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May 16, 2023

Protecting My Daughter: A Cop's Story of Resignation and PTSD- Grayson Reed

Protecting My Daughter: A Cop's Story of Resignation and PTSD- Grayson Reed

Today's special guest is the founder of Public Safety Preservation.  A former law enforcement officer Gray Reed founded this non-profit to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention among first responders.  He was motivated by his battle with mental health and worried for the safety of his newly born daughter.

He had to resign from his position as a corrections officer. He spent some time in law enforcement, but most of his time was spent in corrections. And we will look at what being a corrections officer is like. We'll also discuss how he received therapy, specifically EMDR, and how that benefited him. Because I believe we still need to properly paint the picture of what happens inside those prison walls.

First responders play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. However, the stress and trauma of the job can take a toll on their mental health. Peer support and mental health professionals are critical in supporting first responders and addressing the stigma and shame of seeking help.

If you're interested in peer support training, contact Jerry Lund at 435-476-6382 with The Complete First Responder Trainings or visit www.completefirstrespondertrainings.com. Let's work together to support our first responders and ensure they have the resources to maintain their mental health and well-being.


[00:00:00] Jerry: Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's episode of Enduring the Badge podcast. I'm host Jerry Dean Lund, and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode, so please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes or our Apple Podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people.

[00:00:20] Jerry: So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review and just maybe by doing that, it'll push this up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. 

[00:00:29] Jerry: Everyone I'm super excited to announce that I've teamed up with an incredible person, and that person is Dr. Tia White. She is a public safety, wellness and empowerment specialist. Together, we have combined our knowledge and expertise to create a. Five day training course. Now that training course, you can attend different days of that training course, whichever ones fit you. But day one would be peer support and how to structure that and get your team up and running and maybe some of the legalities about that.

[00:00:59] Jerry: Days two, three and four are going to be about advanced wellness and sleep and finances and family dynamics and diet nutrition. Complete first responder for more details. 

[00:01:14] Jerry: My very special guest today is the founder of Public Safety Preservation. Gray Reed started this nonprofit to bring awareness to mental health and suicide prevention for first responders.

[00:01:28] Jerry: He did that because he was affected by his work. He was diagnosed with cumulative P T S D, and for his safety of his family and himself. He had to resign from his job as a correction officer. He spent some other time in law enforcement, but the majority of his time he spent in corrections. And we're gonna dive down into a little bit what that looks like to be a corrections officer.

[00:01:54] Jerry: Um, because I don't think we've ever really painted that picture on what goes on inside those prison walls. We're also gonna talk about how he got some therapy and that therapy was EMDR and how it benefited him. So let's jump right into this episode with the founder of Public Safety Preservation Grayson Reed.

[00:02:12] Jerry: Greg, can you tell the audience about yourself? 

[00:02:15] Grayson: Absolutely. Thank you for having me on, Jerry. Yeah. Um, so I am. Uh, former police and former, uh, state correctional officer, um, total 12 years in law enforcement combined. And, um, just resigned on good terms when I, uh, realized or, or was diagnosed with B T S D and, and, um, felt that I wanted to make sure I was home safe and had a newborn at home.

[00:02:48] Grayson: And so, um, Meanwhile, now I've become a stay-at-home dad and my mom's gone back to work, and so it's, it's worked out well. 

[00:02:57] Jerry: Yeah, I bet that's very difficult to be a stay-home dad. 

[00:03:02] Grayson: It, it's different, but, uh, it's a blessing. Uh, some days I feel like, uh, she keeps me on my toes more than a 200 to one ratio cell block.

[00:03:13] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah, I can understand that. I know a stay-at-home mom job is not easy either. None of these jobs as being a parent is very easy at all. Um, but. It's just a different, different kind of, I don't know, like culturally different Right. To be a Sam. 

[00:03:30] Grayson: Oh yeah. For, for sure. And um, I mean, even this morning I, I was just, uh, really count my blessings, you know, of how great it.

[00:03:41] Grayson: Of course it's busy and, and you want to do the best you can, but, but it's, it's, you know, it's amazing to, to, you know, not only grow that personality and that bond with our chi child, children, or child, but also, uh, You know, to really, um, have a helping hand in that, you know, per se. 

[00:04:02] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. That's can be a lot different for dads and, and moms that work quite a bit.

[00:04:07] Jerry: Right. It's hard to be, someone's gotta be the general caregiver. Right. The day in, the day out, there's gotta be somebody that's there. It's consistently right. Great. So, So you, you, you touched on, you know, a diagnosis of P T S D. Um, now did that come, come from being in the service law enforcement service?

[00:04:30] Grayson: It did. So it was cumulative. P T S D, uh, so, I personally feel like, I mean, I don't dispute any of the diagnosis, but I personally feel like, say it was fast tracked or the icing on the cake may have been my time as a correctional officer. Uh, because being a correctional officer, um, or working in a prison is just, just not only very different than being pleased, but it's just, uh, Whole different side of humanity that's, uh, sure.

[00:05:02] Grayson: Get to see. Um, and so, so it was just cumulative per se. Um, I was also later diagnosed more recently with, with, uh, major depression disorder. Um, I started going to therapy weekly and change the medication that I'm on and, and that's, uh, really helped turn things around pretty quickly. Thankfully. 

[00:05:29] Jerry: That's awesome.

[00:05:29] Jerry: I'm glad to hear that you're doing better and the medication's working. So yeah, let's talk a little bit about corrections cause I haven't had very many correction people on the, the podcast, if you're okay with that. Is that something Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, so definitely something different, right? The culturally is something completely different than out on the streets, 

[00:05:51] Grayson: Right

[00:05:52] Grayson: I mean, I, 

[00:05:53] Grayson: I, I'm a firm believer that, you know, dispatchers and corrections are, are say like, are forgotten first responders or Sure. So-called heroes. Uh, you know, I mean, I feel like only time you think of, not you as a first responder, but the public would think of fir uh, corrections outside of driving past the prison.

[00:06:14] Grayson: Maybe, you know, When there's an escape, you know, and then that's mayhem. But otherwise, you know when all is well, they're just in the background doing their thing. But meanwhile, I've never been, thankfully I, I very grateful about this, but I've never been a, a know-it-all person. But I 

[00:06:34] Jerry: did become a. 

[00:06:36] Grayson: Kind of person where I had said before corrections, I had seen it all.

[00:06:41] Grayson: So I would tell my wife or or anybody else, like, I'm very hard to surprise and, and I've just, just seen it all. And I'm like, well, you thinking it is what it is. Well, until I get to the prison, I'm not just quickly, like after I got out of the academy at the prison, like. That was just gone because every day, like they would find some way to surprise me in like the most wicked ways.

[00:07:07] Grayson: And I, I, I, I'll never say I've seen it all again, even though I'm done. 

[00:07:13] Jerry: Yeah. I can't even imagine. Um, what goes on to, I guess maybe to the full extent of what goes on in the prison. 

[00:07:26] Grayson: Well, I'll tell you a little bit about my facility that I was in, um, because I, I, I won't say it's necessarily a matter of like, Take great joy or pride in, but I'm proud to have been part of this facility in Iowa where, um, it was technically the intake facility, but at the same time it was very, very multifaceted.

[00:07:50] Grayson: So, uh, it may have been portion of intake. And, and you know, my numbers can be completely skewed here, but say, um, you know, 30% and then 30% general population, and then, you know, something like 10% of, uh, people awaiting psychiatric, uh, competency testing because the, this facility had, um, Quite a bit of psychology or psychologists on hand as staff.

[00:08:26] Grayson: And so a anywhere in the 99 counties of Iowa, if somebody would plead, uh, incompetent, they would go to that facility to be tested. And at the same time, they also had, um, say, a psych ward. So even say that you were told, you know, that you weren't competent. But you got sentenced to some sort of, you know, psychiatric, uh, level of, of housing or facility, you could still come back to that facility.

[00:08:59] Grayson: Um, and um, then there was the infirmary, which was not only short-term and long-term care, which this shouldn't really have impacted me or, or have it even, uh, Been as shocking as it was because it, it just, it's a reality that should be in place. But I was very impressed and, and just completely overlooked the thought of, say, prisoners who, who need long-term care because my wife's worked in long-term nursing for 15 years.

[00:09:33] Grayson: Um, but I mean, they had a phenomenal, um, Center for people that may have been passing away or, or just needed care otherwise. Uh, and then they also had a short-term care facility. Say that like you or I have issues with our stomach and we've got eight doctor visits scheduled at um, The clinic where everyone goes to in the state of Iowa, you would stay at that facility for a short time span for your visits to be seen or taken care of.

[00:10:15] Grayson: Uh, same goes for, um, only time we house women was say, um, l late term took. Uh, correctly call it, uh, pregnancy. Mm-hmm. Um, otherwise they were taken care of in their, their facility. Um, there was a juvenile, uh, I don't wanna say center, but juvenile like block. Yeah. Where they were charged as adults, but, uh, anybody under 18, um, had to be housed together.

[00:10:54] Grayson: Um, You know, federally and legally. Um, so, so like I said, it was very multifaceted. I mean, it was a medium max. The general population unit itself was all protective custody. So, I mean, you can think of your reasons of why they may be in protective custody, let it being, right, getting out of a gang or having cinched on someone.

[00:11:20] Grayson: Um, Maybe even transgender or, um, different crimes that would lead to wanting to keep 'em in safeguard. Sure. But, uh, essentially anybody in the PC general pop, uh, categories were essentially not safe in any other yard in the state. So, like I said, it was very mul multifaceted, so that kept things interesting on, on one point.

[00:11:51] Jerry: Yeah, I'm sure. I mean, did you have to work in those, all the different areas? 

[00:11:56] Grayson: That was the nice part is I got to some people, you know, a lot of like more tenure people than myself would, could get stationed in a certain block or area of the prison. Uh, but until you got certain amount of seniority, you know, you would float.

[00:12:13] Grayson: Not only blocked block, but also we had a roaming team that would not only serve as backup, but also um, Say relieve people for lunches and, and breaks and so on. So it was very nice though on how you really did get to see a lot and, and mingle for say. 

[00:12:36] Jerry: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, obviously it's not all that was good because I mean, the accumulative amount of.

[00:12:46] Jerry: Incidents over time, um, mean really led you to the diagnosis where you're at today. Would that be safe to say? 

[00:12:54] Grayson: Yes, and I, I started as a police explorer when I was 14, and I did that for six years. And you know, I know by all means that that's not, you know, sworn law enforcement. I know, you know, you don't carry a weapon, but I did see some things during my, my time as an explorer, such as, you know, close contact suicide and, and some things that were.

[00:13:20] Grayson: Good taste for the field, um, but also exposure to trauma. 

[00:13:26] Jerry: Yeah. C i I wanna go, I wanna touch on that a little bit because I've talked to a few people and I've had 'em on the podcast and they've been in explorer programs at a really young age. I mean, I think it's a little too young sometimes to be seen.

[00:13:45] Jerry: Some of that type of stuff, like yeah, some of the different ways people get injured or die and stuff like that. I feel like, well, I know your brain's not mature enough to to handle that right, properly. 

[00:13:57] Grayson: Right. I mean, especially when you look at the human psychology of, of a mature adult mind itself, you know, and how much trauma the entire career can take.

[00:14:08] Grayson: So I probably would agree with you spot on. 

[00:14:12] Jerry: Yeah. I mean, looking back at that, would you have maybe done something different, ed? 

[00:14:20] Grayson: Uh, maybe I wouldn't recommend, like say my child, I.

[00:14:27] Grayson: They, the Explorer program throughout the country. They have it for, you know, even firefighters as you know. But, uh, from 14 to 21 as a sponsored semi through the Boy Scouts of America, I think for insurance purposes. But meanwhile, Maybe, maybe if I was in charge, uh, you could, you could say with more research, you know, to increase the age level to maybe something like 18.

[00:14:54] Grayson: I don't know. Uh Right. You know, but, but it is a good idea to, you know, let people kinda touch and see a little bit of the field and let them figure out before they change their majors type of deal, whether this is the field for me or, or it's not the field. 

[00:15:13] Jerry: Yeah, and I, and I could see some of that. I guess maybe it's being, whoever is your peer right, is more discreet on what you, you see, because knowing the impact that it could make, I mean, you want to get the taste of the field, but I mean, there's just some things I think you can go a little bit longer without seeing.

[00:15:34] Grayson: Yeah, of course. Of course, I mean, but, but then again, uh, I don't know when you got on it, but originally I got on about 2003 and I mean, nowadays you've gotta be 21 to say, I think get on most departments that be fire, um, or police. Um, but I've seen a recently, now I've read about, you know, some corrections getting on at 18.

[00:16:02] Grayson: Yeah. Like they did in the old days. Uh, and 20 some years ago, that wasn't uncommon, right? I mean, to be getting on at as a police officer at, say, 18 or 19, um, before you were legally able to even buy a pistol. Um, 

[00:16:21] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. I, it's kind of is striking to me in a little bit ways. I've, I've seen some ads for dispatchers that are 18, um, fire and e m s in at 18.

[00:16:33] Jerry: And I'm just thinking we don't even like, cuz we're worried about kids under 21 drinking. Right. Um, cuz what it does to the brain because they're not, the brain's not fully formed yet. Right. But we're going to put 'em in these traumatic incidents. And just looking statistically at first responders, a lot of 'em have traumatic childhoods anyways before they get into this.

[00:16:59] Jerry: Right? And then we're not gonna expose 'em even more at an early age. I can't see this turning out very well for people. 

[00:17:07] Grayson: Well, and I can tell you that, you know, when I was even 18, 19 as an explorer, I had some senior officers who I looked up to as role models. Um, you know, who I would say just gave me solid advice, you know, and, and they would tell me like, Hey, gray, like.

[00:17:28] Grayson: Choose something else. There's a million other jobs, like, don't do this. Like, nobody wants to see a police officer, like everyone's happy to see a firefighter. Uh, like, you know, like you lose re relationships maybe with your children. Uh, yeah, some of them have been divorced, you know, that they could speak to, you know, Different effects that the, the career it had on, on their life, you know, with them being 50 versus me being say 20.

[00:17:58] Grayson: Right. And you know, I, I, I'm almost 40 now, so I'm, I'm like right in between the middle. But, um, I can definitely speculate in hindsight, you know, and see more of what they were. You know, speaking to and how, you know, we have to, uh, be careful with, with ourselves, I mean, because we don't take care of it ourselves.

[00:18:22] Grayson: You know how pour from a half empty cup. 

[00:18:27] Jerry: That is a great question. And then at from such an early age, I mean, I kind of want to know like, did you dismiss some of that as like, oh, these guys right, they're just giving me a hard time or whatever. 

[00:18:40] Grayson: Yeah, I think so. I mean, because I, I always wanted to be a police officer since I was probably about five years old.

[00:18:47] Grayson: And, um, I don't know if I, I necessarily dismissed it as, as they just can't be right. As much as, yeah, I was so zealous and young to where I just more less dismissed it and ignored it that way. Um, you know, I wasn't as mindful. As I would be today or even a couple years ago about, say like the future regarding my psychology or the my family, you know, I may have thought like, oh, I may want a family someday.

[00:19:22] Grayson: I wasn't sure, but, but we're that young. It's hard to know. So, I mean, and then that, that creates the whole. I don't wanna say, uh, argument, but even the whole discussion that you could have regarding like, how old should you be to enter the military, you know, I mean, yeah. Aside from drinking at 21, I, I, I think probably 21, but there's become so many times a need in our country.

[00:19:50] Grayson: Even let it be, went back when I was 18, you know, and, and I Iraqi operation, not Iraqi. Freedom was just starting. You know, there's been that need for younger soldiers or the influx, and then I think that's why 18 was created. 

[00:20:07] Jerry: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I, I can, I can see that aspect of it. I mean, uh, sometimes, right?

[00:20:13] Jerry: The necessity and the, and the need changes, the requirements. And I think that's kind of where we're at a little bit today, um, is there's such a big need and necessity that we are willing. To, to reduce the age. And I kind of, I just like wonder, it just thought, just come to me, like, if I'm a chief, would I be willing, knowing, would I know let's, I had some time on, would I be willing to let my son or daughter enter the field?

[00:20:43] Jerry: Like, would, would I recommend them to do that? Because that's what I'm doing. I'm hiring these, these young kids, they're sons and daughters of other, other people that come into this field, 

[00:20:53] Grayson: Right well, and I, I, you know, I've thought about the same ghost for like, say if my daughter wants to be X, y, z, first responder or military, but you know, my wife and I will support her whichever direction she wants to fly.

[00:21:09] Grayson: Um, but if I hear you, and on that same note, my last guess on my most recent, uh, podcasts, um, It was his seventh year anniversary for, uh, a justified, uh, on duty, uh, shooting for himself. But meanwhile, you know, There's a lot of calls on the facts afterwards. Yeah. And furthermore, uh, his daughter is in the academy now, and so, you know, we spoke about how do you feel about that?

[00:21:43] Grayson: And, and, you know, he's all in, in support or supportive of her, which I think is great, but that has to be hard, so, 

[00:21:53] Jerry: yeah. Yeah. And maybe the, the better solution would be to. Prepare them and continually educate them mentally as much as possible, because I don't believe in academy that they spent enough time on mental health and preparing them for a career in, in these, in these fields and seeing what they're going to see.

[00:22:19] Jerry: Like this training has to be continually done. You know, so that it can be on the forefront of their mind and not let things build up. Like I'm, I guess I could call myself an old timer in a lot of ways. And, you know, I've done a lot of personal work, but that trying to unwind all that stuff is a lot harder than being, you know, proactive about it.

[00:22:44] Jerry: Cuz now I'm being re now I'm being reactive about it and now it's a lot more difficult. 

[00:22:49] Grayson: Right. No, and I understand that. And I mean, it was even spoken on a documentary that I watched recently and it, it's so true, but I hadn't thought of it until you hear it, but say like, In so many states, you know, it's, uh, in the law enforcement academies that may be eight hours required for effective communication or mental health and combined.

[00:23:16] Grayson: Yeah. Whereas you spend 48 hours, um, just alone on, on you, your pistol, you know? Right. I mean, You know, so somewhere that that balance needs to change because I know firsthand just like, you know, firsthand, but coming from, let, let's say, aside from my police career, but coming from my correctional career, you know, aside from not having a weapon, the most essential tool all of us have is our mouth and our communication.

[00:23:48] Grayson: Yeah. And so, you know, in a deescalation. Tactical standpoint that I'm sure you can speak to if you're, you know, a tactical medic. But meanwhile, you know, there, there definitely should be a shift in that direction with, uh, more time spent for effective communication or even, uh, mental health. Handling, you know?

[00:24:12] Jerry: Yeah, yeah. And I, I'm totally with you once again. Right. It's gonna come down to the, where the necessity and the need, the necessity and the need is, right? Is get people in place out on the streets. But what's the toll of that going to be down the road? Was it worth spending one week less in the academy to have 'em out on the road to.

[00:24:39] Jerry: You know, to have them, let's say, we'll call it a mental health incident or crisis or whatever. Mm-hmm. Like, is that gonna be worth it? Spending one less week? Could, could maybe a week, maybe, I don't know. You know, change them a week's long course in the academy. Change them, you know, about communication and their just overall wellness, and both physical and mental, you know, wellbeing and just, well, even without help, I think it would, 

[00:25:06] Grayson: I, I think so too, but I think even you and I both can agree in a hindsight perspective and reference, like any advice we can give to, you know, people going into the field or even newer into the field, you know, to be, um, not necessarily excited, but more attentive.

[00:25:29] Grayson: Mm-hmm. Because it's so easy to be. Not complacent, but kind of in a complaining, dragging kind of mood. Yeah. About any sort of training where we can just be like, oh, I gotta go to training today. Or, or even if you're in training, let it be the academy or an annual training. Just be like going through the motions.

[00:25:49] Grayson: Whereas, you know, the more you're aware and attentive and. You know, complacent inside that training, you know, your body will react instinctively to your training. And so, yeah, that's, that's another hindsight, you know, re prospective look back, you know, and it's easy for us to say that now, but if I said anybody out there now, 

[00:26:17] Jerry: yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:26:19] Jerry: I mean, I hate to say this, but kind in time will tell, um, You know what the, what the verdict of that is gonna be. I mean, for those maybe, I wish there were some statistics. You know, this state does a 12 week academy, this one does, you know, a 18 week academy and then they spend this much time, you know, on mental health and wellbeing and stuff like that.

[00:26:43] Jerry: It'd be very hard to like study. It would be really good to, if we could study it because. I think Right. The most valuable asset in any department, you know, or any business or, or, or whatever, right. Is the human being in that position. Correct. Yeah. And the amount of training that they spend on you and the time they invested in you, I mean, they, they really want you to stay, but then Right when you have, uh, you know, like yourself, I mean, not, don't wanna speak for, you have like a, a.

[00:27:20] Jerry: A diagnosis, you know, you have to change your life. That's very costly both to you, but it's a costly to the department. 

[00:27:29] Grayson: Oh, for sure. And, uh, you know, I think that, you know, even if the, uh, you know, I think in general, say administration has come. Leap years from, you know, 20 years ago when I may have started, um, in regards to mental wellness or health and the mindfulness of it.

[00:27:56] Grayson: But we also have to, and I don't know if it's from say, the, uh, government administration that'll be local or, or further out, but you know, we, we need to be, um, Mindful or spiteful, if that's, that's not even word. Mm-hmm. But, but interesting. Able to catch mm-hmm. Say the, the old, the old cahoots who are, you know, like, suck it up buttercup.

[00:28:28] Grayson: Yeah. Um, because they're not really helping anybody. Uh, those type of mindset people let it be men or women. Uh, but the old. Mindset essentially. Yeah. Um, and, and so, you know, if, if we can get everyone on the same page where, you know, say you know, yourself or myself, for example, if we're active and on duty, you know, I think there's a big part of the stigma is.

[00:29:01] Grayson: Big part of why some people don't wanna go to peer support or even wanna go see their own psychologist is they're afraid of being told they're unfit for duty. Sure. Or, and nobody wants to lose their career that way. Right. But if somebody can, you know, step up and without shame, you know, perhaps get the help they need and maybe get a, you know, A short term leave type deal and get some help.

[00:29:31] Grayson: Uh, for the meantime, uh, let it'll be clinically or however they need help, as I'm not a clinician, but meanwhile, that way there's less fear of them losing not just their job, but their career, their livelihood. 

[00:29:45] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. I think you're spot on with that. I mean, I, it's sometimes hard to pick the language because I wanna say things in, in my, in my terms, but I don't really wanna offend anybody, you know?

[00:29:59] Jerry: And so I will just say how I would say it, like there was a time that basically environmentally my mental health, I'll just say it was broken, like it wasn't, wasn't where it needed to be, and it took some time to fix it. Now, Knowing what I know today, I would've done it a lot different. Sure. Um, but I could see where, you know, if, if I could step, feel like I could step up and say, Hey, I need help.

[00:30:27] Jerry: I need a little bit of a break. Um, and maybe some professional help, you know, during this little bit of a. Break. Um, don't abuse it, right? It's not a vacation. This is time to work on yourself and get a little bit of break, or maybe just some parts of my shifts covered so I can go get some help, you know, some form of getting some professional help or whatever.

[00:30:49] Jerry: Man, if you can do that and keep up on that through someone's career, they're gonna stay a long time and do a great job. They're gonna treat people better because they're gonna feel better overall, right? Their family life is gonna be better. It's. There should be, all these things should be better in their life.

[00:31:05] Jerry: I mean, it's up to them ultimately, but I mean you, to have an in, we'll call it an incident in your mental health, you know, shouldn't relieve you from your, your duty. People have issues all the time in other lines of work. I think we should be more respectful in this line of work. If you do have, we'll call it an incident, you know, or something like that where you need to step up and get help, like we should be more forgiving and we should actually look to those people that are like, good for you to step up and recognize that you needed something and to way to go out there to get the help that you needed to get.

[00:31:41] Jerry: Um, You know, and the way to set the example, and I, I just know, you know, you come, I, you can speak to this after I'm done on my, my soapbox here, but like, just feel better, you know, just being feeling better overall. I serve other people better. 

[00:31:58] Grayson: Well, absolutely. I mean, because it's about, you know, so many of.

[00:32:06] Grayson: Not people, but even us as first responders or even my wife as a nurse, you know, I mean people in the healthcare field as well. I mean, we're, we're the type of people to take care of others first Yeah. And take care of our ourselves last, but I, I, you know, I don't wanna say I, I, my wife, but I mean, I, I, I kinda, you know, preach for all the time about how, you know, you've gotta.

[00:32:34] Grayson: Take care of yourself, because she's always trying to take care of not only her patients, but our, our family too. But I, I tell her that, you know, it's okay to, to do certain things, you know, for self-care. Let it be outside of therapy, even if it's just a massage, you know? Yeah. Because, you know, without that self-care, like, you know, it's hard to, you know, do as well.

[00:32:58] Grayson: Taking care of others as, as you could otherwise. And, and that's when I've, you know, literally, you know, like, say bought her gift certificates and scheduled her massages and, and been like, oh, well you're, you're going. And, and she like, tells me thank you afterwards. But, you know, it's like, you know, it's just, you've gotta take care of yourself as well.

[00:33:19] Grayson: Like, I mean, You know, and, and I think a lot of us as first responders, we, we don't necessarily see self-care as, uh, high on the priority list because we may physically take care of ourselves, you know, in reference like our physical, uh, health or even working out for se, because we see that as fit for duty, but in other ways of, you know, so-called splurging of whatever our, our, you know, our.

[00:33:49] Grayson: Our pleasures are, you know, and, uh, yeah, um, makes us happy type of way. Um, but you know, it's important to take even those small mental breaks and, and just, uh, you know, and then there's so much else I've learned since my experience of being diagnosed with, uh, cumulative ptsd. I mean, initially for, say, I was not, uh, communicating with my wife about what was going on, and I was not, uh, telling her everything because I thought I was safeguarding her.

[00:34:27] Grayson: So I was trying to, you know, hold a lot back, you know, or not trying, but easily holding a lot back. Yeah. Like I said, to safeguard. And then I spoke to my therapist and, and you know, he just told me he was like, You've got to open up to her. And I had started to see some of the cause and effects of what it was doing to her because she had reached out to even say my mom and said, you know, I don't know what I can do to help.

[00:34:57] Grayson: I feel helpless. And, and so once I broke my own barrier of communication that way, Not only did she open up more herself, but also her, her relationship got better. Um, and she understood say why I wasn't sleeping or, or different things I was going through, and otherwise she just felt clueless and helpless.

[00:35:21] Grayson: And some of that I think, I don't know if it's a even just pride in being a male. Man, I was starting to say male, and then I tried saying man together. But, but anyway, uh, being, being a man, you know, I don't know if that's, that's pride or if it's just us, us swimming a safeguard or family. 

[00:35:42] Jerry: Yeah. And yeah, and I think there's, uh, like to touch on a couple things you've said, like one you, you know, you can't really give from a half full cup.

[00:35:51] Jerry: You mentioned that earlier. And also right, self-care is not selfish. It's not selfish. Like No, and that's specifically right. Right. You can't give when you have nothing left to give. So, and I, you know, and I, I love how you opened up and, you know, created a deeper bond with your wife and I. It would be a very interesting, once again study or something to find out why just first responders, you know, there's a lot of reasons I'm sure, why they don't want to talk about it.

[00:36:23] Jerry: I mean, for me it's just like, Sometimes I don't want to talk about it because I just wanna leave work at work and. That's probably not the best approach, you know? Um, in a lot of ways it's not necessary that I'm feel like I'm protecting where I know a lot of people do. I'm just like, I just don't want to rehash it.

[00:36:45] Jerry: I'm not a big reaser type of person. 

[00:36:47] Grayson: Right, right. 

[00:36:47] Jerry: So I'm just like, I, I'm sure we probably should come up with a study like what are the 10 reasons why you don't talk to your spouse about your job? It would be really interesting. To find out. Maybe I'll put that out there, but Right. Um, get some feedback.

[00:37:03] Jerry: But, you know, you've been through, you've been through a lot and you know how, so I know you got some help, right? You went, you have a therapist, right? You did some E M D E mdr, is that correct? Yes. Yes. Do you wanna touch on that? Because I know a lot of people in the audience are curious about emdr. 

[00:37:21] Grayson: So, emdr, uh, has been quite productive for me.

[00:37:25] Grayson: Um, And, um, I can tell you that there's been some days where like, say my therapist will will notator. He'll say that like, we, we straight off path. But you know, I've, I've spoken to him like, maybe not that session, but the next session next week, um, how. Helpful and beneficial. It was when I thought about what we spoke about LA this past week and you know, I, I realized that he thought maybe we straight off track, but you know, not to say he is wrong, but, uh, you know, we just went on the track where my mind needed to go because Right.

[00:38:09] Grayson: Every time we've done it, it's been beneficial and it's really been empowering on how. You know, I can reclaim, say, some valor that I've let others steal from my life. Um, and, um, you know, I think there's once again, too many stigmas about it and not enough people to speak about it. So, so therefore, I think.

[00:38:41] Grayson: I'll, I'll speak in the majority of of therapists, but majority of therapists are probably well enough trained or they're not gonna harm you. And, and it doesn't mean that there's not a bad apple out there anywhere because of course there's a bad apple anywhere. Mm-hmm. But, um, meanwhile, for example, my therapist, I mean, we started some of them very, very, very low trauma.

[00:39:08] Grayson: I mean, Almost outside of my law enforcement career. I mean, he told me like, think of something this upcoming week that you wanna talk about next week. And that's just very low on the trauma scale. Yeah. And that way, uh, we spoke about it, but it gave me a taste of the emdr. And then on the meanwhile, on the flip side, I mean, for those who don't know more about it, you know, you speak about a trauma.

[00:39:37] Grayson: And then you speak about beforehand, your therapist and yourself will find out, like say like a happy place for you. Let it be the birth of your child, you know, or. Or the day you, you met your spouse or got married, you know, just somewhere in your life that you know is very, not just tangible memory, but a very happy spot for you and your my, you know, your therapist or psychologist will even speak to you about the senses, you know, and ask you like, Do you remember recalling any smells or anything you can feel, you know, of this memory?

[00:40:19] Grayson: Uh, you know, and, and just your five different senses. And so then, um, you know, you not only speak of see the trauma. And then, you know, there's a time lapse, um, where you kinda like have your eyes closed per se and have some other, uh, tools or devices that are just meditating type of ways. Mm-hmm. Uh, regarding vibrations or sounds.

[00:40:54] Grayson: But meanwhile, um, And then you can, you know, go on throughout the trauma. But then at any point, say if you get like personally maxed out as a patient where you're just like, you know, like Doc, like, like this is getting too much for me. That's why you have that happy place to go back to. And, and your therapist and you have, have come up with whatever the have big place may be for you specifically.

[00:41:24] Grayson: So I know per se, myself, I wasn't resistant. I wanted to do it, but I was a little scared at first, but I highly recommended to anyone and who, who can take advantage of it because it's highly effective. 

[00:41:40] Jerry: Yeah, yeah. It's definitely, it's definitely highly effective. It's. Um, it works faster than talk therapy.

[00:41:49] Jerry: Um, and let's ESPs in the first responder world and probably just in general, just throwing it out there, right? We are not big talkers. Like we don't wanna, like talk, therapy is not where we want to be with these types of, you know, processing the traumas. So, which is what's great about e MDR or a r t types of therapy.

[00:42:09] Jerry: It's just much more rapid type of therapy where you're not. Just spilling all the details, um, you know, of your, of what's going on. 

[00:42:19] Grayson: And even on the, on that note though, regarding emdr, it's nice that, um, there's methods of how you can like, tuck it in a box and like put it, put it away. Yeah. Say your session would wrap up and, and you've got a lot of exposed.

[00:42:40] Grayson: Like, I don't wanna say trauma, but a lot left unsaid for second. Yeah. And how there's methods of how your therapists or psychologists can, you know, tuck it away safely for you, in your mind for the meantime until you see them again. And I mean, that's, that's incredible technique itself. 

[00:43:01] Jerry: Yeah. It's, it's super fascinating technique that they've come up with the, um, to do the step of therapy.

[00:43:08] Jerry: Great. Like I know the reason why. Let's talk a little bit about what you're doing with your company and stuff like that and how people can find you. But why, why did you start, why'd you start down this journey to do, to do, to make a difference? 

[00:43:26] Grayson: So when I left, uh, when I left the, the prison, I just felt, um, You know, like I, you know, had always wanted to help others as a first responder, but I felt, you know, somewhat lost.

[00:43:39] Grayson: Where, whereas so often that's our identity is it's our career. Um, but meanwhile, I thought, you know, if I can start something for mental health awareness for first responders specifically and suicide prevention, because I'm sure we've all lost. Too many or one too many, uh, of our friends from suicide, uh, relating to job related stress.

[00:44:04] Grayson: Uh, you know, I thought if I could just help one person, that would be a successful mission for me, even though I wouldn't stop there. Um, But I started this nonprofit called Public Safety Preservation. And uh, meanwhile I speak with first responder agencies or first responders, one-on-one, uh, throughout the Midwest, uh, uh, or even throughout the country now, thanks to, uh, tools we have online.

[00:44:35] Grayson: But meanwhile, um, you know, I just wanted to, to really hone in and try to. Trying to help others, you know, and, and I even had a, a friend of mine who I worked with in the police department who, um, I mean you could call him old school, but he, he, he's just a humble man that happens to have a little more age on himself than I do.

[00:44:58] Grayson: But, um, he was a Vietnam vet and he had almost 50 years experience at the department, and he, um, He, he told me one night we were writing together some stories about his P T S D or P T S I, uh, that he had never even shared with his wife and that he had told me, you know, just wanna see a therapist that never walked my boots.

[00:45:23] Grayson: And I didn't tell me he was wrong cause he is not wrong everyone differently. Um, but therefore he inspired me to create, uh, a weekly support group. Because I thought for people like him, If perhaps we can get, even if it's on an online room versus, oh, I tried it initially in person but created an online.

[00:45:48] Grayson: Um, if I can get a people, group of people, small group or large who have maybe walked in somebody else's boots because we're first responders and we can open up about X, Y, Z, that'll be. Trauma from way back when or trouble sleeping. You know, I don't wanna say small stuff, but just who knows what, whatever's bothering you, whatever you bring to your plate.

[00:46:12] Grayson: But, uh, he was my inspiration beyond. Before, uh, excuse me, uh, first starting that, uh, uh, weekly support group. And so, uh, I'm excited for that. That's every Wednesday at 7:00 PM Central Standard time via Zoom. The link can be found on the website, which is public safety preservation org. And then, um, Uh, we can also be found on Facebook, uh, just under public safety preservation.

[00:46:47] Grayson: And I've, I've recently started a new podcast just called When the Badge Gets Heavy. Um, and it's, it's not just mental health focus. I mean, it can be about, uh, community of policing, but, you know, on a broader scope, but at the same time, uh, You know, it's, it's nice to have different guests on and hear about different experiences.

[00:47:12] Jerry: Yeah, definitely. Right. We're all coming from different perspectives. That's what's the beauty about podcasts and stuff, is being able to come together and share different, uh, perspectives on what's happening in our lives or what we've experienced in our lives. Absolutely. Well great. It's been awesome to have you on.

[00:47:30] Jerry: Um, super excited for you to get, uh, that you got your podcast going and you're out there on social media and, um, surely by what you're doing, you know, you will achieve your mission. Um, and I'm by saving a life, uh, and being cuz you're being out there and being an example. But I love that you're not just stopping with one.

[00:47:51] Grayson: Appreciate it. Thank you very much and thanks for all your do yourself, Jerry. 

[00:47:55] Jerry: Yeah, thank you. All right. Well, I hope you have a great day. Yeah, you too. I appreciate it. 

[00:48:00] Grayson: Thanks. 

[00:48:01] Jerry: Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you access your podcast. If you know someone that would be great on the show, please get a hold of our host, Jerry Dean Lund through the Instagram handles at Jerry Fire and Fuel, or at Enduring The Badge Podcast. Also by visiting the show's website. Enduring the badge podcast.com for additional methods of contact and up to date information regarding show Remember. The views and opinions expressed during the show solely represent those of our host and the current episodes guest.

Gray ReedProfile Photo

Gray Reed

Nonprofit Founder and Podcast Host

Former Police and State Correctional Officer, diagnosed with Cumatative PTSD and Major Depression Disorder. Founder of Public Safety Preservation and Host of When the Badge gets Heavy.