Jacob Gland is a suicide survivor and recovered addict who has turned his life around to become a life/recovery coach, a motivational speaker, and a mental health advocate. After surviving a suicide attempt in 2017 and eventually being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Jacob has worked tirelessly to not only overcome his own demons but to also assist others in doing the same. With the help of his PTSD service dog Liberty, he has found the courage to confront his past and to share these experiences with others in hopes that it will have a positive impact on their mental health journeys. Together, he and Liberty work to educate individuals on mental illness, suicide prevention and addiction. Jacob’s story is one of resilience and illustrates that anyone can turn the negative chapters of their story into something positive and inspiring. We asked Jacob four questions this week about his journey with mental health and with Liberty. Take some time to read his inspiring responses.
In your experience and work with PTSD, what are the three ‘must-haves’ for anyone wanting to heal?
First, I would say the willingness to confront the traumatic issues of their past. Second, have the strength and courage to work through those issues with a professional. Someone who is not going to let you suppress those memories anymore. Third, have acceptance of the fact that these events did happen, acknowledge them and know that you are going to begin to heal by facing them head on.
What were the most impactful words someone spoke to you at the beginning of your healing journey?
My therapist who I still work with today said this to me: “Jacob, you survived near death for a reason. That reason is for you to share your story with others who are going to go through similar battles. You can’t give up as hard as this gets! I need you; the world needs you! So, you can’t give up, period!”
Your life journey has been full of choices; some which have led to addiction and pain and others that have created freedom and relief. What have you learned about making choices in life?
Making choices in life can really go one of two ways for you. Either your choice is going to be beneficial/positive or it is going to be the opposite. Unfortunately, for me to finally figure out the right choices I should be making, I had to learn the hard way. Sometimes falling face first is what is going to eventually set us free.
Can you describe what your relationship with Liberty has taught you about your self-worth and self-love?
My relationship with Liberty has taught me so much about my self-worth and who would have thought that my 4-legged friend could have done that. No matter what happens in the day I know that Liberty believes in me and loves me unconditionally. He loved me until I could love myself. Today, I can say whole heartedly that I love the man I am becoming, and I know that I can conquer anything I set my mind to.