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A Journey Into and Out Of the Fog of Depression with Captain Todd Kruder, U.S. Navy, Retired and LCSW

Onward Podcast

Release Date: 07/08/2019

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Emily Harman, host of Onward Podcast, interviews Todd Kruder, a Retired Navy Captain, whom she met when they were both working at the Naval Air Systems Command. Todd Kruder speaks about his journey into and out of the fog of depression and reveals how he turned his pain into purpose, ultimately earning a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work.  


Episode Highlights: 


  • Emily Harman introduces Todd Kruder. 
  • Todd tells us that depression doesn’t always look like we might imagine.
  • Did Todd know he was depressed when he was working long hours, staying busy?
  • Todd describes how he wore his uniform to try to hide his depression.
  • Todd describes his obsession with exercise.
  • How did a visit to the sleep doctor impact Todd?  
  • Being depressed can put people in a zone to become a different person in an effort to hide their pain. 
  • What was the breaking point that made Todd know he needed help?
  • How should one approach someone about their possible depression?
  • Was there one thing in particular that spawned Todd’s depression?  
  • Todd found writing helpful as he explored possible triggers for his depression.  
  • Todd explains the fight-or-flight nature of depression. 
  • How did people in the military respond to CaptainTodd Kruder being in uniform and speaking out about mental health?
  • How does the stigma of mental health affect people and families? 
  • How has Todd moved onward from his mental health struggles? 
  • Todd explains why he went back to school for his Master's degree in Social Work. 
  • Having an awareness of depression triggers can be extremely beneficial to address it quickly. 
  • Todd talks about the benefits of a service dog. 
  • What helped Todd move onward from suicidal thoughts? 
  • Every time an obstacle slows us down, there is an opportunity for rebirth.  
  • We are in constant movement as human beings and are steadily changing. 
  • Emily shares her thoughts about the information Todd Kruder shared. 


3 Key Points:

  1. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, about 8,000 annually. 
  2. Watch for the small things that appear off about someone as an alert about their potential depression.  
  3. Our mind is the last place where we are free. Mental health issues can take that away from us. 


Tweetable Quotes:

  • “For someone who is depressed, or with a classic depression, you are either going to sleep too much or you don’t sleep well at all.” – Todd Kruder
  • “The understanding of the brain...right now the science of it is kind of like looking at the Earth from outer space. Yeah, we know its Earth. But, the details of it we can’t make out.” – Todd Kruder
  • “Therapies and approaches can range from anything from exercising, I’m a huge advocate of “eye rest,” which is a form of meditation. All these things can help.” – Todd Kruder


Resources Mentioned:

http://lswgroup.org/  Lucius Seneca Wellness Group (LSWG) was the idea of a military spouse. Mrs. Kruder’s husband returned from a military deployment changed and not the same person as he left. Her husband found himself deep in a depressive state. Ignoring the signs of a serious behavioral health crisis, her husband continued to journey into the darkness. Mrs. Kruder personally witnessed her husband pull himself away from treatment rather than face the stigma associated with mental illness. Mrs. Kruder knew the issue was bigger and broader than just the military. It was the combination of these experiences that drove her to creating LSWG in the summer of 2015.

Buy Todd’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B074PP4CXT   Descriptions below are from Amazon.com.

A Journey in the Fog of Depression: A Military Officer's Experience; What if you never achieved your goal? What if your goal was to erase a moment in time? If your decisions in life were influenced by a series of events, a series of moments in time? The Journey through the Fog of Depression begins serendipitously. Through a seemingly series of unrelated events, a Military Officer, with over 25 years of service, a loving wife, and five children realizes his mental pain and anguish had brought him so perilously close to self-destruction may very well be deeply rooted in the events of his past. The Officer takes us with him on his personal voyage. A voyage that takes us in the perils of the fog. As his thoughts become more and more obscured by his fog of depression, he begins to seek solace in both despair and loneliness. Standing on the balcony of the fifth floor bachelor quarters one fall night, peering down at the ground below, imagining the relief that he would feel through his own death and recalling the stoic words, “What is the highway to freedom? Any vein in your body -- Lucius Seneca the Younger.” The Officer realizes for the first time that his depression is on a collision course with death. Voyaging through his experiences with multiple therapist and drug therapies, he gives a firsthand account of the stigma and devastating effects of depression. As he enters therapy for the third time, he makes a final attempt at trying desperately to find the reason for his unhappiness. He begins to journal those experiences that he could never seem to get away from. Those experiences we all have that linger in the darkest corners of our minds, always there, waiting, waiting for a weak moment to remind you of a past failure or devastating embarrassment. It was through this journaling approach that he has his “ah ha” moment. As he reads the journal entries, he discovers a common thread, a common theme. A theme that he can now trace back to a year, a day, and a time. The Officer discovers and contemplates his decisions of the past. Like the ringing of a ships bell transiting in the fog announcing the ships position to others. He hears the clinging sound, a sound that resonated from within his past and now heard clearly today. His is on a journey not yet completed.

Mending the S.E.A.M.: A Process for Enhancing Traditional Depression Therapies (A Journey in the Fog of Depression) (Volume 2) is the second book in the series by the author of A Journey in the Fog of Depression: A Military Officer's Experience; Discover how he utilizes his ability to define processes in the development of a game changing, step by step model, that blossoms into a fascinating fresh look deep into our own unique experiences. Through a detailed approach, he takes the intangible form of an experience and transforms it into a 3D object. Using only pencil, graph paper, and coins; he demonstrates each step in detail. Learn how the young boy turned military officer finds himself sitting in his family room, alone, depressed, and contemplating his own suicide muttering the words: "The quickest path to freedom is through any vein in your body." The phrase echoes in his mind, resonating, and haunting him. Carrying him deeper into the fog of his depression. A compelling book developed for the purpose of enhancing existing therapies available to our active duty, veterans, and their families suffering the devastating effects of depression.

The Journey in the Fog of Depression: A Military Spouse’s Experience is a unique view into the life of a military spouse and her personal accounting of the events and effects of her husband’s depression. Written in a narrative style, the authors describe in detail, the events, challenges, and experiences of what life is like married to a military officer. We learn how the early challenges of their marriage and the frequent deployments instilled in her, the strength and determination to save the life of her spouse. A compelling description of relentless perseverance and hope.


Todd Kruder: Linkedin