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“At some point I threatened to kill my partner and myself. I was put in the psych ward and
diagnosed with PTSD.”
Cleo DeLoner has a very powerful story to share. She is an Army Veteran and former police officer who sunk so deep into depression and PTSD, that she tried to take her own life.
“I took a long rifle and a loaded magazine, drove out to a river (… ) held the rifle to my face and pulled the trigger. It broke all of the bones in my face and I never lost consciousness,” DeLoner explains. “I walked around for a while and ended up driving to get help.”
Remarkably, DeLoner was able to get behind the wheel and flag down a woman for help.
“After the impact and I realized I was alive and I thought to myself — wow, I did it. Oh my God I am still alive,” DeLoner says. “I think the human spirit goes into survival mode and I started taking steps to get myself help.”
Never before had she seen someone walking on that remote road near the river 15 minutes from her home, and DeLoner says in that moment she thought the woman might be an angel.
It seems, in many ways, she was.
“I stumbled toward her kind of like the characters on Walking Dead.”
The woman drove DeLoner to the hospital and while her life was spared, there was an agonizing journey ahead.
DeLoner says she was hospitalized 32 times, endured electric shock therapy, and was on multiple psych pills. She was alive — yes, but she was far from healed. Nothing was working.
And then DeLoner received a phone call about bio-feedback and neuro-feedback therapy. She flew to Bethesda, Maryland to check it out and says it changed everything.
After 25 treatments, DeLoner says all of her symptoms, including debilitating PTSD, were eliminated and she weaned herself off of what she calls “zombie dope”, the psych meds and painkillers that she thought she’d be taking for the rest of her life.
After that, DeLoner was put in touch with AJ Richards, owner of CrossFit Mesa and founder of Rush Club. Richards, a fellow Veteran, embraced the mission of healing and welcomed DeLoner into his community of veterans and civilians who are all seeking out health and purpose in their lives.
“What we keep hearing over and over is that painkillers don’t work they just dull you until you are just done. These medicines don’t seem to be working for most people,” Richards says.
DeLoner, now a writer and public speaker, wants to share her story with the masses.
Recently Richards and DeLoner teamed up to speak to the Arizona Coalition, a group of Veterans who wanted to hear more of DeLoner’s story — and who embraced the message, “you are not your diagnosis.”
“I actually prayed to God and thanked him for not letting me die. I forgave myself for such a brutal assault on myself,” DeLoner says. “I feel a sense of responsibility to my Warrior brothers and sisters. I am living proof that there is hope that if they take that step into the light from the darkness. There is hope.”
Links mentioned in this podcast
Here is a poem from DeLoner’s book, “Trigger Pieces”:
I Am PTSD
I have many aliases
I am like no enemy you have ever fought
I control you
I own you
I insert horrific memories in your head at my beck and call
I watch you from a distance
As your eyes stare at nothing
I startle you back to reality
I freeze the most graphic images in your mind
Forcing you to witness the horror over and over again
I fuel your rage
I fuel your hatred
I take you close in my arms
Away from everyone who cares about you
I am jealous
When I have you isolated, all to myself
My relentless assault intensifies
My voice is all that you will hear
I will convince you that you are
I will bring you to your knees
You will try to crawl your way out of the maze of confusion
Until you collapse face down
All the while I scream at you to end it
I will drive you to a depth of darkness so deep
No amount of light will penetrate
I will envelope you in total and utter unimaginable despair
The emptiness you feel carries a thousand echoes of the suffering that I inflict
You will make futile attempts to silence me
With your pathetic pills
Your bottles of booze
You will believe that I have retreated
But I am still with you
Waiting, watching, patiently
Your staggering drunkenness
Brings you to a state of unconsciousness
You are right where I want you
I now bring you the images in full color
I add the sounds of screams
Hovering over you
I watch as you twitch
Toss and turn
Punch the air
Cling to your blankets
And scream, “No!”
I drench you in cold sweat
Forcing you to awaken sitting straight up
As you gasp for air
You don’t like to talk about me to your loved ones
Why would you want to?
How would you describe me?
Am I just a voice in your head?
Am I the monster who has taken up residence in your mind?
Better to just stay quiet
Keep this affair between us
I have convinced you that they don’t care
That I’m the only one who cares
I’ll never leave you alone
This road that we stumble down together
Is a road I walk with many
I sabotage every relationship they have
Their loved ones retreat
Leaving them lonely
They fought me
They fought hard
In the end they all succumb to me
You will to
You have embraced me without even knowing it
I have you in the corner of darkness
Providing you with an instrument of death
I have encouraged you
Now I can sit back
And watch your sad finale
I Am PTSD!
27, Sept. 2015