The Empowered Project
April 29, 2010 at 10:22 pm, Jonathan Edwards was shot in the line of duty, and that was the event that changed the trajectory of his life. Yet Jonathan knows in his heart, that being shot was God pushing him towards something else, and it was really the catalyst that pushed him towards that purpose.
Since leaving the force, Jonathan has spent the past eight years helping people train to be in the best shape of their lives at his successful large functional training facility. Yet it wasn’t until recently, that Jonathan realized the years of dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts while he was a police officer, and his success in mentally defeating the darkness, is what prepared him for something bigger. Jonathan’s life mission is to reach the unknown number of military, police, fire, and first responders, who like him, silently suffer from the mental darkness that far too many times wins and results in suicide.
Suicide statistics are alarming for military and LEOs. Every 81 hours, an officer takes his or her own life. For every one police suicide, almost 1,000 officers continue to work while suffering painful symptoms of PTSD.
Suicide rates are even higher for our nation’s military veterans. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. The reality of America’s heroes taking their own life is a difficult concept to understand for the majority of regular Americans, but for those who are involved, the stories have a core common theme. The pain and mental anguish from dealing with the often times shocking and horrifying events experienced on the job for our military, police, fire, and first responders causes the darkness to come. For a precious too many, the darkness leads to a long heart wrenching road to suicide. For Jonathan Edwards losing great men and women is no longer acceptable, and he wants to share the way out and help as many people as he can reach.
Jonathan’s experience of overcoming the darkness happened through his real life experience of almost committing suicide himself. With the gun in his mouth, about to pull the trigger, he was only stopped by the memory of one thing, his daughter’s voice. His daughter’s sweet little 3-year-old voice was his truth anchor that pulled him back.
From that moment on, he knew he had to give up his addiction to alcohol, stop the rage inside that vented out at home, and fight his way back to living again.
Jonathan’s battle with PTSD and suicidal thoughts, led him to develop a program to overcome this inner battle that rages within. The key to winning is changing the neuroplasticity in the brain. The brain produces a chemical cocktail based on feelings from an outside stimulus. In the absence of outside stimulus, like when you are alone or have nothing to do, the brain uses memories. When we have a traumatic experience, our brain will process that memory by spending a lot of time thinking it over. If we dwell in those negative memories too much, our brain will get overdosed with a sad chemical cocktail, which leads to depression.
This pattern of habitual thinking leads to a downward spiral of thoughts that lead even further to beliefs that are self deprecating, like actually believing the world would be better off without them.
Sadly, this toxic neuroplasticity of the brain can cause suicidal thoughts and actually leads to suicide.
In a powerful video Jonathan tells his story, and explains that this is all a lie and that those suffering can’t see their unique gifts and true value because they have been in the darkness suffering for too long.
Jonathan’s powerful video fortunately made it to the right people. It’s funny how that magically works.
Houston Gass, former police officer shot in the face in the line of duty and LET Citizen of the Year, was one of those impacted by Jonathan’s video.
Gass reached out to Edwards and invited him to attend Emergency Operations Proving Grounds in Texas, which is a special event to honor men and women injured in the line of duty. From the minute Jonathan arrived at the event, he found an instant bond with those who were there. They all shared the same experience with the mental darkness that comes to steal them away. Through the incredible weekend, a tribe was formed and the unique bond was that they all shared the same struggle yet had developed ways to get out of the depression, suffering from PTSD, and escape suicide. The intense desire to reach others and help them out of the darkness was felt by all. Out of one weekend’s impactful time spent a movement was formed, The Empowered Project.
The Empowered Projects team consists of Jonathan Edwards former Georgia LEO, Trent Williams US Army veteran, and Jon Valla, 22 year decorated Colorado LEO, Houston Gass Texas LEO and LET Citizen of the Year, and Jeff Wolfgang former California LEO. All of these men suffered a trauma in the line of duty, have battled the darkness, have found a way out, and are united in the cause to save others like them from the mental battle caused by PTSD and depression. Their shared common bond has led them to develop a powerful program to help others do the same.
The Empowered Project is a community where experts want to help you, not diagnose you. It is a place for our Nation’s finest to find a tribe and a group to belong to that understands. The Empowered Project is designed to bring people out of the darkness to be fit to live, fit to love, and fit to lead again.
If you or some one you care about needs The Empowered Project please reach out to them immediately. The Empowered Project is solely run on donations and the amazing team dedicated to saving the lives of our lost military, police, fire, and first responders.
– Marjorie Greene