. Then it's GonNa implanted in somebody's head and we know that asking thoughts about suicide isn't going to Hawes Hawes suicidal anymore than asking about chest. Pain is going to cause a heart attack. And you're more often than not somebody feels grateful that let somebody recognizes it. And they're able to talk about this thing that's pretty uncomfortable for them and then if somebody is struggling a win. PS One way that. I like to ask the question that seems to help people feel more comfortable. I oftentimes say something like you know you've got going. I mind heading any thoughts about suicide and it's against sort of separation. It's now it's not me. I don't want these but my mind keeps I. I put her socks in there. And it's uncomfortable and I don't know what to do with them and so if somebody's mind is handing them thoughts of suicide getting them to treatment. It meant in. You know if it's a crisis and the person is a veteran you can call the veterans crisis line one eight hundred two seven three eight two do five five and press one that number without the press one is just the national suicide prevention hotline. So anybody can call that. I have you call any. Va A in the nation. That's the first thing assess so if you're a veteran new called the BA the first thing it says is if you are having These ideologies press yup and you don't actually have to be in crisis to call one. I would much rather have somebody called before. They're in crisis rather the at that point that now it's an emergency you know if it's three o'clock in the morning on Tuesday and you just need to hear another human beings voice you call the crisis line and they will listen. Listen to you and they will be there for you. You can drive somebody to an emergency department. You can pick up the phone and call the mental health clinic and help them schedule an appointment. There's all sorts of stuff we can do to help people get connected when we're just willing to have those conversations that may feel uncomfortable at first but the more more we have them the easier. It gets I think another tangible thing that is important for us to talk about Mitt can sometimes be uncomfortable. Discussion in our country is Access to lethal means and one of the most important things that we can do is if somebody is having thoughts about suicide. Ask Ask if they are a firearm owner and if somebody is struggling with thoughts of suicide in that moment probably the best thing to do is take the gun and get it out of the House and I always say when I'm talking to groups of veterans like I get it your the military you have guns. I don't want to take your guns from you. That's what I'm saying but what we WANNA do is put as many barriers as possible in in between the urge to act on thoughts of suicide and the ability to act and so like I said during times of stress when you know. Somebody's mind as handed him. That's about suicide. Be The friend that says human. Jimmy hold on your guns for a little bit. Be that person. Hang onto the guns for a little bit and then and when they're better given absolutely or you know if they're not comfortable with that say you know what I've got these dumb locks. Let's put him on all hang onto the key. You keep the gun here. I've got the keys if you need it. Call me. I'll be here in thirty seconds. Sometimes veterans don't have anybody in their life that they feel that comfortable with and so there's this whole initiative out of the Syracuse. Va called Free Sakiz and so in what we know is just building in just a few moments of time can save lives so somebody doesn't feel comfortable either giving their firearms or handling the key to somebody else. Storing the firearm here storing ammunition over here and then taking the the LAX The locked the gun lock putting it in a tupperware container freezing freezing it in a tupperware container put in the freezer her that way. The urge hits that person has to go get the gun. Go get the immunization. Then get this ball of ice and put it under the Faucet Awesome. Start Chipping away at it. All we need is just enough time to go. Oh my God what am I doing i. I don't WanNa die. I just want this pain to stop. They can reach out for help. Well that's that's really interesting. I you know I think that that's one thing actually at least now just listening to talk about the about addictive the idea in your halo. We throw your guns in my safe for young until you know until you're feel more like you're feeling better. I don't think that that's probably a conversation. We're having enough honestly. I mean. Tom And I had talked brown around about these sorts issues. I don't think that that's literally ever something we've ever discussed but you're right. It's something that's so so simple and we're almost UN- unfortunately where we sit on the issue were kind of afraid to talk about those sorts of things and we need still be having those conversations nations and that's that's that's all. I'm really glad you mentioned that. Honestly something I've never even heard of before so this is a conversation of safety non gun control. Exactly yeah but we we will go down the go control. Yeah but no because I am a Advocate for having better background checks due to mental illnesses. And that's just me. I think there should be more. Were a stricter background check. Because I did this was last year. I guess I did a thing where I timed myself at a a purchasing a pistol. And we're both. I'm registered Republican. I Dunno if you okay. We're monitoring independence area though that but I I time myself because I'm I think for me I'm okay Aw knowing that I am okay with the gun I because I feel that way about myself is. I'm sure a lot of other people do and so I go in Talk Guy Telmo veteran. I'm in and out like little bit under four minutes. Wow my own yeah. That's you and I will talk though so very persuasive and I just walked out. Geez man you know but for me was my I never had. Obviously thoughts carnage okay. I'm good but like I remember. The guy was with. We were both like. Ah You know the what. The data show are that states that have enacted a both a combination of extensive background checks and then a mandatory wait period head for states with those two on the books. There is a significant reduction in suicides when both of those but independently kindly. There's some you know some data to suggest it but it's not statistically significant. It's when when you have both of those and then thirteen states have enacted aimed at red flag lies or extreme risk protection orders and half. The Red flags are a little bit to me again because this goes back. That's what I was talking about earlier that you only hear the negatives you you so you only hear the I can't think it was New Jersey. Where the if the guy known deserves you shot the guy? They showed up to his house and he had a gun role already. And so that I think when we talk talk about those kind of things that's hard into because it's had his neighbor called the cops on him do anything to the had the cops called on him but when the cops showed up he did draw. Lebanon so I think that goes back to the privacy issues as well though when we talk about who who. It's weird because I feel like one. I don't think anyone ever call the cops on me for having a gun but to I. I don't think that I would ever Pula look gone on a car. That's weird to me like that that I honestly I don't really know enough about the red flags of Real I say I. Can you a similar viable paying on it. But that's my problem with that. You know you only see either social media stuff that we see the negative stuff about it. I own going back to what you were saying about. You know mandatory waiting through those sorts of things. I think they're like I said I am a gun owner. I love my a guns But I think we really do need to face the fact as a society. There's some serious serious issues lead to like yes. We need to consider moving forward. It's it's really. It's really bad that everything's so tribal right now. We can't really have these healthy matter so I do see that as this part of sort of our fragmentation of society and again why this place can be can feel like such a painful place to live and I mean it may sound around deceptively simple. But it's really not that that that suicide can't be preventable and what it means is just being fricken. Human beings to one another again choosing kindness S. choosing respect choosing to reach out and go the extra mile in allows them discomforting yourself to to check on another person De Deti somewhere along the way we seem to have sort of lost our humanity. And that's what we have to get back to. Yeah I think a sense of community is been lost and it. It's it's really really hard because I believe in the in the world world we live in today and it's not a soapbox kind of thing I truly do believe that there are so many things going on all the time like your is. We live in a way faster citing now where things are constantly. Moving news is constantly flowing information at our fingertips whenever we wanted. And I think it's easier sometimes get lost in fruit gifted. You know there are people out there. Who are? That's hard that's hard to think about because social media in its design is not meant to distract you in that way but it does usually only show you the good wife and so when that happens you the way your brain works in a way you can manipulate things in over time you start start not believing the only good but you really do start believing that life. My Life's the only shitty one right because very few people post host Dash. I'm really struggling with a panic attack right now and you WanNa talk about being isolated by get on instagram and look at everything that's going on. That's good and you're having a bad day and then all of a sudden you're the only one that's having a bad day in your head. Yes and we know it's not true but logically logically. We know it's not true but it's a double edge. I mean it's just one of those things social media I'm not as I'm not nearly as big a fan social media's Thomas but you isn't a podcast a form of social committee by I guess technically probably we're creative art quit you know this is. This is a very loose interpretation reputation or my friend. We've got a blog coming out in the liberal arts and silent and that's one of the things though like at I really struggled with was I was constantly comparing myself to other people like I'm not where I'm not where they are in line for the the thing is really easy to look at someone and say Oh me I mean. Everything's going great for them. But you don't take a minute delay just step back and say the other human to. There's there's things that are. They're struggling with the matter. Who you are? What your circumstances circumstances are there? They're going to be. They're going to be things in your life. That are not knowing right. It's think it's important to remember that Mammalian not everything is as it appears on the surface sometimes times and we have no idea what's going on underneath you know whenever my man Anthony Bourdain. Yeah that's my dream job and I when they did Dave Chapelle came now. This news stand up and said that I was like yeah. That's that's it's really suicide. One of those. I in their snow many studies out there and I still to this day like think back about people that I know and I still can't forma almost fall on you know that was one of the things that we had been talking about. Previously was Especially for our veteran population which the suicide rate for veterans. This is one point. Five Times greater than for the non veterans civilian population And there are so many people asking why you know and so from veteran perspective. I think that it's really easy to try to say. Well it's combat and it. What we know is that it's not that simple that a two people can go through the exact same traumatic experience? One may develop. PTSD or or say stuck in that recovery process which is kind of what is another person may go ahead and be able to believe run through that. Recovery Process has quickly and not get stuck same thing for for two veterans who have both been through a combat situation that may increase risk of suicide suicide for one but it may not increase risk of suicide for the other independent of whether or not they have are struggling with P. T. S. symptoms. And and so it's really that's overly simplistic to try to to boil that down In terms of the the numbers when thing that the veteran population is a male dominated needed population women are much more likely to attempt suicide but men are more likely to die by suicide and oftentimes that can become because of the delete out of the of the approach. Eighty five percent of the time I firearm is used in a suicide attempt. The results are lethal. It is firearms or more lethal than all all all other forms of methods of suicide combined. Together a five percents Thallady as opposed to two firearms. And so that's why we talk about them so so much but so and not to get too technical but there's this theory of suicide it's called it's widely accepted theory of suicide it's Tom joyner's interpersonal psychological theory of suicide and basically when we look at deaths by suicide there there has to be a combination of the desire tire for deaf and then also the ability to act on those actually thoughts about suicide. Most people have had at least a passing thought at at one point in their life. It's not uncommon to have a fought pop into your head at one point or another. It is relatively rare to act on those those thoughts so when we look at deaths it what we see is if you know if you remember your van diagrams. The desire for death seems to be related to a combination of what we call a sense of thwarted belonging nece and a sense of burdensome nice and when we look in a military population that thwarted belonging that sense of utter aloneness. You know you said when you got some and sometimes people just don't even want to be around but you lose your tribe there is. I have touched to to veteran after veteran. Who have said? You cannot describe the connectedness among active duty military members on you know you are living in close close proximity you are wearing the same uniform you are saying the same words you have a common mission. people who are willing to lay down on their lives at a moment's notice for one another and some people who have laid down lives for one another and that level of intimacy just doesn't exist anywhere else else. It not even in marriage and I'd sounds weird to compare those two people will say I can't even tell my wife what I what I would be able all to say to you. Know to my buddy and then when you transition out of the military all of a sudden you're on your own and you're out here and you're trying to live your life and nothing is making sense anymore. And so that sense of burdensome that over that sense of thwarted belonging us. I think it's exacerbated in a military population and in when we look at deaths by suicide win they occur over the life span for veterans We see there's there's two spikes one is at about twenty five years after separation from the military. That's about three point six percent and I think of that as a you. See you've been going probably transitioned out and then had another career. Stay busy busy busy busy busy busy. You retire from that career and all all of a sudden all of that stuff that you didn't WanNa think about starts popping up and sometimes people don't know what to do with that. The other spike is within the first the year after separation about three point two percent of of deaths by suicide occur in that first year and in that first of the people who die in that first first year by suicide forty three percent occur within the first ninety days after separating from the military and so there's something profoundly clear leading about transitioning out and I think that it affects our veterans in this very specific way because all of a sudden your tribe is gone. And you don't know what to do the other piece of that ven diagram that seems to lead for two desire for death is That that sense of burdensome ness and and I think we talked about that that somebody can have a really high level position in the military and then they transition out and that that doesn't translate into civilian qualifications and says somebody that had a really high level position maybe struggling to find an entry level position then in the civilian world and things don't make sense anymore And then I also think in terms of that sense of burdensome nests. There's an automatic sense of purpose and importance in the military. You know what your mission is. It's a shared mission and you get out into the civilian world and all of a sudden assignments like what's this all about and I can't see what I have seen and I can't unknow what I know about the world and and so much of this life feels insignif- insignificant and I can't do anything about it and so that sense of burdensome ness can be compounded founded in a veteran population I think and that's when things really get dangerous anytime somebody says to you that they feel like a burden on the ones they love the most that can be a very very dangerous situation because most people in their right minds when they're thinking logically when they've got their prefrontal cortex attached. They know suicide never helps the people that they love the most. It always hurts a lot but when somebody is that far down into that well L. of depression that they injust in that moment genuinely believed that by being alive. They're hurting the ones that they love. The most. That's when suicide in their minds in that moment moment feels like a selfless act but even then most people who have a thought or even an urge to act on thoughts of suicide bombed and so that third piece of joyner serious this acquired capability to act on thoughts of suicide in the veteran population. We have have a group of people whether through genetics or training have had that fear of death. Sort of habituated out of them And so in order to act on thoughts of suicide with to go against our brains very nature which is survival And so when somebody has been trained trained to not fear death you know this is. This is a group of people that when the explosion happens they're running toward the explosion not away from it that in and of itself is not a risk factor but when you pair it with the desire for death people are way more likely to act on those thoughts We can also see a habituation to death and dying particularly the people who have been in a combat situation when death doesn't feel like such a foreign concept anymore it's easier to act on those And then again as we've noted you know you can't ignore the the access to and familiarity with firearms And so you put all of that together and that starts to maybe give us a picture of why that the veteran death rate by suicide is significantly higher than for our civilian population. One of the things that I have noticed probably more than anything is that Eh when we We talk about suicide with veterans. One of the things that always comes up is not so much much. They don't look at it as a death as much as they do Almost like a free of the oppress in a weird way. It will get it if you think about it but they see it more as in. I'm not so much concerned with dying as much as I'm just not concerned with living s and look at both of them right and so I always found that in interest hosting Because anytime that I've had any Thoughts of suicide. The two things that have always popped in my mind is One the only reason I'm doing a lot of the things I'm doing today is because I i. I wanted to prove to my parents that I could come from where I came from. NPR better than you know. Than I was and two I always look to the future and Jeff. We talked about this law. The reason I do the podcast the reason I want to be a doctor and I'm actually signing a national contract I'm going back then try first election. SF is because. I always always wanted to continue trying to do things so the one thing that I that has always kept me away. I believe from slipping to four. Is I I always tried to look ahead. I always tried to to the short term long term goal effect but I always tried to make life worth living and and I think that when you take a step back and you you you have realistically convince yourself that. There's no other reason to live. That's to me the dangerous point and I think that's the problem when you talk about. The isolation with the veterans is because he get alone. And you don't have that person in a people person you know the tribe effect younger district five that and that's why I use that word I I recognize that it may be viewed as cultural appropriation. But I also I think it has such such a museum for this can level of connection and the one thing that I think that veterans don't hear enough and this is why I really do like social media. A ton alone is that you can reach out to different groups. I mean there's a teen red white and blue were doing this. I don't know if you know who they are. They're doing a lot of stuff now. Which I think it's very very cool but I mean just on a small scale? There's a guy that owns a operators associations named John Alan. He's a former navy seal. Usually guys have twenty thirty thousand followers. They don't talk to you on like a one kind of thing. You could right now. Any veteran right now you can message John on instagram. And he'll talk to you. You can mess Munis. You're by away to talk to you all day. No problem with them if you go to our facebook and look at the Kensington Corner. It says like there's this thing for like groups where it says like how quickly they mess his back back. Ours is like a meat salting search for their computer to isolated. The gentlemen. Just hit us back. But I I've I don't have a fascination with suicide I do have a fascination with fixing it because I don't suicide for me is one of the few things in life that I don't and I say this again humbly. One of the things. I don't quite understand I've never been able to wrap at my head around it and I think that's one of the frustrating to is so important because we've all had thoughts Jeff. I've talked about this. We've had thoughts but I I just couldn't imagine where not that I think so highly of myself. I just could not imagine where my life would be. You know like I could. Jeff would be without him. I don't know what do you do. You know why it is important for us to talk about the fact that treatment works I think sometimes people develop coping strategies that work in the short term but long term. Actually just make life more painful. And I talk about these. Especially when I'm working with folks on this Stress Disorders Treatment Program I go over once a round and and go talk about. PTSD and suicide risk. And I don't want to give the idea that. PTSD is like the the most common common diagnosis that we see associated with suicide risk. Because it's not there can be an increased risk for folks with PTSD but so we talk about these things that on this you know at. I feel really helpful but then long-term make life more painful and Franklin flabbergasted whenever I meet somebody that has struggled with post traumatic stress and hasn't had a substance use disorder because short-term works great. You can go to sleep and you can go to the grocery store the Times other than two o'clock in the morning and you can go to the family reunion. But then longer term it takes more and more and more of that substance and now you've got a substance issues problem on top of struggling with post traumatic stress already and lay starts to feel out of control. We see people doing real reckless glee Reckless in risky behavior. You know somebody that's driving one hundred twenty miles an hour down ice seven rocket without a helmet on. I say to myself breath. Well that person's probably been in combat for all right because if my adrenaline is going to be spiking on a daily on a Hourly basis at least can be in control of it just for a moment you know and I also see a lot of over scheduling somebody. That's it's a workaholic. Somebody that's constantly got somebody throwing something going because as long as that's what my mind is thinking about your van Verville. Yep It's when things are quiet Ryan and calm that my mind starts to throw me those thoughts and memories that I can't I don't think I can handle and the other one. I see a lot of his comic drama instead. Stead of trauma. And when I'm talking to a group of veterans who have struck hoover are in the midst of struggling with stress disorder. I'll say have any of you ever for felt like a crazy magnet in relationships. Like it's like you know and sometimes we subconsciously. Choose drama drama. Because that's what our brain gets focused on and as long as what I'm consumed with is in love. You did no baby come back. You know. As long as that's what I'm dealing with the my my brain is busy. It's when things are quiet and calm that the brand he says oh now we can start to process through that trauma you know and so I think that sometimes and that's why I think it's important to understand why those who is coping strategies occur. It's not because somebody is bad or weak willed or choosing substances or drama over families or connections work work. It's because the thought of having those memories and feelings come in feels so terrifying that they are willing to do just about anything to get away. Hey from them. And so then the harder they try to cope the more life feels out of control. And I think that that's sometimes how we get to that place where somebody says I'm done. I can't do this anymore. Because the harder I try the worst yeah and and so that's why it is so important for us to have that message of treatment works. You don't have to keep doing it that way over and over again this hurts. This is painful. Come over here we can help you. We can teach him but today's episode in treatment. Works like that so in closing. I'd like to do just one quest. Yeah I mean you go ahead Have One off the top my head right. She actually just answered my last question about Substance Abuse Q.. So I have one that I'm super curious about n Especially curious about in the state of Kansas Kansas I believe Last I checked back to still one of three states that does not do medical marijuana We are now seeing a lot of studies being done that show a soul asylum is this can be used to treat depression anxiety and suicide. Maybe we'll see. What are your thoughts on that? Though we because one thing that I I hear a lot from veterans who get out are I. I wish I could get like a medical marijuana card. I wish that I could. I could eat edibles instead of taking so often I wish that I eat shrooms and or not insurance but the the the injectable suicidal done In an have that that kind of treatment done but it's not offered some security your thoughts on that so. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in terms of medical marijuana for an I nine I to have you know read these benefits absolutely from my limited clinical clinical perspective of working specifically. And I'm talking about with PTSD N- What what we know is that really the one of the only ways to truly he'll SIGNIFICANT PTSD is to work through that experience emotionally emotionally process through that experience. And I'll probably be more than that you want. Go Away visit. The the reason I ask is because I'm huge on the not. I don't want to sound like a big government person but I'm huge on the the way Colorado auto is done stuff because you know what strain you're getting because when I first got out I thought it's been ten years I'm going to smoke pot and I like I cannot about thirty days and I was Daca Dude as I was losing my mind as far as like anxiety I would smoke and then I do anything and hang out and I was like this miserable. Why would anyone wanna live like this and so I didn't anymore obviously but I am? I am also ignorant on the the medical side of it. You know how they're how they're doing these things you know because there are studies show that there there have been A ton tunnel positive results. And I'm just curious about them. I guess so so when I think of a brain with PTSD. So I think of our brains is our memory stores as like a bunch of filing cabinets in the back of our heads an emotional experience that we've had gets processed through and then filed away way. oftentimes we'll ask people who taught you how to ride a bicycle For me it was my sister Jodie and if I choose I can go into that filing island cabinet and pull it up and with specific accuracy. I can remember the paint. The metallic flecks of paint on that bicycle. I can see the plastic basket and the the little flowers on it and the blue one had a thing to the streamers and I can I can experience exhilaration of you go in and realizing that Jodi had let go of the bicycle and the ground coming up to meet me you know. I can really vividly pull that up. And then when I'm done with that memory I put it back in the filing cabinet my shut the door and that memory is probably cross-referenced with memories of my sister probably cross-reference reference with later the adult pursuits of of you know exercise But tonight when I go home and I'm eating my spaghetti. My brain isn't going to we throwing that memory at it because I file it back away unprocessed trauma memories. I think about like red rubber balls bouncing around in those filing cabinets and again. PTSD I think of as somebody who is stuck in the healing process and for whatever reason either they weren't able to or it wasn't safe for them too emotionally process through that experience at the time that it happened and Specific to combat trauma. If you took the time to process through what you were going through you never would have made it out alive and so for survival revival you shut off that ability to feel you don't have access to it in the moment but your brain knows that its job is to process through. Oh all of those emotional experiences whether or not somebody had access to those emotions at the time that it was happening. The brain was experiencing those emotions and so then when we get into a place of relative quiet the brain goes now it's time and so it starts in the brain throws those emotions are are those memories at you. It doesn't tend to do it in a real nice neat linear beginning to end. It tends to throw the hottest or the most horrific or the worst part art. And it's natural when something like that POPs into your head. Nobody wants to think about the worst thing that ever happened to them. And so it's really natural to go. We'll insure that away But the problem is to bring it's going to keep throwing it at you in different ways. That's why you know this nightmares happen. We'd lose conscious control in the brain is oh that is a great time to process through. This feels really out of control what we know when we can emotionally process through that over and over and over again. Then we can put it away in a filing cabinet and it might be filed into under horrific shit but it's filed and it doesn't have to keep throwing it at you so this is a very long winded way of saying. I don't care if someone wants to smoke pot smoke pot. That is fine but I don't want Somebody to have to smoke the in order to exist and so if somebody is in if somebody is using marijuana to Numb Nam what I oftentimes see is that they are existing but they're unable to process through emotional experiences says and so it feels more tolerable but in the long run. All this stuff is still building up under the surface and then it takes more and more and more emotional national energy to keep pushing that down into keep suppressing and so then it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and feels more and more and more out of control so from a clinical perspective specifically related to PTSD. I would much rather have somebody not half those substances in them. Go ahead at an engaged fully. Learned that you emotions are safe. It emotions are not dangerous. It's the stuff we do to get away from emotions that that can be dangerous but I always say emotions are like armpits. We just have them. It's what you do with them. That can be dangerous and so don't be afraid to feel. Don't be afraid to remember who work through that. And then you're at this place in life. Where was okay judging go? Oh so I guess. That's the take that I have on it like I'm of a lot of the medical. Yes the other one. I got one that alright. Come and take. What are your thoughts on? This is It's weird when what are your thoughts on The the veteran feeling betrayed raid one by government to buy leadership A lot of returning combat veterans build like that their own unit put in in in positions to where They had to make sacrifices human war. We know that and a lot of times it's gotten better and And I'm I am on both sides of the fence when I think about this But especially during the Vietnam Vietnam era. War bootcamp taught you basically how to view another human is not a human the end so when you talk to the Vietnam veterans they have still to this day embedded racism due to basic training. And what they went through and what I have seen with a lot of the newer generation guys is that Early on in the war there were a a lot of people who also had you know the bat tag to them in the new see people. Now I believe that have not They sympathize more with with what's going on especially with the civilian deaths took place With the wars wars in the Middle East and I. I'm I've always been curious about that because a lot of things that I see with the veterans in the Va.. It's always. It is always an act of betrayal is what it seems like. They always feel like someone has done something wrong to them. And I'm I'm curious. What the what you think? The the steps are net moving forward. How how we get away from that kind of because it's really toxic thoughts to be because because like I told you earlier I mean and I know I'm just a small sample size but the va has been nothing but great to me? But I also live in area where I had a great. Va Hospital twenty miles up the road. I'm very lucky in that. I don't feel like everyone shares that opinion with me so curious says a lot to unpack there and I don't know that I will fully do it. Justice there is a growing body of research on what we call moral injury and you know in certain occupations hugh patients in certain positions. We ask people to act or to bear witness to things that sort of go beyond what we view as being within the realm of humanity And and then we asked them to hold onto that and somehow just move forward with their lives And it can have grave implications in terms of you know if I did that or conversely. If I witnessed fat Matt but didn't do anything about it. In fact you know some of the TRAUMAS that are most associated with later suicide. Risk Peacekeeping Traumas People that might go in with like like United Nations and B. S. to bear witness to this horrible depravity. The human beings are capable of but then told to stand down and you can't engage uh-huh and then we asked people to hold that And for some people it damages that sense of humanity inside themselves and they start think of themselves as other than human Again we can. We can heal that. It's a complicated process and it has to do with. I think somebody's his own spiritual journey and their own emotional journey and talking through this and making sense of things and recognizing that we can't look at uh we can't look at wartime through. Our peacetime is but I think that sometimes people that get stock and a huge part of that. That sense of moral injury can't be feeling betrayed by the government by their leaders That that is the way that their brain is organizing that information. And then sometimes that can get stuck in a pattern and so I mean we know that nobody ever sees reality as it actually is MM It's somebody interviewed us after we leave this room and said hey went on what went on in there. Hopefully it'd be somewhat similar. But each one of us came into this with the different perspectives with different ideas with different goals with different views. And so each one of us is seeing. What's unfolding right here in a very different way and so sometimes people can have their filter on and if that filter only less through Ways that people screw me over ways that people mistreat me ways that then yes sometimes your entire world can't seem that way because that's the only thing that's getting through that filter and what they're missing are all the times that people randomly smile at them in the hallway. All The Times people tried to reach out to them all of the Times people call them to check and see how they're doing or went out of their way to to do you something Nice but if that doesn't make it through that cognitive filter it just bounces right off. That's another way that therapy can be helpful. Is that you know in cognitive therapy. European restructuring how we see the world in trying to make it a bit more accurate Not to say that the world is Sonny Sunshine all the time but man if a few missed says the really beautiful precious pearls in life and they're just bouncing off your filter than life feels pretty miserable. Will I would just. I'd like to say thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with US assassinating. This has been so enjoyable for me. I'm sure Tom would say the same thing I'm going to speak for you. Now actually We we really appreciate you taking the time out of your very busy day. I'm sure This was absolutely enjoyable. Thank you well same for me. I appreciate being able Lissette Down with you guys and do this as well thank you. I was really nervous coming on here. Because I'm in my forties chronologically in my eighties technologically. Yeah I've never actually listened to a podcast before. Well now you'll have any now you have to but no thank you so much really appreciate tate it because this is something that was very important to us and then on top of that. Actually when we did the article for Lawrence Journal World I think I told you this. I thought that you were the one on that. told them to call us because we sit down with her and she goes. Yeah you guys are health podcast about PTSD right. And I was like yeah politics. Yeah well I was like no well. No we're general topic conversation with some focus in health and she was like yeah. PTSD AH. I can't what I really do appreciate that so much of it was an honor. That right Becca thank you. You have a great night really hope you enjoyed this episode and as always did. Did you want to plug your instagram. or or anything it just helps you unsocial or not even that evinced how `Bout Topeka. Va or desert. Any other anything out there. You Would WanNa plug veteran wise Jason. Anybody yes. Our upcoming Mental Health Summit on Friday the twenty seven. We've got coming up at the Dole Institute of Politics also. Maybe just want to throw a plug out there for the APP the Virtual Fox so anybody can download it. It's a free via dod venture and it's just it's really got a lovely safety planning and contacts to call and and videos. That are pictures that you can put in. That just reminds you of life is precious. What keeps you other to this earth so I tell everybody download the virtual outbox thank you so much Uh?

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