MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!

Navigating Chaos: Larry Jones on Military Mental Health

September 27, 2023 Nathaniel Scheer Season 1 Episode 5
MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!
Navigating Chaos: Larry Jones on Military Mental Health
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever wondered how graphic design can segue into mental health counseling? Our guest, Larry Jones, a clinical specialist and therapist for the Marines, has made that surprising journey. From his humble beginnings at Subway to navigating the highs and lows of professional life, Larry's insightful story is a riveting blend of personal growth, laughter, and mental health awareness. 

Unwinding techniques and mental fitness tools aren't one-size-fits-all. Larry shares his journey to find what works for him and encourages you to explore your own. He opens up about life in the military – a world where chaos is the norm, and mental health takes on a whole new meaning. His favorite apps, books, and podcasts all make an appearance, and they might just become your new go-to resources.

Lastly, we can't ignore the elephant in the room - the stigma around mental health. Larry opens up about his observations, challenges, and hopes for the future. From breaking down barriers in the home to tackling misunderstood perceptions of sensitivity in younger generations, this episode dives head-first into some pressing conversations. Larry's wise nuggets on self-care and confidence-building are the icing on the cake. If you're ready to laugh, learn, and level up your mental fitness, this episode is a must-listen. Join us for an impactful chat, and be ready to walk away with a fresh perspective on mental health.

Scheerious Positivity!

Nate Scheer:

Welcome to the show Mind Matters, where your mind matters. Today on the show we have Larry Jones. Welcome to the show, Larry.

Larry Jones:

Thanks for coming on today.

Nate Scheer:

Hello, thanks for having me. Absolutely so, larry, what do you do?

Larry Jones:

So I am a clinical specialist. Is what they call us a therapist over at for the Marines?

Nate Scheer:

Awesome, that's good stuff. What's your degree in?

Larry Jones:

In clinical mental health counseling.

Nate Scheer:

That's good stuff. So we're going to start with a little bit of intro. You know, let everyone know where you're from, what you're about. So let's start with your origin story. What are you all about? Where are you from?

Larry Jones:

Oh man, so I'm from Richmond, virginia, which is not what it used to be. It's a hipster town now. It used to be a really bad area, so that's the time that I grew up in was when it was a bad area. Then I actually made it out of the hood, went to undergrad at Oral Roberts University, graduated from there with a graphic design degree, which is not at all what I do now. I found out that it was going to be a little bit different to be able to survive in that field, and so I ended up moving into something that I actually do enjoy, which is now what I'm doing currently as a counselor.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. So what was the big shift? To get over to mental health.

Larry Jones:

Oh boy.

Nate Scheer:

In which way Big swing from digital art and things of that nature over to mental health career field.

Larry Jones:

That's interesting. So one of the jobs that I took once I finished undergrad was with a health insurance company, and I actually learned then what it was like to see people as numbers, and I hated it. I absolutely hated it, because I saw that there were people who were going through some stuff and to see them relegated to just being a serial number, there was absolutely no care for who they were as a human or what they were going through, and so I think that kind of started the push towards trying to do something to take care of people, and so I had already decided that I was going to go back to school. I actually made a little pact with God that I'm going to go back to school in five years after undergrad, and so that time came up, even though I was making some OK money. That was at the same time everybody was getting laid off, all the companies were downsizing, and so it just kind of moved me right into that field. He was like, hey, remember that deal you made. It's time, buddy. Time to go, that's the point, so moved right into this field, started trying to get my degree so that I could start actually helping.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. I think that's a well-rounded, good origin story. We're going to transition into the warm-up. So in all sports, got to love some sports references. Got to get warmed up, normally warming up the muscles in the bullpen. Here we're going to warm up our mouths a little bit. So got a few questions to get us started. First one I got for you is what has been your least favorite job to date?

Larry Jones:

Oh yeah, so that would definitely be working. It was actually my very first job. I worked at Subway. I was a sandwich artist.

Nate Scheer:

Artist.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, that was when we went by that title and I worked there. All of two weeks Did not last very long, so we worked. I remember my manager. She used to always yell at us fast, fast, hurry, hurry. I don't know what the deal was, why we had to make these sandwiches so quickly, but boy, she was serious about it Make it quicker. So we were always trying to make these sandwiches and I learned that the tuna fish you should definitely stay away from it. It's been around a lot longer than you think. You know there's that. But we actually got a, had some threats, come in to Subway of all places. Guy came in and he threatened the manager and I said you know what, if he comes back, I want to not be here. So I went on ahead. That day I decided I'm just going to go ahead and quit this job. It was already not not that great, wasn't paying that great, and now threats of violence. Nah, I don't need to make these sandwiches that bad. It's not worth it, Not at all.

Nate Scheer:

That's funny. One of the jobs I liked the least was working at Honda. I sold cars for a single month. So funny I remember I love people, I love cars. This is going to be the match. This is going to be the thing I was so excited. And she's selling cars, is tricking people and a lot of just not good stuff Basically everything you think of with used car dealership even though I mean this was a new car dealership but just a lot of stuff that happens in the background. I just couldn't do it. So I did that one month and took that one and only paycheck and and got out of there. Unfortunately, that wasn't quite the match. It's funny how you think it's going to be better than it is.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, I think I did the exact same thing. I worked for Ford, for I think it made I think I made it two months, because the training was one month, and then I was on the floor for two months and exact same thing. And you just feel like, oh, we've built this great relationship and I'm going to be the dealership, the dealer that you, you know, you believe in, because I'm not trying to pull wool over your eyes. And then you discover the finance manager.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, I want you to pull that wool like this isn't going to be a good fit. It's funny Some of the tricks they got in there, but we won't go too far into these cars. Oh, go, go and tell them something real quick Stall, stall. Next question I got what habits do you have to make sure you're taking care of? So on here it says mental health. One thing I'm going to try to do in this podcast going forward, I just recently heard it on another podcast is calling it mental fitness and I absolutely loved it. So I'm going to try to do that. Going forward, mental health has a lot of negative connotations, so this idea of mental fitness ongoing. It's never complete, it's never done and we're always working on it. So what are some of the things you do to take care of your mental fitness?

Larry Jones:

So I am all about having as many different ways of unwinding as possible. I like to just grab new hobbies all the time, and it's not that I necessarily will put an old one down, it's just that I like to add tools to the tool belt. I'm a car guy, so I like to always have as many tools as possible so you can make sure the job gets done. And so I got into photography, I got into RC cars because that's something random that I needed to do. So I did. Obviously, I like to wrench on my own car, but now I have a van because I'm a super cool guy. So you know there's that. But yeah, it's all about having as many ways to unwind as possible. I try to make sure that I'm actively doing those things. You bring up mental fitness, and one of the things that we have to deal with a lot of times is help the worried. Well, it's what they're called. So it's not necessarily people who are unfit and they're sick, minds, depraved and all this, but people who are just stressed out, you know, and I think one of the things that helps us to just get stressed out is we put down the things that help us to just simply unwind on a Tuesday, and so if that means picking up a camera, then I'll do that, you know.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, and I think, going to your reference of the cars, for anybody that does like to tinker on their cars is finding the right fit for the job, because I know, working on cars, sometimes you can grab something that will work maybe, but finding the exact tool that fits, I think it's a good, a good analogy here, because maybe you need to find something that doesn't work for other people but it works for you, and kind of finding that match, because I know sometimes we like to come up with these solutions that are cookie cutter and, oh, everyone should meditate or play video games or whatever. That's impossible. Everyone's completely different and whatnot. So the vice grip that might work for one job or person might be a completely different you know ranch or something for somebody else. So that's a good point, making sure that you're having lots of stuff, lots of tools in the toolbox that you're pulling out, hopefully the one that works for that particular situation. So slight tangent here, but I want to ask you a hot question see if I can get some good answers here. Hopefully this won't throw you too much, but three-part question. So some fun stuff. I think it's important to understand how you use your time. So we went through your origin story and a little bit about you, but one way, in a very short amount of time, since we only have an hour or less to kind of talk through some stuff is understanding how you use your time. I think that really helps us understand you as a person. So, right now, what's one app that you're using? One book you recommend and one podcast or something similar.

Larry Jones:

Oh my gosh, oh man, so that's interesting. So okay, one app that I use, hmm.

Nate Scheer:

They use it to unwind on that random Tuesday.

Larry Jones:

Wow, okay, that's a tough one. So I was trying to not say this answer, but I guess why not? So obviously I'm a Christian. I made a reference to God earlier and so I actually got into my Bible app and I'm trying to do the Bible in a year because I've never actually done it before, and so I'm actually having it read to me and I'll do that on my way to work and for whatever reason. It's just, I mean, call it, you know, the power of God maybe, but it's definitely just helped me to kind of get my mind together Somehow. Like it's not that I'm going to a Bible study at work because I'm not, but somehow it just puts me in a good mood. It's a nice start you know, and I feel like I'm getting somewhere, growing as a person, to achieve a goal that I've wanted to achieve. Other than that, it's just going to be YouTube, you know. So I just try to, you know, make it something that actually matters.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, absolutely.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, I feel like that's helping to build me that's good stuff.

Nate Scheer:

So a book that you recommend. Oh my gosh, there's so many good ones. It doesn't have to be now, maybe ever.

Larry Jones:

Let's see, there is a book. Oh man, what's the name of it? It would catch me like this oh man, what's the name of it? So there's a book, I have to pull it up. So there's this, uh, this book that I started reading, called the Body Keeps the Score. I'm going to get his name wrong, it's just going to happen, but I'm going to just throw it out there. Hopefully it'll be easy to spell if I say it wrong. No-transcript. Hmm, you know, hopefully you can spell that, but it's actually pronounced, if I'm thinking about it correctly, west soul, a Vandercurke is how you say his name, but it's spelled Vandercoke, k-o-l-k. But anyway, the book is about trauma and how, when you go through something that's super traumatic, even though you don't think about that thing, you still tend to respond to stuff that looks like that trauma. So if you got beat up in high school no, we'll say beat up in elementary school and it was in the park, you know, randomly, as an adult you may hate going to the park. You know Simply because if your body remembers, this is where that thing happened. That was super traumatic to me. So really good book. I love the way it goes into some things and explains some stuff In a way that layman, you know, somebody without any sort of knowledge of mental health can understand it. But it's also helpful for a person like myself who actually has to deal with with trauma regularly.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, so what was your biggest takeaway? What's something that someone could take and use it as a tip-trick technique or something actionable from the book?

Larry Jones:

I think it's recognizing triggers, so it speaks about a little lie actually, but those things that you just don't realize are happening, that your body does, you know and you can't do anything until you know.

Nate Scheer:

Exactly, you know, because it's a certain things, but it might not be getting at the root exactly.

Larry Jones:

So if you start, you know some deep breathing or something. Well, what you know? What are you trying to resolve? What's? Do you even know what took you there before you had to start deep breathing? You know what? What was the thing that's happening? Are you feeling hot? You know what's? Is your chest tight? What's what is happening in your body that you can recognize so that you can change what you do afterwards or change how that thing, how you respond to that, that situation?

Nate Scheer:

Absolutely. We're gonna round out the last question. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Larry Jones:

Oh, it would definitely be special butter chicken. I Don't know how this thing has taken over every part of me. I love it. I can't get enough. Spattle, special butter chicken and nine it's. I don't know it's, it's special.

Nate Scheer:

Gotta love some Indian food.

Larry Jones:

Oh my gosh.

Nate Scheer:

Good stuff. I heard you had a few questions for me to round out and finish up this warm-up.

Larry Jones:

Oh yeah, let's see. So I Wanted to ask what's your favorite artist?

Nate Scheer:

My favorite artist. Oh shoot, that's a tough one. Um, I Don't know. I feel like I that's really difficult because I'm I Like a lot of different things and a lot of things are based on the mood or what's going on. So you know, the Crazy giant guitar solo is while I'm working out or whatnot, versus being in the car. The band that I've seen more than any other is Silverstein, so I've seen them quite a few times. I've also seen a perfect circle, which is like the quieter version of tool. Both of those were pretty good. So I probably say between one of those two, I guess.

Larry Jones:

That's pretty good. That's pretty good. All the memories will listen to the cries of the carrots. Let's see. So what has been going on in your life recently that you expected and didn't expect?

Nate Scheer:

Um, I think the biggest thing would probably be my transition to when I'm working at right now in the front office as the executive officer for the med group. It's been pretty interesting. I knew at some point I was gonna probably become the exec, just because, as a medical service court officer, being an admin type person, we normally rotate in that position. I didn't want to, because I never saw myself as an admin person. I'm more wanting to hang out with the people and kick boxes and do the jobs that are a little more hands-on. So so far, up to this point, my experience has been readiness and logistics. So I'm used to pushing boxes around logistics and the readiness like dragging around mannequins in a field with fake blood and you know Things that are very far away from like general admin, even though our job is, you know, at its core still admin, but a little more hands-on, and so I think I expected that aspect of it. And then the other Half of that question is didn't expect? So I shade it a lot less than I thought I was going to oh. I really thought that it was gonna be very mundane in the same, because I was like on Monday, same meetings every Monday. You know same meetings on Tuesday and you know Working on the calendar and you know things are gonna look very similar from day to day.

Larry Jones:

Wow, that wasn't right, so we just get some random questions in there.

Nate Scheer:

If people don't know who to call, they call the front office and just rifle off the question. So some of them don't even make any sense. One it didn't happen here, but it's a good example. I'll always remember the wing called over to me in medical readiness and then took the terms medical and readiness. They're like oh, this must be the office it occurs within. And so they ask you this question. I have to listen to the question like two or three times. I'm like this can't be happening. There was a solar eclipse that day. And they're like do you have glasses for all 15,000 people on base?

Larry Jones:

I was like no, they're like you're medical and you keep us ready.

Nate Scheer:

I'm like you're using the words. I see what you're doing, that is where I work, but I don't have 15,000 pairs of glasses for the base, but no blue block is at the ready. Yeah and so, uh, you know that didn't happen in this current position, but that does remind me of uh, kind of the things we get, these random questions. I have no idea. I'm lucky enough to know the structure of the med group, which gets me by. I'm like that's somewhere that sounds like flight med, so let me get you over to flight medicine. Um, so in that aspect I've really enjoyed it where no day or hour has ever been like the same as the hour before. It's been Absolutely insane, which is good for me. That's just kind of how my brain works. Um, I thrive in the chaos. I love a little controlled chaos, so it's been good. So I definitely would say I expected to move into the position at some point. I didn't expect to like it as much as I I am. And the other part I think I expected and didn't expect, kind of both is how much you learn, and I say that because everyone says you learn so much in that position and so it's one thing to hear it, but it's another thing to actually live it and Really learn how much Goes on behind the scenes and gets people promoted and all these different things where a lot of times you fire off these Documents. They disappear for a couple, you know, a couple weeks. They come back signed, completed, done, but there's hours of review and things that are all happening behind this scene. So I knew, expected that I would learn a lot, but I don't know if I knew that I'd learn as much as I have. So it's been a really good time, that's cool, that's cool.

Larry Jones:

so you, uh, you definitely strike me as a person who's outside of the box, like there's a whole lot going on. Um, I think that's an awesome, awesome trait. So it definitely leads me to this next question, uh that, what would you like For your, your listeners to know about you? What would you like to share with them?

Nate Scheer:

Um, I really hope that. You know, the core of the podcast is making connections and making this conversation about mental fitness and ongoing thing, and I think that's the biggest thing. My hope, my want, my love for this is that we can have conversations and that becomes more of the norm. So in my pilot episode I talked about my losing my grandma to mental health and you know the stigma of her not being able to talk to it, even to her own grandkids and of us new and like. The stigma has gotten better over time but we're still not where we need to be. When you go to the hospital for your annual physical, or if you roll an ankle, you know you get prevent it or get things to treat that, and there's, you know they send you right out the door. No one thinks about it. You're at the clinic. If someone sees you at the clinic, they're like cool, no big deal. You go to the mental health clinic, you know. Then their mind starts to wander and things like that. So I think that's really what's on my mind to try to help share with listeners. Do I think this podcast will save and, you know, fix mental health? No, not at all. But my biggest thing is I brought it up in a couple other forms. In my last base I got a piece of our uniform approved. It was, you know, not authorized initially, but I got a waiver to wear a patch on our shoulder that said are you okay? And I remember I had to go in and talk to the command, the command chief, about it and one of the questions he asked me was do you think this will solve mental health? Basically paraphrasing not trying to quote him, but I remember had to stop for a second and I had to give him an answer. I was like no, I don't think it would solve it. But what if? What if it? What if it saved one person? One person, that's it. One person saw it on my arm and was like hey, can I have a conversation? I'm at my lowest day, I'm at the worst part of my life. Can you, you know, go to the BX with me and walk, Sure, like that uniform adjustment, you know, being slightly out of regulations or meeting that waiver is all worth it, just for one one single person. So I think that's I think that's what I would hope to share is I hope this podcast will make it so you could reach out to Larry, or reach out to myself or anyone that's on here that has a story that's similar or made you think of something, or even if it just makes you make a call to someone digital age, we're really getting into texts and different stuff, but just making an actual call, a FaceTime call or even a voice call, maybe someone you need to check on or maybe you need some help. So that's what I'd say.

Larry Jones:

That was the road you were going for. Oh man, that was beautiful. I'm look, I'm impressed. That was. That was great, so I got a bonus. So what do people usually misunderstand about you?

Nate Scheer:

Oh, this is a good one, oh, this is good. So the biggest thing for me, my whole life has been happy, go lucky, and that's kind of how I've lived my life for the majority of it. And then I had my bonus dad pass away when he was, you know, still young, still had many years to live, you know, passed away a lung cancer, didn't smoke. All of it seemed kind of unfair, but the big core out of that that continued. My philosophy of life is too short and to enjoy things, and so that's one thing I think that gets misconstrued a lot is I don't care or take things seriously. But and maybe I joke and take things too far sometimes but I still worry about stuff and I've had the flights that I've had. I'm worrying about problems within the flight and, you know, if there's, you know, been domestic incidences with people or other issues that have happened, like DUIs or other things, I'm just racking my brain around how I can take care of them and what I did and did I say enough to say the right things, and so sometimes it's slightly frustrating. Where it's like happy, go lucky is the outside, but that doesn't mean there's a lot of inner turmoil and having trouble sleeping. I'm doing a lot better now, but I've had periods of my life where my mind will not shut off, no matter how hard I try, and so people see the smile and the hey, how are you doing in the hallway? And I'll always do that. I mean, that's who I am. At my core I'm very blue. We go to the four lenses and so wanting to take care of people. But sometimes it's a little frustrating. It's like, oh, you're always happy, not always happy. I got things going on and things are racking through my brain, but I just keep going back to the life is too short, so unless it's something catastrophic or something pretty massive, there's not going to be too much. It's kind of wreck a day for me. I always think of those examples or memes or whatever it is, where it talks about like the bank account in terms of seconds in the day and associates like, would you give away this money? And you're like, no, I would never give away the money. It's like that's an hour of your day basically. So you're going to feud and be all frustrated over what somebody said or how they, you know, did something and you're just giving away an hour. Another thing I try and tell my wife and this is much easier said than done, I think I've gotten better at it and I'm probably solidly mediocre at it now is not worrying about something twice. So I already worry, and you know, stay up not being able to sleep, wracking my brain over things. I try not to but that I, but I do try to consciously stop and think about that. If I worry about it, then it's worrying about it once and then worrying about it again, so that doesn't really help at all. Worry about it when it comes, I'll handle it as it comes, but sometimes it does come off as like not caring, which is not the case.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, that's interesting. I like that. Worry about it once. That's oh boy, that's that's not easy yeah it's gonna.

Nate Scheer:

A lot of times things are going to come up, so you might as well wait till they occur before you worry about it. I was watching or listening to a podcast the other day and I mentioned this in Holly's episode two, but I'll just hit it again. Just hit it so powerful. But they studied the human brain. They put people in the machine to see what was firing and lighting up, and someone that is thinking about a argument suffers the exact same anxiety and the exact same parts of the brain were lighting up between an actual argument and thinking about the argument. That is crazy so it's the exact same thing. Whether you are just playing it in your head, your body feels as if you were there. So you could go over and over. And there's something to be said for preparation. Right, prepare, you know if you are going to have a difficult conversation. Preparing is good, but you know, balance everything in this life is about balance. So, between preparation and, you know, maybe obsessive.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, this that the keys me off onto something that I usually try to say with my clients is you know, when it comes to worry, you know you have to recognize where the fear is, if there's fear or if there's danger, because those are two separate things. So if you have a fear that something might happen, okay, well, you know, analyze that fear. Where's it coming from? You know what's what's the deal there. You know where does that take you, what's what's the next thing that you have to do to regulate that. But if it's danger, that's a whole, nother thing. That's an act now, right, that's an act now situation. So you know recognizing if it's just, if it's just a fear, you can. You can manage that. You know, if it's get out of the way before the bus hits, you do that, you know right now. But I think letting it turn into a worry that continues to get at you, that's just that fear that doesn't do much to add to you, right, it's just something to take up your time, take up a whole lot of energy and nothing really gets resolved. So you know time to figure out a different way to handle that right.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, and it's interesting. I guess that's back to the balance aspect too, because in that same podcast I was listening to, she was mentioning that. It's funny. You mentioned that they use the reference of a snake. If there's a snake in front of you and it's about to bite you, you know exactly what to do. There's no thought, there's no whatever. You're out of the way, you're out of there. But she was referencing like if you're going hiking on a trail and you know that snakes are in the area. So this goes back to the preparation versus like obsessive. So prepare, you look at the roads, or you look at the routes and maybe you take a route that is known to not have snakes and or you take snake venom and a dope or something. Hopefully it doesn't happen, but I think that's kind of tough where you gotta, how much time are you spending on it? If you prepare, that's fine, but like, how far are you taking that? Like you said, I guess it, once it gets into disrupting your daily activity, is where it starts to become more of a problem. We're going to transition. So for this one, since we're talking about mental fitness and we're blowing up this stigma, one thing I really wanted to dive in on this. One is talking to a mental health or, I guess, mental fitness professional. So if you could give us a brief description of your career field and this is from someone that does it every day, not the Google version I'm sure you can go and pull something up and you know aboutcom is going to say this is what your day looks like, but from you, as an overview, what would you want people to know about mental health professionals?

Larry Jones:

Oh man. So I think what I would want people to know the most about mental health professionals is that a lot of us care. We're here, we're trying to make a difference. I can speak to the ones who are good at their job. That's what I would prefer to speak to, because I've only recently learned that they're quacks in every field, and this one I felt like, oh, maybe there's less. You know, apparently we have some, but one of the things that I definitely want to make sure people know is that they're worth Going to get somebody who who works for them. You know. So we're out here, we're trying to make a change. You know there's this love. I'll speak for myself specifically. I love what I do because I get the opportunity to to impact somebody's day and life. One of my models that I try to live by is I want to be the best part of your day. Whoever you are, I want to be the best part of your day, and so this gives me the opportunity to not just be the best part of your day, but to be be one of the best parts of your life. Potentially, if I can make somebody's life First of all continue, then that's great, and once you're already continuing. If I can make it a little bit better, raise your quality of life, then that's what I want to do. And there are a bunch of people who are like me, who are even better than me, who are out here and there. We're all trying to make a difference and, uh, make some folks live a little bit better, a little bit more carefree, and not be under the thumb of their past or or their boss or whatever's getting to them. You know, uh, there's ways around that. It may not immediately take you out of the situation, but there's ways to to resolve those those things that are holding you down.

Nate Scheer:

So you said you want to be there on people's best day, but I'd venture to guess you want to be there on their worst day, don't you? Oh, indeed.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, yeah, whatever I can do to make it better, you know I won't be so conceited as to believe that I am the best part of that day, but but that doesn't mean that I don't have to try, you know. And so if you come to me broken, you know, hey, let's, let's get in this pot together. You know, we can both cook for a little bit, you know, if that'll help it to get better for you, you know. So that's, that's kind of I think that's the main thing.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, that's funny. In my pilot episode I mentioned that too. I mentioned as odd as it sounds, I I would love to be there on the good days and I hope there's a lot more good days, but I'll love to be there. As weird as this sound to say love and and worst day in the same sentence, but I'd love to be there on the worst day, because I'd rather be there on your worst day and have somebody there with you.

Larry Jones:

Yeah.

Nate Scheer:

So real quickly, this is probably pretty difficult, but can you sum up an average day? Walk us through what an average day looks like? An average day, it's probably not a thing. There's no averages there.

Larry Jones:

There's. No, there's. There's a lot of paperwork. I'll say that that's the average thing. That's the thing that I'm absolutely assured that I will have every day is paperwork. Um, ironically enough, that's actually the part of the day that I hate the most is the paperwork. I love sitting down with folks, and so that's kind of what I'm keying in on. You know, as soon as I get to work, I'm like okay, what paperwork do I need to get out of the way so that I can be completely ready for whoever comes with the door? Um, so I'm an introvert as well, and so I always have to get over the fact that meeting new people Is a problem for me. Um, but it only takes about maybe 10 seconds, you know. Once that person sits down, so what? You know, what brought you in, and I'm in there and I'm completely like involved and I want to be there. So I think that's how my day goes. Every day is paperwork. First, get that crap out of the way so I can do the stuff that actually matters to me. Um, hopefully that'll get me fired because I mess up on my paperwork.

Nate Scheer:

Um, so I do want to sort of back up, I think a little bit. So what Specialty lack of a word that I don't know are you in right now? Family counseling?

Larry Jones:

Oh yeah. So, uh, because of my location, uh, the, the military installation that I'm currently on, I tend to see the same type of issue, so I'm trained to handle a lot of different things, whether it's substance abuse or depression, or even like marital counseling or Even death prevention, like it's like a super wide gamut, um, and so all these things I've done before, but the thing that I usually see the most is anxiety and depression. Um, just because that's the, I guess the chapter of life the most, most of the the Service members that I'm seeing are in, uh, that early 20s, just kind of trying to figure out life Um, and so I'll usually handle that a lot. Um, I'll get some marriage stuff in there, which is always one of my that's one of my favorites Uh is helping, helping married couples, uh, to not just survive but be happy. You know, I think that that matters Um, but yeah, I'll tend to to see that Was that? Was that the question?

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, so you're currently in that kind of family counseling and you touch on some of them. Are there any others that are? I call them specialties, that's what we would call them, but uh, focus areas, or did you kind of round out a lot of those with substance abuse and those?

Larry Jones:

uh. So, yeah, with those specialties it's, it's I'm trying to actually actively right now, um, get better at some things that that help to deal with with, uh, with traumas. There's something that I've been in love with this, this special modality for for treating people with trauma called emdr eye movement desensitization Of the thing that like bounces back and forth. Yeah, so you're I. You're literally watching the light go back and forth and you're thinking about that thing, that that um, that horrible event or whatever that took place, and it's kind of like resetting a computer, which is why it's so interesting to me, because it's a different type of Uh therapy from just, you know, your usual talk therapy. Uh, to literally just make someone's brain reset in some ways, without actually having damage or or losing, you know, your your phone Unlock code or something like that. Um, but helping somebody to get past something in a very different way, uh, and it's been proven to be super successful. And so that's one of the things, the specialties that I'm trying to get into Uh, more of. But right now, I think the thing that I've been focusing on is how to help resolve anxiety, um, how to help resolve Depression, because these are the things that I'm seeing the most Um, and definitely marriage, you know, because I'd say those are the top three things that I'm dealing with the most.

Nate Scheer:

That's awesome. So you touched on some of the things you enjoy. You enjoy, uh, taking care of and helping people and really having that conversation, getting past your uh introvertness and then less desirable. So I would like some some paperwork which I think a lot of us could identify with um and you also touched on um Some opportunities and highlighting what you do throughout your day and whatnot. Um, what are some things about your job that most people don't understand. Oh boy, oh common misconceptions, the myths try to help and save everyone.

Larry Jones:

I think one of the most common misconceptions is oh man, there's a couple, there's definitely a couple. So one of them is when I'm off, man, I am off, and so it's super important to me to compartmentalize everything. And, uh, one of my favorite things is on my lunch. Since we're so close to the beach, I like to go down there because I can be away from everybody, so nobody will bump into me and say, oh oh, mr Jones, let me talk to you about please don't I literally need this, like I need this. Um, um. So I think you know just the thought that counselors are always on. We're not and we we have hats. And we need those hats, we need those, those, those walls to make sure that none of this stuff bleeds over into our lives. We hear some horrible stories, um, and some of them stick with you, unfortunately, and so one of the ways that I have to combat that is to make sure that I'm doing what I can do to Compartment laws that compartmentalize all of that. Uh, going to the beach on my lunch break, that's one of those things I told one of my clients. I said if I, if I happen to see you at one of the events that we were going to, if I happen to see you, you see me and I'm wearing Jordan's. I'm not your counselor, I'm not your counselor. Don't don't bring up anything about that, because I don't know that. I don't know anything about it. Um, but yeah, I think that's one of the main things is that when we're off we're off there your counselors are doing some random things. When they're not sitting in front of you, rock climbing, you know, maybe they deliver flowers, what. It's just going to be some super random things, because we need to get out of that, you know. So we don't burn out, because we're humans too.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, and I think having the boundaries is super important as well, because, uh, even if they wanted to reach out to you at some A vander festival, it'd be pretty weird and awkward like, hey, you're the one that did that, or you know, like, uh, it's better, just, and so I hope that people don't see that as cold shoulder is standoffish, but I think that's something that just has to occur. It just leaves it easier. Hi, how's it going? And then like on your way, because you know, you do know each other don't necessarily have to hide, but once you get in any discussion, that would get pretty weird, pretty quick.

Larry Jones:

So, yeah, and I think it helps to me to provide a better service to you. So it's not that I want to be you know, not know who you are, or anything like that, um, but I feel like it makes it difficult for me to provide the same service. If one I'm tired Because that's when a lot of boundaries across and mistakes are made is when you're tired. That's one of the things that we're taught early on Make sure you take care of yourself so you don't end up making the stupid mistake that gets you or a client messed up. So, um, yeah, I definitely try to guard what's important, which is that time for me, um, the time to be away, that time to enjoy my family, the time to do all these immense amount of hobbies that I've tried to take on, uh, so I can provide a better service when you are in the room, you know. Uh, when it, when it really counts, I'm fully there because I I now can be.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, that totally, totally makes sense. So if you, like you said, hearing a lot of uh negative things, do you, you know, you can part mentalize that's one aspect and you find some ways of, uh, you know, de-compressing there with the beach? Do you also Talk to other counselors about the things that you, or what's your personal mental fitness?

Larry Jones:

Yeah, so I actually have a couple of councils that work in my department that I talk to pretty regularly. Um, if there's something that's particularly difficult to handle by myself, we're all Keeping everything confidential all the time, you know, so nobody's names ever get used or anything like that. But if I'm struggling to carry something, we kind of have this. I don't even know if it's unspoken, we already know that we're gonna walk in each other's office and say, hey, this one was tough. You know what do you think? You know how can I better help this person? Because this is A bit much for me to carry on my own. You know we all have these things that trigger stuff in us, which is, I think, another misconception that people may not know is that your counselor has gone through some crap, you know, and so they're always trying to push that stuff to the side because it's not about us. Uh, but you still have to recognize it when it happens. If somebody brings up a story that sounds like yours and it starts to trigger things in you, well, how do you resolve that? You know if that means okay. Once we're done here, I gotta go talk to one of the people who, who I know is is pretty fit and able to handle this stuff, Then I'm gonna do that. One of the things that they also tell us is that we should all have an account, have a counselor. Everyone should have a counselor. Um, which sounds really good for us being able to make a couple of extra dollars, but, um, yeah, it's. It's necessary, you know, to have somebody that you can unload some of the stuff on when it becomes a little bit too much for just one person to carry. Is this a? I mean, it's bound to happen. If one person is overloaded, then they come to you and they say this is the stuff that happened to me and you take that on. There's a strong possibility that, plus everything else that you've heard today, it's going to weigh you down too. So at some point you've got to be able to unload that stuff. And it's not to say that anybody's information is unsafe or, you know, just out there for the world to know, because that's not the way it's handled. But sometimes we have to talk just to again provide the perfect care or as good care as we can to to those who we're servicing.

Nate Scheer:

And it's odd, the stigma and the tabooness of the whole thing, because you know we talk about heart health or something you know your whole life. You're like do your cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you know, make sure you get only treadmill or whatever, like that's just normal every day. But then if you say, like who's your counselor? Do you have a counselor? I don't have a counselor, I don't need that, I'm fine. That is really bizarre how, even though the head and heart you know the mind and heart should probably be in that same category, for some reason we just can't seem to get there. And hopefully through the podcast and having conversations, really hoping we're going to clear up some of this, and you know we'll keep having conversations with mental health professionals, which will be really great. But I did mention my grandma in this episode and so I did want to ask the question did you, you know, in your family, did you discuss mental health growing up? Oh my gosh what?

Larry Jones:

What was that? No, that never came up. It was never talked about. It was not a thing. It was really just. If there was anything mental, anything at all that brought up, it was, it was so and so crazy. That's all you ever really heard. There was no going deeper into it. You just see somebody who's just different. Usually it was the homeless, you know. You see him and you think, oh, that guy's crazy, he's on the street because he's crazy, and he's crazy because he's on the street. But that's as deep as it went. And then I've actually in the last few years I've kind of started to take a deeper dive into some of the people who I grew up around and family members and all that stuff to say maybe something was going on there. You know there's a strong possibility, something was, but nobody diagnosed anything. It wasn't talked about. So now that we're finally getting into a little bit more of a aware society, I think that it is being talked about a little bit more, which is great, but I don't think it's talked about inside the home as much as it should be. To say, hey, you know, grandma's going through something or mom's going through something or I'm going through something, like it's not really being brought into the home as much as it should be or the right way, you know. So I think that's kind of the next step that we need to make, to kind of make things a little easier to have these conversations, because we have no issue talking about oh, don't eat that cake, it's going to give you the sweets. You don't mean you don't want to get your feet cut off.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, it's so easy. It's like the body, which is bizarre because the mind is part of the body. Yeah, so, since you do see families and in the same nature, do you have any tips for a foundation in the home? How do you, if you didn't talk about it at all, could people right now like go home and this week or whatnot, like how do they start that? Because I feel like that's probably. We say it and that's one of the things I really hope to focus on in this podcast, because I know I've read a lot of leadership books and they tell you like this is what you, these are good ideas, right, but I hope this podcast focus on actionable things. Like you go and do not like you know, preaching or whatever, like this is ideal, but how do you get there? Ideal is great, and not saying you shouldn't have goals to get to the ideal, but you need steps and things to get there. So how do you lay a foundation or start that conversation? You're not having it in the house right now.

Larry Jones:

So I would have to say, as a parent, I think one of the best ways to start that conversation is to be open with your kids. Not that they need to be involved in everything that's going on, but if you're having a bad day, you can say that you know, other than just all of a sudden you're angry and your kids don't know why. You can say, hey, you know, today sucked you know. These are some of the things that have kind of been rattling through my head, you know, and it's just been kind of difficult for daddy today. So I think me and you need to go for walks. What me and my daughter do kind of regularly is we go for walks and I'm just like there to just listen to whatever ramblings she has, you know. So she'll just start to talk and then she'll hit a lull and I'll start to talk and I'll just say these were the highs of my day. These were the lows, you know, but in that being able to spend this time with you has been one of the biggest highs. You know, it helps me to get out of some stuff and not be sad, but I think that starting that conversation when they're young, to say that it's not always just I'm dad and I'm perfect in every way. You know I have some tough days and I think as they mature, you can kind of go into a little bit more and say you know some of the stuff that you went through, and all that without being too you know over the top of what you're given. I think that helps them to not feel like they're alone when they have their sad days or when they become anxious about a test and don't know how to manage that. You know. I think that gives you the opportunity to give them some tools, you know, to say, hey, well, this is one of the ways that I dealt with it, because I know that I struggled through some tests every now and then and just being able to sit down and focus, you know. So I think it starts with just being open with where you are and not feeling like that's a weakness to say this is what's happening with me.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, that's. That's a super good point. That's super powerful. The weakness is super. Unfortunate that it's seen in that way, and it's frustrating too in certain aspects, because you touched on it perfectly where you're having the tools and so sometimes it feels like people would like lives that are easy and perfect, but that just makes it more difficult when you do run upon something. Not that we want lives to be super difficult, but we have difficult moments throughout the life to be able to handle things later on. So you never see it and you never know how to do it. You just kind of break when it, when it comes up, and so that's another good point of this podcast. I hope that we can, you know, push through some of that, because the previous stigma was to, you know, bury it and hide no tools.

Larry Jones:

Right.

Nate Scheer:

And then you struggle and things are really difficult. And I think this goes back to like you had said, like with you want to take care of marriages, not make marriages just work, but happy and fulfilled. So that's the same thing here we want to make sure people are living happy and full lives, but then also building up some tools and things to conquer at the next time, so that you know it was a difficult situation but at least the next time it'll be less difficult. Yeah, I want to ask one question. This is kind of bouncing backwards, but that's kind of how my brain is the squirrel in there just running around. I have heard you know there's certain negative connotations with millennials and Gen Z and X and all this. So earlier you had kind of touched on the thing you see most is anxiety and depression, and I recently was listening to a podcast and they were saying we are more self aware than we've ever been, so we're aware of our feelings and things like that. And so can you kind of touch on or maybe dispel a little bit of myth between millennials or younger people being sensitive or whatever kind of negative term that people use?

Larry Jones:

Oh boy, I don't know if I can dispel that Do you think we're more sensitive now. I think we're less prepared. I think we're less prepared now. I think the world has become so aware and sensitive itself that we just see hurt. You know, we have a tendency to really put all of our focus there, whereas I think before, when folks weren't talking about this as much, you learn to just deal with it. However you deal with it is how you deal with it, not to say that it was a good way, you know. That's, I think, where a lot of the stories of oh, my uncle used to drink all the time, you know, but he found something not to say it was a good something, but he tried to find a way to resolve that issue. And so I think, on the other side of it, we want to find some good things that are not maladaptive, some good ways of handling some of these issues. But I think now we just focus on the issue, like I'm mad about this. You know, that hurt me, you hurt me. I don't know what to do about it, but I'm gonna tell everybody that I'm hurt. I'm gonna tell everybody that I'm mad, you know, and we just stay there.

Nate Scheer:

But not work on it personally. Yeah, we need to work around me. Yeah.

Larry Jones:

So I think that's more of what's going on. I think this, this generation, which apparently I'm a part of, is a as a millennial. I try to run from it, but they keep telling me that I'm one too. Either way, I think that that's the issue is that we see the issues, we see the problems and we talk about them, but we don't have the tools because we're not allowed to work through some of that stuff and I do feel like, as necessary as having counselors and therapists and psychiatrists and all these folks who deal with with head matters as necessary as they are, we are not plentiful enough, just not. There's right now, I think, since maybe about 2018, there's been this massive influx of people, which this is a good thing. They're looking for services now, but we weren't ready for it, and that even goes down to the, the, the laws. There's still not enough regulation across the country. States still have their own individual requirements for people to be licensed and certified, and so that slows down the ability to have people who just get their license when they're getting out of college, because now we have to do everything that this particular state says and it might work for Tennessee, but it won't work for Texas or California. Good luck, because, boy, it sure seems like they don't want any help out there. But that's the issue now is what does it take to even get in? Like, the door is really difficult to get into. So the people are more aware and they're they're a little bit more willing now. But now the issue is that the legislative side of it wasn't prepared enough. So we're trying to fight that now. There's been some headway made, for sure, but it's still a little bit slow and moving, and so that kind of leaves us at a loss.

Nate Scheer:

Government always is a little slow, yeah, so I want to give you an opportunity as we come here to a close. Do you have any mental fitness tips, tricks or things that can be used, and maybe you know a wide range of situations?

Larry Jones:

So I would love to say, yes, one of the things that I found. I can give you a couple like, say, if somebody pops in the door and they're going through something, you know, I can give you the usual hey, have you tried deep breathing? You know, and as much of a cop out as it sounds like, it's actually not, you know, it is actually something that's helpful. Like I will say to a client you know, what's the one thing that you do after you go for a run Cool down, yeah, and you start to deep breathing, because that's one of the things that your brain recognizes as a part of returning back to normal. So there's something there, and so you can reverse engineer that and say, hey, if I'm going through something, I'm keyed up, maybe I should try deep breathing and it actually has been proven to to reverse some of those issues. I will say, though, that I feel like you have to kind of know. You, you know, and I can give you tools, I can give you things, but if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you. So, in those moments, what do you turn to? Well, what does work? You know, I wouldn't expect my counselor to tell me hey, you should get into RC cars, man. I feel like this is something for you. It could work. I don't expect him to say that, but for me it does work to go out and grab my camera and take a picture of something random. That works for me, you know, and so I think the biggest thing is find what works. You know, keep trying things until you find what works. Obviously I'm talking about good things, not like cocaine. I don't want anybody to try any of the things that you know are maladaptive. But keep trying stuff. You know, if you found out about a new hobby that somebody else is into, give it a shot. You know, maybe it's crocheting. You know it could be a really old person type of thing. Give it a shot. Go sit on the patio watch the sun go go down, you know. Whatever it takes, but ask yourself is this something that's helping? Is this something that that is calming me? Is this something that's resolving some of that stress that I have? Try some things and see what happens.

Nate Scheer:

You never know until you try. Yeah, okay, last question what's one lesson you have learned in this life? So not necessarily mental fitness specific, but once. What's one lesson you've learned in this life that you think everyone should, should, know? Maybe learned it the hard way.

Larry Jones:

I think one lesson is that if you listen to other people, you don't have to live everybody's problem.

Nate Scheer:

Let them live the mistakes yeah.

Larry Jones:

So I can have my mistakes that I've made and I can have gained the experience and the knowledge from that. But if I listen to other people and see, you know well, how did you get through that, you know what, what happened there. That gives me the opportunity to gain insight without having to go through it myself.

Nate Scheer:

Not gonna do that, yeah, yeah.

Larry Jones:

Yeah, I think it offers us the opportunity to also put ourselves in the shoes of other people, which helps us to better have patience with people. I think we usually lean towards being upset by others quicker than we lean towards understanding them, and once you, once you take the time out to understand someone else's life and why it goes the way it goes and why they made the decisions that they made, I think it helps you to add to yourself and it also adds patience to our society.

Nate Scheer:

Yeah, that's a really good point, ryan Holiday. He mentions that he's an author and he says you know, I don't have to know everything where there's all these books are written by people that are much smarter and much you know completely paraphrasing him, but he's like they're already out there. They've lived, they made good things, they've lived. You know terrible mistakes and I get to read and then I get to learn from them. So, yeah, so I don't have to be the smartest, but I read some of these books and why do it again? They already did it, so that's a really good example. And then last thing we got is last words of wisdom what do you want to say? Parting notes for everyone.

Larry Jones:

Oh boy, hit me with an extra.

Nate Scheer:

I see what you did there.

Larry Jones:

I see what you did there. Let's see, I'll say, talk to somebody you wouldn't normally talk to. I think that's. I think that'll be the word of wisdom, because there's there's way more wisdom out there than we can gain in our one lifetime. Going back to what I said last, there are other people out here who've lived lives and they've done things. There's wisdom there. But I feel like if you surround yourself with people who only think like you, who only do the things that you do, who only look like you, you're going to have a very narrow view of society and what your world is, and everybody who's not like that just looks like the enemy, hmm. And so I think it's important to have people who are completely different from you and until, instead of telling them to shut up, listen to what they have to say, with ears to understand, hmm.

Nate Scheer:

Perspective is a is a very powerful thing.

Larry Jones:

Yeah.

Nate Scheer:

Well, thank you for coming on the show, larry. This is Mind Matters, the podcast on love, life and learning, and I'm so glad you came out. We're just going to keep having a lot of serious conversations with people and you know, mental fitness is the name of the game, so we're just going to keep having these conversations, clear up some of the stigma. If you or anyone you know is struggling or having a rough time and needs to reach out to anyone, reach out to myself or you know, anyone else you've heard on the show and will get you taken care of. There's always, you know, the new mental health hotline in various other ways. So please make sure if you're feeling, if you're at, you know, a low point, make sure you're getting some help. That's it for today. See you.

Mind Matters
Maintaining Mental Fitness and Unwinding Techniques
Unexpected Learning in a Chaotic Environment
Making a Difference in Counseling
Mental Health and Seeking Support
Open Communication in Mental Health
The Importance of Learning From Others