Air Force Veteran tells her story about grief, addiction , and recovery – Natalee King
Hi, everyone. This is your host, Michelle, and you’re listening to The Mindful Podcast, the show that aims to break the stigma associated with mental health. On today’s episode, we have Natalie King, an Air Force veteran, and we will discuss PTSD, depression, and anxiety, as well as the difficulty of grief after losing a loved one. Hi, everyone. Welcome. Welcome back to the Mindful Podcast. Today we have beautiful Natalie King. How are you today? Hi, I’m good. Welcome to Florida. Thank you. Well, you live in Florida? I do. I’m in Ocala now. I’m not from Florida. Where are you from? I’m from Texas originally. Nice. Well, I grew up in Texas throughout my high school years, but I was born in Puerto Rico. We moved to Hawaii and then Texas. Okay. That’s kind of from all over. Okay, nice. Well, now you’re a floridian. How long have you been in Florida? Maybe ten years now. Yeah. So you’re from Florida? Yeah, I’m from Florida. Now I’m a local. Oh, my God. Okay, so you are a Air Force vet, air Force veteran, and a gold star wife. Perfect. I love the addition. And mother. Yes, and a mother. Forget the mother. That should be first. Exactly. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey in the Air Force? Sure. So I joined after my sister passed away. My sister passed away when I was 18, and I had signed up for college and everything, but when my sister passed, I couldn’t concentrate on college. It was like, the last thing on my mind. So I said, you know what? I’m from a military family. Both my parents were in the military. My older sister was in the military, and my younger brother is active duty right now. So it only seemed natural to join the Air Force, so that’s what I did. And they shipped me off to Japan, what was my first duty station. It was awesome. Oh, my God. So your whole family is basically a veteran? Yes. My mom and dad both retired from the military. My sister, she actually got out a little bit before she passed away, so she did her years and then got out. And my brother, he plans to retire. Okay. He’s the one who’s in active duty. He’s active duty right now. My God, that’s a great family background. So my understanding is that you were diagnosed at a very young age, like around 1819, with depression. Depression and anxiety at 18. So after my sister passed away, I had a hard time with that. We were extremely close. I mean, you could imagine growing up in a military family where it was only us five and moving from Puerto Rico to Hawai to all these places that are so far. So we didn’t have a lot of family visiting or anything like that. So, I mean, you could only imagine how close we were from our years traveling together. So after her death, it was extremely hard on me, and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I had a suicide attempt at 19. I believe I was 19. Did you want to hear a little bit about that? Yeah. My suicide attempt was I got home one day, and I don’t know what triggered me. I was depressed, and I took an entire bottle of Aspirin and I went to sleep. I thought I wouldn’t wake up. I don’t know what I thought, but I did wake up. And when I did, the only person that was home was my dad. And when I woke up, my eyes I couldn’t see anything. It was real foggy. My hearing was muffled. And I started freaking out. I started crying, and I went into the bathroom and got on the floor. I was crying, and I was calling for my dad. He walked in the bathroom. He said, what’s going on? And I told him what I had did, and he walked away from the bathroom to his room. He grabbed his nine millimeter and brought it back to the bathroom. He cocked it back, and he handed it to me, and he said, if you want to f and die, he said, let’s see you do it. And I looked at him, because I wasn’t expecting that reaction. So I looked at him and I yanked the gun out of its hand. I said, Fine, I’m going to f and do it. Just talking crap. So I stood there, and I remember looking at myself in the mirror, and I had the gun to my head, and I pulled the trigger. After a few seconds, I pulled the trigger, and it went click. And my dad took the gun out of my hand, and he said, I just lost my oldest daughter. Did you really think I was going to let my second daughter blow her brains know? And I just cried. And he said, Get in the car. We’re going to the emergency room. And that was the first time I was institutionalized. Baker acted. Baker acted? Yes. For how long? Seven days was my first time. It was in Houston. Good old times. Yeah. How was that first experience being Baker Acted out of a suicide attempt? It was scary. It was new. I’ve never really been away from home before. I didn’t like it. It was boring. It was like, Where’s the TV? Yeah. It was a wake up call, though. It was a big wake up call. And my mom and dad were like, you need to get out of the house. You need to do something with your life. And so I went to the Air Force, and I didn’t tell them about my suicide attempt. They probably wouldn’t have let me join. My dad told me not to tell them, and I did tell them about my depression, but I think they chalked it up as situational after my sister, of course. So that was like your trigger, right? Okay. And so they are forced to let me join. And that’s the beginning of my story there. Yeah. Now, were you on medication when you first I was not. Okay. I was not on any medications. At 19. They had prescribed me some. I did tell my recruiter, and he said, you would have to be off of those before you left for Basic. It took a while for me to join the Air Force just because I was getting off of my medication, and I was being drug tested constantly after that. So I ended up getting off everything and joining. Now, once you were off of everything, did your systems persist, the depression and anxiety? They did. So in the first few months that I had joined, I was so busy. It was so chaotic. Honestly, I was functioning fine. It was hard, and I wasn’t, like, having the time of my life, but I was busy. I stayed busy. And once basic ended and my tech school ended and I got to Japan, my first duty station, everything was quiet and calm. That’s when my depression started to sneak up again, and I didn’t seek help until I had met my husband and he deployed. That’s the first time I seeked help from my mental health in the Air Force. Yeah. So you met your significant other while servicing the Air Force? Yes, he was in the Air Force, and he was stationed in Japan. He had been there a year already when I got there, and that’s where we met. We were inseparable from the night that we met, and we ended up having a baby and getting married over there. Yeah, it was beautiful. He proposed, like, on the top, Tokyo Tower. It was so nice that it was so beautiful. Not ordinary. Yes. Everybody’s listening. Like, wow. Japan. I know. Try to be that one. I know. Right. Now, you mentioned you seek treatment once he was deployed for the first time because your depression had come back. How was that like, what kind of resources were you able to get serving? Now, in the military, there is a stigma about mental health, and a lot of people are afraid to seek it. There’s not so much anything like stopping you from seeking it. It’s more the stigma. Right. It’s more stigma. Okay. So I went to a psychiatrist in Japan, and they had put me on antidepressants. Okay, so at that point, they did put you on medication? Yes. Okay. I can’t remember what antidepressant it was, but they did put me on an antidepressant. I don’t feel like it helped me any, but thankfully, my husband’s deployment was only two months, so it was really short, and he was home quick, and then by that time, we had to move. So again, you got busy. Right. Okay. Distracted. Right. Okay. And throughout your whole career, again, you were always able to get these resources. Nothing stops you. Right. But stigma. So when it comes to stigma in the military with mental health, a lot of that has to do with because you will be threatened to be kicked out. Okay. The military does not want their soldiers on mental health meds or to even have a mental health issue because of the duties, the situations, the weapons that you’re handling. You’re supposed to be a leader or an example in the public eye and a high functioning individual who’s able to be resilient and handle everything. Absolutely. That makes sense. Yeah. And so when it comes to other members in the military, I think a lot of them don’t seek help because they plan to retire. And if you do seek help, there’s a chance that you could be kicked out depending on how bad it is or what you tell them. You have to pick your words carefully and you have to decide what you want to tell them and what you don’t want to tell them. And unfortunately, a lot of times you have to lie. Yeah. So you don’t get to prioritize your mental health. Not at all. Or if you do, then it’s at a risk of losing your job. Absolutely. And I don’t even know what they would do for someone that would say who needed Adderall. Let’s just say I don’t even know how they would handle it because I couldn’t ever get a prescription like that ever. Anything controlled, anything like that. No way. And there’s people out there that need medications like that just to function properly. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think it should mean that they are a threat or anything to their job in the military or society. I don’t believe that. What are some primary mental health concerns that you had or that you saw amongst the Air Force colleagues? Sure. In Japan, I’ve witnessed a few I haven’t witnessed any of the females, but I witnessed a few males in the military who had some mental health issues, depression, aggravation. They were aggressive too. There was a time where there was a guy who actually slammed me up against a wall and forced himself on me. But fortunately I was able to stop it before it got any further because we were out in a hallway and he was trying to force himself on me and I was able to stop it, things like that. I saw things like that happen. There was another guy that I worked with who actually fell eleven stories to his death from a high rise in Japan downtown. We don’t know if it was accident or not. Okay. I doubt they would even tell us, but things like that, I’ve seen a lot of it. Yeah. Okay. And at what point you had your journey? Right. At what point did you get out of the Air Force? So I was in for a very short time. I got out. So this was the plan was I was married, I was pregnant, I said, I told my husband, how about I get out of the military and have the baby? I’ll stay home the first year, and then I’ll go back in, and my husband was all for it. And so I got out early with plans to come back in. However, when my son was eight months old, my husband was killed in the Air Force. So I became a young widow with an eight month with an eight month old baby. How did he die, if you don’t mind me asking? So it was an on base accident. It was in the line of duty. He went to work one morning around, I don’t know, I think it was two or three in the morning. I remember him getting ready, and he got all dressed up in his Cammies, and he had about ten minutes before he had to leave for work. And he got into bed with me, and he just spooned me for a second, for about five minutes. He laid there with his whole uniform on, spooned me, and gave me a kiss and walked to work. And around 09:00 A.m., I got a knock on the door from his first sergeant. And my mom was there at the time visiting with the baby. Baby was new. My mom came upstairs and said, hey, John’s, first sergeant is at the door. She wants to speak with you. I don’t know about what. Did you know or did you think it was something? I thought he was in trouble. I thought maybe he got in trouble, but not this. So I went downstairs and she just said, hey, there is an accident involving John. He’s on the way to the hospital. But he’s was I said, are you sure he’s okay? Everything’s okay? She said he’s fine. Everything’s going to be fine. We just needed to contact you to let you know. And once we get more information, we can all go to the hospital, okay? Together. And I said, okay. I was listening to his chain of command. It was about 2 hours went by, and his first sergeant, she stayed at our house. Well, she left for 30 minutes on a phone call. And when they came back that 30 minutes later, she was with the base commander, the chaplain, and herself, all dressed in their dress blues. I didn’t know it was the chaplain and the base commander at first. I just saw three people walking up in their dress blues. And my mom that’s when my mom looked out the window and started screaming. My mom started screaming. She started saying, oh, God, Natalie, no. Natalie, no. And I said, what is it? What is it? Tell me what it and she they knocked in, they made their way through the house. And the whole time I’m asking them, what’s going on? What’s going on? I think I needed to hear it. And I said, what’s going on? And they kept telling me, let’s sit down. Let’s come to the couch and sit down. I said, I don’t want to sit down. And so they said, John has passed away. And I remember I was standing up, but I was standing up on the side of the couch, and I was standing up, and they said he was dead. And I sat down on the couch. And then right away, I stood back up, and my knees gave out. My knees. I fell to the ground like my legs were shaking. And then all of a sudden, I got violently ill. I started throwing up, and it was like my body was you were in shock? Yes. I was so sick, like, physically sick. And I could feel my heart. I could feel it sorry. I could feel it breaking, and it felt like it was in my throat and my stomach at the same time. And I looked at my son, and I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t bear it. And I was told how he was killed six months after his death because they had to do an investigation. I heard rumors, but I didn’t hear the exact cause of death until six months after the investigation was over. They flew to my house in Sarasota, and they told me so when you’re in the military, you have to have a spotter to back up a vehicle or move a vehicle. You always have to have a spotter to drive a government vehicle. My husband was spotting, and there was an airman who didn’t know how to drive this vehicle. It was a stick shift plus it was a rare vehicle. It was called an ambulift. It was made for Air Force One, and it lifts up and down for the plane. There was only two of them, really rare. Not a lot of men or women know how to drive. It trained on it. Right. So he was having a hard time reversing it at first, and it kept stalling. And my husband walked up to the window and asked him, hey, you want to switch spots? I’ll do it real quick. My husband, he was a country boy. He knew how to do everything, drive anything, and fix anything. And the guy said, no, no, I’ll get it, I’ll get it. And John was like, okay, that’s fine. So he stepped behind the vehicle, and the guy I guess it jumped forward, and it pinned him against a wall, and it hit him from the sternum down. Thank you. It hit him from the sternum down and crushed him. I saw every picture that was in that report. Okay. I read the autopsy report, and it was horrific. I don’t know, but it was ultimately it was an accident. Yeah, I read the autopsy report and everything, and it was terrible. And then what about the person who driving the car? So the day that it happened this time, for me, is kind of foggy. There’s blanks a lot from being in shock, I believe. But I do remember meeting we all gathered at a common area at our housing, on base housing. Everybody came, I guess, just to see how I was doing, I don’t know. And the guy that killed him and his wife came, and I remember seeing them, and he seemed distraught. He seemed apologetic. There’s remorse. Remorse, yes. That’s the word I’m looking for. He had a lot of remorse. And his wife, she could barely look at me in the eyes. I remember she was crying, and she would shy away from me. She could hardly look at me. However, as the years passed, I found them on Face or Instagram. They started following me on Instagram. They’re divorced now. But I did speak I spoke to his ex wife at the time. His wife at the time. First she wrote me on Instagram just to see how I was doing. And she said, I’m happy. Everything you have a beautiful family, and everything is working out okay for you. She said, I don’t want to say his name, but no. She said, My ex husband, he had a rough few years, and this is her words. The way he dealt with it was through drinking and other women. He stepped out on their marriage a lot, and she said, that’s how he coped with it. And then he contacted me, and I spoke with him, actually, like, two months ago for the first time in ten years. Oh, my God. And it was a cordial conversation. I told him that I forgive him, that I had never really blamed him, because, to be honest, when I think of John’s death, I don’t think of that hymn. I don’t think of him at like, in my mind, it’s not like he was killed or by somebody. In my mind, it was he was killed. So he never really crossed my mind. However, at times he did, I won’t lie, and I always thought about how he was doing. So I was able to talk to him, and he told me the story, exactly what happened from beginning to end. And I asked him details that I needed to know. Like I asked him. What? I said. Was he screaming or anything when he was pinned? Did you really feel like you needed to know those details to kind of I had to, because I used to have nightmares of different situations that John was in during this death. I would wake up screaming. Justin can attest to that. I used to have horrible nightmares of all these different situations because I didn’t know exactly how it happened. So my mind would just take it to the worst scenario. Does that make sense? Yeah, of course. So I felt like I needed to know. Otherwise, if I just was like, yeah, he definitely was screaming while he was yeah, you were assuming the word. Yes. He said no. He said the last words. My husband said was stop. And then he was crushed, but he was unconscious immediately, and when the vehicle was unpinned, he just kind of, like, collapsed, slid down a wall. His back slid down the wall, and he fell to his knees, and he was kind of just sitting on his knees with his back against the wall. The military that day did do a few things wrong that could have had a different outcome. I’ve talked to people that were there, medics that were there on the flight line that day, because this happened in the Air Force One hangar, because that’s where my husband worked. And so there was people on the flight line that day that were there and medics. And I’ve talked to them, and they said he shouldn’t have been unpinned and they should have called flight medics immediately because they were absolutely unprepared. They said they were absolutely just not prepared for something like this at all. She said we weren’t prepared. He needed to be flight medic out, and he should have been kept pinned. Yeah, I see that a lot, even in movies where they tell you, like, don’t move him, don’t touch. That’s what they tell you. But for someone in the military, you’d think, yeah, they would know that. But I guess they did. Maybe they were in shock as well. They were in shock too. I mean, they weren’t prepared. Right? Yeah. Right. Okay, so at this point, you’re going through grief. That’s when your depression came back. What was your next diagnosis? Right, so my next diagnosis was I guess it was the week that he died. I had two psychiatrists come to my bedside. I was staying at a hotel on base because I just couldn’t sleep in our bed or stay in our home. And I had two psychiatrists come to my bedside, and they diagnosed me with major reoccurrent, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. And they think I should have been diagnosed with PTSD earlier because of my sister’s death, because of what I saw there, too. They said they should have diagnosed me with that earlier. However, I got that diagnosis after I was out of the military or after my husband’s death. I’m sorry. Yeah. Would that impede you to go back if you wanted to? Yes. Okay. Did you want to go back at all after that experience? At the time, no. Years later? Yes, I would now. Okay. But at the time, no, I wasn’t going to go back. Okay. How has your healing journey been? Now we’re looking back, but now we want to look present, moment and future. It was hard. It was so hard. After my husband’s death, I had our baby, and you would think having a child would keep me busy or my mind occupied. Instead, I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t even want to take care of myself. So I don’t know how I could have taken care of an eight month old child at 23 years old, first time Mother I had a difficult healing journey for about five years, so I was prescribed Xanax when John first passed. Okay. I was taking it as prescribed, all that. Well, it started not working, and my tolerance got higher, so I was taking more than I needed. Plus, it felt good because I was high. And I got addicted to Xanax, actually. I would have taken any benzo, anything, really. I would have taken a Valium or Clonapin, anything. So I started taking those. And at first it was great. Nobody knew. I felt like I could get through the day. Made me feel happy, like it regulated you. It made me forget. It made me forget everything. I didn’t remember days. For days. Like I’d be like, wow. I thought it was, like, four days. I thought Monday was just yesterday, but it would be like four days would go by. Okay. Does that make sense? Yeah. I don’t want to say black out, but it’s all, like, blurry. Yeah. So I was going through the motions, just going through the motions, just simply surviving. And my mother, she was with me through since the day he died, till months afterwards, she stayed with me and she talked me into signing custody of my son over to my parents because she told me she doesn’t think I was going to make it. She didn’t think I was going to survive my addiction. Okay. She said, I think you need to sign him over, because when you die, I don’t want the state to take him. So I signed custody of my son to my parents, even though I lived with them. I lived in their home with my mom and dad. I wasn’t there all the time. I wasn’t there a lot. And my addiction got worse and worse. And I attempted another suicide attempt. And that night I had taken, I think, maybe four Xanax bars. I was driving my Mustang. I was by myself, crying, and I was coming up to an intersection, and there was one of those big light cement light poles, and I floored it, and I just crashed my Mustang head on into that, and I totaled it. Airbags came out, all that, and I woke up in the hospital. And then I was institutionalized again. Baker acted again. And then after I had gotten out of that, I started injecting Methamphetamine. I was injecting Meth, and that was probably the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life. This was in a span of five years. I was doing this for five years, hanging out with the wrong people in seedy places. And it was scary. It was really scary. And I just hit rock bottom. I didn’t want to live. Do you feel like you were chasing your own death at one point? Yeah, I feel like I almost didn’t want to. If I went to sleep after injecting, like, doing an IV, I would just lay back and just feel the hit. And I remember thinking, man, if I never woke up, I don’t really care if I never did. I never thought about the future. I never thought about tomorrow. I never thought about a week from now. All I was thinking was in the moment and where I was going to get high from next. And so I had no plans, no future. I didn’t care. Yeah, no goals. I didn’t care. I just did not care. I wanted to die, I think. So at what point you mentioned you hit rock bottom, but at what point? What’s your turning point? That made you kind of realize there is a greater purpose. So I was at my rock bottom, just going through the motions, and I was on a dating app. So I started dating about three years after John died. I went on a few dates, but nothing serious. And then a year later, I was still in my addiction. And of course, every guy that I met on a date did not like they didn’t know I was addict, but as soon as I came around, they could tell something was up with me. Okay? They were like, there’s something wrong with this girl. I mean, they could see it. They knew. So nobody wanted to be friends with me or get deep into the relationship. Right. So one day, this was four years after John died, I was on a dating app and I wrote Justin or Justin wrote me, or something like that. And we made plans to meet up on a date. And I figured this was going to be the same thing, just something fun. Yeah, a couple of dates and I’ll move to the next, right? And I was just doing this for I didn’t see these dates going anywhere with any of these guys. I didn’t see a future, if that makes sense. So when I met up with Justin, same thing. I thought the same thing. Well, our first time he met me was horrific and he stayed and I don’t know why. Still to this day, I don’t know why Justin stayed. Because that first night, I think we got a hotel room and we went to dinner because I was living with my parents at the time. So we got a hotel room and I think I passed out in the bathtub on Xanax. And the next morning we went to my parents house and I fell asleep and Justin stayed hanging out with my dad and my mom and was talking to them. Nice. Yeah, it was weird. This is what I’m saying, it’s weird. Yeah, good. But it’s weird. So even my dad told Justin, when I went to sleep that morning, I went back home, I went to sleep. My dad told Justin. He goes, Well, I guess you can leave now. And Justin goes, no, I’ll hang out for a little bit and wait till she gets know. My dad was. So, you know, ever since that day, Justin had he was by my side. Justin didn’t do drugs, but he partied and dabbled a little bit, so him and I would party, and when he would dabble in other things, I would do it too. But my main drug of choices were meth and Xanax, because I took Xanax to sleep and meth to wake me up. So I think throughout our relationship, the first two years is when he got me clean. It took about two years to get me clean off of drugs. He helped me taper down on the Xanax. So did my parents. But Justin was there. And the reason I was doing it was because I had fallen in love with him, and I could see a future with him. And I asked Justin, I said, Why did you stay? Why did you feel like you needed, like, how come you didn’t leave just like everybody else did? You don’t want to take on other people’s problems. I had a lot of baggage, emotional baggage. I had a lot of trauma that I still had to work through. Even with my sister’s death, I felt like I still had to work through her death too. And on top of that, I had a kid. So I’m like, why? He told me. He was like he said, I saw potential, and I could tell that you were a really good person. And he said, I didn’t want to see you die when you have such a good heart. And I said, I don’t know. That’s not a good enough reason. Tell me why. Because it’s really weird. But he did. He stayed. And like I said, he helped me get clean off of drugs. Took me two years to taper down. I was in and out of treatment these two years. I think I was baker acted maybe seven or eight times, and I volunteered to go in to treatment maybe once or twice. Okay, and medication wise, you’ve gone through oh, medication wise, they had put me on, I think, every antidepressant there is. They have put me on it, even mood stabilizers. At one point, they were even thought that I had bipolar disorder, but then they had ruled that out, that I was not bipolar, but they didn’t really know what to do with me. I think it had a lot to do with my addiction, though, too. Once you were clean, did that regulate the depression, anxiety, a little bit better before it got worse? Because I can only imagine it got worse. Yeah, when I got clean. Okay, so two years. And then after I had gotten clean, I was newly clean, like, only months clean, maybe even weeks. And that’s when I found out I got a positive pregnancy test, and that’s when I absolutely stopped tapering. I stopped everything altogether. And I’ve been clean ever since. But I do take medications, so I see a psychiatrist and they had put me on, I think, Zoloft. Zoloft. And then a mood stabilizer abilify. Yes. And adderall all that together. Is that what you’re currently taking? That’s what I’m currently taking. And that actually works for you? I have been taking that for over four years, ever since my son was born. Right after he was born, that’s when I got put on it. Okay. I’ve been on that for a little over four years, and I have been stable, and I think that has a lot to do with my recovery. There’s other things that I do too, but a lot of it is my medication. And I have tried Zoloft in the past, and it didn’t exactly work for me. No. However, they put me on this mood stabilizer with it, and I saw a big difference. And then the adderall. I had never been prescribed Adderall in the past, ever. But my psychiatrist, he knew my meth addiction. Okay. And he said, look, let’s just try this on a low dose at first. Yada, yada. And that’s what I did. And he upped me. I’m on 20 milligrams, and I have no issue anymore. I just feel normal, like, how I should feel. Yeah. You know what I mean? So, like I said, I’ve been in recovery for a little over four years. And in the back of my mind, I was always afraid that another incident would happen or something traumatic would happen. And it would trigger you. Yes, it would trigger me and set me back, and I would go back to my old ways. I was so afraid of this. I was afraid of my own mind, if that makes sense. And I got that reality one day when my brother called me, and he was like, you need to sit down. But dad shot himself in the head, but he survived it. He lost his right eyeball, but he’s alive. Oh, my God. And I said, oh, my God. Thank you, Lord. And I said, okay. My dad, he was diagnosed with ALS three years prior to this. So he was getting really bad off. He could barely move. It was like he was, like, paralyzed almost. But your mind’s all there. So I moved my dad into my home, and I started taking care of him. We got a hospital bed for him. He had tube feeding, diaper changes, showering, shaving nails, everything that you have to do to take care of a person, I had to do it for my father just because he was helpless. And he ended up passing away from ALS. February this February will be two years. And it was hard. And like I said, I was so afraid of a tragedy happening again and going back to my old ways. And I’m just so happy to be where I’m at right now and to not have had a setback, to be pushing forward. And since that, I feel like I can get through anything. Now. You know what I mean? I can imagine all you’ve been through. You’ve built a lot of resilience. Right. And you’re able to manage these tragedies. Right. As unfortunate as it sounds unfortunate, I’ve been able to manage them in a healthy way. Now I’ve gotten a lot of tools on my tool belt on my way through all these treatment centers I’ve been to other deaths I’ve been through, and I feel like I’ve yeah. Do you still go to therapy here and there? Absolutely. I do go to therapy. I think that has a lot to do in my recovery. I think the things that help me the most, I meditate every night before bed. I don’t really like to meditate during the day or the mornings because it makes me so sleepy. But at nighttime, I can meditate easy, and then I just fall asleep. Okay. And another thing I do is breathing treatments. Oh, that’s great. So a lot of holistic into it. Yes. And it’s so weird. I have a device, actually, it’s called a Call Me Go. I don’t know if you ever heard of it. It’s an exhaler. And it helps you do breathing exercises because I always had a hard time getting lightheaded. I felt like I was meditating hard for me because of the breathing, because I couldn’t keep a good like, a rhythm. Yeah. So I got this thing called a Call Me Go, and it’s an exhaler, and it uses kind of count to ground you, calm you down. It has amazing studies on it. It’s all drug free. Okay. Amazing studies. Health professionals from all over have done studies. It’s for PTSD, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, everything. And it works. That has a lot of work. Worked for me. Oh, my God. And then, of course, my medication that I’m on, it’s definitely for you, an integrative approach. Right. Therapy, medication, and holistic. And for everybody, it’s going to be different. It’ll be different. No judging here. Question how can we help our loved one? Or if somebody has a loved one who has PTSD or depression, how can we help them go seek help and actually go be supportive through their own healing journey, right. This is a hard question for me to answer, because if I did have the answer, my sister would still be here today. And I don’t know, but the ways that people helped me that I noticed the most was communication. Communicate with that person. Open up to them. Let them open up to you. I would say to just be there as a support person. And if they do go into treatment, be there too. You don’t have to physically be there to support them. If they’re in treatment, you can send them clothes or snacks or treats. If they smoke cigarettes, you can send them packs of cigarettes. Just support them through that and communicate with them. That’s what I would say. Just a lot of support being there for them absolutely. Judgment free. Right. You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to understand. Be there. Right. Okay. Right. And therapy, of course. And therapy is a big one. Therapy is huge. And I truly believe everybody should go to therapy. Same. Even if you’re the happiest person and you say you have the happiest life, go to therapy anyway. Should be like your general doctor. Right? Just go to therapy. Yeah. I agree. Well, this has been a great conversation. It has. Thank you so much. I know these subjects can be very touching for you, so I want to thank you for what you’re doing. I know in your accounts, your mental health advocate, and your stories really get to people. I know. It got to me. I know. But thank you. Thank you so much for coming. Thank you for having me. No, of course. I definitely have to bring you back. We have more to talk about. I could talk for a lot longer and go into more detail about stuff. I just feel like you’ve been through so many experiences. Not to call them traumas. Right. You’ve been through fortunately, I have. And I just want to be able to connect with people, and I want other people to know that are going through complex grief, that you’re not alone. When I was a young widow, that’s what I needed the most was a sense of community. For years, history, us human beings in history, we go through traumas with our family, our villages, our communities. That’s how it’s been since the beginning of time. And nobody needs to go through it alone, even if it’s just a stranger on the Internet that say, hey, if that person right there can do it, then I can do it too. That’s all you need to know. Yeah. You can have an impact. And sometimes the people that you see with the most light and the most enlightenment, even those people have gone through the darkness to get that light and peace and understanding. Yes. And that’s okay. And you will get through it. I went through it young, but you’re still kind of going through it. I feel like it’s an ongoing healing journey, right? It is. People that have gone through so much. It is. Someone had asked me about my TikTok one time. Someone asked me why now? It’s been ten years since John died. Why now? And the honest answer is I’m just now ready to talk about it and share it. I’m just now ready to do that with other yeah. It takes a lot of courage to tell your story. It does. Because there’s a lot of embarrassing parts. I don’t like to admit that I used to eat Xanax like candy and shoot meth and fetamine, and I don’t like to admit that I’ve tried to commit suicide. That’s embarrassing for me. That’s really embarrassing, especially to share it now. Saying it out loud even makes you feel makes me feel funny, but I know it’s important and that it’s important for people to hear it. Yeah, I agree. That’s over here. All right, well, thank you guys for tuning in to another amazing episode. I will see you next week. Don’t forget to, like, subscribe and leave us a comment. Leave us a comment. Bye. Thank you.