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Darren Waller:


Speaker1: [00:00:00] Yeah. Guys from, uh, episode with Michael Phelps and we interview Max.

Speaker2: [00:00:08] You you interviewed him once.

Speaker1: [00:00:10] Did you? Well, yeah, It was like the episode just now released. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:00:16] I seen a bunch of your old stuff. The one with Carl got real. Yeah, that's cool. Obviously the one with your. Yeah. I love the work you doing, man.

Speaker1: [00:00:26] It's really cool. Appreciate it.

Speaker3: [00:00:28] You guys are heroes.

Speaker1: [00:00:29] Really? Yeah. She was hitting. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:00:32] It's fire. So good.

Speaker1: [00:00:34] Fire.

Speaker3: [00:00:34] Yeah, it's very jealous. It's quite a pair. There you go. We're, uh.

Speaker2: [00:00:42] We're good to go. Great. Okay, so. We just start with kind of what I'd love to hear your perspective as a child. If you could think back, if someone told you, oh, you should do talk therapy or you should work on your mental health. What did you think of your child? You're looking here the entire time when you're talking.

Speaker1: [00:01:03] Yeah. When I was a kid, mental health was not a thing that anybody talked about. It was. If anything, it came to emotions. It was football culture for me growing up as a kid, all we did was hate each other. And, you know, you got to be tough and masculine and all that. So it was never let them see you sweat, no crying, suck it up type of vibes. So none of that was ever really a thing. Self awareness or, you know, emotional intelligence like was not even on the radar of of anyone. I feel like because it definitely wasn't an example to to look to because it just wasn't there. So when I was a kid it was that just wasn't even a thing.

Speaker2: [00:01:48] And can you talk a little bit about at what point in your life did you realize that this had benefited? This meant working on your mental health doesn't mean your week doesn't. It means here it's a strength. You're working on being your best version. How did you figure that out? Can you tell a little bit about how your story started? And a lot of people know your story already, but more specifically, that kind of understanding that mental health is a strength and made you a better person?


Speaker1: [00:02:10] Yeah, I didn't realize mental health was something that provided value into my life and could change my life until I got sober and I was addicted to drugs and alcohol. Started when I was 15 and had an overdose when I was 25. So talking about a ten year run of just being lost and just being kind of floating through life, not really stopping to question why I was doing things or what needed to change because I just felt stuck. Know, But that overdose ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me because it sent me to rehab where it was about all these things. That makes mental health so great, You know, just being open and honest, having a one on one counseling group therapy, they're teaching us meditation, finding our own spiritual journeys. That's when I realized and it's just like, I don't know, you kind of know the truth when you it's a feeling like I knew I was living a lie the whole time, but I just didn't have enough courage or any kind of resources to really change it at the time. But then, like when those things were presented to me, it was just like, Yes, this is it. And it's something that I've stuck with even to this day, you know, approaching five years sober, my daily habits and practices still look the same because I don't know, for me, I feel like if I'm not progressing, I'm regressing as far as that's concerned. So but yeah, it was about five years ago for me where I realized that this is the way to go.

Speaker2: [00:03:39] It's amazing. You talked about as a child you felt stuck and you got into drug use at a young age. Reflecting back now through your sobriety. Can you reflect on what was it in childhood that led to that drug use and normalizing? A lot of people go through this. What was it for you?

Speaker1: [00:03:59] Yeah, the drugs and alcohol was definitely a symptom of things that happened in my childhood when I was a kid. I was I was different. I was a little strange. I was, you know, very sensitive. You know, just I don't know what a lot of kids were. I just wasn't. And for me, it was it was the narrative was I wasn't black enough. And it's like as a black kid, you know, you can't change your skin color like you're stuck with that. And so to look at my skin and see, like, even though it's black skin here, I'll never be black enough, there's just like I was just, you know, unworthy, not good enough. Like I was doing something wrong instead of seeing what was different about me as being unique and being beautiful, you know? And so that was something that hurt me that I carried around with me everywhere I went. You know, I had an experience in sixth grade with a girl that was my girlfriend in sixth grade. Take that with a grain of salt, sixth grade love. But you know, it's important to you back like back then. You know, it's your experience and being with her and going to this, you know, like teen party thing and seeing her there with another guy in front of all my friends, in front of all people.

Speaker1: [00:05:12] So it was just like a humiliating thing. And so it's like, how do I never feel this way again? And that turns into womanizing, treating women as objects of pleasure as opposed to, you know, children of God, or how you would want your sister or women that are in your family to be treated. I wasn't doing that. It was just all focused on me, you know, And those things, you know, created, you know, guilt and pain and just feeling loneliness. And it's like, okay, how do I relieve this pain? And, you know, I eventually drugs and alcohol were the only thing that I felt like could do it for me. And it worked for a while. But then it wasn't enough because continued pain, continued shame, continued arrests and all these things from my behavior continued to mount up and they really couldn't get the job. And they could just kind of give me a little release, a little escape from time to time. But all my problems were still there at the end of the day.

Speaker2: [00:06:09] You were saying that. If you could go back and counsel the younger version of you, what kind of advice, what kind of insights would you share with that younger version to try to take the steps he may have needed earlier?

Speaker1: [00:06:22] I would say not to put so much pressure on yourself to be successful. There's so many cases of success in the world not being enough. I'll never forget the conversation I was telling you about I had with Michael Phelps. You look at him and it's like, This guy's the greatest athlete ever. But he talked about how depressed he was throughout that journey and how it wasn't fulfilling enough. You look at somebody like me, I checked off every box, every goal that I had when I was a kid, but I was miserable with all those goals checked off. And there's, you know, the wealthiest people in the world, famous people in the world with $50 million in the bank putting a gun to their head. And it's like, why is that? If that's supposed to be what makes us happy and what fulfills us? So I would say not focus so much on success and like your performance and what you're doing, but more so like who you're becoming in the process. Because I feel like your legacy at the end of the day, you know, people know what you did, but you know, when you're on your way out and you know people are coming to see you in your last days, I don't think they're going to remember like, oh, man, you had a great portfolio or, you know, you you really you really had a great 200 yard game that day.

Speaker1: [00:07:37] But it's like it's going to remember, like who you were and how you impacted them and how you made them feel. So I would just say, you know, keep that perspective in mind as a kid. And the only way to really allow your true self to be on display for the world to be impacted by is to take care of yourself, is to love yourself, is to nourish yourself from the inside out. And the only way to do that is to really be honest and really open up about what you're going through, because that's that's the most admirable quality to me these days. I don't care how much money you got or what you've accomplished, but it's just like, you know, how authentic are you? Like, what do you go through? What have you overcome? You know, people that overcome things on a day to day. That's what I respect the most. And I feel like I'd want young people to look to people like that for an example.

Speaker2: [00:08:27] And being an example, especially, you talked about young people, about male culture, football culture. Can you share a little bit about what you do for your mental health on a regular basis to try to normalize that, to try to decrease the stigma and make it cool? What do you do on a regular basis for your mental health?

And how can we start normalizing this in society and making it cool?

Speaker1: [00:08:54] Yeah, for me regularly, my mental health is seeing therapist once a week. I go to recovery meetings, 12 step meetings. I have a sponsor. I have literature that I read out of that I pray to my higher power. I meditate, I write in a journal, I write down things that I'm grateful for. I get out in nature and just walk around, move around, breathe, enjoy the surroundings. Those are my go to, you know, creating music is something for me is a positive outlet that allows me to just be in the moment and and create something that I love. So those are things and practices that on a day to day I have to make non-negotiable and make them the the core of my day. Because there's a lot of pressure in the field that I'm in. There's a lot of things I get to be a part of. But that schedule can be a little exhausting, sometimes a little daunting. Sometimes we can get all the things that I have to do, but I have to remember that I can't really do these things in the way that I want to if I don't have a full cup myself. So those are summer some of my practices.

Speaker2: [00:10:05] That's it. He talked about as a kid, like an option. It's not something. How do we make it cool? How do we. Is it cool to work on your mental health? And how do we teach that to our youth?

Speaker1: [00:10:16] Yeah, I think it's cool to work on mental health. If anybody thinks that I'm cool today or anything that I've got going on is, you know, is cool, then you have to know that mental health is cool because it's cool to me and I feel like, you know, health on the inside and wealth on the inside is cool. You know, I don't think it's cool that, you know, people keep overdose and drinking themselves to death. My family members, people that I know in my community, just because they're looking for a sense of relief, like I feel like people should be like, are we really looking for relief here or are we looking for a true freedom here? And those things that we keep going to that keep killing us, that keep us trapped in the same patterns, like those aren't enough? And, you know, I think it's well worth sacrificing what's been cool for however many generations and going against that grain and saying, hey, like I'm going to present myself as I really am, that's worth the sacrifice. It's worth the anxiety or the fear of what other people may think in order for you to really be free. And so, yeah, I'm on the front lines of making this cool. I'm tired of seeing people burn out. I'm tired of seeing people live lives that they think that they're supposed to live or what the world tells them that they should live, but they're miserable and they're down and they don't feel fulfilled. It starts from the inside out. And, you know, having a mental health plan, having a mental health practices on a day to day that you go to and as you come back to is what is what creates the life that you want for real?

Speaker2: [00:11:50] Um, what if someone is thinking, You know what? Like, there's nothing wrong with me. Like, I don't need to see it myself. A writer. I don't need to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. Could you comment on the fact, You know what? If someone tell you that there's nothing wrong with me, why would I need to see a psychiatrist or a therapist? What would you tell them?

Speaker1: [00:12:11] I mean, in the polite way, I could tell them. It's like, I don't believe you, that you don't struggle like human beings. We all struggle in some capacity, whether it's work, stress, relationship stress. Like we're going through something. And I feel like for somebody out there, there's nothing going on or there's nothing there's nothing wrong. Like, we've got to find a way to look deeper, you know, for our own good, for the good of the people that are around us. I would say, you know, just put all just put everything out there because there's something that could be a blind spot for you. There could be something that you're not even really processing. As, you know, having a hold on you or keeping you stuck. And it takes an outside voice and outside mind, an unbiased opinion to really look into your situation in order for you to open your eyes, in order for you to have more awareness of what's going on inside of you and what's going on in your life. Because I was justifying the whole time, like, you know, my life was a dumpster fire and spinning out of control. But I was I was finding ways to justify like, I'm in control. Like, you know, I'm a college graduate. I've made such and such amount of money. Like, you know, there's nothing wrong here, but it really is, you know, I'm just deteriorating on the inside. So I just want people to allow somebody to come into their life with with wisdom and just an unbiased opinion to to hear them out, because there are things that we can be blind to. And I'm I'm an example of that.

Speaker2: [00:13:41] Thank you. Can you talk a little bit about the work that you're

doing with your foundation and what we're hoping to do with our collective foundation and how there's an overlap there?

Speaker1: [00:13:49] Yeah. So the Darren Waller Foundation was started a couple of years ago. We're serving the Las Vegas community by sending young people to treatment 30 day stage in rehab and allowing them to also transition into aftercare, whether it's sober living, whether it's anything that allows them to transition back into society the best that they can. And it's just been amazing to give back in that way, because going to rehab was a gift to me from the NFL. And it's like, how do I pay this forward? Because this free gift changed my life. I wouldn't be here without it. And I wanted to just offer that to people and to be able to partner with better you is an amazing opportunity because I feel like at the core of addiction and alcoholism is mental health issues. You know, drugs and alcohol are. But a symptom was what's going on in our mind that we need relief from. So to be able to partner with them and to be able to, you know, whether people have insurance or not, no matter what their situation is, no matter what they've gone through, no matter what they look like, like we are able to provide care for them, allow them to see a mental health provider, somebody that can just care for them and offer them resources, teach them the most simple things of how to care for themselves or just to increase awareness is an amazing this is just an amazing opportunity that I'm grateful to be a part of.


Speaker2: [00:15:17] So what we want to do we talked about is align our mental health providers with an adolescent and at risk youth who's struggling with substance abuse and give them the underserved pre care. I know we just talked about this, but I'd love for you to be able to articulate that. It may not come out right the first time because we're just figuring it out. But could we just comment on what we're trying to do with better use starting in our community here in Las Vegas? Be there for the at risk youth who maybe can't afford care or don't have insurance to get them a free provider and have that impact, however you want to say that loosely and then we'll go from there.


Speaker1: [00:15:55] Cool. So with Better You, it's an amazing opportunity to offer young people in the Vegas community mental health care, whether they have access to providers or the funds to provide this care for themselves or not. It's an opportunity to to

reach them, to touch their lives because these young people have a lot going through their minds. A lot of people, they want to impress a lot of things they want to do. And that can create crippling anxiety that can, you know, take away from any peace that they may have and force them to do something that, you know, whereas they can just be so through better, you will allow them the opportunity to see things the way that I'm able to see things. Now, a lot of people, people like Drew, you know, like people that have been through things and realize like all those things that we were worried about, stressing about prioritizing aren't even really the most important things when it comes to this human experience. And so it's awesome that better you were able to offer these opportunities to these kids ahead of time so they may not have to navigate these pitfalls that I had to and that a lot of us have too. So to be able to offer that gift to them, I feel like it's a gift that keeps on giving because we never know who those young people may be, who they may become, what their influence may be to just continue to pass it on and create a healthier world.

Speaker2: [00:17:20] Beautiful. And you call to action if. Um, if you or your child is struggling with mental health to reach out, hop on our website. Fill out the intake form. We'll make sure you get the care you need. Our providers are a team of providers. Make sure you get the care you need. If you don't have insurance, we'll provide free care. And we want to make sure no one falls through the cracks.

Speaker1: [00:17:45] If anyone you know, or if you are struggling with mental health challenge you to reach out on a better website. Look.

Speaker2: [00:17:58] Fill out our intake form and we'll make sure you get the care you need, whether you have the means or not. We'll make sure you don't fall through the cracks. Cool.

Speaker1: [00:18:06] If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health. I ask you to check out, the better your website. Fill out an intake form. We'll take care of you. We'll point you in the direction that you need to go, and we'll be with you along the way. We don't want anybody to slip through the cracks and we don't want anybody to miss this opportunity to change their lives and to enrich their experience as a human being.

Speaker2: [00:18:32] And the next thing is, obviously, there's a call to action for people who want to sign up and get help. Right. But we also need more volunteers. So I'd love from your voice to say, like if you're called to want to volunteer and you're a healer, it doesn't matter what type of nutrition and mental health, we want you to be able to share your gift. So reach out if you're being if you're called to want to volunteer. If there's something along that that's uncomfortable.


Speaker1: [00:19:00] Yeah. If you're feeling called to volunteer and to give, I challenge you to partner with better you. No matter whether you're a yoga instructor, nutritionist, a speaker, no matter what your gift is, you have a gift and better you has no boundaries, has no box that you have to fit in. We feel like anything that you can offer, anything that you can give will be helpful here, not only to better you, but to everyone that that comes through and is looking to better their lives. We challenge you to give.

Speaker2: [00:19:36] Awesome. And we're starting in Vegas. We're starting in Nevada to take care of our own. But our goal is to be able to recruit a volunteer team nationally. So could we say something along the lines of like, you know, Vegas has been home for me and we're starting by taking care of our own. But our goal is to be able to provide this service nationally in the future so we can only do it with your help, something like that.

Speaker1: [00:20:03] Las Vegas has become home for me and we're excited about serving this community. But we want the impact of better you to expand nationally. We want lives to be better, to be enriched nationwide. And no matter where you are, no matter what you do, we challenge you to to join us on this journey to help leave a legacy of your own and to partner with us, because lives are going to be changed through this. And we'd love for you and your unique story, your unique journey to be a part of it.

Speaker2: [00:20:35] Um, can we get a tagline? Everybody said of a better universe begins with a better you. This fire for.

Speaker1: [00:20:46] A better universe begins with a better you.

Speaker2: [00:20:49] Awesome. One more time.

Speaker1: [00:20:50] A better universe begins with a better you.

Speaker2: [00:20:53] I think it's picking up the squeaks of the chair. Oh, I guess it's still not too much to say, but yeah, if you could try it. Sorry. When we put music over here, it won't be too much. Cool.

Speaker1: [00:21:04] A better universe begins with a better you.

Speaker2: [00:21:07] Fantastic. Oh, dear. Do one more. Just because you sat up and then you're elevated in the frame one more time looking here.

Speaker1: [00:21:14] A better universe begins with a better you.

Speaker2: [00:21:17] Good. Awesome. And then I think just because you talk on therapy, a lot of people don't really understand what therapy is. And you've kind of mastered therapy as a tool in your life. So can you just share what you thought therapy was before and what you realize that it really is and how it's up to you?


Speaker1: [00:21:34] As far as therapy, I feel like I was in the same group as most people thinking that therapy was for crazy people. Why would I? Why would I do that with what people think of me? If I go see a therapist, it must mean something's wrong with me. It doesn't mean. But I've learned that. It doesn't mean anything's wrong with you. It just means that you need help. And I feel like in a world where, you know, the narrative may have been. It's weak to ask for help now, you know, it's strength to ask for help. We're not prescribing to that definition of strength anymore, of just bottling things up. And therapy is a great way, at least for me, in my in my day to day life, to just to let everything out. I don't feel like freedom comes if you hold on to secrets, if you hold on to things that you know need to see the light of day and need to be addressed. If you hold those in, you're keeping yourself stuck. And I feel like therapy is a way for me to flush out everything, you know, Talk about the good, Talk about the bad. Talk about however it is and however I think about it, I can put it out there in the world and not carry it around with me. Everywhere I go as as dead weight. So therapy has served me, continues to serve me on a day to day basis. And it's something that I will continue to do as long as I'm breathing because it makes me a better me.

Speaker2: [00:22:57] He doesn't need any coaching. Yeah, he was aware. So that's why. Yeah. Um, I think else you want to just kind of get off your chest and share with the world from a mental perspective. Like, you have so much value and the things that you share. It can stand out for you. We haven't talked about.

Speaker1: [00:23:18] I don't know. I guess for me, I always go back to, you know, as people a lot of the times I was somebody that I always was always waiting for something to fall into my lap, whether it was a good feeling, whether it was anything, I'd rather not work for it. I'd rather it just, you know, something externally happen for me to not have to move on my own. But really in this world today, you know, my life has been better because there's been an intrinsic motivation, a willingness to pursue certain paths, pursue certain activities, regardless of what everybody else may be doing around me. But it's something that I know within me that is the truth and that I need to go after. So a lot of people out there, we look for external approval. We look for, you know, we want our external success to be what it what it should be. We we try to portray this image. Whereas, you know, I feel like we need to get out of portraying a certain image and really just walk in who we are.

Speaker2: [00:24:17] And and.

Speaker1: [00:24:18] Cast ourselves authentically no matter what people may think. Some people may not like it. Some people may think it's weird, some people may think it's different. But when we cast that light, that that allows us to really be happy with our life. At the end of the day, what's the point of going out in the world and showing this image and everybody approving of us, but we go home at night and it's never good enough? So I would say it starts from the inside out. It doesn't it's not the outside end. We've had it backwards for a long time. But, you know, now we start with ourselves.


Speaker2: [00:24:49] And one last call to action that times are changing. You know, we're learning more about our health. We're learning more about the brain as a as an athlete, as a human who's trying to evolve. You realize that, like, mental health is a priority. We should all prioritize this. So we all have a mental health journey. We just close with something like that. Like times are changing and we need to wake up and treat ourselves better. I've got a call to action.

Speaker1: [00:25:11] Yeah. Today I feel like times are changing. I feel like everyone has a mental health journey, a mental health experience as its worth sharing. That's worth continuing on in. And I challenge you to to step forward with that. Whether it's sharing publicly or whether it's just going to see a therapist, whatever that next step is in your mental health journey, I challenge you to take it. I challenge you to embrace what may be scary about it. I challenge you to just step into it, step through the fear, and allow yourself to see what's great on the other side of it.

Speaker2: [00:25:51] And so all that's going to be on the foundation. Can I ask a favor? Can you shout out the clinic and just kind of show your experience locally for people in this town? Yeah.

Speaker1: [00:26:00] Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker2: [00:26:03] Just to let people know, you know, there are options here in town.

Speaker1: [00:26:06] Right. I'd love to give a big shout out to to call them clinic. They've really helped me in my mental health journey, being here in Las Vegas. Moving here. Pressures on me that I put on myself or that the world may put on me has increased since me moving here. And it's required me to go deeper in my mental health practices to allow myself to show up as me and to to be okay with whatever happens and calm. Clinic has definitely been a huge part of that on a weekly basis, allowing me to just be centered, allowing me to talk about everything that's going on in my life and not feel like I have to bottle it up just because I may be in a position of public success. It's allowed me to really keep my focus on the things that truly matter, and I'm just grateful that I get to they're part of my journey. They've helped me out a ton. Thank you so.

Speaker2: [00:27:04] Much. Last final thing, telemedicine. This is new. Like a lot of people think if you don't work on your mental health, you get to go somewhere and maybe they don't feel comfortable going somewhere. So can you just share that you've been doing therapy from home via video on the road? Right. It's very relevant in your career that these days you can just find a therapist or a psychiatric provider and see them. The video makes it so easy. So it should be no obstacles. We want to be there for you if you're ready for help.

Speaker1: [00:27:31] Right. I'm a I'm a big fan of telemedicine. For me, in my journey with Com Clinic IV, it's been over. I was going to say Zoom. I don't know. Yeah. Okay.


Speaker2: [00:27:48] You just start from that. Have you been doing regular sessions over video?

Speaker1: [00:27:52] I've been doing regular sessions over video for over a year, almost. I'm just.

Speaker2: [00:28:01] Fine. Yeah. Weekly?

Speaker1: [00:28:02] Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:28:03] And just the ease of what that's provided in your life, right? Sometimes we're busy. You know, sometimes I'm on the road, and I still. Session. So it's been real easy over the.

Speaker1: [00:28:13] Yeah. I've been able to connect with my therapist over video on a weekly basis.

Speaker2: [00:28:19] Whether I'm on the road.

Speaker1: [00:28:21] Whether I'm on the East Coast, no matter where I am, no matter what may be going on, I can carve out that hour in that hour provides so much value to my day to day life for that week, you know, keeps me in touch with my values. It keeps me in touch with what really matters, what really motivates me. And a lot of times I may not be able to go in person with my with my schedule. So being able to have that as a resource over video has helped me tremendously. I know a lot of us love in-person interaction, but there is no drop off as far as I'm concerned with the care that I'm receiving and how much it's impacting my life by doing it over video. So I challenge you to do that if that's a resource that's available to you.

Speaker2: [00:29:05] Beautiful. Last tagline Mental health care. Anytime, anywhere.

Speaker1: [00:29:11] Mental health care, any time. Anywhere.

Speaker2: [00:29:14] Beautiful. Thank you so.

Speaker1: [00:29:15] Much. I feel like a news.

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