Helping Veterans With Dr. Sherry Walling
Dr. Sherry Walling is a clinical psychologist, speaker, yoga teacher, podcaster, entrepreneur, and best-selling author.
We touched on a wide range of subjects. Veteran suicide, the VA, when the right time is to seek help, relational and moral injuries, and a whole lot more.
You don't want to miss this episode.
Links & Resources
- The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Sh*t Together - by Dr. Sherry Walling
- ZenFounder Podcast
- If you're an entrepreneur, subscribe to this podcast!
- ZenFounder on Facebook
- ZenFounder on Twitter
- ZenFounder on LinkedIn
- Dr. Walling on LinkedIn
Scott DeLuzio: 00:03 Hi everybody, this is the Drive On Podcast where we talk about issues affecting veterans after they get out of the military. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:14 Hey everyone, before we get started, I wanted to give you a quick heads up that in this episode, at some point, we're going to talk about the topic of suicide. I wanted to let you know beforehand in case that's not something that you want to listen to. I know we've talked about it before on this show and I dropped the ball about giving a disclaimer about it. So, I'm sorry about that. I do start off that segment in this episode with a question about veteran suicide. And that segment from that point, goes for approximately 12 minutes. So, if you're at a place that you don't really want to hear that type of thing for one reason or another, go ahead and just fast forward through that 12-minute segment. Once you get through that, you should be in the clear. The rest of the episode before that and after is really good.
Scott DeLuzio: 01:00 And so, I don't want to discourage people necessarily from listening to it; although, if you just don't want to take the risk and you don't want to listen to it, that's fine too. Stop it here and there'll be no hard feelings about that. With that said, if you're somebody who's maybe struggling with thoughts of suicide or other issues, we do have a link on our website now with a bunch of resources that might help. At the top of the website driveonpodcast.com there's a link for veteran resources. If you're on a mobile device, the link might look like three little lines that are next to the logo that will open up a menu where you should be able to find the veteran resources there. There are phone numbers you can call and websites that you can go check out to hopefully get the help that you're looking for, if you should need it.
Scott DeLuzio: 01:48 So with that, we'll get on with the show. Hey everyone. Today my guest is Dr. Sherry Walling. Dr. Walling is a clinical psychologist who supports people with high intensity jobs. She's a host of the Zen Founder podcast and also the bestselling author of the book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Shit Together. Dr. Walling, I might refer to you as Doc at some point in this episode. I hope that's okay with you.
Sherry Walling: Yes and Sherry is also fine too, whatever you choose.
Scott DeLuzio: Okay. Welcome to the show. And why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Sherry Walling: 02:26 I have a really incredible, some of the most intense high-performing people around us and I help people who are really high performing and have conversations about mental health. So, sometimes it's having a conversation with me about mental health. Sometimes it's thinking about how to promote mental health within their companies or within their spheres of influence. So, I'm increasingly becoming just an ambassador for mental health conversations in the places where it's hardest to have them. So, I'm really excited to be on the podcast with you. I've spent many years working in the VA and working as a psychologist for people who had recently returned from overseas deployment. And so, it's the veteran and in military populations where I learned how to serve high intensity people because that's who was coming in my office.
Scott DeLuzio: 03:22 Right. And that certainly is one of the more-high intensity type of occupations that you could have, too. So, that's one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on the show too is because of your background working with combat vets. I think you're probably very familiar with the difficulties that the veterans are having after returning from deployment and even after getting out of the military, some of that readjustment period that they might be going through. Do you mind sharing, I know you said you worked at the VA but how you worked with them in terms of what capacity were you working with them? What types of things were you doing at the VA when you were working with them?
Sherry Walling: 04:05 I did my several years of training and then my postdoctoral fellowship at different VAs around the country. I spent time at the West Los Angeles VA where I rotated through a couple of different divisions within the VA. One is the GREC, the geriatric research and education center? I actually got to work with folks who were deployed during World War II, during Korea, so people who really hold a lot of stories and deep wisdom and insight. So, it was really interesting to work there. And then I worked in outpatient psychology also at the West LA VA. The next year I went to the East LA PTSD clinic, which is a specialized clinic for veterans who've been diagnosed with PTSD. And it's located in East Los Angeles, which in and of itself is a community which works with and has carried a lot of trauma stories.
Sherry Walling: 05:07 So, lots of people come to that community from around the world where they've had trauma. Often, in the context of where they're from, whether it's Guatemala or Honduras or places around the world. And then have participated in the military and then are coming back to a community that also has a lot of trauma happening. So, I actually really loved working there. Just a really interesting community. From there I went to Yale for a year and then I went to the Boston VA, which houses the national center for PTSD, which I don’t know if your listeners are familiar with that entity, but in the early 80s was a partnership set up between the VA and major research universities. And it actually was born specifically from a congressional mandate to try to better understand the reactions that we were seeing in veterans who were returning from Vietnam. And so, the national centers for PTSD, there are seven or eight that are spread around the country. But the Boston VA is a partnership between the VA and Boston University School of Medicine. And it is one of the preeminent research institutions in the world to really try to understand what's going on with trauma and how do we help people who are coming back from combat readjust well.
Scott DeLuzio: 06:33 The VA gets a bad rap sometimes with the veterans and I'm not going to go down that rabbit hole.
Sherry Walling: 06:44 I get it though. I mean, it's like an exercise in bureaucracy and futility. Like I totally get it. And if you are a veteran who's like, “Oh my God, I'm so over the VA,” like I understand, I also will tell you that there are some really amazing physicians and psychologists and staff at the VA who really want to make life better. And we're really sorry that it's so fucking hard to get to us.
Scott DeLuzio: 07:08 Yeah. And it is one of those things where a lot of people are turned off from it but hearing stories about all these different centers for research and other things that are going on there it's sort of encouraging to know that there's things that are being done that veterans can look forward to and hopefully get that help that they need through the VA. Through this podcast and just through talking to other veterans that I know, I know that a lot of us have mental health issues but the military still has a “suck it up and be a man” kind of attitude where
Scott DeLuzio: 07:57 they tried to bury some of those mental health issues, to some extent. Although it certainly has gotten better over the years, I'm sure 20, 30 years ago it was much worse than it is now. But that attitude sometimes prevents people from seeking out the help that they need. I hate that there is that attitude amongst people. I'd love to completely erase it but I don't think I can do that necessarily.
Sherry Walling: You and me both, man.
Scott DeLuzio: I don't think one is going to do that but what would you say is something that we can do to encourage other people, veterans especially with the context of this show but really anyone in general to go and get the help that they need. What is, with the people that you've seen was there some sort of trigger or something that prompted them to start to get help? Realize there's a problem, “I need to come and talk to somebody” or what's the best way that we can, as loved ones or caretakers or whatever be able to help push them in that direction.
Sherry Walling: 09:06 Yeah. I mean, unfortunately, mostly people get help too late. I would say, especially when I was working within the VA, the people that ended up coming through my door ended up there because they had hit their wives or they had lost a job or they'd crossed some line that was so far from who they were and who they wanted to be that they were basically like, what the fuck I need to do something different. So, I really wish we could get people in the room before those kinds of things happen because they become really difficult to repair. Right? Not only are you trying to repair what's injured within your mind and your heart but now you're trying to repair broken relationships, a broken career, like the external parts of your life that have been really jacked up.
Sherry Walling: 10:01 I think what's really hard about the veteran’s experiences that when you're in combat or even if you're just doing military service, there's a way of being normal that requires you to respond to extraordinarily dangerous events or situations. And so, you learn to adapt to that. And you learn to live in, and in some situations, in life threat pretty consistently and that becomes normal to you, but then when you come back, that level of heightened arousal, that level of care, that level of hypervigilance, doesn't fit in the situation in which you find yourself like at your kid's ballet recital. So, I think that's why I think it's so tricky with helping veterans get into care because the thing which now is creating a mental health crisis for you is the thing that you were asked to do. And if you did it well, you're almost inevitably going to experience some kind of significant mental health challenge in your reintegration to civilian life. And I wish we just were better about telling the truth about that. I think that would help with the, “you've done this kind of service. Part of returning is that you're going to need a mental health team to help prevent you from totally messing your life up.”
Scott DeLuzio: 11:33 Yeah. I think that's unfortunately you're right. I think people are definitely coming in to the mental health world to get help to see a professional, someone like yourself, too late, after something has happened that you can't necessarily take back; maybe domestic violence or something like that. You can't take those things back once they've happened and they damage relationships and everything like that. And in an otherwise good relationship that could have been salvage had things been caught earlier. Along those lines, what are some of the signs that maybe somebody might need to go talk to somebody about their mental health, maybe about some traumas that they experienced while serving overseas or just in their military service in general? Either them looking in at themselves and saying, geez, I'm doing these things or I'm acting this way or maybe the other way around where a loved one is seeing them acting differently or whatever. What are some of those signs that may be somebody might see? And I know it's probably different for everybody.
Sherry Walling: 12:47 Well actually, I think across the board like military or not, once you start to observe in yourself that you are not acting or being the kind of person that you want to be, I think that's a red flag. So specifically, I think that often looks a lot like irritability, having a really short fuse with people that you love. This comes out all the time with kids, for example. When you hear yourself responding in sort of a biting, cynical, sarcastic way to get your three-year old’s 85th question, those are times where it's just human to call uncle and say I need some help. Other early signs that there may be trouble brewing is really significant sleep disruption where you're waking up in the middle of the night or it takes you hours to fall asleep.
Sherry Walling: 13:44 Big significant changes in your appetite. You're eating a lot or you stop eating, you have no appetite. Those are early warning signs that something may not be well. I think what often happens is we feel irritable and so we turn to a little splash of scotch at night to try to calm down our inner world or we have trouble sleeping, so, we smoke a joint to try to like settle ourselves. And those coping mechanisms when they exist daily, over time can create a whole other host of problems. So again, the minute that you're thinking, “I don't really feel like myself” is probably a good time to get a checkup.
Scott DeLuzio: 14:41 I liked that you used the word checkup because typically when I hear the word checkup, I think of just routine, your annual doctor's visit, you go to check make sure, you know, but the hearts beat in while the lungs are breathing well and everything's working the way that it's supposed to. And your mind is really no different in terms of needing a checkup. Probably from time to time to just make sure things are still ticking in the right way that they're supposed to be. A lot of times people don't think of it that way that you see someone with a broken arm and obviously they're going to go to the doctor because the doctor needs to set the arm and everything like that but sometimes your mind needs that checkup and needs that kind of care as well.
Sherry Walling: 15:25 I will say, we as mental health professionals, have not done a good job about talking about preventative mental health care, just like you would get your immunizations, you go get your cholesterol tested every year, there is a analogous way of thinking about mental health, that is just not the primary strategy for mental health within the U S. Usually where we're way more crisis reaction and much less prevention. I think if we could do more prevention, if we could go earlier, talk more, even if you're like, “I don't really think I have a problem but I feel like maybe there's a potential that I could someday,” that's the best time to go to therapy. We can do so much with that.
Scott DeLuzio: 16:17 I think part of it is just that stigma of feeling like I'm not able to handle my own problems. I'm not able to just suck it up and deal with it. That's why I need to go talk to somebody and get this help. And it seems probably to some people, like it's a crutch that they don't really want to admit that they need at the end of the day. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from going to get help if they need it by saying that. I feel like that's the stigma that is surrounding mental health and going to get that kind of help. But if more people did it and just went to get that kind of checkup, it would really normalize it and make it seem more accessible to people. You know what I mean?
Sherry Walling: 17:16 I have somebody that cuts my hair. I have an accountant that helps me with my taxes. I don't change the oil in my car. I have all of these professionals that know a lot about something that I don't know about, that I utilize on a weekly basis. I have an athletic trainer that helps me pursue my athletic goals. I have a physician that I go and see. I have a psychologist because I operate at a pretty elite level and I deal with a lot of psychological crap because of the work that I do. And that means that it's my responsibility to make sure that my psychological slate is clean and I'm as healthy as I can be. And that's no different for anybody who's returning from combat, which is inherently part of what it means to have served your country in that way, is that you've been on the edge, you've been at an elite level. And to sort of maintain the systems at that level requires usually some very specialized experts.
Scott DeLuzio: 18:26 Basically what you're trying to say here is that if you were to not go and take care of your own mental health by talking to somebody about your own mental health, you wouldn't necessarily be able to provide the best care possible to the people who are relying on you for your advice and your expertise. Let's change that around going back to the veterans who are coming back from overseas. You're operating at this high level and you need to have a clear head in order to continue to operate at that high level of intensity. And if your head is not as clear as it once was or it could be, then you're not going to operate at that high level of intensity. Go talk to somebody
Sherry Walling: 19:14 Honestly, like I work with CEOs, I work with really elite people who have come to believe that having a sounding board, a therapist, a coach, whatever you want to call it, is part of pursuing high level of performance and health.
Scott DeLuzio: 19:33 I'm changing gears a little bit here. I know veteran’s suicide is an issue. It's one of the reasons why I started the podcast. That is, in some ways it seems like it's just getting out of control, it's gotten to the point where whatever the numbers are, 22 people a day we're losing more people at home than we are in actual combat overseas. And that to me is just not acceptable. I know on a personal level, your family has experienced the effects of suicide and it’s a deeply personal issue. I'm truly sorry that your family has experienced that as I am for any family who has experienced that.
Scott DeLuzio: 20:33 I know there's no time machine and there's no way that you can go back in time and change things, but oftentimes, hindsight is 2020 and you see some of the writing that was on the wall, perhaps. I don’t know if that's the case in your situation but are there things that people could do? This is maybe a weird question.
Sherry Walling: It's a hard question to ask.
Scott DeLuzio: Are there things that family members could do to help their loved ones who might be on that edge, maybe they've expressed that they want to hurt themselves or things like that. What are those things that families and loved ones, friends, anybody really could do to help those people?
Sherry Walling: 21:29 So, I had to talk about this with a lot of nuance. My brother, Dave, took his life a little more than six months ago. So, it's still fairly new and in my family's story and he was 33 years old and someone that I loved very, very much and fought for. He had had a longstanding addiction to alcohol and two years before he died, my husband and I decided to take some drastic measures and we moved him from Montana to Minnesota where we live so that he could get some really high-quality care for his addiction. So, I think I will say that I'm someone who has taken lots of steps to be really involved because I knew that this could be a possibility for him.
Sherry Walling: 22:30 And the kinds of things that I think were important to do were to talk very directly about it and to say, over and over this song of, “I'm worried about you and love you. You don't seem, well, what do you need? How can I help?” Or even to go so far as saying, I'm bringing you home with me and you're going to treatment and that's what's going to happen, you know, fight me if you want. But I'm pretty powerful and convincing. Not everybody has the ability to do that or the resources or whatever. But I think the things that I'm glad that we did were to really make space for him to be in our lives even when he wasn't doing well. I did have some boundaries around that. Like when he was drinking, he wasn't invited into our home because I have young children but I would still go meet him at a coffee shop or whatever.
Sherry Walling: 23:31 When he was doing well, he was part of our family. So, like anyone, people who are in extreme pain, they want to have a place of belonging. I think it helps to tell people that you're worried about them. I think it helps to have open conversations like, I don't want you to die. You know, I said to my brother many times but switching gears as the family member of someone who has lost someone in this way, if there are any of you listening, it's a really, really lonely club and it's a really painful kind of loss. And I think that there were 10,000 things that contributed to this experience for my brother. You know, it wasn't one thing. It was lots and lots of things amassed over the course of his life. And maybe I had the power to change the story for like 1000 of the 10,000 things. But, ultimately, we lost him and I have to come to terms with even though I have the PhD and even though I'm supposed to do this professionally, I have to come to terms with the limits around what's possible for me to do. So, I think that's a hard message and I say it with a lot of nuance because it's like, yes, do all of these things be present, have the conversation, show up, love them and then also it's okay that you can't fix it.
Scott DeLuzio: 25:11 I think that last part is important to understand, as well, especially for the people who may have been in your shoes where they lost a loved one under similar circumstances to not beat themselves up and blame themselves or anything like that. Though I could have done this, I could have done better had I just done that, this wouldn't have happened type of thing. It's not your fault. It's clear, nobody wants that to happen to a loved one and we all do our best to try to prevent it. It's okay to not blame yourself and beat yourself up over things like that. I know it's going to hurt either way but don't add that extra hurt onto it.
Sherry Walling: 26:15 Sometimes I think about having a conversation with my brother and one of the ways I just think about it is to say sometimes I even say it out loud to him, “I would have gone lots and lots of places with you but you went the one place I can't go with you, I can't follow you and I can't accompany you down this path. I think that helps me sort of let go in a sense that I'm not going to go so far as to say, “Oh, it's complicated. Did he choose it? Was he ill?” Yes, all of those things. But also, the outcome was such that he took a route that I just couldn't go with him. And so, I imagined myself waving at him while he walks down a hiking trail or something. And I'm like, I can't go Dave.
Scott DeLuzio: 27:15 Or one of those old movies where he's about to board the train and head off across the country or something like that. It's hard. I lost my brother. He was in Afghanistan, he was killed in combat. I often have similar thoughts where I feel like he's just in China or something. He's just someplace else where I can't go for some reason. I just can't get there. Obviously, I know that's not true.
Sherry Walling: 27:47 I don't know what happens in this next adventure.
Scott DeLuzio: 27:52 No, that's true. He's not walking around the streets of Shanghai or something like that. He's someplace else. And yes, there may be somewhere else that we all meet up and have a beer or something but that would be nice. Who knows where we'll all end up at that point.
Sherry Walling: 28:22 But, but you kind of live with the shadow of it.
Scott DeLuzio: 28:26 Yeah. A little bit. And it's not, it's an uneasy thing to carry. This is almost 10 years now. It's about nine and a half years since he was killed. And it's still hard even this long afterwards to think about it and I still think, “gee, maybe there'll be one day that we'll meet up again or something like that. And I know it's delusional to think that like, it's not reality but every now and again you might have a dream where that happens and it's a nice feeling to have every now and again to that there is that possibility but it's not a true possibility. It's just a fleeting moment that crosses your mind.
Sherry Walling: 29:12 I think at least for my brother, he was aware of feeling like a burden to me and to my parents. I think he felt hopeless for his own recovery and then also just sort of like sad and ashamed that it was so hard for him to get better. And I wish I could have conveyed to him somehow, yeah, I was tired being by his side through years and years of addiction was no treat for me, but I would happily go another 10 years. I wasn't that tired and I think the issue of being a burden or feeling ashamed about your struggles is part of that stigma that really does drive suicidal behavior because people feel so hopeless and they isolate themselves in that hopelessness. And I so wish that he just could've known it wasn't a walk in the park but there was so much more to do and I had more energy to go with you like to accompany him
Scott DeLuzio: 30:39 and the things that are worthwhile in life are not always the easiest things to do, you know? And so, that was certainly something that was worthwhile. It wasn't an easy thing for you to do but you were certainly willing to do that. And there's a quote that has passed her on social media that is something along the lines. I'll probably butcher it, but it was something along the lines of, “I'd rather spend an hour or two hours or 10 hours talking to you about whatever the issues are that you're going through, then listen to your eulogy for 15 minutes. I would much rather sit down and have those conversations with people to keep them from doing something like that, then
Sherry Walling: 31:24 well, then spend the next 40 years of my life missing him.
Scott DeLuzio: 31:28 or that too. Yeah, that's another way to put it. And I think he probably even better way to put it. So, switching gears a little bit, I know that everyone's going to experience different things related to combat and the traumas that they experienced and some of these events that they experience tend to affect people much differently than they would affect somebody else. Somebody who maybe experience something that is seemingly insignificant to one person, to another person, it may be a seriously traumatic event to them and it affects them on multiple levels, years down the road even. So, it might seem like a nonevent to one person but it can haunt somebody else. I don’t know if I'm really clear on that but let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.
Sherry Walling: It is subjective.
Scott DeLuzio: 32:35 For example, when I was in Afghanistan, one of our jobs was to provide security at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan so that the cargo trucks that carry the military supplies could pass through freely. And one day at the checkpoint that we're at, I was standing maybe 75 yards or so away from a truck that was slowly passing through the checkpoint and a little kid pops up over the top of a truck and this kid couldn't have been more than 10, maybe 12 years old. He pointed what looked like to me like a rifle at some of our guys who are standing below the truck. They were at the point where unless they were looking up, they wouldn't have seen the kid. Where I was standing, I had a clear shot at the kid and so I got ready to shoot him before he was able to shoot any of our guys.
Scott DeLuzio: 33:24 And just as I was about to pull the trigger, I noticed that something just didn't seem right about the rifle that he was holding. And when I looked closer at the rifle through my scope, on my rifle, I noticed that it was just a piece of wood. And if you've ever seen an AK 47, a lot of it is wood. It was cut out to the shape of an AK 47 but it was just a piece of wood and I was like one trigger pull away from killing this kid. And so, I didn't shoot, that would not have been the right thing to do at that point, knowing what I knew but that type of thing, it turned out to be a non-event that the kid is, as far as I know, he's still alive, unless something else has happened,
Sherry Walling: Well, if he's walking out with that piece of wood, he's not setting himself up for a long life.
Scott DeLuzio: No, he's not. But it's something that I still think about it and this is almost 10 years ago now, that this happened and I still, you know, but I didn't, nobody died. No, there's no blood and Gore or body parts anywhere. It was literally nothing more than me raising a rifle and then realizing that I didn't need to have it raised and putting it down. And it's still something that I carry with me. I'm sure other people have other similar experiences where when they think back to it, they think, well, this is silly to even be worried about or to even still be thinking about because it was nothing, nobody died, nobody got hurt. Some people probably didn't even know that it happened, why is it that certain things affect some people and when they seem like they're kind of non-events almost.
Sherry Walling: I love that you're raising this question and I think it's really relevant for lots of folks because we think whether from inside the military or from outside like we think that it's the
Sherry Walling: 35:38 gruesome bloody battles that are going to mess with us. And in fact, it's not, it's not usually that those are not usually the things that drive PTSD. Um, death of other combatants is sort of what we sign up for and it's what we expect. And you know, not to be callous about it, but like, it's war. That's what you think is going to happen. The things that drive PTSD are more nuanced. They tend to be relational injuries or moral injuries. And what I mean by that is one of the most significant drivers of PTSD are things like military sexual trauma, where there's been this violation that you've experienced at the hands of someone that you trusted who's on your side. That's a really, really high trauma high PTSD event. Things like what you're describing is, you in that moment realizing how close you were to killing a child.
Sherry Walling: 36:45 And I might explore that as like the possibility of a moral injury of you doing a thing that yes, it made sense with the protocols and with the risk assessment that you did in your prefrontal cortex as a service member. But like in your soul, in the heart of your brain, you realizing this is not an action that I ever imagined that I would have to take. And it's that moment of preparation where you were ready, even though you didn't have to take it, you sort of felt in yourself that shift to what almost happened and it's a very nuanced moment, right? It's a nuanced experience. But I think for many service people it represents this sort of moral injury, this pain that happened because you almost had to do the thing that you never thought you would have to do.
Sherry Walling: 37:44 We imagine our combatants, like our enemies to be grownups, not children, right? And to be holding real weapons, not wooden weapons. And so, you almost made a mistake that could have cost a kid his life even though you know, again, all signs sort of pointed to the action that you took or the threat that you assessed. So, when those experiences are relational in some way, like we have a leader that orders us to do something that's either unwise or stupid or immoral, that's a highly traumatic event. When we experience the death of non-combatant women and children, those tend to be really high events, highly traumatic events. So, it is subjective and there is nuance in it and what we experience is traumatic. But often as a psychologist, I'm listening for relational or moral disruptions. Those tend to be the kinds of things that we don't resolve well on our own. The math doesn't really work out for us internally.
Scott DeLuzio: 38:53 So, I guess that's maybe the way we are thinking about it is that we tend to think that when there are those traumatic, bloody, gory situations that those are the things that we should maybe more traumatized by but the way you're describing it is that some of these moral conflicts that you might have, it's OK to feel how you're feeling about those types of things. Probably even natural to feel, I would guess to feel that way about some of those moral or relational conflicts that are taking place. I think the reason why I brought that up was because I think in a way it is sort of a loaded question because I had an idea of what the answer might be. I didn't know specifically what you would answer but I want to make sure that people know that they don't have to hide their emotions or their feelings about these types of events. Just because someone else might've gone through something different that might be considered worse, in terms of someone dying or
Sherry Walling: 40:16 someone could get an arm amputated and not have PTSD and someone can have an experience like you had where frankly, nobody got hurt but walk away with really significant trauma. And we sort of want to write a scale to say this is the worst thing and this person definitely has long-term difficulties because of this experience. But these things aren't a big deal. And the reality is that it's not possible. There are all kinds of mystery around what we react to and why.
Scott DeLuzio: 40:50 I think it's sort of like, a lot of times people will think of it like one to 10 pain scale that you might have at the doctor. Where are you on this scale of pain? I feel like people who had the arm amputation or other traumatic injuries, on a mental scale, they'd be all the way at the 10 and then someone who had an experienced, like the one that I described would probably be down at a one. But that's not really how that all that works. That's not true at all. And so, we kind of have to throw that out the window and leave that physical pain and not try to apply that to mental pain.
Scott DeLuzio: 41:35 I know a lot of times people will go, just kind of switching gears once again, people will go and talk to somebody, you know, therapist or somebody that they're talking to for their mental health and they're just not jiving. They're just not clicking with that person. It's just not the right fit. That may or may not have happened in your case with the patients that you see
Sherry Walling: All my patients love me.
Scott DeLuzio: but I'm sure they do. It's actually not something that I don't believe at all. How long should someone give this interaction with somebody before moving on to somebody else and I say move on to somebody else instead of just throwing in the towel and giving up because that's not what we want people to do either.
Sherry Walling: 42:27 The bottom line, you need somebody that you trust and who seems to get you. And honestly, I would like to say you want to sit with a mental health professional who in another world you'd like to have coffee or a beer with, that's probably not going to happen in this relationship. But like they're just the kind of human that you get a good vibe from to use highly scientific language. It's also another non-scientific analogy. It's kind of like dating. Like sometimes you just sit down with someone and in the first 10 minutes you're like, “yeah, you're not really my person.” And then another time you sit down and you have 10 minutes of conversation with someone, you're like, “yeah, I get you. I like you. I trust you.
Sherry Walling: 43:13 I want to tell you my stories.” Yeah. If it's really bad, one session will do; if it's really bad, a 15-minute phone screen, will do. I think it's okay to trust your instinct, If you're reaching like mental health professional three or four and you think, “Oh, all these people are not competent” it's probably worth asking if maybe it's you. In that case, I might pick the most reasonable one and hang in there for like three sessions and see if you can settle in. Because the bottom line is it's super hard to do therapy. It's hard to begin therapy. It feels very awkward and it's okay if it's not the easiest thing to begin. Again, so I guess to answer your question, bottom line, if it's really bad, one session, it's okay to try somebody else. If you've tried three or four people, pick the most reasonable person and go back for three sessions and give it a go.
Scott DeLuzio: 44:20 I like it. I like that advice. So, it looks like we're actually a little bit over on time here but I'd like to give you the opportunity to let people know where people can find out more about your podcasts and how to get in touch with you and if you are the right type of person for them to talk to, how they can schedule a consultation. You're in Minnesota, right?
Sherry Walling: Yeah, but I'm licensed in California. I do work with people all over the world depending on what it is they need.
Scott DeLuzio: And then I imagine you do remote consultations over the internet and that would be a long commute for some of the people all over the world. So, how can people find out about your podcast and how to get in touch with you for the things that you do?
Sherry Walling: I live online in two places @sherrywalling.com.
Sherry Walling: 45:25 And then also @zenfounder.com. So, my podcast is named Zen Founder and we really focused on all aspects of mental health, relational health, sanity for entrepreneurs and business owners. I will say that a lot of people listen to the podcast who aren't running their own business. So, if that's not you, still feel free to check it out. I do quite a lot of speaking about
Sherry Walling: 45:53 mental health. I'm in organizations and companies around the world. So, if that's something that you're looking for, always happy to be considered for those kinds of things too. I'm @Zenfounder on Twitter and generally hanging around the internet under that term, so that connects with people.
Scott DeLuzio: 46:12 I will link to all of this in the show notes too, so that people who maybe don't have a pen and paper or something quick and handy to write this stuff down on, they can find all of that. I can attest to the public speaking. I have seen you speak in person. Anyone who's looking for a public speaker on mental health related topics, definitely reach out to Sherry because she is awesome and you need her on your stage.
Sherry Walling: Thanks so much, Scott.
Scott DeLuzio: Thank you very much for joining me here.
Sherry Walling: 46:46 It is really a privilege to be with you and I'm so excited about the work that you're doing and the folks that you serve. And thanks for putting in the time to have these conversations for the veteran community.
Scott DeLuzio: 47:00 Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Scott DeLuzio: 47:07 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @DriveOnPodcast.
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