Episode 259 Daniel Mayberry Navy Veteran on Overcoming PTSD and Helping Fellow Vets Transcript

This transcript is from episode 259 with guest Daniel Mayberry.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Daniel Mayberry. Daniel is a navy veteran who after returning home and transitioning out of the military, began to struggle with P T S D, and since then he’s worked on building a community and started a podcast whose mission is very, To the mission of this podcast, and so I’m excited to share Daniel’s story and help other veterans in need together.

Scott DeLuzio: So welcome to the show, Daniel. Glad, glad to have you here.

Daniel Mayberry: Thanks so much, Scott. It’s such an honor to be here and just helping other veterans get connected to resources and hopefully [00:01:00] just find a little bit of inspiration to carry on from day to.

Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. And I think that’s really the name of the game here.

Scott DeLuzio: We’re trying to just give hope and inspiration to the people who are sitting there, maybe by themselves, thinking that they’re all alone in this. And that really couldn’t be further from the truth. You know, these people who are out there just sitting there struggling and just trying to figure out their way through life and not getting anywhere you know, we’re here to help.

Scott DeLuzio: Like, that’s what. Kinda what we do here. So, so yeah, absolutely. So before we get into this conversation, really for the listeners who may not be familiar with you why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and

Daniel Mayberry: your background? Absolutely. So I’m originally from the east coast of the States.

Daniel Mayberry: I grew up everywhere from Florida to Jersey. And one of the things about my upbringing is that I grew up in a very unstable. And the one constant that I always encountered was just the goodness of people. So whatever traumas were occurring, whatever food insecurities we were experiencing or temporary periods of [00:02:00] houselessness, there was always somebody there within our community that was able to help myself and my siblings.

Daniel Mayberry: For better or worse, just move on to the next step. And by the time that I turned 18 years old I came. A family with a lot of military service. I just recently found out I’m like fourth or fifth generation Navy and and that just kind of led me seven days after high school right into right into bootcamp.

Daniel Mayberry: Signed up when I was 17. Nine 11 happened. That didn’t deter me. I just continued to go on and and I joined the Navy as an. And the first ship that I was assigned to was really small Air Department, about 17 people on an L P D. And there really wasn’t a lot of work for me to do. It was just kind of boring.

Daniel Mayberry: Our ship had gone on, its last deployment. It was kind of in the decommissioning phases. Its final years in service to the Navy and so we weren’t very active. We embarked a few Marines over the times. But all of that idle time for me just meant that I was getting into trouble. . [00:03:00] I was stationed back in my, in the place where I graduated high school in the Tidewater, Virginia Beach area.

Daniel Mayberry: And I still had all my high school friends from my senior year that I was hanging out with just doing foolish things. And so, after almost getting in trouble, I had a senior a senior chief and a master chief approached me and asked me kind of what I wanted out of my time in the service, and I just said like, I wanna be able to serve the country.

Daniel Mayberry: I wanna be able to do the job that I signed up to do. And they started pointing me in direction of other jobs that might just be more engaging for me. And I discovered Corman on our ship. Like I said, we had embarked Marines and Marines don’t have their own medical staff, and Corman were usually attached to them.

Daniel Mayberry: And I found out like, oh. Do one of these jobs where we get on these really cool machines and go float out in the middle of the ocean and go end up on a beach. And just like do field operations. That sounds really cool, really active, and they always just seem to have a good time. And so, I took advantage and I struck for the rate of a corpsman after almost 20 months in.

Daniel Mayberry: And got through the schools really [00:04:00] fast. Did an accelerated pace for my training for core. Went out to Pendleton for my training to be with the Marines and got stationed out in Hawaii September 30th, 2004, and I was in Afghanistan November 6th of that same year. So about a month and two days to include pre-deployment leave and all that stuff.

Daniel Mayberry: Wow. It’s not a lot of time to turn around there, right? Not at all. And it was something that I had volunteered to do . The one mistake that I think that I made during that time is I forgot to tell my family exactly what I was doing. And so I called my dad on Christmas after sending him some pictures in the email, not thinking anything of it, and he was really confused.

Daniel Mayberry: He was like, Daniel, where are you? I was like, I’m in Afghanistan. Dad, what do you. I thought you were in the Navy on a ship. I was like, no, I told you. You certainly did not tell me . And that was a lot of my career. Like I just did what people [00:05:00] asked me to do. I mean, that’s what the military kind of trains you to do is if somebody asked you to do something, you say yes.

Daniel Mayberry: And so when they asked me to go to Afghanistan, right when I arrived, I said, absolutely. Got back and within seven months I was chosen to be a part of an Iraqi transition team. And so for those that may not know, it’s a, it’s just a team of 11 or 12 individuals, usually senior enlisted in officers embedded with the Iraqi army to train them how to take over for our withdrawal from the.

Daniel Mayberry: And so we were one of the first teams starting to do this in the country. And I was the low band on the totem pole. I was an E four amongst E six to oh five s and , you know, I just had to do what they told me to do. And so that deployment, you know, I got back in June and by January I was gone.

Daniel Mayberry: With, again, little bit of workups, not much workups. I was selected for the team in November, and in January we were gone. And so it was just like, all right, we’re gonna, we’re gonna learn how to do this on the go. And the guys that I deployed with were incredibly intelligent, incre, [00:06:00] incredibly motivated and just took care of business.

Daniel Mayberry: But When I got back from that deployment the way that we trained the Iraqi army for that particular deployment to prepare for operations was we patrolled. So we were usually out every day, anywhere from eight to 16 hours just doing operations with the Iraqi Army at about six six US service members.

Daniel Mayberry: And so. The idea was to find opportunities to engage with enemy combatants and petro the area police, the area and stuff like that. So when I came back that August one didn’t have much of a community because everybody else was senior enlisted. The battalion that was that we were kind of working with wasn’t due back for another two months.

Daniel Mayberry: And I was all the way out here in Hawaii. Separated from my family all the way back home. So, when I came back, just something was a bit off. And me and my girlfriend at the time, we kind of recognized that something wasn’t going quite right. We would go out to the bars in Waikiki and hang out like we used to [00:07:00] prior to that deployment.

Daniel Mayberry: But I started blacking out and ended up getting lost or you know, finding. I’d come to three or four miles away from where we had started our evening and nobody knew where I was. And so we decided, hey, we’re just not gonna go out in town until we figure out like how to not get blacked out and find out like what’s going on with the sudden Outburst, which for anybody that does know me, I’m just a very friendly individual.

Daniel Mayberry: But. You know, instead of going and talking to the medical cause, I was the medical, I just decided like this will pass. And I, I started picking up ranks. I got meritoriously promoted to E five, coming back from there. And senior guys started investing in me. I got to take over training I didn’t deploy for the remainder of my time with the unit.

Daniel Mayberry: Instead, I train people in combat, lifesavers in tactical combat casualty care for the next two to three years. And then I went on to become an independent duty corpsman and again, got the next rank. So within four or five years of becoming a corpsman, I went from E [00:08:00] three to E six and was really enjoying my career.

Daniel Mayberry: And then in 2010, yeah, go ahead. Oh yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I just wanted to kind of dissect some of this stuff here because yeah, go for it. There’s a lot going on in, in your career at this point, and it. It’s short at this point. Like, we’re not talking about a 20 year career. Yeah. And there’s a lot to unpack in this in this short period of time here.

Scott DeLuzio: And, you know, my first initial reaction when you said how the first ship you were on, it was pretty boring. My, my first thought was, Having served in a combat zone at, you know, serving during a time of war is boring, is a good thing. Like, it’s a really good thing. If things are boring, that means that bullets are not coming over your head, that bombs are not going off around you.

Scott DeLuzio: Like boring is a good thing, but you know, like you said you’re station near close to home near where you went to school, high school, and you know, if you’re getting in trouble, obviously that’s not a good thing. Yeah. But it’s also kind of funny. Once when you started working more with the [00:09:00] Marines, that’s when you stopped kind of getting in trouble.

Scott DeLuzio: Like I would think the Marines would be the ones that would get you in trouble if just, no, the Marines that I’ve known that they’re the ones who will get you in trouble. If if there’s trouble to be had, they’ll find it. But in, in all seriousness though it’s good that you were able to find that thing.

Scott DeLuzio: Made your time in service. I don’t wanna say that it wasn’t meaningful before, but it made it so that you felt like you had a more of a sense of purpose and belonging part of a team. And there was things that you actually were doing as opposed to, you know, just kind of sitting on a ship, waiting for the ship to b decommissioned or whatever you’re doing, you’re just kind of twiddling your thumbs almost.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s almost what it seemed like, but you know, Change that you made, sort of put you on the fast track to having a lot more good things come your way in your career. Right. A lot of on the job training, it seems like not a lot of downtime to, to be doing this kind of stuff. So it, all of this stuff is good, [00:10:00] but at the same time I would almost imagine that it, if stuff is coming at you too.

Scott DeLuzio: You don’t have time to catch up. Even just downtime after deployment, it seems like you’re kind of turning around really quickly from one deployment to the next. Not a lot of train up time, just decompressing time just to unwind after that last deployment. Right. So, you started to, I, and I didn’t mean to cut you off, but you started to get into kind of what was happening as.

Scott DeLuzio: You were getting into that blackout stage. You’re changing, your personality was certainly changing. I would imagine at this point. Yeah. What, what was going on with all of that?

Daniel Mayberry: Yeah. So, some of the stuff that, that was happening, I ended up during that time coming back from Iraq, it was a really interesting time.

Daniel Mayberry: The woman that I was with, I mean, God bless her soul, she. She really took an investment in my career as I was progressing. She took an investment in making sure that I didn’t get in trouble. She knew a lot of my background where I did [00:11:00] get in trouble, like, prior to coming out here in who I am, I’m, I’ve always been kind of open about the dumb stuff that I’ve done, either in like funny jokey ways or whatever.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, but we started to see the drinking be a different type of problem. and you know, we did what a lot of young people did is we got married so that we could get b a h and move in together. But I stopped taking an interest in participating in her life very quickly. I just stayed home a lot.

Daniel Mayberry: If I wasn’t working, I was just kind of apathetic. Didn’t really do much began gaining a lot more. . And it was just a lot of symptoms that you would kind of associate with depression. , you know, I didn’t go around fireworks. I didn’t go out into crowds. It was all things that kind of made me very uncomfortable and that was a lot of what led to some of those blackouts is that I would drink quickly to get comfortable.

Daniel Mayberry: And then. The twist is that I became violent, which was just never anything that I had in [00:12:00] my background. A as a corpsman, I’m there to help people. I’m there to kind of be the caretaker. And honestly, like the Marines fought for me , right.

Scott DeLuzio: So yeah. And as, as a grunt when I was an army grunt like.

Scott DeLuzio: you protect doc at all costs. Like, like Doc is gold. No one screws with him, right.

Daniel Mayberry: Exactly. You know, and so when we would go out, like I was the aggressor towards people that like would be clownish at home, everything was kind of fine. Like I was very much controllable, but it was definitely in crowds.

Daniel Mayberry: My body would just react. So if I wasn’t in crowds, like that was all good. My ex and my wife at the time, like she still liked going out. We were young, we were 22, 23 years old. We had our friend groups and so I, I was completely okay with her going out and having fun, but she wasn’t really understanding why I wouldn’t do that anymore.

Daniel Mayberry: It was no longer an enjoyable experience for me. It was very scary. I didn’t know where I would end up. I wasn’t enjoying going to [00:13:00] dinner anymore. My body was in pain. You know, from whatever actions happened in Iraq. And so what ended up happening within the first six months is she ended up finding somebody else to spend her time with.

Daniel Mayberry: And then I had discovered within six months, which was a page turner for me to have a spouse essentially cheat on me. Well, she did cheat on me. I was really grateful for my reaction in that situation because I didn’t see it as she did this, she did something wrong to me. The way that I looked at it ago, it was, what did I do that led her there?

Daniel Mayberry: And so we, I mean, it, it took quite a few months to get there, but you know, I had a terrific father and mom that just kind of said, like, look at your part in her actions. And that’s what I did. That’s when I started to realize like, I’m not going out with her. We’re not engaging in, in, in communal activities.

Daniel Mayberry: I’m not spending time in the way that we used to. And so our actions started to change and my focus came more so on my career. I I [00:14:00] really because I had put on so much weight, like I was in danger of failing a few of the physical fitness standards. And so I really took to running in fitness.

Daniel Mayberry: For quite a period of time and just got into my job and fitness and like, those were the two things that I focused on and that really worked for our relationship was, hey, this is what we’re working towards, or we’re working towards the next rank. We’re working towards the next race.

Daniel Mayberry: Like, so we started setting goals and we kind of did that from 2007 to my last deployment in 2010 when I came back end of 2010. It was a very cushy job for me. It was TAF, Afghanistan, but it was on a base. I didn’t go anywhere. Our base didn’t have a lot of people to treat with traumatic injuries.

Daniel Mayberry: It was more so like over the radio, that kind of stuff. It was my junior guys that were doing what I did earlier. And so I didn’t really like, that was pretty cushion when I got back. I went, I got sent to a training operat. And during the final exercise they were dropping flash bangs.

Daniel Mayberry: And I had my first ever like [00:15:00] sober anxiety attack where my body was not responding the way I was telling, like the way that I, my mind was telling my body to react. It just wouldn’t happen. I got caught, like we were in the mountains and they woke us up with flash bangs and stuff and my body just wouldn’t move.

Daniel Mayberry: I was curled up in a ball saying, I need to straighten my legs. I need to pick up my pack, and we need to start heading down the. And none of that happened. And it was one of the instructors that found me, cuz everybody had already started down the mountain. I was still laying there, like just curled up in a ball, freaking out.

Daniel Mayberry: And one of the instructors that was just clearing the site found me and kind of brought me back to the situation that we were at and we started down the hill and that was the first step towards me beginning to tell people, I think PTSD is still affecting me. And within four or five months I continued to investigate other areas of my life that were not as expected.

Daniel Mayberry: And the other one was drinking. I was drinking way more than I intended to. Again, career was still going well, [00:16:00] but I was, and I was still competing in, in physical fitness events, but I was drinking far more than I intended to. And with the anxiety attacks, like I decided to ask for, And that’s kind of what led me down this journey towards, towards where we’re at now.

Daniel Mayberry: But first I had to start the recovery process for myself from the P T S D and alcohol dependence.

Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. And when you hear stories like this and you have people like, like yourself, like, like me, who were out here trying to help other people very often you end up with you, you end up having a situation very much.

Scott DeLuzio: What they describe when you get on an airplane, when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anybody else. And the reason why they say that is because if you are struggling with somebody to help them put their mask on and you don’t have yours on, you’re gonna end up passing out and they’re also gonna end up passing out, and you’re no help to anybody.

Scott DeLuzio: So, in this situation it seemed like, you know, you needed to get yourself [00:17:00] under control, get your drinking under control, get your everything. Going in the right direction. Get that anxiety and the depression and everything else that you had going on under control. There’s no way you’d be sitting here talking to me today doing the things that you’re doing right now.

Scott DeLuzio: If you couldn’t get yourself under control, to some extent, you know, we’re all work in progress. I’m not saying that, you know, whatever you did up until this point you’re boom, you’re magically cured. Like , like you went to the doctor with some magic pill and they instantly fixed you right. I’m not that way either.

Scott DeLuzio: I’m still a work in progress too. I still have stuff that I need to work on, but but with all of that said you know, you understood that there was a problem. You kind of took ownership of that. You know, even in your marriage, you , you said you, you didn’t look at it as, what did she do to me?

Scott DeLuzio: You’re like, okay, well how did I let it get to this point? Right? Yeah. That’s. That extreme ownership that Jocko talks about , like, that’s about as extreme of ownership as you, you can even get right there. It’s like, okay, how did I screw up to [00:18:00] make, to let this , which was going good at one point.

Scott DeLuzio: Like obviously we got married. Yeah. Like things were going good at one point. How did I let it get to this point? That right there is. The first thing that popped to my mind, I was like, man, that guy has taken some ownership of this situation and he’s gonna figure something out. Right? Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: That was,

Daniel Mayberry: . Yeah, go ahead. With that story she had, so she had ended up developing a relationship with a married Marine that had taken a second job at one of the bars that we frequented prior to Iraq. And so, I found out who it was. The night that I found out who it was.

Daniel Mayberry: I logged onto my email thinking it was my email and it was hers and they were talking in there. So it wasn’t like I was snooping around or suspected anything. It was like, I think it was like Christmas Eve or something like that where, you know, we were playing a video game together and it was like, oh, I’m gonna hop on and check.

Daniel Mayberry: I. I don’t know if it was like my MySpace or something or whatever. I found the conversation, found out who the guy was, and had an opportunity to [00:19:00] to talk with him. I went to his command. And what was really funny is the leadership there had kind of behind closed doors said to me like what do you wanna do?

Daniel Mayberry: Like, do you want us to just. Lock the door and have you guys dispute it out. And I was like, no. I think that, like this guy is having an issue, like he’s an E four, he’s got a second job. He’s got a wife, he’s got a kid. And so, I was like, I wanna sit down and talk with him and his wife, and I want to give mine a chance to apologize for any damage that she’s done.

Daniel Mayberry: And so we sat down and had a counseling session. And his leadership was in the room sitting around us. And I just let him know, like the Marine Corps had a tr has a tremendous amount of resources to help families that are experiencing financial difficulties, you know, getting started a, as a young family all you have to do is let them know what your strifes are like.

Daniel Mayberry: Don’t try to solve the problem on your own. It’s still gonna take a lot of work on the part of the Marine and and I was fortunate enough after two years to [00:20:00] follow up and see where he had went. Their marriage was going great. He picked up rank again. He was no longer working a second job.

Daniel Mayberry: Like he found the resources that he needed to be able to move on. That’s great.

Scott DeLuzio: While a while the wall counseling session would’ve probably felt great at the time, it, it wouldn’t have solved anything either. You know, I mean, it would’ve maybe let you release some frustration and you know, re rearrange some of the guy’s teeth.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, it wouldn’t have solved anything in his situation. It would’ve made that any better. It wouldn’t have solved anything in your situation. It just would’ve made the guy hate you, even, you know, even more. And you know, it wouldn’t have done anything with your relationship with your wife at the time.

Scott DeLuzio: And like, none of that would’ve really been improved. So you definitely took the high road there. And you know, hats off to you because I don’t. How easily I would’ve been able to come to that realization myself if I was in the same situation. I probably would’ve been like, yeah, lock the door and you might wanna call [00:21:00] an ambulance cause this guy’s gonna need it.

Scott DeLuzio: But you are definitely a better man than me in this situation here.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, when you live through the situations or see people that you love live through similar situations, you wanna find different solutions to those problems. Yeah I’ve watched too many loved ones and too, Sailors and marines go through horrible, messy divorces.

Daniel Mayberry: Kids end up hurt because of it. Where and the simple reality is there’s a solution to every problem that we have. Right? It just may take a little bit of work to get there, you know, and I kind of recognize that I’ve been fortunate enough to be been taken care of by every command I’ve been at.

Daniel Mayberry: But not everybody else has been that fortunate. And so I wanna be able to point. To those directions. I mean, same thing with the va. Not every VA is created the same, and not everybody is treated the same. But there is a solution in your area. And so we just have to find out what that is.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And again, not every problem is going to be the same. Like I, if I have a problem, if you have a problem, or problems aren’t [00:22:00] necessarily gonna be the same, and they’re not gonna necessarily require the same solution, maybe a solution that the VA offers a solution for. But it may not, it may be something else.

Scott DeLuzio: It may be some other organization in the area that, that can help. Has nothing to do with the va, doesn’t really matter where the help comes from, as long as the help is received and it’s put into place and it’s being implemented the way it needs to be. So what helped you the most, do you think with your battle, with ptsd, depression, anxiety, drinking.

Scott DeLuzio: All of the above. What helped you the most?

Daniel Mayberry: The most? So I go by five pillars of health that I try to evaluate my life. And this way I’m always able to work on an area, and that’s physical health, mental health, spiritual health occupational and relational health as well. I think for me the most important and most consistent that’s been in my life has been spiritual health.

Daniel Mayberry: Just because needing that purpose that’s beyond myself is really critical for my life. Like having [00:23:00] a spiritually healthy life allows me to not be selfish and thinking about myself all the time, right? It, it points me towards that higher purpose. And honestly when I was getting separated from the military, I was losing a lot of purpose.

Daniel Mayberry: I mean, I had a 30 year career. When I asked for help, it was to prepare for the next deployment so that I could be in, in top shape. I didn’t know that it would lead to me being separated. Right. You know? And so I lost a lot of purpose coming out, and it took me a long time to find an occupational purpose.

Daniel Mayberry: But my spiritual health just kept on defining what my purpose would. and honestly, like, it’s always been to help the next person

Scott DeLuzio: and that seems like it makes sense because of, I mean, just the job that you had in the Navy being a corpsman, like you’re, your whole mission is to be there for somebody else.

Scott DeLuzio: , like, you’re not there for you. Obviously you have to be there for you. You’re a part of the team, part of the whole big picture. [00:24:00] You’re there to help the Marines and other sailors who might need the corpsmen to come and help them with whatever , situation they, they’re finding themselves in.

Scott DeLuzio: And so like, it makes sense that you would fall back on something like that in, in this stage of life where you’re trying to you know, help get yourself back on, on the right track the spiritual side of things. And in that, Serving a purpose bigger than yourself. That makes a ton of sense.

Daniel Mayberry: Yeah. Yeah. And then I think one of the bigger areas of growth came this past year when I started getting involved with the veteran community because for a long time, I mean, I got out in 2013 and from 2013 to 2022. I didn’t really engage with military or veterans. I did some events, you know, I went to some programs that were offered, but I never built relationships again with veterans or military members.

Daniel Mayberry: And so I was kind of going it alone. I mean, I had my my [00:25:00] wife and my friends, but none of them were military. I actually kind of shied away from building relationships with anybody that was military or veteran. Because I felt inadequate. I felt like I let a lot of people down. And so this year I started reengaging with that community and building new relationships and found out , you know, through, through the trial, through this trial was like, I’m not the only one that, that feels this way.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. Yeah. And that’s, that was a big realization for me as well. Just realizing that I’m not the only one out there who was. Depressed, who is anxious, who’s drinking too much. You know, a lot of the stuff that you’re saying about your own story and your own background, I was like, yeah, that kind of sounds like me.

Scott DeLuzio: But we weren’t the only ones who dealt with things drinking too much or, you know, getting angry and have an outbursts or whatever like that, that we’re not the only ones out there who do that. And that to me was kind of a wake up [00:26:00] call because. There are, the statistics are out there, you know, the numbers vary, but you know, on average around 22 veterans a day taking their own lives and i, I’ve known veterans who’ve taken their lives. I’m sure you have as well. One is too many and. You know, I don’t want, I don’t want anyone to end up being that statistic. You know, we got 22 more people to save tomorrow. I don’t want anyone to become that statistic, but I especially don’t want anyone that I know that I care about that, that I served with, that we fought alongside each other.

Scott DeLuzio: We fought to keep each other alive, and now we just oh, well. You know what, what, whatever happens. Like that to me doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So, yeah. So that, that’s, I mean, part of the reason why I have this podcast is to help those people and I’m sure that’s part of the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing today

Daniel Mayberry: too.

Daniel Mayberry: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I’ve had three near suicide attempts in my life. One when I first. And had a lot of idle time and too much time to party [00:27:00] and substances were definitely a part of that which led me to start asking for help at a young age. The next time was when I found out that I was losing my career.

Daniel Mayberry: That was definitely, you know, I was losing my purpose. And yeah, that was very difficult to overcome. But gra by by the grace of God, like there was somebody there in my community. that reached out that night and had no clue that they saved my life, but they saved my life. And then the most profound moment was everything was going really amazing in, in my life.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, I was, this was 2020, so it was February of 2020. Most of us knew what Covid was before lock, like, so this wasn’t anything like isolation related at all. I was working my way through my master’s program. I was expanding our media company and I had job offers and like, life was really good.

Daniel Mayberry: Finances were stable, didn’t have a care in the world. And, it was a [00:28:00] Saturday night. And my wife was heading over to a friend’s one-year old’s birthday party, and I just decided to stay home that night. Now we’ve always been kind of aware of my depressive symptoms and when I’m feeling apathetic or on edge.

Daniel Mayberry: Because throughout our entire marriage I’ve been. I’ve been very open, so I met my, my current wife as I was going through recovery and getting started and throughout our entire marriage, I was just always upfront with her, with everything in my life. You know, whatever happened on the battlefield.

Daniel Mayberry: I mean, she knows everything about my past. Like there, there’s about four people in my life that know every detail of my life, and she’s one of ’em. And. This night, we didn’t suspect anything was wrong. Like I was just gonna, I was gonna hang out at home take a break, and probably just like watch some good TV or something.

Daniel Mayberry: I don’t I don’t know what my plans are, but as I was sitting there watching the tv, the [00:29:00] thought entered my mind and the planning began and I took some of the steps that I knew to. You know, I prayed about it. I meditated, I distracted myself. I did I engaged in some physical activity cuz we, we always have a home gym where we’re living.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, I tried to just distract myself and get those thoughts away and they progressed and they progressed very rapidly. And so when my wife got home, I felt very ashamed that the thoughts were there and they were stronger than. And so I was just like, all right, well I’m gonna sleep it off.

Daniel Mayberry: Like, we’re just gonna get to bed. And so we got to bed, woke up in the morning and went to go serve in our church and which was, you know, a two minute walk away. And we served in our church, but the thoughts persisted, like the message is being preached. I’m in service, I’m talking with people, but the thoughts are still pressing.

Daniel Mayberry: The plan is still progressing. I had the tools, I had the date, like I had everything select. And it was actually Super Bowl Sunday. We were supposed to go to a friend’s house to watch the game as we do every year. And while we were walking home from church I just told her, I [00:30:00] was like, I need to talk to you.

Daniel Mayberry: Like this is very pressing. And I told her what was going on and immediately, and again, I revealed everything that was happening to include like, the stuff that I really didn’t want her to know about. And she, for anybody thinking of doing this with their spouse, Find out if they want to know every detail.

Daniel Mayberry: If not, like make sure that you have somebody on standby that you can do this with. But she agreed de you know, a decade ago to be this person that wants to know she wants to be involved. And so I told her everything that was going on in my head and immediately for me, the thoughts, the feelings gone.

Daniel Mayberry: I was ready to eat lunch. I was ready to watch the game. . You know, she was in the room processing what had happened. She called the crisis line, had them talk to me. They gave me in all clear. You know, and for her it was very troubling cuz this is the worst that had gotten since we had been together.

Daniel Mayberry: But at the same time I was working on my master’s program and the project that they [00:31:00] asked me to do was come up with a community project. That would help benefit where you’re living. And hence the one Mile one veteran idea was born of having outlets to deal with these thoughts and then build yourself a community where you can be transparent and like.

Scott DeLuzio: I do apologize because I don’t believe that I mentioned the name of your podcast and what you’re doing earlier in the episode. So for the listeners the podcast, one Mile One Veteran, and that’s part of this community that you’re talking about, right? Yeah. So, so tell us about that and what you’re currently doing with all of that and kind of continue where you left off, like where that came from and where you’re at, where

Daniel Mayberry: it’s.

Daniel Mayberry: Yeah, so we, we were playing with the idea we know that physical activity raises endorphins and helps decrease depression. Depression. So if you’re consistently physically active chances are your mood’s already gonna be elevated. Your body’s gonna be more physically healthy, which again, is going to reduce depression.

Daniel Mayberry: If you’re outdoors, you’re experiencing vitamin D from the sun, which again, reduces symptoms of depression. [00:32:00] And so the idea is to encourage people to walk a mile a. Which is really hard to build into your schedule if you’re not already accustomed to doing it, you know? But it takes about 20 to 24 minutes to walk one mile, and our episodes are 20 to 24 minutes.

Daniel Mayberry: And so we encourage people at the very beginning, but on your shoes, step out the door and just go for a walk while you listen to a story from another veteran or somebody that supports the community. And listen to their story of inspiration and kind of what’s, what they’ve gone through and what they’re doing now.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, some of them range from comical to absolutely relatable and overwhelming for those that have experienced loss. You know, but. They all have something to add to our veteran community, a resource to add through that personal testimony. And then at the end of the episode, we ask people to just reach out to another person like we I know how heavy the phone can get.

Daniel Mayberry: I know how hard it can [00:33:00] be to speak to somebody during a hard time. I still struggle during the hard times to share with others what I’m presently going through. Usually I only share after I’ve already overcome. Which is so counterproductive, right? You know, and, but I’ve gotten better at it, especially this year, of telling people to do it.

Daniel Mayberry: I’m just like, I gotta use my tools. I gotta tell somebody what I’m going through. And honestly for me, like the depressive symptoms have been way less this year than any other year because I’m sitting here thinking, Hey, if somebody. Talking to me on a regular basis and communicating with me on a regular basis.

Daniel Mayberry: Maybe this is somebody that like trusts and loves me that I can now share something with. You know, even if we’re just out having fun all the time, they also know this part about me. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: And it’s interesting how therapeutic the action of just having conversations like this one right now can be you know, just talk, just the talking to another veteran. [00:34:00] Getting to know their story, knowing their background. It could be over a cup of coffee. It could be, you know, if you’re inclined to having a beer or whatever it you could just having a conversation or on a Zoom call like this and just talking to somebody.

Scott DeLuzio: , you know, prior to this call, prior to probably five minutes before I started recording this episode, you. We didn’t know each other, like we hadn’t talked to each other. I mean, we emailed back and forth and we had some, you know, communications that way. But you know, we didn’t really know each other.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s not like we’re old, you know, buddies from our time in the military. But we’re talking as naturally as if we had served for 20 years ago. You know, to me that, that seems that way. And it’s a strange thing that happens with people who have served in the. And I don’t really care what era it was, whether it was the Global War on Terror area, the Desert Storm, the Vietnam go back years and years.

Scott DeLuzio: There’s some common ground that you can find and you can have a conversation with any one of those guys or ladies and [00:35:00] get together and be able to share and open up and just talk about things. My God. Does it feel so much better to just be able to get stuff off your chest and like you said, you know, just the action of telling your wife about what was going on in your head, like had that therapeutic effect where you weren’t really planning on going through with that situation anymore after you got that off your chest.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And it’s a simple thing, but thank God you had somebody around that you could talk to. Right

Daniel Mayberry: abs. Absolutely. What’s amazing about it is since that time I’ve come to learn that it’s very common to have thoughts like this. The more people I talk to, the more people I find have very similar thoughts.

Daniel Mayberry: And most of ’em won’t say anything because they don’t know who to talk to about it. They don’t know what to say. You know. Gracefully for me, especially like when dealing with medical personnel, it’s [00:36:00] a very frightening thing to, to tell somebody. Cuz it’s like, oh, am I gonna end up locked up in a in a mental institution because I have this thought, right?

Daniel Mayberry: Like it’s a thought And you know, so what I always try to tell people that are treating me is these are thoughts that I have. And if you tell me that they’re wrong, like that’s not okay. Now I don’t necessarily have plans to go through it. Most of the time that I have similar type thoughts, I don’t have plans.

Daniel Mayberry: I make sure that I don’t have means in my house that I’m actually going to use. So like for me, I don’t keep firearms around. I’m not against them, but I’m also an impulsive person. And so like for me, it’s better to have it away. I know like there’s locks that the VA gives away so that they’re removing a step.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, I had to get some rid of some items in my house after that last thought because I was just like, oh, I can use this. . And I was like, I’ve gotta get rid of that. And that’s for me, like that’s how I protect myself. But the thoughts, I’m able to more easily talk to [00:37:00] people of like, yeah I have apathy right now.

Daniel Mayberry: I don’t feel love for anyone. I want the pain to end. Those types of things which are just very common. I’m not looking for anybody to fix it. But, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna turn to my scripture, and this is where I said like my spiritual life comes in handy a lot. Is my scripture says like when that we’re to confess our sins our darkest thoughts one to another, and that the enemy can’t hide when we shine light.

Daniel Mayberry: So like, I don’t have anybody that’s fighting against me in the darkness because none of. Life has darkness. I don’t walk around with shame or anything hidden, just very transparent. You can look through me, you can ask me what you want. And you know, like I it’s very weird to even just have open conversations about my finances with people that I trust, right?

Daniel Mayberry: Like they’ll ask me like, oh, how much do you make? This is how much I make. You know,

Scott DeLuzio: And that openness I mean, hats off to you for that, but that openness, first off it’s a very vulnerable thing because you’re opening up, pulling back the curtain and letting every, everybody [00:38:00] who is around see inside of what’s going on, inside of your head, what’s going on inside of your mind.

Scott DeLuzio: And you know, like you said, sometimes people do have dark thoughts. Doesn’t necessarily mean that. I’m gonna follow through on those dark thoughts. But it’s good to have somebody in your corner who’s aware of those types of things, so that way if they notice you starting to maybe act a little differently or whatever, they can just kind of follow up with you and help you out through that thing where you otherwise might have felt like you’re all alone.

Scott DeLuzio: I have nobody to turn to. I can’t talk to anybody. But there was a study in or some sort of research, and I don’t remember exactly where it came from, but it talked about people who survived suicide attempts, like jumping off of a bridge or something, and they survived the fall and they lived to tell the tale afterwards in almost all the cases of the people that they interviewed of these people, they said, As soon as they left the bridge, they were regretting that decision [00:39:00] that they wish they, they hadn’t done that.

Scott DeLuzio: Like they didn’t actually want to die. They just wanted the pain to stop the, whatever it was that they were going through. They wanted that to stop, but they didn’t want to actually die. And they were regretful of that. And you know, I, you can’t necessarily correlate that to every single person who.

Scott DeLuzio: Thought about this ever in their entire life. But I gotta imagine that there’s a lot of people out there who were in a situation like you were in where, you know, you didn’t necessarily want to die. You just wanted whatever it was that was going on in your life to stop the these thoughts that you’re having.

Scott DeLuzio: You want this stuff to stop, but I mean, yes. Is that a way to make it. Yes. But it a good way? No, it’s a terrible way. It, there, there are other ways and you know, finding things that are much more productive and serving that higher purpose something bigger than yourself, that, that’s a great way to not be so down on yourself and beating yourself up in your own mind.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you know, the, and there are other ways too. [00:40:00] not saying that’s like the way that everyone just do this thing and now magically you’re cured, but, There, there’s lots of things that you can do and it doesn’t involve take, making that permanent decision, right? So well, anything else that you have going on with the one Mile one veteran and anything else that you want to share with the listeners before we wrap up today?

Daniel Mayberry: Yeah. So with our One Mile One Veteran podcast, you know, we’re always. Trying to reach new audiences. We do have plans to one day go to the mainland and put on some community walks and just let people know about it. And I say the mainland, for those that may not have picked up on it, that’s, I’m out here in Hawaii and we still call it that.

Daniel Mayberry: We’re also always encouraging people to support us through our Patreon account at one mile, one veteran. We have our full conversations with our guests there, so there’s a little bit more story that that people have, but to cut it down to time for that one mile journey we leave some on the cutting room floor.

Daniel Mayberry: We also [00:41:00] have the videos available there and we’re actually going to be starting up a YouTube channel in the coming weeks to months. We’re collecting our stories and. You’ll see us engaging in different types of physical challenges, learning new things, just trying to continue to stay actively engaged within our community and bring different ideas for people to do things and get active or get started in this in this personal development phase.

Daniel Mayberry: The reason that we talk about the five different pillars is because we always have something that we can be working on, whether it’s our physical health, you know, we can always be conscientious. Our diet or our physical activity our mental health. Because if you do struggle with these types of thoughts, it’s really important to talk to a professional just to make sure that you’re on the right path.

Daniel Mayberry: It doesn’t necessarily need to be a weekly thing or a monthly thing, but just checking in and saying, Hey, like, can you kind of gauge how healthy my mind is? These are the things that I do. These are the thoughts that I have. That’s what I do now. I’m a part of community groups and then [00:42:00] I have a regular checkup with my doctor just to make sure that I’m not regressing.

Daniel Mayberry: You know, with the spiritual health aspect, finding that purpose beyond ourselves, our relational health, really within our communities as well as within our own families, like engaging with another person on their. Without assuming that they’re against us or want nothing to do with us.

Daniel Mayberry: I mean, a lot of the times I’ve written a lot of people off just because they haven’t had shared experiences at least my perception of shared experiences. Sure. And then you know, the occupational health. For us, we just really wanna encourage people, do something that you can lo that you love doing, whether it’s a hobby or your job, like make sure that you have a healthy outlet.

Daniel Mayberry: You don’t have to do all of these things all at once. And so like, we’ll have that on the podcast. We’ll have that on the YouTube video. Just trying to introduce new ideas to people, new organizations, to people new podcasts like the Drive, On, Podcast to individuals to say, Hey. If you don’t, like, if you, if you don’t like my coffee, go have his

Scott DeLuzio: And that’s a great way to [00:43:00] do it. And I think I mentioned this before we started recording. You know, if you’re successful in what you’re doing, then I feel like I’m successful too because ultimately I want people to get the help that they need find the resources that they need. I don’t care if it’s coming from my podcast or my website or anything that I put out there on social media.

Scott DeLuzio: If. Someone hears your story and they resonate more with you even through listening to this podcast, and they move over and they start listening to yours more than mine. I don’t really care. Like I’m not in it for the stats and download numbers and all that stuff. I don’t care about those things as much as I do, helping the people who need it.

Scott DeLuzio: And if someone finds it in your podcast, then, you know, has off to, to you and them for finding what they need. So, you know, absolutely I will have links. Your website for the one mile, one veteran.com and all your social media and everything. I’ll put all of the links to that in the show notes.

Scott DeLuzio: So anyone who’s looking to find out more about your podcast and everything that you’re doing, they can check out [00:44:00] the show notes and get those links there. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I really do appreciate you taking the time to come on the show and share your story, your background, and everything that you have been doing in the recent years to help out the other people in our

Daniel Mayberry: community.

Daniel Mayberry: So thanks again. Hey, thank you so much, Scott, and keep doing what you’re doing. All right.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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