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Paul Minter of Head-Up Charity

by Shaun Kober
April 12th 2021

I was introduced to Paul of Head-Up Charity by my mate Simon Moloney, who featured on the podcast recently, and told his story of being shot through the throat whilst out on task as sniper in Afgha... More

Yo what's up homies Before we get this episode underway? I just want to mention that this conversation does get quite heavy. We do cover some fairly deep topics and go into graphic detail on certain events, traumatic events that cause ptsd anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts with the guest paul mentor who is the founder of Head Up Charity over in the UK. Um so if you're not in a good mindset to be able to listen to this episode, I wouldn't recommend listen to it right now, maybe come back to it at another stage. The second point that I want to mention is that unfortunately we had some technical issues and the audio that you were here in this conversation has been re recorded on my part paul's answers, paul's conversation pull side of the conversation is authentic. However, I had to re record some of my or all of my audio because of technical issues, so I've tried to keep the conversation as authentic and as real as possible.

Yo what's up guys, welcome to this episode of the live transform podcast, I'm your host, Sean Cobra and joining me today, I have paul mentor who is the founder of Head Up Charity over in the UK. Now, I've got him on to tie in with what the lads from Swiss Eight are doing in Australia in regards to the mental health space, paul's doing something very similar over in the UK, so, I've got him on to have a chat about what's going on there, his background and why he started the charity paul, Welcome to the episode mate. Thanks a lot. I've been waiting for this for quite a while now, so excited to get talking. Yes, sweet May, I'm really looking forward to this conversation now. For those who have been following the podcast, this connection between paul and myself was made through Simon Maloney, who was the sniper that was shot in the throat in Afghanistan uh and was subsequently awarded the conspicuous gallantry cross by her majesty, the Queen. So, um let's discuss your military background, your military career.

Um you know, everything that led up to you joining the army, what you did in the army. Um and just kind of give myself and my listeners a brief five minute introduction to yourself. Yeah, sure. So a quick brief introduction, I'll just give you an outline of who was, what I've done, kind of where I am now. Um so I was born in London. He's the east end of London in England. Quite a rough area when I was younger, I had to, I had parents who were kind of like opposite. So my dad come from a very rough, tough background and very disciplined way of upbringing um without, without drinking, fighting, gambling most of the time, which I kind of looked up to because, you know, this kind of like what happened in my local area anyway, and my mom was brought up from a very posh side of family, very wealthy, um because she was, she was mixed race. So she was kind of outed by a lot, a lot of the family. Um and somehow my mom and dad came together, brought me up.

I had two older sisters. I was into my fitness a lot. So I had a lot of football, lots of running basketball, rugby, boxing with one of the big things as a family sport. I was into boxing a lot, but I just, I was a little bit of a runaway kids were running around stealing cars, setting fires have been silly stuff like that, you know, you do is you as you grow older city stuff, looking back at it now, it's ridiculous, but it's just kind of lost. I was there when I was younger Anyway as I got a bit older than the kind of people just hang around with the severity started to get a lot worse. You know, they started getting, you know, about age of 13, they were quite heavily into drug dealing. Some of them taking quite heavy drugs. Um quite a lot of them are going to juvenile prison. The crimes that they were doing were going up including like, you know, stuff like throwing acid at people and all sort of stuff like that. And you know, my mom was like, even as bad as my dad sometimes was also had models, they brought me up knowing you can't be doing stuff like that, you don't hurt other people if you're even if you're gonna do something wrong.

So I kind of like distance myself from that and the way to distance it, as soon as I turn like 15 or left score, I just joined the Army. I thought you know what army, something I want to join, I don't want to hang around these boys who like three or four of them in prison, two of them being killed over drugs and I was like, get out of this, you know, I'm not that stupid. And so I joined the army and I actually loved it. It was you know, it was, it was, it was as tough as I thought it was going to be. I was expecting it to be extremely tough. I loved running, crawling around in the mud. I loved firing a weapon and lost running around. I lost anything that you know, if you could put 30 40 50 kg on my back, I would just love to run the vervet if if I wasn't running the perfect with it than anyone else would be absolutely disappointed myself when I came in later on. So that's kind of a soldier was growing up quite young age. So I think age of 20, we were the first ones called up into Afghanistan in 2006 to help in province. So we were the first one since the Russians are going to Helmand province. Uh, every area we went to was brand new and there's some hardcore fighters out there and I mean a lot was a gunner and I think this every single day we were just fighting fighting, fighting, protecting people, there was lots of people that the Taliban were like killing the local people like every day to see the bodies laying around everywhere um and the villagers openly welcomed us and helped us to try and fight the Taliban off.

Um so yeah, every day we were doing it and you know I wrapped up dozens and dozens of kills, confirmed kills at that time. I also was involved in um an ambush where my vehicle was blown up with rocket power grenades. The first vehicle ever to be hit by rocket grenades and not being impersonated and blown up inside. So I saw the rocket bill coming grenade coming after, you know this is it, this is the end of my life, we got the new like bomb as they go on the side of the vehicles and it got stuck in the middle of it and you know just blew up the side of the vehicle, one of them and coming inside the vehicle and then blowing us up. Um and I think your vehicle behind it, blown up everyone inside of it died. You see that the body's burning everything very traumatic but everyone and anyone, this is my first trip. Yeah, I mean we had a couple months in of like non stop fighting so it wasn't a fight inside of it wasn't a shock, but you know, just like whoa, you know, and we lost comic book, the outside look what comes to us, we could hear anyone else and they said we need to withdraw.

Everyone is dead but we weren't we were still alive but they thought we were so they bugged out and got the top to high ground to fight the taliban. It was like over 100 of them trying to get into our vehicles and uh I'm gonna stand on top of the firing grenades shooting them as they were coming towards me but we can we can delve into it later on. But that was the first real traumatic thing happened to me but not realizing at the time when You were 20 years old at the time, right? 20 years old at the time. And that was first deployment to Afghanistan. How many deployments did you end up doing? So five in total. So yes, I've done that one about straight onto another one, but this one was in Iraq and we're doing covert surveillance. I joined a specific unit called brigade reconnaissance force which is often cited when I spoke about in previous podcast. Uh we were just literally doing covert surveillance, so in bushes, in, in in rooftops, just hiding out for weeks at a time, just gathering intelligence and passed on to special forces, a fantastic thing. So it was that going from one extreme of completely kinetic to completely um covert surveillance stuff, it was just fantastic.

And then I got another one on top of that enough on top of that, enough on top of that and I loved each time, each time I went out, it was good, but I did notice towards the end of the last two, you know, like it was no longer, a lot of people would say, you know, you're so brave or you're so experienced, but I think it was just a case I didn't care anymore, you know, it was just like, it's just, you know, I think when you get to the stage of not caring, um you can give it get quite dangerous. But yeah, so I've done those tours and then towards the end of my career started feeding A lot of uh feelings I've never felt before, like by age 27 and everybody never really heard that word depression or mental, poor mental health is just, it just wasn't spoke about in my circles or anywhere that I went. So I've heard the words, I never even knew roughly what they meant. So when I started getting serious paranoia and my brain was starting to go funny and I didn't understand what was going on. Um I called me to end up fighting a lot because four people were talking about me uh taking the Mick out of me, all sorts of stuff.

Um and then I started getting depressed, I started getting anxious, but at the same time as I'm having all these problems. I'm still like, aiming to be the best I can say I'm going all these like high pressure courses and doing all this high pressure stuff and put myself into like extra curriculum stuff while suffering all this stuff, not realizing all these, just brushing it off the side and yeah, and in the end I I broke and uh it just got worse than me and I could have dinner at hand. They didn't have to do with it didn't feel like anyone I could speak because I didn't know what to say or how to, you know, what was going to say to someone about a feeling that I didn't understand or if they even believe me. Um but so the long and short of it is I end up getting help from the military, which to be honest with, and the best, quite substandard for what I needed anyway, it's kind of like kind of put everyone into a box no matter what your conditions were like, there was me who was very suicidal, like literally not even that try my best to say I'm not suicidal, but very blatantly asking for help because I was and uh putting me on the same course as, you know, a young, a young lad who had fallen fallen over and hurt his knee and was off of course for eight weeks and then and then try and teach us the same same thing in the same bracket and it just didn't make any sense, may thank you so much for sharing man, what an incredible start to today's episode.

Now, this is one of the reasons that I wanted to get you on was to talk about um what you've dealt with in regards to ptsD um anxiety and depression, you are the founder of Head Up charity over in the UK, which is working in the mental health space. Uh I'm actually Ambassador for Swiss Eight, which is a proactive mental health program designed to allow people to structure in the eight pillars of health and wellness via an app on your phones, you can schedule in um there eight pillars uh into your calendar and their eight pillars are sleep, nutrition, discipline, time management, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism. Do any of those pillars stand out to you? Uh Yeah, a lot of them will stand up, I think, you know, like all very much interconnected and you need to be working in all of them to really, really progress in life. I mean you can do one or two of them and you'll be on a good path, but if you stop when you start implementing more, you will be brilliant.

Uh but it takes it takes a long time to do that, it takes a lot of time and effort and and I think people will allow yourself time to work on each, each one or a little snippets of each one. Uh time I've been delving into deep. But I would say overall, I think personal development, I mean I know how, how important sleep is. Um and uh in a sort of trouble with it, you can have from sleep, but from my own self experience is I could sleep. I I mean I spent about four months, 34 months literally in bed not moving and I got as much as I wanted to but I still didn't get, I still don't get anywhere. I still wasn't good. I just was, I wasn't tired, does what it was. But personal development, if you want to progress in life, if you want to go forward and you want to start achieving stuff, you wanna start to come to start to become prosperous in life. You need to like be, you need personal development, you need to stimulate yourself, you need somebody to feel self worth about definitely say personal development. Mm mm I love that answer man.

Um I actually had a very similar conversation uh to this with someone recently um and something you mentioned there was achievement and achievement for me is it's almost like the meaning of life, right? If I'm achieving things every day, I'm winning every hour which adds into days which adds in two weeks which adds in the months, which adds in two years, like if I'm winning the day more often than I am not winning the day, then that is achievement for me, that means that I'm moving in the right direction, that's those one percenters that add up over long periods of time and if we become complacent and we're losing the day more often than we're winning it, then we start moving in the wrong direction. Um so you know, it's easy to maintain momentum once you've already build that momentum, it's very difficult to build that momentum now to build momentum. We can build momentum in a positive manner, meaning that we're doing the right things more often than not and we're winning the day and we can also build momentum in a negative manner where we're losing the day more often than not and where um doing things that sabotage asked, moving in the right direction.

So, you know, a big thing here is awareness, understanding whether you're um walking up the hill or down the hill or whether you're staying level and using different tools to um have a look at where you're at and then simply tweaking and adjusting the tools that you're using to make sure that you're kind of course, correcting as you go now you say that personal growth personal development is a massive one for you at the moment. Have you had those priorities in a different order through different stages of your life. Yeah, I mean certainly, I mean it depends where you are mentally as well, doesn't it, You know, if you're in such a bad place that, you know it, you're struggling to get out of bed, then discipline is probably going to be one of the most important ones for you, get a discipline to get some clothes on, discipline to have a shower, discipline to get outside the door, you know, that it takes a lot of effort to do when you're in such a bad place. Um, if you're mentally in a good place and, you know, personal development and if you already developing quite well in life, then maybe you need to start looking at your sleep, you get enough sleep to improve that, you know?

So I'll definitely say at different points in your life, my life depends where I am mentally, and I think, you know, it can change weekly, daily. Um, and you've got to just keep assessing where am I wearing, my strengths, where we just look at these eight pillars, you know, having, having somewhere physically, you can look at constantly and then maybe have some sort of a percentage next to it and say, how am I doing today with this or that or this week or this month, and I had 20% 40% 60% and then start working on the weaker pillow. I think that's a quite a good thing to do. That's a great point, man, all of these things that we're talking about, our tools, so we need to choose the right tool for the right time. Now, as an example if I have a poor night's sleep, then I can't necessarily prioritize sleep throughout the day, I've still got to get shit done. So what I am going to do is focus on my nutrition and um my training and I'm not hammering myself, I'm doing something that's going to improve my energy levels rather than take away from them, and I'm also going to be looking at allocating time and tasks to my energy levels.

So as an example, I had a friend's birthday party on the weekend and, you know, drank too much and had a late night and uh a pretty shitty the following day. So um yesterday being monday, um my energy levels were a little bit low, so I made sure that what I was doing throughout the day was being adjusted to suit those energy levels. Now, when I get up in the morning, I make sure that I write out the list of things that I want, I need to get done for the day, and then the things that I want to get done for the day, and those tasks that are of high priority. If my energy levels aren't matching um what's required to be able to get those tasks done, then I simply push those things down the list and I do something that is going to match my energy levels, but I'm still creating a win for the day, I'm still creating um these small achievements to allow me to continue moving in the right direction. And as you said, these things are all tools. So it's up to us to look at these tools and use the right tool at the right time to elicit the result that we want.

Um Now, what I just spoke about then was training. Now, as I said, I'm not hammering myself with training, I'm adjusting my training sessions so that I can walk out of the gym feeling better than when I walked in. And this is where, as you said, the discipline comes into play. You need to be disciplined in understanding that you haven't slept as well as you could have. Um, your energy levels are low, you're a little bit fatigued. Um, but not going to the gym and not doing some form of movement that's going to make you feel better, uh is going to potentially lead to not going to the gym the next day and the next day and we create this snowball effect. So then once I adjust my day to match my energy levels, then I know that I need to invest in my sleep for that night. That means that I'm going to be dimming my lights at a certain time, I might be wearing my blue light blocking glasses. Once the sun goes down, I'm minimizing screen time, I'm making my room cold and dark and having a hot shower before I go to bed. I'm doing some meditation work.

I'm riding out my schedule to set myself up for the next day, which then gives me that peace of mind to get a good night's sleep so that I can get up tomorrow feeling good and being on the front foot to get after and when the day, just like you just will, you just said that and you got you going throughout your day, you literally your priority changed so many times throughout the day today. Didn't, you know, you went from um discipline. You get to go and do some fears when you really don't want to go to do it and then you change to a bit of personal development uh to go do some work or you need to do and then you change to sleep because you know that that's not a new priority. So yeah, bro, that's it, that's it's about looking at those principles and saying all right, which one of those principles can I work on? How can I manipulate these tools so that, you know, I'm not throwing everything out the window, It's not this all or nothing mindset, I can still work on moving myself in the right direction, but I need to adjust my intensity. I need to just adjust how much time, energy effort on putting into certain things.

Um Excellent point, mate. Um I want to talk about some of the tools that you've used to essentially get yourself out of bed, get yourself moving again, get yourself back into a good head space and being uh, you know, contributing member of society. But before we do that, I want you to talk to me about your charity. Head up charity. Um what that's about how that came about and what the vision is for you moving forward. Yeah, Head up charity. Which is now known as um, so when I, when I was talking to you the beginning of this podcast, I said about uh, the military sent me to get some uh, help mental health, try and see some psychiatrists and do whatever I need to do. Um, and initially I thought, okay, I'm not not really feeling it, but because it's new to me, it's just give it a go and see how we get on. So I spent several months, we've been doing stuff and it turned out in the end I started to get a bit better, but I realized I was getting better when I wasn't seeing, it will get better for out of weeks when I was like kind of working on myself.

And then every time I went to go and see someone I got worse and I was back is worse for a couple of days. And then it was just, it was just a continuous spiral like that. And then I worked out the reason why I was getting worse because whatever subconsciously was going on in my head, whatever it was. Whatever wire wires were crossed and causing triggers and causing me to feel anxious and depressed and and on, on age and feeling like, you know that I was I was back on the front line again. Um was happening every time I went to see someone and what it was is I was going into a military doctors office, everyone's wearing uniform where everyone is posters of like, like you would see back at the regiments, back at the back of the union, it had a complete military feel to it. And I was like, how am I supposed to get any help whilst I'm in a place which caused what this traumatic event to happen Anyway. So the way I am now explaining away, I looked at it, I was like, if I were the burns victim, I wouldn't be getting help next to an open fire or if I was in a road traffic accident, I wouldn't be seeing a cancer on the side of the motorway because it was just defeat the object.

So why is it in the military? But there's no, there's, there's nowhere else to go in the military. If you're suffering from PTSD or any sort of military mental health condition, you can't go anywhere. And that is a military um, involved uh, environment and, and the same of a lot of charity, there's very few charities that offer outside the military environment, that military charity that you call for help outside military environment. So that was one as one of the big things I thought about when I think about charity, I know, uh I thought, well I said that I said to the army, can you help me? You can you send me away somewhere? And they said, no, we can't, we can't find it was great. So I'm never going to get better and at this point I'm still on the edge. I'm still like, you know, I've got mates around me dying quite a lot, you know, on a weekly basis. One of my good one of the suicide. The suicide. Yeah, so I was in the corridor at the time when I was going to get help myself and a friend who has $2 up. I woke up one morning, he was hanging outside my room and I was like, you know, this is this is this is the severity of how bad things are getting and no, and it didn't seem like anyone, there was probably help out there and I was just like, what is happening, why?

You know, there's lots of individuals that want to help, but as a, as a whole, as an organization, it wasn't working. And I think I as an individual, I highlighted a big reason why, and but you know, no one else wanted to seem to acknowledge that. So anyway, I said, I said to the army, can you move me away from the from the barracks because I can't get help whilst living in barracks and they said no, so you're not going to help me with outside help away from where I took my triggers, Are you not gonna move me away? So Simon only who you are, who you had on before, I will speak a good friend of mine and I was speaking to him and he said, may move away, come and move near me, you know, get away from environment was like, yeah, okay, well, so you know, I spent over half my wages, monthly wages to pay for rent, people rent nearest scientists. Uh, and I just started working on myself, started working on, started Youtube being Youtube channel is google looking for positive mindset trading, seeing what I could do it and things like journaling and affirmation started to come up and started to implement and it started working like really well.

And I started looking into gut health and I started looking at what, what am I putting in my body that could help me get rid of all these sugary sugars and get rid of processed food and start getting more vitamins and many always meet on what he needs. And it has a big effect on the brain. And I started looking at fitness and you know, not constantly freshen myself all the time that just take, take things nice and easy, you know, even if it means like jogging and walking, just doing that just to get, you know, stimulate the hormones but not not overstimulating him that you're then on edge all day and there's just so many different things I started doing very quickly, I started to feel a lot, a lot better and uh and had so many friends um and all over the place that we're struggling. So they started to come to me so you can, you know, you're you're doing so much better what happened? So I then started helping them individually saying that, why don't you try this, this, this, this and they were like, wow, this is like this generally is working. I was like yeah, uh I fall Uh by this point the military said they're gonna medically discharged me after 18 years services said unfortunately we don't, we don't think you're mentally stable, stay in the military, so we're going to discharge you.

But this is a big blow for me because I never wanted to leave. All Right, so you did 18 years and then you got out what year? uh so I my it was actually last November November 2020, So I left him. But just before that I got offered the job for example, in in Africa doing anti poaching like £500 a day. Um so I had a few other jobs lined up as well, but there was just this negative little thing that was like, these jobs are not, is not the purpose is not what I want to be doing. I'm just going back to the same old treadmill again, I did this, I want to help people, but I just didn't know how and then I was in Scotland who saw her during the lockdown and I ran around this, this lock, I was 34 miles, something like that. And as I ran around it had one of those epiphany moments, like everything just like lying in front of me, like, you need to start a charity to start a charity, you know, you don't know anything about it, you're gonna have to do something big to get attention, big to get back in, big to get funding because you know, um, I do what I do, I wanted to create a retreat where people can go to, so going off my own experiences away from the military environment, away from all the triggers where, which where there isn't really any other help like that.

Um, also I knew I wanted to retreat where you know, where people can come to and then all these positive mindset training. So it doesn't take away from medication, it doesn't take away from uh, people talking to psychiatrist or anything. It just gives them another, another means another tool in the bag to learn. So I come up with the idea of running 5800 miles around the UK to bring attention to the charity. Uh, I was supposed to leave the day after my discharge, discharge was on 27 November 2020 and 28. So for me personally, it was always like a wizard leaving, I'm going straight into doing something but could have locked down and wasn't able to do it. Two, thankfully, that was that was a blessing in disguise, and now I've been able to concentrate on the charities and they were really starting to get a charity underway. We've got, you know, got so many things lined up. Charity won't be formed for another couple of months, not fully, but we're already starting to work on it, starting to get attention, starting to give talks. Um, and that the division, is it By 2023, we've got to basically got two year fundraising period of to raise around £3 million machine.

I feel very confident we will. Um, and then we're going to build a luxury retreat where 10 veterans, serving soldiers from the Army, Navy, R E. F, reserves, that they can get in touch with us. They don't have to have any sort of um, medical assessment beforehand. They just say they don't have to have a certain level of severity, which a lot of charities and the military say, you know, unfortunately, we can't supply the money on you because you're not as bad as well as the people we need to supply money on, which is very reactive, which you can't needs to be, we want to say these people just tell us that you're not feeling good, put yourself into a seven day course, common to the course, will teach you nutrition, fitness, uh Animal therapy, cold water therapy, red light therapy, meditations, affirmations, journey, all these different basic tools for probably seven days. You can you can either take on board or not take on board. Some will work for you, some won't work for you, but now you've got a plethora of different uh platforms that you you're now aware of it you now know about.

And not only that we've we've kind of hold your hands food through the steps and leading you up and put you back into control of your life. And so he's telling you on your way. So hopefully this person won't ever need to go to a charity where he's severe enough to need that help. Uh So yeah, and that's that's our mission at the moment. So we've got a couple of years but almost formed and then we got two year fundraising period where we won't get as many fundraisers as possible. We get as much back as we can. And we're going to search for as many grants because we can get this £3 million on the way, we're gonna go try and get as big as we can on social media and then, like I said, the 5800 grand, I'm still doing it. I'm doing it on the first of March 2021 I'm running 30 miles every single day. So Well every single day, but 200 days period of a few days off in between here and there. Uh and the idea is just to meet as many people along the way as possible. Um, so I call everyone, but I'll be jogging and walking. So I want people to join me after fundraising me. I want people to I want to try to get as many schools and universities as possible.

So as much as this is a military charity to run itself, we want, we want everyone to get involved. Everyone starts talking about mental health, everyone to start going, you know what? We don't have to, it's not all doom and gloom as those good things out there. Just start spreading the word in a positive way. Mm that's a very cool concept, man. And it reminds me of what Swiss eight was trying to do when they first started their organization. Now, something you spoke about, there was all of these different tools to be able to apply to your life. To start putting those pieces of the jigsaw puzzle back together. Um now, one thing I want to talk about here is the autonomic nervous system and I've spoken about this numerous times. The autonomic nervous system is the balance between the sympathetic nervous system, which is our fight or flight state essentially our acute stress response and the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our rest and digest, which is essential for long term survival. Now as a soldier coming from a war torn environment where you're fighting and coming back to your home location, there's not really a decompression period.

And man like I, our fucking cork on our patrol base was murdered like by one of the Afghani National Army soldiers that we were actually in Afghanistan to train Like two weeks before we came home to Australia. And you know, I went from that environment, zero decompression period. And within two weeks I was with my girlfriend with my friends playing rugby back in that normal civilian space and I hadn't been taught these tools to be able to you know, deal with the emotions and all of the shit that um I hadn't really had a chance to deal with in Afghanistan. And all of a sudden I find myself back on the street, you know, where people are still in kind of their bubble and I mean, we're in a bubble in Afghanistan as well and what what was important to us was, you know, the people either side of us and the guys that were on the ground um in your team that we're working towards the same thing. And in my mind this is where a lot of issues come up is, you know, these guys come back from being in a highly sympathetic state where their stress response is up regulated and then they're back in a safe environment and you are constantly on the lookout for potential threats.

And sometimes you know if you're in that heightened state then you start creating threats where there are none. And dude like so many things are still drilled into my brain man. Like if I sit down at a restaurant, I'm sitting with my back against the wall where I can see the entry and exit points. If I'm riding with friends somewhere then I'm maintaining my spacing as I go through traffic. Um I'm constantly on the lookout for high ground or anywhere where there's some potential camouflage and concealment and you know all of these things that were just drilled into me that became a part of my um part of my job. You know it's very difficult to shake those things and when you're taught to do these things you're constantly trying to implement them and it's very difficult to have that transition and try and switch that stuff off. And I think this is a big problem with why a lot of guys do actually fall into states of anxiety and depression and PTSD and things like that because they haven't been taught these tools to be able to switch off the sympathetic state and drive the parasympathetic state and tell themselves that they are in a safe place and they can um chill out and relax and you know not be on high alert all the time and um turn those speakers down so to speak and something that worked for me.

When I was in. Afghanistan was literally counting my breaths every night when I went to sleep because there was a period of a couple of weeks where I was in that highly sympathetic state my team lead had been shot, put him on a helicopter, didn't know if he's going to live or die next day was back out on patrol and burst of machine gun fire went right between my mate and I and you know I had to uh focus on my breath to allow me to get to sleep at night. Now I wasn't taught how to do that. I just had to figure out a way to be able to get to sleep so that I could perform the next day because as the lead scout of my sniper patrol and the combat first data you know it was my role to be the eyes and the ears of my patrol and my worst fear was not that I would step on I. D. Or copper round to the chest. It would be that if I miss something then the bloke behind me took the brunt of the explosion or copy around to the chest and that was that was something that I would have to live with for the rest of my life. So I had to find a tool that was going to allow me to get to sleep so I could get up in the morning and be at my best and be able to perform and do my job and be an asset to the team rather than a liability.

Um Now a point that I want to make here is that these tools are going to be different for every single person, What works for me might not necessarily work for you and the tools that you use might not necessarily work for other people. So we need to add tools to our toolbox to be applied at the appropriate time. That's going to elicit the response that we want. And look man, it took me a little bit of time to figure this out because you know, I went from this highly sympathetic stress response state in Afghanistan where your senses are on high alert all the time and then you're back in your home environment and those sensors are still up. So I had to find those tools and I had to tweak those tools to allow me to drive the relaxation state, the parasympathetic state so that I could get back into society and function somewhat normally for me. I love scuba diving. So when I'm underwater in scuba diving, I'm literally focusing on my breath because that's what controls my buoyancy. Um so I'm in the moment and I'm thinking about where I'm at and nothing else matters and the same thing goes for um riding my motorbike in Thailand I'll put a podcast on and I'll go for a cruise and I literally am just focused on what I'm doing where I'm at.

I'm living in the moment and I'm not concerned about anything else now for other people Breathing through a tube 30 m underwater is going to drive the stress response to the sympathetic state and likewise riding a motorbike in Thailand might drive that sympathetic state again. So, you know, those tools are very important and how you use them is also important. So you know, we need to look at adding these tools to our toolbox. We need to find the things that are going to allow us to relax. Drive that parasympathetic state allow us to dampen that signal from the sympathetic nervous system and basically tell our brain that hey everything's safe, We're cool, we can chill out, we can relax and we can get back to our baseline which is homeostasis. So the point that I'm trying to make here is that, you know, we need to have a toolbox full of different tools. So if you look at a builder for example, you know, they have different tools for different jobs and if you need to, you know, hammer a nail into the wall so you can hang a picture or something like that, then you're obviously going to use a specific tool.

If you need to screw off a roof, then you're going to use a different tool. If you need to cut down a tree, you're going to use a different tool if you need to put in some plumbing drill a hole somewhere you're going to use a different tool if you need to blow some leaves off your driveway as a different tool as well. So the more tools that we have in our toolbox, the more options we have to be able to pick the right tool to get the job done that we're trying to achieve. Yeah I think that's a really good point and I think also it's also a very good point that people know that I think what happens when people have all these tools and they just try and use them all at once and they're like why why am I not going, I'm not using it. I don't know how to do this, don't do that and all this other to get overwhelmed. And so I think the way you just said it as a tool box is a great idea of how to say you know put put the tools you got them, put them in a box and then when you need one, pick it back out again rather than just holding them all thinking how and trans global and not knowing how to use them. I think it's a great way of looking at it and I think yeah certainly from my experience and my experience and seeing other people if people try to use too many at once or try to do too much of a deep dive into one initially, just gradually get, get used to it because it's a shock to the body to be able to taking us to change your way of being or change your way of thinking or you know what, you know, your social acceptance or social belief to try and change that so much of it instantly.

It's a big shock to the body and the mind. So you've got just gradually just chip away and chip away and chip away and eventually it grains into you. So yeah, I agree. And I think also you said about you just going back to what you were talking about earlier when you said um have been in a fight flight moment constantly and um and he just, he just brought, reminded me of a story that happened to me and uh after just come back from whence I got shot in the throat and that tour I came back from it, uh not long after I've gone out for a night out, I only had a couple of drinks um but my head wasn't right. I mean I knew that it wasn't right. Paranoia was there before I even had a drink. Anyway, uh just to show you that the house of fear my paranoia got is I saw a guy coming out of the train station and an asian book and I thought he had a bomb in his bag and no reason it's just gonna come back from work and I generally believe there's a bomb in it? And I was telling myself ahead? No, he hasn't. And then it was, yes, yes, I just ran up, push everyone away, jumped on him, just shout, he's got a bomb in his bag and everyone, this is the middle of London, everyone, you know, ran away and he was like, get off me.

And I was holding his hands out thinking he's going to try and pull the trigger and I'll shout out, shout and get the police, get the police and the police came, you know, dealt with I suppose, and he realized he was just a guy arrested me, tell me the police station and said, look, you got to, you got PTSD and I was like, no, of course not. So he charged me and then um, the army being the army, uh rather than trying to say, look what's, what's going on, what's wrong with you, you've just come back from tour. You know, you think the bombings on the bag instead of that, they try to kick him out of the army. So it just, it just added to it. I couldn't believe it. It took fortunately like colonels and generals that knew me two, you know, that took it to call when it, when it went to court, they basically stepped in and said no, this is wrong? Uh so thankfully it got tossed aside, but yeah, mm fuck man, that is nuts. Um now, how did you find out that you had pTSD like, was it uh, an event that happened? Or uh like was it a slow burner where things started showing up in your life and um you started noticing certain things like, talk to me about that.

Uh, can you can trace it quite, quite far back to the first time I came back from, you know, like I say, is there's a lot of Killing going on in that one with Taliban. There are so many of them. I said I had dozens and dozens of confirmed kills under my belt and at a young fresh 20 year old and I loved it at the time, I was just like, yeah, this is brilliant. That's what we're supposed to be doing. Um, and you know, I do, we really young and that each doing nothing that can affect you. You know, you kind of like you're indefensible, kind of uh, persona, 100 percent man and dude, like that's our job. We train as soldiers to go overseas and to deploy and fight whoever the enemy is. It is literally asked versus them and you are trained to fucking look after the boys either side of you and do whatever is necessary to keep them safe. So, um, now, let's talk about what you spoke about what you mentioned earlier about your convoy being ambushed, your vehicle was hit the RPG didn't go off or bounce off the armor.

Um the vehicle behind you was hit fucking exploded, killed everyone. Um everyone else bugged out, You're sitting there, there's taliban fighters running at you trying to claim your scalp so they can show it off to all of their taliban bodies to increase morale and you know, claim the fucking death of an infidel et cetera. And I'm assuming you're sitting there on a machine gun, just fucking mowing dudes down as they're running towards you trying to kill you, You know what you like to feed. So, so just to paint the picture a little bit, a little bit more so my vehicle, although the, the new new uh kind of like armor came out at the bar on my God, I don't know if you've seen it, it's got like the lions going across, it made the capture RPGS, but first RPG came and I just saw it coming from a distance and I was like, holy fuck that's gonna, that's gonna kill us. And then I think by the time I went up to get himself under to tell my commander, um it exploded, but it didn't, it didn't explode, that natural vehicle hit that Obama.

Um and it exploded. That so it's still like, we were still like too much fire and I think I must have passed out for a few seconds and it came to him shaking me and then another one went off on the left and so I never went off on the front. So our vehicles on fire everywhere, just being blown up, The driver's knocked out completely unconscious, the vehicle just wrapped that rolled into a hole, calm has gone dead overnight. We can hear them saying withdraw, withdraw, everyone's dead. Uh commanders, we can see guys running like comments are for a few grenades over. That's that, that was the first wave. And then uh there was, there was going to get a firing out of vehicle and it was like, you know, started to penetrate vehicle. So we're like, we need to take him out to get a machine gun, couldn't get machine gun working. Commander mate, just pause there for a second man because I need to explain this to the listeners. Dedushka is a mounted fucking heavy weapon, 50 caliber machine gun that is used as an anti aircraft weapon. I mean every round that then causes some serious fucking damage every round which is rocking us.

You feel it coming through good air, you know, this is gonna, this isn't going well well anyway, but this is going to everyone. So commanders like get him, get him. So I want a machine gun, it's not firing and like, so what's going on? So anyway, I was like, I had no choice but to get my rifle, get up on the thing and I just find him and I managed to get me my rifle. So basically then I looked down and my machine guns split in half so that the explosions on the first stop on the front. RBG that's completely annihilated it. So it was gone. So then I just had my I had my rifle, my commanders down there trying to sort out comes and it's just me at the top and I'm literally can see tens dozens of taliban running towards me and I just got my rifles and to make things worse because of the explosion, dust has got in it. So I had a cock each time I fired just like just rounds coming everywhere not to that cock but they were just they were just they were so easy to take out because they were just running in the open, there's like and then they were just firing but they weren't very good, they just rounds going everywhere all around the all over the vehicle but there was none hitting me. And I think by this point I already said like okay I'm gonna diet, let's just do what we can to to take Visa and boom I've got our friends behind us, the body should see burning life.

So I'm you know a few minutes ago, dead, dead. They've left us around everywhere, there's two of us, one of them is not my driver's dead or not and I was just like well just did what we came and eventually they the other look up to the top of the hill and just they started to see these guys coming forward and they start attacking them even though they didn't know where they live and then eventually my commander fruit smoke like purple smoke and then they were like the smoking friends, they came down and gas and extracted us out. Uh So yeah, that that was the occasion. But I think coming back from that tour, going back to your question, when did I first realize I had pTSd looking back on it. I didn't realize at the time I had a girlfriend when I was young, she was about 19, I was 20 and uh I think we've gone out for a few drinks that night and I come back and I woke up this morning and she was like in the corner of the room. I was like what you doing? She was like, can you just take me home? I was like, what are you talking about? What's going on? And she was covered in bruises all up her arms.

I said what happened? She was like you last night? I was like, what? I literally never did remember apparently I got up in the middle of the night, was shaking her, grabbing her, throwing her around and poor girl was just like covered in bruises. So look and I think looking back now, I mean I know I think I had like I had about eight weeks off and I don't think it was a day that went past eight weeks ago. I think I wasn't going out drinking, you know, So I think I was waking up in the night with nightmares and like crying and stuff but I didn't realize I was just rushed off and I was like whatever, just forget about it and it's going to have another drink. So I think that was the start of it, but I just, I just didn't think about it and you know, the military didn't tell me, didn't tell me this is what's going to happen to you. This is how you can make yourself better. This is the outcomes. It was just, it was just you go to tour, you come back, go and leave, get, they would like go and get drunk, go and be stupid spending your money and then come back and that's exactly what I did. That is fucking heavy man and you know these things are happening, but you don't know why because it's happening at a subconscious level that you have no control over, which is fucking scary man.

Um man as soldiers, we need to compartmentalize things because I'm assuming that within a week you're back out on patrol again literally. I think we flew from so the helicopter came in close, we went back to bastion, we hadn't been bastion since the day we got there, we lived out in the desert in our vehicles and we're back to bastion that the doctor troll base and uh free power commando. Sergeant major came up to us and said fucking good effort place well done. You did a good job out there today, proud of you. And I was like yeah you're proud of being gone. And then they would like to a vehicle waiting nice for us. We didn't have a chance to even get food but didn't get shower back in the vehicle and off we went back into the joint our boys again and then that was it. So not even a day, not a week with an hour max until there's another vehicle back out. My driver couldn't come back out, he was too traumatized. He was you know what he had seen, he was just like he was just like a driver and he had a gun, he was just stop there, he's watching all these bullets and bombs going off in front of him.

So he's he was in a bad way but he he meant that he could not go out but I was I was keen to get out and I was like yeah let's go but there was no time to process anything. Yeah man I'm going to come back to that in a moment but I want to relate something you said there to my experience as well. So um my four man sniper team, two weeks in our trip were ambushed and my team leader was shot. We've got a firefight. Um We got control the situation, patched him up stabilized and put on put him on a helicopter. Um Sandy moth didn't know if it's gonna live or die. Uh And then the rest of our team are three man team then found some high ground. So we went up there um so we can provide fire support, provide better full commentary, get eyes over the entire area um etcetera etcetera. Um And within 30 minutes one of the boys flicked some dirt, decided he's like he looked at his wife died and he goes fuck boys we are sitting on top of a fucking I. D. Um so anyway that was a massive patrol. We got back to the base man and like within 30 minutes of um re bombing and going through my battle prep.

Um I was fucked. I was like in bed sleeping bags. I was so fucking tired because of the massive adrenaline dump. So the next day we went I went out on patrol burst machine gunfire went between my mate and I and I was like fuck man this is gonna be a long trip. But you know what that made me do was made me realize that they were there to fucking hurt us. And you know that changed down mindset of right like we need to take the fight to these guys, we need to fucking deny them freedom of movement, we need to kill or capture as many of them as we can so that we can make our fucking deployment and the lives of the local population a lot safer. Yeah, absolutely. I think at that point you just touched on, you know, you have to be in that sort of mindset to do this sort of stuff that you know, you're being asked to do and you have to do to save your life and everyone else's lives around you as well as protect the people's lives. You're out there to protect, you have to have that acting mindset and there's there's nothing wrong with that. And I think a lot of people get confused with mental health or, or mindset or meditation with being pink and fluffy and you know, if you do that, you're going to get rid of you, you're not going to have the killer guys that you need a better for.

It's completely not true. You know, pretty much everyone in special forces use these, these techniques because they have done for many years because they know that, you know that stuff that they're going to go and see that the environment they're going to be in the mental state, they're going to be, they need to, they need something to, you know, make yourself to get better again. And I think, I think time times are changing people are starting to see that it's not about being soft and pink and fluffy, it's about being sensible about training your mind just as much as you train your body. It's about strengthening your mind strip, that's as much as I think, you know, we focus every day on how we can physically look at ourselves in the military, but you know, mentally is just as important, if not more. So it's a much more fragile and much more stronger uh all or part of our body, They're not actual physical body 100% mate. And going back to that story, I was speaking about earlier with my sniper team in the first two weeks. Now, you know, I was using my breath work to help me to get to sleep.

But you know, the byproduct of that was I was actually able to manage my emotions a lot better, which obviously drove the parasympathetic nervous system allowed me to get to sleep, but I didn't realize it at the time because you know, we would head into our CP for orders and the bosses like, alright boys were going here tomorrow, this is the plan. You know, let me know what each one of you guys are going to do, where you going to set up, you know what your role is, how you're going to support the mission etcetera etcetera. And there were certain times where boss was like, yeah, we're going in this location, We all fucking looked at each other and like, all right, well, we know we're gonna be in the shit tomorrow. So, you know, that means that I'm going back to my boys and I'm saying, hey lads, we're going here, you need to be carrying this may be carrying extra fucking first aid kit, some saline fluid um stock up on extra high explosive grenades, blah blah blah blah. You know, we're choosing the weapons systems that is going to best suit um that situation, knowing that every fucking time we go to that location we're in the shit, something's happening.

We're finding cases were capturing, dudes were killing dudes were fucking getting in firefights, you know, we're taking casualties, etcetera, etcetera. So you know that meditation that mindfulness that I was doing by simply focusing on my breath, like actually helped me strengthen my mind and focus on the things that I could control rather than the things that I couldn't control. And man, that was massive for me and it's something I've implemented in my life ever since. Um Now, another thing I want to talk about here is uh those tools need to be appropriate. Um So last year round about this time I went to, I went back to Australia to do my yoga course, One of the boys got out of the army. Um and was suffering from PTSD actually used yin stole yoga as an alternate therapy for PTSD anxiety, depression. Um So he ended up becoming a teacher and got a partial grant from the Australian government to teach a bunch of veterans so that we could take it back to our network and share with our guys um to give them the tools that they needed and you know, something that came up for us that we had a really good discussion about was you know, these are all infantry soldiers have been in Afghanistan taking the fight to the enemy and we're all sitting there going, you know how many of our mates that are suffering, going to be comfortable sitting in a fucking room full of random people for an hour in silence, like that's not going to be appropriate for them.

They're in this fucking highly sympathetic state all the time. That's going to freak them out. So you know, we need to take those principles of hey what are we doing here? We're using this tool to down regulate the sympathetic nervous system, drive the parasympathetic nervous system, you know? So for that person, that tool needs to be tailored um to provide the right dose to get the right response. And that might simply be five minutes of guided meditation every day whilst they're watching the sunrise and having a coffee or something like that. And once you can do that for a month, then go 10 minutes of guided meditation every day and then you might bump that up to 20 minutes guided meditation every day, there's three months and then alright, called the next progression is unguided meditation. I don't even want you to focus on time. I just want you to focus on giving me 20 breaths boom. And that takes me around about five minutes every morning. So, you know, the dose response relationship comes into play here and yes, we need to work with these principles, but we also need to adjust them so that we can apply the right amount to the people to elicit the response that we want um and meet the person where they're at, right?

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, yeah, I was just gonna say um I think, I think, I think it's a great, great way to look at things, you know, just just build building up. And just I think another thing is just being aware of, of uh towards her out. Their members are out there, you know, like I said earlier, you don't have to know everything at once, you just have to be aware. And for me, I'm a big believer in just planting a seat. So if I if rather than saying no about to something, someone said to me, what about this? Rather than saying no, I just go, ok, what is it? And then in my head I'm going, well, no, it's not for me really. But then I'll just leave it there. I don't I don't dismiss it, don't forget away completely and just leave it and then maybe like a few weeks or a few months later, something happens. And I think I remember how about that and then all of a sudden it starts to grow in and all of a sudden a few more months down the line, I'm doing it fully and I'm I'm fully, you know, uh, into whatever the situation may be. So I can't believe I just planted a seed, you don't have to say yes, I know instantly, just be aware of some of them and then see that naturally come to naturally, it will find its way to if it's meant to be Yeah, man, that is such a good point, because if we go into something and we all, we've already created that story that this is not going to work, this is bullshit, blah, blah, blah, then we're fucking right, because, like the placebo effect has been shown multiple times, so often how much of an impact that it can have on, you know, changing mindsets, changing, health, changing, you know, results of studies, It's it's fucking crazy man, the power of the mind.

So, you know, we need to be open to these things and as you said, you need to put the ego aside and um because if you don't do that, then there's going to be lessons that are available to you that you're not ready to listen to. You know, we could read the same book and we can both take different lessons from it, but, you know, we read that book and then a year later we read that same book again, we're going to be taking different lessons because we're at a different consciousness level, we're at a different level of awareness. We're looking for different things. We read that book again five years later and we're gonna be taking different lessons again from that. So yeah, that's a great point man. Um now what I want to talk about next is your transition period. Like talk to me about that process, going from being in the military for such a long period of time and then all of a sudden being back on city street. What was that like for you? For me it's it's been a very weird, it's not been a normal transition. So I got put on sick leave and where like I said earlier, they left me in barracks on sick leave and I was like, you know, this is not good for me, I wouldn't get any better, but I was still in the environment and I was, I was pretty aware that the trigger wisdom, military, it was the environment, I knew that's what I needed to escape.

So I kind of put myself into the to field an environment for I got forced into it and then from there, you know, I wasn't, I didn't have the pressure off having a fine work when I feel like I was still getting paid by the military. So in a way it was quite fortunate, but I had to work for myself. Um, I think the biggest, biggest thing for me was I felt, even though I didn't have generally had issues, I knew I did, but I think I still felt like a fraud, I still felt like, you know, you know, why am I? I think, I think we have that this kind of comparison complex of people. I I shouldn't feel like this when I've got a friend who's like this or that someone else is even worse, this person even worse. And we're trying to compare ourselves with the time. I've just accepted that, you know, we're allowed to have problems for every reason. Um So yeah, and since being, you know, I haven't, I haven't gone back into work, even I've got some savings, I'm just fully committed to this charity now. No, there is no plan B. There is no safety net for me. I'm like, I've taken myself out of work.

I don't even care about finding work. I know that the purpose of this charity is the most important thing and there's there's nothing that can stop me or us or everyone that's involved in it from achieving a freemium pound and getting the retreat built. If we just keep keep on working at it, there's, you know, there's a, my mind is really open that ah if you just consistently work hard or something, you will achieve whatever you want and that's exactly what we're doing. So for me, if I went back to work in civilian street, my mind will be focused on this charity you'll be half focused on the work while thinking about the charity and then every now and then I'll be able to dipping out. So yeah, so the transitions is a bit unfair for me to comment because I know most people have to go from military straight into civilian life where I kind of had a little bit of a leeway to sort myself out. Let's talk about that for a moment because you mentioned earlier that there was a certain triggers in your environment and you know, being back in that military space was setting things off and I'm a firm believer in you becoming a product of your environment.

However you need to create the right environment so that you can be your best person. Um now was the times where you went into therapy and you know, you were being painted with a victim brush that you potentially bought into or you know, started acting in accordance with, was there anything like that that was happening to you? Yeah, I don't know. I completely understand where you're coming from and what you're saying possibly possibly. But I think like for example form dude, I think there's a lot of things subconsciously I still don't understand what was happening. For example, I'll be in a meeting with the hierarchy. Um, and I could see people's mouths moving, but I couldn't hear any words coming out. Like I physically could, you know, I could not hear any word coming out of someone's mouth but I'd be able to hear chair scraping. I mean that's that's that's something I don't even understand. And I tried to get answers from psychiatrist. They couldn't give them to me. Um so I don't know but you know, again subconsciously maybe I was creating some sort of fit him thing and and and certainly you know, I was staying in bed most of the day if I had to go to work, I go there and you know, I look at a computer screen like this overwhelming like a flood of anxiety came over me and I just had to literally run back to bed again.

I've got to stay here. I can't I can't be an environment. So I certainly becoming more of a victim to myself. You know I was a sergeant major walking down um through the parade square getting all anxious about seeing the trooper, you know, should be there already around. So but yeah, I think that you can create that that that victim mindset but it's it's very hard to get out of it when uh if you're not aware of it or even if you are aware of it, if you don't you don't know what's going on, if there's no one to explain to you what's happening or what's happening on, how you can make it any better. It's a very difficult thing to try and yeah dude that is so interesting man and again that goes back to that environment because you know, you're in this room where people are talking, you can see their mouth moving, but you can't hear them yet. A chair scrapes and your attention is focused on that chair. And that is because you don't perceive the person that is talking to be a threat. So you're not paying attention to it as soon as something happens that you're um, not prepared for or that is out of the, out of the ordinary, then that's where your attention goes and you're still in that height and sympathetic state.

So yeah, man, your environment plays a massive part there. Now. Something I want to talk about here is when you realize that. And then you went on holidays with side and you found a shack in the mountains of Scotland and you started running and you started looking after your nutrition, you started sleeping better. Um you start doing your journaling your affirmations and all that type of stuff. Like how much of an impact did that have for you, if any. Yeah, massively huge, huge therapeutic effect. And almost instantly, you know, coming out of the environment just every day. I think the best way to describe it on the weekends when I was in the military, I was able to escape. I was, I was like a new person, like a new ball person. I look forward to it come to sunday knowing that I had to go back, Everybody's going back downhill because I knew what was coming. Um, but yes, it was always able to go away, go, go to Scotland. Start learning environmental, stop learning, but stopped practicing affirmations. Start practicing just being in nature. You know, we were in the highlands of Scotland and I don't know if some of your listeners know about the highlands of Scotland, but it's just mountain after mountain.

It's just picturesque. It's unbelievable. We were so lucky to be there during lockdown for 10 weeks and we've, we've one of our best mates as well. You know, we just go by the right and not only was we in the mountain, no one was there because everyone with lockdown. So we had the whole mountains and all the rivers to ourselves. So we need to go for a run up a hill or go for take a couple of cans and sit by the nice core river. Just me inside no one else around us to disturb us. It was just a terrorism. It was absolutely amazing. And it certainly helped. I'm sure both of us with any problems that we must have had we might have been having. Um, but uh, and to just to clarify with the environment, once I've got myself to a really good place and I was practicing all this stuff and you know, not saying that every day was perfect because it never, every day is ever going to be perfect for anyone, but I was having, I was in such a much better place, I was able to come out of a charity come up with uh sort of feel like I'm going to do it 5800 mile run and I'll start planning everything places to go down.

I was getting media attention and doing all sorts of stuff and then for the last couple of months I got rid of the house I was staying in, sold my car, get ready to go on my run and then that's when the second look that would look down came in so I couldn't do it. So I had nowhere to live. So I said to my regiment, can we can come and stay back at the regiment for the last couple of months. They were like, yeah, of course and I want to stay there. And almost instantly my behavior changed my attitudes that I go down, but then I started going, no, no, I'm better because of all these tools and techniques. I started trying to use these techniques and, and I was like, and I was really scared because I was like, I was just dip in and dip in and dip in and I was like crap and then all of a sudden I found myself staying in bed for like 34 days and I was getting back to that routine, was it before I didn't want to see people like looking down walking up and down the corridors. I was getting all that anxious and I was like, oh no, this is not good. I'm like no matter how much I tried to fight it or using techniques for me in that environment, but you couldn't do it. So again, I just had to go to get out and I'm staying with someone else at the moment.

But for me, I put I'm not saying that I can't ever get better than environment, but maybe it's just a bit too soon. And yeah, so the environment is very strange on that. Maybe if I want to go back to that environment, I just start working a bit more on realizing how I can um how I can do that. Yeah, that's an excellent point mint. Your environment plays a massive part in who you are and um you know, creates changes with your physiology and um you know, your emotions and your thoughts affect your hormone regulation, which then affect how you're feeling, your mood, your attitude and you know, your actions and you know, everything is fucking interrelated man. So, you know, you use these tools when you're in a good environment and that worked an absolute treat for you. However, going back to that environment where those triggers were um you know, you didn't have the tools to be able to utilize at that time. So that's that's an excellent point that I want to touch on here is that if you are someone that is struggling with, you know, mental health um implications and you've used these tools and you find yourself getting better, but then you get back into that environment and you fall back into that downward spiral.

Then, you know, you've probably gone back into that environment too fast and you need to remove yourself from that environment so that you can create the changes that you want. So that when you do go back onto base, you know, maybe you only spend an hour there the first time and you feel like shit and you go all right, I need to get the fuck out of here, right? And then the next time you go back it might be two hours and then you increase that to four hours and then you increase that to the whole day and then maybe you can stay overnight, right? So you're using progressive overload with these tools and gradually reintroducing the environment that is creating this um negative spiral so that you can progressively over time be able to deal with that better and better each time. Yeah, I've heard a great point, Absolutely great point. Again, it's a confident experience sometimes experience and being aware of it, you know? So now we're talking about him are fully aware, there will be many people out there not aware whatsoever that of their feelings, not aware of the emotions or aware of wider feeling this way.

Um and I'll just keep like digging that hole and digging that hole, um so it's just so important that people take time out of their day every day, they can to learn different tools and techniques, even if initially you don't think it's going to benefit you, just just look at it, just just see what it's about and then put them, you can put it aside fully well and then go look at something else um because just being aware of listening to podcasts, like what we're doing now is to have people talking to people experiences. That was one of the big things that helped me was listening to different podcast, listen to motivational talks, I just, you know, when I decided to change my life around, I just, let's get up every single morning, the first thing I put on was a motivational talk on Youtube, you know, I wanted to look like a discipline or, or wake up kind of motivational talk and just get me in that mood and I'll go to the gym and I go for a walk, something really powerful that you just said there was when I decided to change my life that right there in my mind is the fucking key man because you know, you need to, if you want to make changes, you need to create changes and sometimes that means changing your environment, that means paying attention to, you know who you let into your inner circle, this means paying attention to everything that you're doing in regards nutrition training, social media use etcetera etcetera.

So, you know, when you decided to make that decision to change your life like that, you took ownership of that, that is you being accountable for your own shit and understanding that yes, there's some things that you've done to put yourself in this situation, but there's also things that you can do to get yourself out of that situation. And again, that's where those tools come into play, where you can start like picking and choosing the right tools and you need to have as many tools in your toolbox as you can, so that when something does come up you can go all right, this is the right tool for this time, that's going to allow me to stop digging that hole and then start fucking climbing my way out of the hole and as I said about your environment like this is your home as well man. Like you need to fucking feel safe in your home because if you don't feel safe in your home and you're still in this up regulated sympathetic nervous system, you're going to be paying attention to all of the noises that are going on, you know, everything that's happening in that environment, which could potentially still be up regulating that sympathetic nervous system.

So finding a place where you feel safe where you can can down regulate fire up the parasympathetic nervous system, relax, get some quality sleep. Um you know, that is fucking critical and after another of the environment is not just the environment as as a place or like a building or you know, but it's also the people like for when again, when I was trying to make a big change, I decided look a friend of mine, I just hung himself outside my door. I was literally, we're gonna be the next number. I just knew I was waiting for the day where I was going to do it and then I said no, okay, this is going to change this, change it now, always call if he was now or never and you know, and I excluded pretty much everyone out of my life, I know it sounds a bit harsh, but I thought you know what? There's and it's not because of other people because I associated myself a few people people. So for sorry for example, great great guy, you know, you're lucky to go out and have a drink with him because he's a good company but I didn't see him for about eight months I said to him, I can't see you, I'm sorry, like a whole group of guys like you know, you know in my life and for now while I'm working on myself so what, you know, once I was working myself excluded that group of friends, that group of friends and others and I actually started to find different people would hang around people that I associate, associated myself in a more positive way.

But once I, once I was better again, once I felt better, you know, slightly introducing side back into my life was not hurt me can fancy going out, and I'm like, yeah, sure, and you know, we became friends again and it wasn't, and you know, he's such a good bloke that he didn't have a question, he didn't say why did you want to hang around me for them a few months? He just knew he knew I was working on myself and he, you know, he was he was there waiting to pick up the phone as soon as I was ready to call them up and go for a drink again, and I think that's important is to, you know, think about not just the environment of the place you are, but the people you're with, and it doesn't have to be because they're bad people, because how you associate yourself with them at a moment in time, and you can always come back and redo them back into your life later. Another very good point that I'll dive into a little bit more detail as well. Um you know, you decided to make these changes, which meant that you needed to change your environment, which meant that some of the people that were in that environment need to change as well, and you need to disassociate from them now, here's the thing man, like when you go through something big like this, when you need to work on yourself and you put it out there to your friends and say, hey look guys, I need to take this time away for myself, I can't see you for a while, blah blah blah blah.

You'll be able to tell who your real fucking friends are because they're going to be the ones that like totally understand you do whatever you need to do mate. My phone's always on, give me a call anytime something comes up, you know, when you've worked on yourself, um when you're feeling better, when you're comfortable to be back around the boys again and you, you know, want to pick this back up again, you know, we can help each other, then let's fucking do that, let's pick right back up where we left off, although both of us are going to be in a better place and we're going to cultivate that friendship, we're gonna cultivate that relationship and then there's gonna be other people that are like, why are you cutting me out of your life? You're an asshole blah blah blah. Like those people are fucking feeding their own ego and you know, they obviously don't understand that for you to be at your best, that means that, you know, you need to make sacrifices and sometimes those friendships are going to be those sacrifices. So you know, having good people around you to understand that and support that. That is critical man, that is extremely important for your own personal and you know, your own personal growth and development and you know, it's it makes it very clear to who actually cares about you and who doesn't care about you.

Yeah, absolutely. Do you want to be the same person? Is that the whole point is to try to change? So if they don't want you to change from the person that you're struggling person, then they're they're not afraid. That's not if they if they can't see you, if they don't see the struggle with inside of you or that they had a potential struggles are you, then they don't know you as well as you probably think that they do. Mm mate, this has been an incredible conversation, man, I've really enjoyed this one. Um it's been great to connect with you to find out what's happening with Head Up Charity, um what you're doing there, what your vision is everything you're working towards. Um And I think this conversation is going to help a lot of people, man. Um so brother, I want to thank you very much for your time. I'll be following your journey quite closely. I want to get you back on the podcast at some stage maybe right before you kick off your run or at some stage during maybe even after. But yeah, I'll definitely be following your story and passing off to my audience. So just to wind up, may I want to say, thank you very much for sharing your time, your journey, your emotions, everything you've been through, man, I really appreciate you opening up and having this conversation with me bro.

Yeah, thank you so much has been great to learn more about yourself, and it's always, always good to talk and and to open up different platforms, different people around around the world, which is an amazing thing to do. Look forward to. Working with Swiss Eight, hopefully in the future. And you know, I think it be, what a fantastic thing would it be for two different countries from opposite sides of the world, um, helping each other's veterans and military people out. I think it would be a great partnership, so really looking forward to get that going. And if anyone wants to follow the journey, just simply typing head up charity to any of the, uh, to any of the social media platforms and you should be able to find us awesome. I'm going to have all of those links in the show notes. Thank you very much, brother. We shall chat soon. Yeah, thanks a lot

Paul Minter of Head-Up Charity
Paul Minter of Head-Up Charity
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