Episode 152 | Virginia Cruse | Military Millionaire

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Virginia Cruse on The Military Millionaire Podcast

00:00 - 05:00

What's up military millionaires! I'm your host, David Pere, and Alex is on a trip in Belize right now. So I am here with Virginia Cruse this evening of The Soldiers Guide. And we are going to talk about, well, a whole lot of stuff. But we're definitely going to dig into like combat, operational stress, PTSD, and some of the counseling options out there for servicemembers and veterans However, they also do some real estate and they've been around so Virginia is a both active duty and reserve veteran Army Navy enlisted officer kind of been around the military as well as a spouse. So pretty much every angle, I believe, is covered in the military experience. And yes, there's gonna be a lot of fun, she reached out or she had somebody named Nicole reach out and no I’m just kidding. Her words, not mine about getting her on the show, and I realized, man, we talk about real estate all the time, but we don't ever talk about you know, I have a video where I talk about, like suicide, suicide ideation. But we don't talk about the mental health side of things with veterans. And that's somewhat something that I'm kind of finally starting to open up to in my own life. And so I thought, well, if nothing else, maybe I get psychoanalyzed on a podcast, but we're gonna have some fun and, and talk about really just wherever this conversation goes, but we've actually been talking for 20 minutes before I hit record, because Virginia is just a very personable individual, and I enjoy it.

So welcome to the show!

Intro:

Welcome to the Military Millionaire podcast where we teach service members, veterans and their families how to build wealth through personal finance, entrepreneurship and real estate investing. I'm your host, David Pere, and together with my co host, Alex Felice. We're here to be your no BS guides along the most important mission, you'll ever embark on your finances.

Sponsor:

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So if you are interested in learning about rental properties, and you just want to learn how to get your first one. And then there are some bonus episodes in there to help you advance past that. But if you really just want to know everything you need to know to buy your first property without screwing yourself over. If this is the course for you to go and check it out. The link will be down below in the show notes. And back to your episode.

Virginia:

Thank you so much, David. I am psyched to be here. I am pumped to Jack to be here. I really am. And I did totally have, our team totally. How did you so I could be on your show.

David:

It works!

Virginia:

I'm a fangirl. I love the no BS guide to military life. And yeah, I love it. And it's the book that I wish that we had, you know, 25 years ago. It's awesome. I'm so glad that you wrote it just what a service that you're doing paying it forward. And, and that's what this is really all about. And I love your podcast, love your book. And, and a big topic that you're always bringing up is, you know, this personal development and it, you know, really gets me thinking, what is a rich life? What does it mean that when we you know, have this real estate portfolio and we have achieved our financial goals and dreams and we have the autonomy to actually do what we want to do but then we're so held back because we've got our own demons that we're not able to actually actualize any of that.

You know, we hear we have all this autonomy and we don't have to have a nine to five. But then you know whenever I occur backfires I go into a panic attack or I can't, I can't go to my kids baseball game or you know, I have to avoid, you know, waiting rooms if they have the news on it.

05:00 - 10:00

Virginia:

So, you know, we can have all this financial autonomy. But a real rich life, for me at least, has a lot to do with that transition. How do we look at military mental health? And how do we transition into the you know, the so called real world or the civilian world? How are we? How are we transitioning? How can we really look at our military experience and what it all means? And right size it puts it into context, so that when we do achieve this financial autonomy when we do achieve this, which and I would recommend your book for every private on the planet, they just start now. For real, but it's, you know, when you get there, then what? Then what? And, and so that's, that's my focus, so yeah, military mental health, it is 100% worth it.

David:

I love it. And I've actually been, ooh, I've got like this little wobble chair thing that I'm just now back here. So it's like I'm standing up, but I'm leaning against something. It just fell very quickly and went from, you know, yay, height to yay height, and it looked like I was coming out from under me.

Virginia:

You didn’t find it though, I mean to your credit.

David:

Would have been funny.

So I'm struggling with some aspects of this. I think Alex and I've talked about this a few times, where it's like, okay, I got out of the military or getting out of the military, right, I'm freshly out going to the reserves. You know, I'm officially like, technically financially free, but trying to grow some other stuff and got some projects for like, now what, right? Like, what's the, you know, from like, even from that angle of like, okay, now, what does my day look like, what is fulfilling in my life, like, the mental aspect after the finances are taken care of is a really interesting and in depth battle, especially. So I am realizing how lucky I am that I had this platform. And I say that, because I've said for years, I think the issue a lot of service members struggle with when they get out is that they don't have a purpose, or their identity was tied up and being a service member. And then that's, that's gone. And now what and it creates a lot of mental heartache.

But, you know, I had this platform, so I had a purpose, and I had an identity wrapped up in, like the Military Millionaire community. And it's still been rough getting out not being around service members all the time, and not having that routine and, and having to, you know, decide what I'm going to do and what I'm gonna do it and who I'm gonna hang out with and not seeing, like, not just hanging out with the boys all day, it's still been quite the adjustment. And so it's kind of set in stone like, man, there's, like, had I not been prepared, this could have been a pretty rough transition mentally. And I would consider myself to have very mild issues from combat, right, like, I'm fully functional. I mean, there's definitely little things that I've noticed over the years, but nothing, nothing like debilitating.

So there's, you know, so I think this is a really important topic, because I mean, as we mentioned before, the recording I like every other veteran out there has lost friends to PTSD, depression, you know, suicide, whatever. And it's very unfortunate, but it's avoidable. If we can just get out there and talk to the right people and, you know, learn to deal with what we've seen or done, or.

Virginia:

I appreciate you saying that and really normalizing the transition. I think the technical term is mindfuck. It is a totally go from, from active duty to civilian or even into the reserve. It's a tough transition. It's an existential crisis. I mean, I'm not being hyperbolic. This is an all out come to Jesus moment of like, what was that all for? You know, just this past August, we had the Afghanistan withdrawal, and that was a total mindfuck. For many of us active duty reserve, and, and veterans of other wars. You know, we were talking a little bit about how in my, in my practice, I'm seeing a lot of folks come into therapy for the first time, you know, especially our Vietnam vets, Vietnam vets, vets central South America, Kosovo. You know, because seeing that as a very triggering event, and in the folks that I've talked to, that I talk with, and even, even in my own work, I'm like, wow, what, what was that all for? What was the reason behind that? And, you know, kind of really looking at that, and I'm glad that you, you created a community of, you know, a friends of social support, you know, therapists call friends, social support, because, you know, if we don't have a fancy word that's hard to understand, then it's not real and.

Virginia:

Say it again?

David:

I said they're all my besties.

10:00 - 15:00

Virginia:

Yeah!

And so you've got this really robust support network, and most of us don't. Most of us don't, and the transition you know, the transition is tough. Whether it is you know, right after you deploy, if you've done 20 years or more, it is an adjustment. And, you know, my own adjustment was really very ugly.

You know, I don't have a cool origin story like a lot of your guests do. You know, my, nobody grew up, nobody, when they're little says, you know, when I grow up, I want to be a trauma counselor. You know, I want to be a trauma therapist. And if you do, we should probably talk.

David:

You didn’t know it was a job, until.

Virginia:

Nobody wants to be a trauma counselor. When they grow up, it's, it's, you know. So I spent a lot of years in the Army Reserve. And luckily, I just loved it. Loved every frickin minute of it. Not that I was great at it, but I really enjoyed it.

I'm an interrogator. I'm an Arabic speaker. And so I spent, you know, in the early part of the war, I had a lot of work to do. And it was, it was, it was awesome. I served with some with this panoply of tactical units. Oh, my God. I loved it. I love the people with whom I served, I just really do.

And then after my third deployment, I was stationed in Germany at the time and I had a little bit of an incident. And I was commanded to go to mental health, that's never good. And so in the end it was a good thing, because I knew something was wrong. I was drinking like frickin fish. I was drinking every day just to try to slow my mind down, get to sleep. Just to try to cope. I was hallucinating. That means, you know, seeing or hearing things that I know ostensibly aren't there smelling burning things, or hearing gunshots, so it's just anything in Europe. And, you know, I was really messed up. I was blowing up my really good marriage. I was showing up to family reunions, piss drunk. I mean, I was devastating. My own life. It was really, it was sick, you know? Yeah, it was not okay.

And so I looked forward to the opportunity to talk with somebody because I knew something was wrong. But I didn't really know what. And so I went in, I talked to an active duty Colonel. When in the army we call a slick sleeve. So someone who hasn't deployed before doesn't have a combat patch. But I was so thankful because I was like, Okay, here's a military member. And I poured my heart out, David, I poured my heart out for the better part of an hour, talking to him about my experience. And at the end of that time, he said to me, you know, hey Virginia I can tell you're really struggling. But there really is nothing I can do to help you if you don't choose to be honest with me. I was super perplexed by that. And I said, you know, tell me more. Every, you know, every therapist's favorite question, tell me more.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

And he said, you know, we all know that women don't deploy to combat. And so that didn't end well. I was escorted out of the building, I was given something called a personality disorder, that is a diagnosis that has a lot of stigma attached to it, even within the mental health community. And I was in a really bad place before that interview, I was chronically suicidal. I was drinking all the time, I was not okay. And after that, I really felt like I got kicked in the teeth. And to add insult to injury, it was by another service member by another service member.

So I went back to my unit with this with this brand new diagnosis of yeah, she's just really fucked. So good luck with that. And I felt even more suicidal, more hopeless. And it was at that point that I recognized like, like, oh, shit, like, if I don't get this together, I'm literally going to die. Like I am going to die. I'm not being hyperbolic. I'm either going to kill myself, which is the most likely scenario at that point. Or, you know, whatever is going on in my head is gonna eat me alive from the inside out.

So I went to grad school. I was like, let's go to grad school. Here I am 14 years later talking to you. You know, so my first gig that I had when I finally got licensed and became a mental health therapist or trauma therapist, is I got this gig in an active at a hospital, private hospital that served active duty service members and with PTSD, and what we call a co-occurring disorder. So that's just a fancy word that means habits at the same time.

15:00 - 20:00

Virginia:

And they gave me this really very smart curriculum and said, chip for me to teach about PTSD. And you know, it was brilliant. And it talked about the frontal lobes and the amygdala. And all my students were going to sleep. And I recognized at that point, I was like, man alive. What is it that I needed? Much like your book? You know, what is it that I needed? When I was at my lowest? What did I need to know? Before I went in and talked to that active duty, Colonel? What is it that would have helped me and I had an NCO. During my first deployment, he always used to say, you picking up what I'm putting down. And what NCOs do better than anyone on the planet, is that hip pocket training, is taking really complex ideas, or maybe not even so complex ideas, and breaking it down and making sure that it's understandable and can be digested. And I knew at that point that what I needed at the beginning of my journey was a good NCO. I needed to understand that my symptoms were no bullshit.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

Am I crazy? Or Is this legit? Because I had been given a diagnosis of yeah, you're batshit. What is happening to me? What are the courses of action? What can I do about this? I needed some good ORM, I needed to figure out what was going on, then I needed to know how to actually execute that course of action. I needed to know how to talk with my family, about going through treatment and get that social support, how do I talk to friends? You know, especially when I just threatened my spouse again, with divorce, you know, how do I, how do I talk to my chain of command? How do I talk to my HR department, if I'm on the civilian side, say don't give a shit I breathe.

But whether I like it or not, I still need to go to work. So how do I get that buy in? And then moreover, how do I maintain my mental health? After I've gone through some evidence based treatment? You know, how do I have healthy boundaries? How do I get social support? How do I make friends? How do I have a community around me who can actually help me to do this? And so I created my own curriculum and off of that, my students kept up with me. They kept up with me, and they kept hounding me, I really got on my acid, Scott Mendoza, you're number one on that. And made sure that, you know, they said, you know, Virginia, it's, it's time. And so I wrote a book. And like we were talking about before, before we started recording, you know, I started out, I'm like, oh, you know, I'm really educated and shit. So I'm going to write a really hoity toity book. And I was like, why? And so it just didn't make any sense. I wanted to make sure that I wish that people could pick up what I was putting down.

So I wrote the soldiers guide to PTSD and it is a soldier to soldier guide it's not a clinician soldier it even though I'm a clinician, it is a love letter from one soldier from another for me to you to to say, listen, this, this is what it is, this is what it's not. These are the the rumors about PTSD that are not true, but absolutely will fuck with your head and make you think that you're crazy.

These are the courses of action, this is what you can do, taking those action steps and you talk a lot about that in your own book. You know, how do we take action steps? How do we actually, you know, how do we take this information, synthesize and then actualize it? And so that yeah, the book is subtitled How to Know Shit Reclaim Your Life.

David:

Love it!

Virginia:

Well, because this is not rocket surgery ,David, this is not high math. You know, we teach Marines how to fix helicopters and airplanes. You know, we teach, you know, we teach brand new 18 year old soldiers how to speak Chinese and Korean and you know what? PTSD, mental health is a lot easier than that.

You know, when we're talking about PTSD, this is not hard. This is the single most logical, unbelievably straightforward mental health diagnosis that there is. It is our body and brain's very natural reaction to a very abnormal set of circumstances. It's completely normal. So you know, all of those re experiencing symptoms. You know, we were talking before the show about those anger, outbursts about avoidance.

David:

Not liking big crowds!

Virginia:

Not liking big crowds. I mean, these are legit.

20:00 - 25:00

David:

I joke about it because I used to be like, in high school, I was like the guy in the middle of the mosh pit, you know, in big concerts, throwing elbows, crowd surfing and loved it. Now, I don't know if you could pay me to go to a concert. I just can't stand we were in Bourbon Street, this event and I was like, Guys, this guy is gonna go find a restaurant. They're like, well, there's food right here. I'm like, no, no, like one with walls where it's quiet inside. And I want to not yell for a little while. Couldn't do it.

Virginia:

And that's pretty common. That's pretty normal.

And when I say something's normal, I'm not meeting that tickle. So calm down, what I mean is that this is a very expected, very logical outcome. You know, the idea of, you know, doing a couple rounds around the parking lot. And before you combat park not wanting to go through the drive thru, because you'll get boxed in seeing a box on the road and losing your ship because it could be an IED. I mean, these are, that's, you know, looking for routes of egress, you know, ingress and egress, whenever you're in a, you know, needing to have your back to the wall and the restaurant trying to feel safe.

These are really normal, but if you don't know that it's normal. We can feel legit batshit crazy.

David:

Oh yeah.

Virginia:

So what like what, for example, hallucinations. You know, if we're already in the, if you're already in over your head, does it really matter how much deeper you get in the ocean. So let's talk about a really uncomfortable ship for a minute.

David:

Okay!

Virginia:

Hallucinations.

This is when we see, hear, smell, taste, touch, things that we ostensibly know are not there, are not there. Now, you don't have to watch too much law in order to know that most that, you know, kind of the you know, if we have those hallucinations, a lot of us think that was a hop skip and a jump to the tinfoil hat. And the aliens are gonna get me on the TV talking to me and I, you know, have to go into a padded room.

And the truth is, hallucinations are what we call dissociative reactions as a 50 cent word for being disconnected, or very normal trauma reactions, very normal. And I personally have never, and I've say again, never seen a case of PTSD, without hallucinations, because it makes complete and total sense.

So if your brain, think if your brain is kind of like a separate person, like on your fire team, like everyone's got that guy on their fire team who really wants to help but kind of can't make that synapse happen. And, and they end up kind of making everything a lot more fucked up than it needs to be.

David:

The guy who this is, is NVG’s.

Virginia:

It happens, it happens.

There's that guy, but you don't want him to not help and he wants to be a part of it. That is your brain on trauma, your brain on trauma, he is trying to end my brain so he, you know, he's trying to help. But he just doesn't really know how to make that help happen. And so when we are, you know, your brain has two main jobs, number one to keep you alive, keep you breathing, keep you moving, going forward. And number two, to make meaning whether we have all the information or not, I say again, to make meaning, whether or not we have all of the information, whether or not that's information, that information is correct.

So in order for our brain to keep us alive, which worked by the way, because you're here, you're still breathing, you're still doing your thing, still eating crayons and garden, right. But your brain, like legit, is trying to keep you alive. So when you're trying to relax. That is when he is going to give you the sound of a gunshot, the sound of a gunshot, the smell of burning flesh or the smell of the Cologne of your attacker. And you know the taste of moon dust.

David:

Oh, you're triggering stuff there.

Moon Dust.

No, no, not too soon. Just funny cuz I am completely relatable on that one.

Virginia:

And we taste that or we hear somebody screaming RNA or, you know, legit, what happens? We immediately get very activated. A lot of things start happening with our body, our brain in our body. Our body goes into fight flight freeze, keeping us alive. That's our brain's number one job. So our heart starts beating out of our chest and that's to get all of the blood to our muscles to get ready for fight flight freeze. Our eyes will dilate. We're going to start sweating, shaking our frontal lobes to simplify the kind of shut down. Because at Disney, we're not taking pictures , our brains' job is to keep us alive, keep us alive. And all of a sudden our mind is racing our heart is going we can trigger into a panic attack sometimes very easily. And your brain is actually doing its job. Here you are, you're trying to relax, you're trying to sleep. Well, that's a pretty vulnerable position.

25:00 - 30:00

Virginia:

So your brains like whoa, David, I see you're trying to sleep here. Perhaps you forgot that the world is a dangerous place that we could get whacked at any minute. Let me give you a nightmare, to remind you of the danger that we could be in so you can stay alert, stay alive. So you know, and this is very normal. That's your brain's job. That's what he does. And he's doing it well. You know, when you're not going into a fight or freeze, you're getting triggered. That's, your brain is failing. So these are again, say, again, very normal reactions to a very abnormal set of circumstances.

Flashbacks.

Talk about it. So flashbacks we want you to, you know, we want you to movies. And there's always some really soppy like violin music in the back. And it all goes into slow motion is and they jump on the bomb or something like that. But flashbacks if they were like that they might be a lot easier. But flashbacks are legit terrifying in ways that are much more all encompassing. So these flashbacks are when we legit feel as if we're back. They're reliving our experience. Back there legit living it. So it's not like we see in the movies. And it is all sorts of terrifying. But if we don't know what the symptoms are, which if we don't know what the symptoms are, that combined with the rumor, so lack of knowledge, not knowing the symptomatology, not having a good NCO to walk us through that. And then popular culture and stigma. You know, we stay away. We're like, I don't want to go to the fourth floor. I'm done. I'm done.

You know, I would rather I would rather keep it to myself, we start pulling away. So avoidance is criterion Charlie of PTSD, we start avoiding things that remind us of our trauma. And avoidance. That's a many headed beast. Because here's the thing when we start when we know that something's wrong, but we don't know what's wrong, we just know something's wrong. Or maybe we even know we have PTSD. And then we go to Dr. Google, and we're like, oh, shit, you know this, this isn't going to end well. And let's face it. I haven't met anyone recently, who hasn't lost more battle buddies, more Marines suicide than they did to combat. That's just where we are right now. We know how this ends, so we can get very afraid. And so we're like, you know what, I'm gonna go ahead and protect my family. Protect my family members, check my kids and my loved ones. But guess what? Family and especially kids, this is why I'm child free. Kids are smart. Kids are really smart. And your family knows something's up. They know something's up. And they know, we probably know that it's PTSD. And they probably went to Dr. Google and they're freaked the fuck out too. And they know, you know, they know.

And so all of a sudden, it becomes this elephant in the room, this big, ugly, stinky beast that everyone knows is there, but nobody talks about it. And here's the thing about the brain. We remember our brain's number one job, keep us alive. Number two, make meaning. And this is legit for our loved ones and friends. Okay, so instead of having the notion of facts about PTSD or moral injury and how to recover from that, our kids will think well, you know, daddy doesn't come to my baseball games because I don't score enough points.

Or, you know, my spouse doesn't want to have sex with me because of the weight that I put on in my last deployment. Sex and PTSD just not compatible at all. Not compatible at all. Another story for another day.

My best friend must be mad at me. Because we used to hang out all the time. We go to concerts, and now we don't you know, we start pushing away. The people who love us and that We love the most. And you know what they call it the service for a reason. The reason I asked myself personally, I was pushing away the people I love the most to protect them. And that's when we also think of suicide. Let's get deeper in the water with fuck not. We think about suicide. And, and I know no one else and none of your viewers and your listeners have ever thought about that.

30:00 - 35:00

David:

It's totally not a very common problem in the military.

Virginia:

Oh, no, at all.

Yeah, it's not a thing when you say 22 everyone's like... But, like, legit, I remember thinking to myself, you know what? taking myself out of this equation, listen, how logical this sounds, how militant this sounds and this is like an Excel spreadsheet of emotions, okay?

If I take myself out of this equation, my husband can remarry. Maybe he'll find someone younger who actually likes kids. I might be doing my family a favor not to have a crazy person, my kids might be able to do better having an actual mental who can be with them. You know, my friends will be better off, my battle buddies will be better off, the mission won't be hindered. If I'm not a part of it. If I'm not here, my fire team will be able to function better. And we tell ourselves all of these things and all of a sudden, suicide becomes a coping mechanism.

Let's talk about that first second. Coping mechanisms work. Put your seatbelt on. Drugs and alcohol work. If they didn't work, people wouldn't be taking them. Okay.

David:

Like alcohol.

Virginia:

Yeah.

So, you know, and especially in military communities, alcohol, booze. I mean, think about how we, you know, shed even how we remember, you know, a soldier at redeployment. You know, poor went out, you know, it's me, it's very alcohol fueled, and, and infused, and I'm not judging anyone. Okay, I've been in recovery a long time. So keep your strongly worded fucking email to yourself. But here's the thing, this shit ain't easy. This shit ain't easy. And we start using thinking about coping mechanism about, about suicide as a coping mechanism, we think about it, we think about it. And here's what we tell ourselves. I'm just thinking about it, I'm not actually going to do it. And it works, we need to be a little more honest about that, you know, we're like, Oh, don't think about it, you know, do you want to hurt yourself or someone else? And, you know, that is drilled into every NCO is like blood. You know, do you want to hurt yourself or someone else? You know, let's call the crisis line. So we may not say it out loud, but we're thinking about it. We start thinking about how, you know, who is gonna, who's gonna show up to my memorial? Does my life insurance actually cover this? You know, how can I make this look like an accident?

If I go out to, to a to a place where I could commit suicide? Do I have a cell phone signal, so that I could call the police so that animals don't eat my body? Because that would be, you know, pretty gross.

You know, we start thinking about you just thinking about it. And the fun stuff, too. What's my last fuck you going to be? What are my last Facebook posts going to be? Who am I going to tell off, maybe what, maybe I'll write my letter. And we start thinking about it and imagining it. And, you know, and we all get the giggles at this point, because it's true. It's true, it does make us feel better, makes us feel better. But here's the thing for every single one of us, we will get to the point where our circumstances will overwhelm our ability to cope. That's called life that shit happens. And at that point, if we're thinking about suicide as a coping mechanism, and like upwards of over 90% of suicides happen when we're higher drunk. We are literally not in our right minds, even without the PTSD, and we have so much evidence that PTSD really fucks with our fundamental belief systems, we might get into that later on. But we start thinking about it. And we're thinking about words and we tell ourselves, we're just thinking about it, and then overwhelmingly, if something's going to come back that that wave is going to crash That's where our mind goes, like I got a solution for this, Virginia, don't worry, we're gonna shock ourselves, everything's gonna be okay. And this happens all the time.

35:00 - 40:00

Virginia:

You know, one of my one of my gigs after I got licensed is I was helping a local base in Texas respond to suicides and suicide homicide, so I was going to the units after, you know, after there was a suicide or suicide homicide in the unit. And I would also respond when somebody tried to commit suicide, but they had what is termed an unsuccessful suicide, which is pretty successful in my book, if you do if you don't track yourself, thank God. And I got really interesting, it gave me a lot of really interesting insight into just a ton.

You know, when I was talking with folks, the first thing that happens when when we try to commit suicide, and it doesn't work, is the first person is going to show up as police. Because they're just their first responders. And depending on what state you live in, if you're in the North, if you're in the continental US, depending on what state you live in, the likelihood of you going to a psychiatric facility where you can get help is pretty low. Just because we don't have beds, it's not to be malicious, it is much more likely that you're going to end up in jail. And they put you in a turtle suit, I don’t know what the actual name for it is, but it's a one it's a one piece smock. And jails tend to be really cold. And you're probably going to be in the medical wing, which fucking freezing all the time because of labs and whatnot.

So you're gonna be in a one piece smock because nobody wants you to try to track yourself with clothing. They're gonna take away everything, and then you get to talk to somebody like me. So your day just got worse. But then you're still breathing. And if I heard up once I heard it 100 times, Virginia, it all happened so fast. It'll happen so fast before I knew it, and then fill in the blank there. Before I knew it. You know, the bottle of pills was gone, and so was half a fifth of vodka.

Before I knew it, I was tying the noose. And my son walked in on me and asked me what I was doing. Before I knew it, I had the gun in my mouth, and I could taste the metal. Before I knew it, the SWAT team showed up, and I had little red dots on my chest and it scared the shit out of me. Before I knew it, this shit happened fast. This should happen unbelievably fast. I personally haven't talked to anyone who wasn't under the influence of at least alcohol when this happened. This shit happens unbelievably fast.

Not saying this to make anybody freak out or scare you. But what I do want you to know is that when we're thinking about suicide as a coping mechanism, we're actually on a knife's edge. We are on a knife's edge, and it is time to get help. And I hope we get time to talk about it. Because getting help for PTSD is not rocket surgery, it's 8 to 12 sessions of evidence based treatment. It's if you're doing it once a week, that's like three months to unfuck a lot. Easy. Well, it's not easy. It's simple. It's not easy.

David:

It's a process.

Virginia:

It's a process.

And, you know, so just hearing that it'll happen so fast. The one thing that I always hear from the unit is, you know, I knew David was going through some shit. But yeah, I really thought he was doing a lot better. He came to the unit, you know, holiday party, he was smiling. He was looking around, he was, you know, he was doing better. He, you know, he was saying hi to people who were more social. And so it really does come as a surprise to the unit. And what could I have done?

And the truth is, and having been on the other side of that, I know for a fact that that the truth is, well, yeah, yeah, he's smiling, because he knows he has a solution. There's a solution there. And when we feel numb from PTSD, because when we're talking about avoidance, one of the big factors in avoidance is numbness. And that's just neuroscience. So what happens is to kind of simplify it when when we're going through PTSD, we go way, way out of our way to avoid anything that reminds us of trauma because that's logic. I say again, PTSD, unbelievably logical, straightforward. Any fucking buddy can understand this shit. Anyone can understand it.

40:00 - 45:00

Virginia:

So think about your feelings kind of on a continuum. So over here, you got feelings, I don't want to feel, I feel shitty, I feel angry, I feel mad, I feel shame, I feel guilt, even kind of those middle feelings, you know, should I sort of, you know, just middle feelings. Like I feel mad, and I feel okay, whatever. And you got those feelings, I want to feel joyful and happy and laughter, unicorns and sprinkles of shade. You know. So the idea is with PTSD, is we want to avoid these feelings. Because who the fuck wants to think about trauma. And we just want to feel the stuff in the middle, and be happy.

So we go way, way out of our way to avoid anything that reminds us of our trauma, people, places, situations, social media, news, anything, family, or children. And the idea is very logical, we want to recapture all of this. But feelings don't work like that, the brain doesn't work like that, which sucks. So there's an unexpected second order effect. So things on a continuum attenuate from both ends. So if things if we're avoiding stuff on this side, all of a sudden, we're unable to feel things on this side. Does that make sense? So they kind of go in and out in equal measure. So we're avoiding all the shit I don't want to feel. And then all of a sudden, I am unable to experience the things that I do want to feel. I'm unable to feel happy, I'm unable to, I know cognitively, in my brain in my right mind that I should feel laughter, happiness, my child comes up to me and they're genuinely upset about something that they have every right to feel upset about. I don't feel anything. Maybe I even feel angry. I'm like, quick, quiet crying, you fucking baby. That's the fuck? Did I just really say that? Was that really my internal voice? And then we get to this Bismil place called numb. We literally can't feel anything. And it's terrifying. So we may go to Dr. Google, and we're like, am I a psychopath? Am I a sociopath? You're not? If you're asking those questions, by the way, you're not, that's a good thing. You're not asking those questions, go see a therapist.

So we start asking ourselves, you know, only a monster would feel nothing if their spouse comes to them and is legitimately upset about something and I don't feel anything. Only a monster would feel that way, only animal maybe all the things that I'm telling myself really are true. And so that numb place it's a really scary, nebulous place to be in and it is an existential crisis, if you don't like thinking about things that are kind of like soul damage, which is kind of woowoo and can be religious. You know, you go all out existential crisis, got it. Then we think about suicide, or the idea will come to us are we here more likely have a battle buddy who are marine who commit suicide or we see like a Facebook memory poster, I fucking hate those, but in a pop up, and we'll think I know what I'll do, I'll commit suicide.

And logically, again, cognitively in our right mind. We know that never ends well. And if you don't know that ever, that never ends well talk to a first responder and let them set you straight. Because that should never ends the way you think it's going to successful suicides are really ugly. Lots of suffering, lots of paraplegics, that shit is ugly. And we know that we know that suicide is a violent fucked up way to die. And we feel it anyway. Shall stop using wait. I used it anyway. I used to anyway, I thought about it anyway. And when thinking about suicide, now I have an idea. And all of a sudden, I feel something and I feel something. So I've been feeling numb this whole time, maybe maybe for years. Then all of a sudden it feels something. It may not be great. It may not be unicorns and rainbows. But it's not nothing. It's not nothing.

And so our brains like this, that's a good thing. We're feeling again. So this whole suicide thinks probably legit idea. We should think about this more. We should contemplate and by the way, why don't you we're just going to contemplate this. Don't worry, we're not going to actually do it. Then we start think about it, then maybe we get all that external validation, we start, you know, our spouses like oh my god, Virginia, it's so nice to see you smiling again, it's good to see you actually waking up on a Saturday, instead of sleeping all day, things must be going well. And all of a sudden is suicide, the thinking about suicide becomes more and more legit.

45:00 - 50:00

Virginia:

So it's very logical, it's very easy to understand how we get to that point. And it's, unfortunately, whether it's normal. And when I say it's normal, that doesn't mean it's tickle, it tickles. It doesn't mean that that's enjoyable. But we can really, these are very logical outcomes, your brain to jobs, keep you alive, make meaning whether you have all the information or not. Doesn't matter how skewed it is, this is our great job. This is exactly what he does. And so there is a solution for this. And one thing I would want, if there's one thing that I would want everyone to know, and that is what are your symptoms. And so we're offering a free preview guide, you know, a copy of the book, you have to give us your email, but then you can unsign up, we're not gonna tell you the way that we did it.

David:

It works!

Virginia:

Alright, you go to the soldierspy.com. We give you the first two chapters of the book, because ladi dadi everybody deserves to know what PTSD isn't. So those rumors that aren't true, but will fuck you up and what it is. And you go to the soldiersblog.com, you can follow us on all manners of social media, the soldier's guide. And you can download a free copy of a free workbook for folks, great if you're going to a cmp exam, by the way, hit NIJ. So it's a free workbook, don't print the first page and lose all your ink, you might have learned that the hard way. But it will go through the symptoms, the no shit symptoms of PTSD so that you can understand what your symptoms are. And I want to stress, it's really important that we understand our symptoms better than anyone else. And I know that this is a hard pill to swallow. So grab some water. You know, when I went to see a no shit psychiatrist, they didn't, this man wasn't able to, to diagnose my PTSD correctly.

PTSD, it looks like a lot of other things. My experience with mental health, my initial experience, it's not an outlier. And the end, and we have to get real about this. There is a lot of implicit bias with mental health and especially for women, persons of color, and people who identify as part of the queer community, which is a lot of our Marines and soldiers right now. Who is not getting a fair shake in the mental health milieu, and that's not okay. That is not okay. And so we have to understand, so download a free copy of the workbook, and go through it, fill out your shit.

I mean, it's pretty, this is very straightforward. And get the help that you deserve. Because there is hope for this. And it's not rocket surgery. This shits pretty easy. I have been talking a lot I feel, and I don't want to be that guy. I'm gonna punch it back to you, genius. What have you got for me today?

David:

I didn't interrupt, because I was really enjoying what you're talking about. I resonated with a lot of that. I mean, it's very, I've never heard it described that way. That process. I like that you mentioned that you don't like seeing all the posts online commemorating my, the article I wrote that I thought was fairly controversial, I also think is probably the most researched article I've ever written, talked about my theory on contagion, like the contagion effect and the idea that essentially like, if we see it all the time, all over the place psychologically, we think it's an OK option. Which I'm obviously not researched on at all. It's just kind of what I've seen is like, man, the friends that I know who've who've killed themselves, if it's all been kind of like, what happened and then another or, like, there was a, you know, it was like, oh, yeah, if well, if so and so did that then, I mean, it's it okay.

Virginia:

In the literature, we call these clusters.

50:00 - 55:00

David:

It's like, I'm trying to think of the names but the Linkin Park guy killed himself and then like right after that his best friend or vice versa. Or on a year to the day, I believe so anyway, I'm like, yeah, it's, I wish I'd had you as a counselor at one point like the you very much do embody the soldier to soldier mentality as far as like the complete understanding of the thought process behind it and like the, you know, the the swearing and like, well, this doesn't matter. And that does matter. And this is normal. And I feel like, even with the counseling I've been doing as far as like, relationship counseling right now I sometimes I feel like I want to talk to the lady and she's smart, and she's helpful, but sometimes I feel like she's just kind of like, Mm hmm, Mm hmm. Until, you know, is very typical of the like, counselor, and I've gotten a lot out of it. But it would be a lot better for me to be like, Okay, well, look, you've like, you've been through this and you understand that, like, I don't need all the Frou Frou just like, tell me, tell me what to do.

Virginia:

Get down to brass tacks, it's not easy. You know, when I was writing the book, I really had kind of this internal dilemma about, you know, how much of myself do I put in this? Because that's not something that I do in the therapeutic environment. I'm not, you know, when I'm talking with, you know, with a veteran or servicemember I'm not so like, Hey, listen, here's my story that's kind of verboten. You know, it's more like, how does that make you feel? But, you know, it was a struggle. And it's been a struggle. This is, this has not been easy. I'm not, you know, I'm significantly older than you, although I don't work there. And so I'm not really savvy on social media. And I've always kind of had this thing about over like, people who overshare you know, like, this was my breakfast and avocado toast.

David:
Like me!

Virginia:

Well, your avocado toast posts are just delightful.

And so, uh, but it's, you know, I have a fear of oversharing you know, it's something that really, you know, kind of freaks me out. And then I had to really think about it and, and talk with, with a sponsor and a really good friend. And, you know, I'm just too fucking old for this shit. You know, I came into it. This is a, you know, I came into it, I became a therapist later in life. And, you know, I thought I was going to be a linguist. Like, you know, I grew up but you know, I grew up as a polyglot. You know, this was my thing. And, you know, language matters. Your only training as a linguist really kind of comes forward now. Because how we talk about things matters, the language that we use matters. You know, it's like that. There's that book, Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, every Chaplin tries to pawn that off on you. And, you know, but it's just so you know, it's enduring his literature because it's so unbelievably true.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

You know, if we really care about each other, but I speak Chinese and you speak French, guess what we're not going to know. And it's the same thing when it comes to mental health and, and it really chaps my ass, to be honest with you. I don't think you should have to have a fucking PhD to be able to unfuck yourself.

It doesn't, you know, we've got all these people running around with their little puzzle pieces. Like I'm going to be an equine therapist and fucking horse people. Keep your, okay horse people. Keep your strongly worded emails to yourself or send them to David. But you know.

David:

They are their own breed.

Virginia:

So, but everybody's running around with their little fucking puzzle piece. And, you know, and everyone's, you know, we've got a ton of good ideas of theories, we got a lot of good ideas, fairy snipers got it. But at the end of the day, we're, what I'm always thinking about is a little more brass tacks. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? And that's what NCOs do, that is that hip pocket training. Because this is not hard to teach. And, you know, it's, I shouldn't have to have a master's degree and I shouldn't have to have a master's degree to be able to explain this. This is not this is not, we can explain this in really Brasstacks terms. When we're taught and especially when it comes to treatment. You know, we have, you know, three evidence based treatments for PTSD. They've worked for most people, most of the time. And people don't know about it. It's like we know, we know PTSD kills. But the solutions are just as simple.

55:00 - 1:00:00

Virginia:

And, you know, we're always asking, you know, everyone's running around with their puzzle piece. Why are there 22 a day? Well, that's because no one knows what this is. And no one knows how to fix this. Like, there's been no basic or end here, like no one is picking up what anyone is putting down. And so, you know, it's three evidence based treatments.

So an evidence based treatments a big fucking deal, there are three of them. So we've got cognitive, processing, therapy, CPT. P as in Papa, because if it's not an acronym, it's not real. Of course, we've got prolonged exposure therapy, then we have EMDR, that is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, just call it EMDR.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

So those are three evidence based treatments for PTSD that are approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Now, that's a big deal, because the VA is a really slow moving, bureaucratic monster. So when something so those are that doesn't mean those are the only three evidence based treatments, it means those have been approved by the VA. And so when the evidence base triggers, think about it in the same way you would treat it that the FDA treats a new drug, you know, we'll test a new drug.

So we get these double blind studies, you know, double blind studies, different populations over a long period of time, a longitudinal study, to make sure that these drugs do what they say they're going to do and don't have side effects that are going to make you grow like another arm.

We do the exact same thing with mental health treatment. And this surprised the shit out of me. I did not know that we test mental health the exact same way that we test drugs the same way we test vaccines. And a lot of these evidence based treatments have been around for decades. decades, we've had them around for a long time. We literally have tested them. And I don't mean to make it sound like a lab rat, but we've tested and retested on literally 1000s of service members and veterans 1000s.

There is a shit ton of money. It's an exact amount. There's a shit ton of money in PTSD research. The researcher so the DOD Center for Excellence for PTSD research, right in San Antonio, Texas. The strong star, folks. Oh my God, those people are so, you think I get pumped to Jack to talk about these people that shit, I love it. They love what they do. They're helping people every day. And they're so passionate about their work. It's so flippin smart. It's just, it's amazing. They amaze me.

So when we have, when something is an evidence based treatment, let's get down to brass tacks. So think about the Pareto rule 8020, right. So with these three evidence based treatments, we can ask for them by name. They're so ubiquitous, you can ask for them by name. So you can go to Dr. Google and say cognitive processing therapy or EMDR. McAllen, Texas 78501. And you can come up with all the people, you know, who do that therapy.

So you can ask for the money and you should, you should, because sitting on a couch and talking about your mommy issues isn't going to help with your ptsd. It's not the same. It's not the same thing. So if you like if you have cancer, you don't go to a podiatrist. You don't go to a dermatologist and I don't know unless you've got foot skin cancer or something like that, right? But you go to a no shit specialist, you go to an oncologist because cancer will kill you. Cancer will kill you. You can fuck that. PTSD is the same way. PTSD will kill you. So go to a PTSD specialist. Therapists specialize. I'm a one trick pony. I specialize in military operational stress, moral injury, combat issues, PTSD. It's pretty. I'm kind of a one trick pony. I can do other things, but I don't do them well. And if you come to me with an eating disorder, or schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or you know you have a teenager who needs help, there are people who specialize in this who are the best at what they do and I will send you to them. But in the meanwhile, if we have PTSD and we know it wastes your time, go to a no shit PTSD specialist and ask for evidence based treatment by me.

1:00:00 - 1:05:00

Virginia:

So evidence based treatment Pareto rule 8020, it's going to work for 80% of the people, we're going to have these 20% outliers. Now let's just talk about math. If I had a 20% chance of winning the lottery, I'd play.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

I play five times, I wouldn't play a lot, because 20 percents a big fucking number. So what that means is, so let's say we got course of action alpha, right? We've got three evidence based treatments Alpha Bravo, Charlie, we go to the first one cognitive processing therapy. And there's a, we go through in the book, we go through these line by line, because everybody, once you read them, you'll know what will work best for you. You'll have a sense like, Oh, like that sounds bad shit, but that that I could get into and it's different for everybody. I never guessed correctly. I just, here's the info pick.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

Go to the course of action alpha.

And you're an outlier. You're an outlier, you're 20%. Well, guess what? We expect that we expect that a lot. And it's okay. Go to the course of action Bravo. Go to course action, Charlie. Now, let's say you go through all three evidence based treatments, and you're a statistical outlier for all of these. This happens, does this mean that you're Fubar? No, this is very logical. So this is a process that therapists call differential diagnosis.

PTSD is so fucking logical. This is so straightforward. This is very, you know, and military members tend to be really analytical. So I hope that you're able to pick up what I'm putting down on this one. But if you are an outlier, first of all, you won the statistics lottery, awesome for you not so well or not so awesome. For you. It's a case, maybe you either don't have PTSD. In other words, we don't have the right diagnosis. Maybe you have what we call a co-occurring disorder. And you have to work on that. So let's talk about that.

So PTSD is one of those mental health disorders that always comes to the party with friends. Super joiner never never shows up alone. In my practice, I see five most common co-occurring disorders, drug and alcohol misuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, especially with males, and especially within the Special Warfare Community. Okay, and OCD, what we call obsessive compulsive disorder. So those are the five co occurring disorders that I most often see with PTSD. So those are the things that tend to show up first. So think about it, like tree roots and fruits. We may see the DUIs. You know, think about when you're on active duty, you see the DUI, you know, you see the person showing up late to formation, but maybe we're not seeing the root issue, which could be the trauma. Does that make sense?

David:

Absolutely.

Virginia:

So, and one thing we often see is something called moral injury, that we don't really talk a lot about that. And that's a term that again, I don't know if we have the bandwidth to get into it here. But there is a whole chapter about it. And there's a lot of information on the interweb about that. So go check that out, moral injury, and we may have to treat that in addition to your PTSD, so that's why it might be an outlier.

Someone also might have what we call treatment resistant PTSD. Like having treatment resistant fungus, you know, we got to get a stronger cream.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

And we do the exact same thing with PTSD. Folks up at strong smart Stan Antonio, holy shit, brilliant! And they work very specifically on finding treatments for treatment resistant PTSD. And because there's so much money and research and these researchers are so freakin smart. They're looking at things like MDMA assisted therapy. They're looking at marijuana, they're looking at the god shot the stellate ganglion block, they're looking at ketamine. They're looking at all there are so many evidence based treatments out there. We just don't have them widely available because it's hard to get a doctor. You know, because it has to be an MD It can't be a nurse practitioner. You know to sign we have to have a doctor to sign off on a lot of fees.

David:

God forbid somebody signs off on an active duty service member needing medical marijuana.

David:

Oh, Jesus. Yeah!

David:

I have PTSD!

Everybody would come forward the whole Marine Corps like you know, actually I think I need some, I mean, I have some of that.

1:05:00 - 1:10:00

Virginia:

That might be the best thing for mental health ever. Out the box thinking brother out of the box thinking.

David:

The Marine Corps gave away edibles, all you gotta do is talk about your feelings.

Virginia:

I'm sad.

I'm first in line. But it's, but there's so much out there really good treatments. There are evidence based treatments for moral injury, I use something called adaptive disclosure in my practice, freaking amazing. You know, there are transdiagnostic treatments, meaning that it's one treatment and I'm phox a lot of other shit. So you can do it in group transdiagnostic just means lots of different treatments. So there I mean, there's so much out there to why it's important that we go to a specialist, not a generalist. Because if you come to someone like me, and there are tons of me out there, you don't have to come to me. Like for everyone you know, there's 10,000 of me in the country. Strong star has a training program to train more me's and more of them. Thank God, there's a lot of help out there, a lot of help available, you have to ask for it. And by the way, these evidence based treatments, I want to really put this out there, eight to 12 sessions on average, eight to 12. And that's why you still see Charlie in the foxhole. For the last 50 years, your Vietnam vet. If you've been dealing with these five months, we see reductions, the data are clear, the data are clear that these evidence based treatments work for most people most of the time. And that science, that science, you don't have to believe in it. You don't have to believe in gravity either. Don't have to believe in gravity. But you know, when you lean back on your fancy new chair David, and it moves on you you're as.

David:

I would fall, I'm still trying to get the hang of this thing back here.

It's literally a thing that you like to balance on. It's supposed to keep your core engaged when you're standing up. And normally this is a standing desk. I don't know.

Virginia:

Fancy.

These things work for most people most of the time. But there is something that kind of you know, we've already covered a lot of uncomfortable shit. So let's just go there. There's a lot of us who are listening to this or you know, or reading the book. And I get a ton of hate mail. I dig it. My book gets a lot of hate mail. I hope yours doesn't. But I do, I get a lot of hate mail. And the number one thing that I get is while Virginia this I you know, I'm glad that you're selling a book, I think people think I'm a multi bazillionaire, right. But they're like, you know, yeah, this works for everyone. It's not gonna work for me because you haven't lived my life and you don't understand you'll know where I've been, you'll know where I'm from. And, yeah, and they're right. Let's just be real about that. They're right. I don't I don't know your experience. I don't know your experience.

David:

They're also right, that it won't work for them with that attitude.

Virginia:

Legit.

So here's one thing that I was, not just attitude. I think that's, you know, attitude. Yeah, attitude means a lot. But I think it's a we should, I don't think it's simple. And I got some thoughts. And you know, there are a lot of us who do not believe change is possible. You know, this, like, yeah, these evidence based treatments, like might work for everyone else, but they're not going to work for me.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

And there's a lot of us also who think, wow, you know, you know, this might work for most people. But if I engage in treatment, and I try to understand this does that, then maybe that will maybe that's the equivalent of saying everything I did was okay. All right. And I work with a lot of people who have either committed or witnessed war crimes.

Yeah, it's something we don't talk about and we need to because they happen a lot, regardless of MLS, gender, gender identity, or surface. Okay, this is happening a lot. That, you know, if I go through some sort of treatment, then that's the equivalent of forgiving myself and what I did was unforgivable, because only a monster would. Back to that, that thought And, you know, I just want to get real. You know, it's yeah, you're right attitude is legit. There is no thing and no one there's no book there's no really what you know what a joke or podcast or data or statistics I could give you to make you believe something is true. If you very fundamentally believe it's not that science too.

1:10:00 - 1:15:00

David:

Yeah, that science to that's legit.

David:

Absolutely.

Virginia:

And there are a lot of us who, you know, there's a lot of emotion and a lot of thoughts that go into getting treatment. You know, we tell ourselves that I, you know, I don't deserve to have PTSD. Number one thing I hear in the therapeutic environment. I don't deserve to have it because I came back to my kid, I've got my legs. I don't deserve to have PTSD. I wasn't, I wasn't Special Warfare. I wasn't you know, the door knocker was a bell ringer. I don't deserve to have you know, malaria, or HIV or schizophrenia or the flu. A man fucking Charmaine. No, I don't deserve any of this. But here's HIV, schizophrenia, malaria. It doesn't give a shit. Any PTSD. But we can be telling ourselves that. And we can also tell ourselves, you know that, yeah, I don't deserve it. And the one thing that I would want, anybody who's thinking this right now, which is a pretty large number, if we're being real and honest. So I'm just going to pretend that this is ubiquitous and talk to everyone. If you have been listening to this podcast, it's since we hit record. And you've heard one thing that surprised you that you didn't know before or that that you didn't understand fully. Is it possible that you're wrong about a bunch of other shit too?

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

A bunch of other shit. And let me tell you who hates being wrong, be hated. I'm a therapist. I hate change. I'm not a fan. Not a fan of change. By you know, man, she you know, time is gonna move on with or without me. Have you ever done anything before? That you thought was no shit impossible? When you were following the yellow footprints? Were you like, what have I done?

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

Have you ever? Have you ever done anything you thought was impossible? Is it possible that you are stronger than you think you are? Is it possible? Is it possible that all the people who love the dog shit out of you are seeing you clearly? And maybe you're not seeing yourself clearly. We know and the data are super clear. That PTSD fucks with our fundamental belief system, the way we believe about ourselves, other people the world in terms of safety and security, power and control, trust, intimacy, or vulnerability and self esteem. We know that PTSD fucks with that, is it possible that you're not seeing yourself clearly? Because your symptoms are in the way of that?

And if it's possible that you're wrong, then it's possible tracking yourself isn't the right answer.

David:

I agree.

Virginia:

A lot of folks that I work with, I'm just gonna be straight with you believe that, you know, it's getting that somehow getting treatment for PTSD is a pop out. And I want to get real about that. It is. It's hard. PTSD treatment is hard. That shit is gut wrenching. But it's not forever. So here's your straw, suck it up. It's not forever, and it's not harder than what you've been through. And then it's not harder than what you'll go through. If you keep blowing it off. Because PTSD will fucking kill you. It will take everything that you live for. It will take your family, it will take your sanity. You can have a portfolio of houses up the ass. And you know what, you're not even gonna be able to go to an open house, you're not going to be able to enjoy anything. If you don't go for the jugular and just go for this. This shit is hard, but it is worth it. It is worth it. It is not forever. You can ask for it by name. You can learn about your symptoms. Ask for your treatment by name and be done with this shit in four months.

David:

It's absolutely worth getting to the other side and living your best life.

1:15:00 - 1:20:00

Virginia:

Yeah, it's like a convoy through a valley. It's fuckin sucks. It's horrible. It's dangerous, it feels awful. But you will get through. And then there's a lot of us who also I'll just go just tell on myself. There's a lot of me who believes that, you know, well, I'm just gonna I want to do it on my own. I want to do it on my own. I'm gonna read Murray Virginia's book, because she's so witty and smart. I'm gonna read your book, I'm gonna do this shit on my own. But here's the thing, if we can do this on our own, we already would have done it.

You don't go on a convoy without your fire team. If you're going to go fucking Bergdahl it, you know that shit doesn't end well. That does not end well. If you wouldn't go out on a convoy on your own, why would you go? This isn't the thing. We heal in community, we do not heal in isolation. And yes, you have to talk to a no shit treatment professional. And there's a lot of factors out there. But I don't want to talk to a civilian but I don't want to, I get it. I get it. Not and let's get real. Not every there are a lot of shitty therapists out there. I get some hate mail on that one. But it's true.

David:

Yeah.

Virginia:

Not everybody's good at their job. Not everybody gives a shit. And maybe it's not you. Don't be afraid. If this were for your loved one. If this weren't for your kid or your spouse, or your brother or a fellow Marine or your battle buddy. He would jump through your fourth point of contact and you would do anything to get them the help that they deserve to know shit reclaim their life. And so it's super important to go after recovery from this with that kind of fervor. You absolutely can do this. I mean, fucking I can recover from this. Anybody can! Anybody can! I was a hot mess still in some, yeah.

Life.

David:

Yeah, exactly.

Virginia:

This is doable. And it's not in it's not forever. This can be done relatively quickly. There are intensive programs where you know, where you can go into a hospital, like what we call an inpatient hospitalization, where you go to the hospital, and you're, you're getting therapy, like every day, no shit for two or three weeks. And those two, three weeks are gonna suck balls are gonna be awful. But you know what, you're gonna come out on the other side, with a much better understanding.

You know, there are a lot of us who believe that, you know, we can't get treatment because we can't be forgiven because of what we did or didn't do or didn't prevail to prevent then that falls into more luxury. Another topic for another day, maybe. But I want you to know that the data are abundantly clear that you can recover from and recovering might not mean what you think.

I had a client I was working with recently who said, “wow”, he said, you know, it just occurred to me that maybe I'm not a war criminal. Maybe I'm an asshole. I was like, Yes! Yes. Let's talk about that.

David:

That's funny.

Virginia:

And that is a real paradigm shift. There's a real paradigm shift. And what we're looking to do is, you know, because there is no paying it forward, there is no living your life. If your symptoms are getting in the way if you're no shit everyday function, that's why we call it a disorder. That's not a name, a calling word. That's a word that means that your symptoms are getting in the way of your notion everyday functioning in your roles.

In other words, your symptoms are getting in the way of you being a great dad, of you being a decent husband, a son, a brother, a father, battle buddy, a Marine, they are getting in the way. And once we remove those are posttreatment life is very seldom the way we think it's going to be. And I know it's scary. What the fuck do you have to lose? Seriously?

1:20:00 - 1:25:00

David:

Yeah, I agree completely.

Like what? You have nothing to lose. There's nothing to lose by going to talk to somebody other than, you know, maybe a little bit of time, but I think that's a justifiable return on investment.

So, Virginia, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been an awesome episode obviously, we want everyone to go to soldiersguide.com and check out, I'm gonna buy the book, check out the book and the resources. Because I think this is extremely valuable. I mean, there's so many service members out there who, you know, either they do have PTSD or they might know it or they're like me, and they're, you know, in denial about even potentially having it even though I laugh when you talk about people who don't like big crowds, and I'm like, oh, that's me now. Oh, no, but it's not you know, anyway.

This has been awesome. I think this might be the least I've interrupted somebody in a while because I really enjoyed what we were talking about. I mean, it flowed, it was good. It was great information. I learned a lot about I mean, PTSD in general, but like, the psychology behind kind of what triggers the suicide, the numbness and everything else. I mean, I think this was so much good information. I wish I had known this before, right. But that's that's the thing. That's the common string here.

So obviously, soldiersguide.com. Anything else as far as resources or where somebody should go if they want to reach out and have some questions for you?

Virginia:

Yeah, for sure.

You can check us out on social media. And I promise that I have younger savvy people who helped me with that. And I'd love to give a shout out to my team. We've got a team of true believers Katie Colitis, Barbie McCray, Nicole Turbit, who are just bad ass women, and just incredible and I'm so thankful for them.

Check us out on social media, you can check out our blog at the soldiersblog.com The books available, we made it as an audio book, that was one of our first priorities. Because for me, personally, I haven't read a book in forever. I did read your book because it's not audio yet.

David:

It’s audio!

Virginia:

Is it now?

David:

It is. It’s my voice.

Virginia:

Wow.

Well, it's not my voice. Katie did it and she's so freakin smart. She just got nominated for like a legit award too she's for real.
But it's on audiobook, ebooks. And in paperback, you get it wherever books are sold on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and then in a couple of small retailers. So check it out. Send us questions. You know, don't don't make the assumption I have a life because I don't.

So I love talking about PTSD, about military mental health. And I would really love your questions. And I'm really thankful. I really want the feedback, like legitimate just saying, well pay me. So like, as a result, next year, we're going to have a Spanish version of the book coming out. Books specifically for women that looks a lot more at at like gaslighting and military sexual trauma and, and a version also coming in 2022 for Vietnam vets.

David:

That’s incredible.

Virginia:

You know, they're, they're legit, they're there for real, you know, they made it so that when we redeployed, you know, they were at the airports, making sure that we, you know, didn't have to experience what they experienced, you know, when they came home, they were treated really poorly. And it's just such a different world cycle. And so, you know, we're working with a Vietnam veterans peer support group up in Michigan, to get you know, to get these books out, and, you know, because it's not about me, I don't care. You know, it's just how, I'm really, you know, I'm a linguist by trade, but, you know, accessibility matters.

David:

I agree.

Virginia:

Thank you for caring about this.

David:

Post is awesome.

This is great information, and in a digestible format, right, because a lot of times the reason servicemembers tune this out is because it's like, and it's like, Alright, cool. Yeah. Lots of medical jargon. Great.

You know, and so this is, this is good. This is really good.

Virginia:

Thanks for saving me so much money on my capital gains tax.

David:

Oh, yeah, that's right. That's exciting!

Virginia:

Yeah! Buy the No BS Guides to military life. It will save your money.

David:

Or make you money or both.

Thank you so much for Virginia. This has been a lot of fun.

End:

Thank you for listening to another episode about my journey from military to millionaire. If you liked it, be sure to visit frommilitarytomillionaire.com/podcast to subscribe to future podcasts. While you're there. We'd love for you to rate the show. Give us a review on iTunes. Now get out there and take action.

Virginia Cruse quote about healing from PTSD

Episode: 152

Virginia Cruse

Join your host David Pere with his guest Virginia Cruse, as she talks about how retired military individuals suffer from mental health and what she has to say about the solutions in her book “The Soldier’s Guide to PTSD: Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Moral Injury, and Therapy Options.”

Sharing a nugget of his experience, David reveals that identity crisis can become all too real once you get out of military service. Losing purpose and undergoing a rough transition is very common post-service. Once it starts going out of hand and gets mixed with a ton of stress, trauma, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, Virginia explains how the impact can be detrimental to one’s quality of life.

In this episode, Virginia discusses the normal logic in PTSD and dissociative reactions, how our continuum of feelings functions in PTSD, why it’s essential to understand our symptoms, and why she believes recovery and therapy are not rocket science.

About Virginia Cruse:

Virginia is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor specializing in Military Issues and Combat-Related Trauma. She provides crisis intervention and evidence-based treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Moral Injury, Depression, Combat Operational Stress, and other diagnoses.

She is a certified clinician in Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy and has 20+ years of experience serving Active Duty Military, Veterans, Military retirees, and family members. She is a Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) and an active American Group Psychotherapy Association member.

Virginia is an Army Reserve Officer, Combat Veteran, and published re-searcher. She has one amazing husband, Jay, and one terrible dog, Peanut.

 

*sponsor: REI 101 course*

https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/teachable-rei

 

Outline of the episode:

  • [06:20] The transition from military to civilian life
  • [09:00] Virginia Cruse – on her ugly adjustment post service
  • [19:01] PTSD and hallucinations are normal reactions
  • [28:00] There are mind games once you get out of service
  • [38:03] Our feelings fall on a continuum
  • [47:29] There’s a lot of implicit biases in the discussion of mental health
  • [56:22] We test mental health treatments like we test drugs
  • [1:07:33] Virginia Cruse – on the hate the book gets
  • [1:13:59] Therapy is hard, but it is worth it!
  • [1:21:14] What’s next for Virginia and her team?

Resources:

 Blog:                      http://www.thesoldiersblog.com/

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/thesoldiersguide

 

Zero to One: Real Estate Investing for Beginners:

https://military-millionaire-academy.teachable.com/p/from-zero-to-one-real-estate-investing-101

 

The Soldier’s Guide to PTSD: Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Moral Injury, and Therapy Options, Book by Virginia Cruse:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VRD2Y8X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

 

Get Virginia’s FREE eBook now:

https://mcusercontent.com/0a6ebb51c9b16d4365aef4354/files/07ffd039-1a21-451c-a682-467db8d06441/Quickstart_Guide.pdf

 

Follow The Military Millionaire Podcast’s journey on:

 

Website:              https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/

YouTube:             https://www.youtube.com/c/Frommilitarytomillionaire/

Facebook:           https://www.facebook.com/groups/1735593999901619/

Instagram:          https://www.instagram.com/frommilitarytomillionaire/

 

Grab your book copy of The No B.S. Guide to Military Life – How to Build Wealth, Get Promoted, and Achieve Greatness by David Pere:

https://www.amazon.com/B-S-Guide-Military-Life-greatness/dp/1736753010

Real Estate Investing Course: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/teachable-rei

Recommended books and tools: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/kit/

Become an investor: https://www.frommilitarytomillionaire.com/investor/

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My name is David Pere, I am an active duty Marine, and have realized that service members and the working class use the phrase “I don’t get paid enough” entirely too often. The reality is that most often our financial situation is self-inflicted. After having success with real estate investing, I started From Military to Millionaire to teach personal finance and real estate investing to service members and the working class. As a result, I have helped many of my readers increase their savings gap, and increase their chances of achieving financial freedom! – Click here to SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/2Q3EvfE to the channel for more awesome videos!

THIS SITE IS INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE MY OWN. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS SITE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR OR THE AUTHOR’S INVITED GUEST POSTERS, AND MAY NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE US GOVERNMENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, OR THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS.

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David Pere

David Pere

David is an active duty Marine, who devotes his free time to helping service members, veterans, and their families learn how to build wealth through real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and personal finance!

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