PTSD and Bipolar Nearly Killed Me: WHY I Wrote “You Deserve It” and HOW I Fight For Fellow Veterans

Brian Reese
11 min readApr 26, 2021

I recently sat down with Brian Reese, Air Force disabled veteran, founder of VA Claims Insider, and author of You Deserve It: “The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned,” which launches in-stores and online May 11, 2021.

You Deserve It by Brian Reese launches May 11, 2021 in-stores and online

Here’s the inside story behind the veteran and book that has the potential to help millions of veterans and their families secure hundreds of virtually unknown benefits they deserve for their honorable service to our nation.

Captain Brian Reese Leaving Afghanistan (December 2011)

You’re very open about your mental health issues and addiction struggles, what’s one thing you want to say to fellow Veterans?

It’s okay not to be okay. You’re not alone. God created you for a specific purpose and your life matters. Look, I spent a decade drunk and high on drugs, trying to hide and cope with my PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and anger. And I thought I was the only one going through it. I didn’t want to talk about it because I thought having a mental health condition was a sign of weakness. I didn’t want the “crazy” label. There’s still a stigma in our society around mental health, and I’m on a mission to change it. We need to prioritize our mental health in the same way we do our physical health. We need to make it okay to talk to each about mental health and make it easy for others to reach out and ask for help. Imagine a society where you’re talking about your workouts or daily routine, and somebody asks you, “How’s your mental health? Any depression, anxiety, insomnia, or anger issues going on? Cause jeez I struggle with this daily, but here’s what helps me.” We need to ask each other questions like this about our mental health and encourage others to get help.

To My Fellow Veterans: It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

I thought I was less than and all alone. I was wrong. Nobody is immune. Talking about mental health is a sign of strength. It means you’re being real. It means you’ve become aware and you’re ready to make a change.

“When the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change, only then will you change.” — Brian Reese

What made you realize you had some things that were holding you back?

For me, the first step was awareness and acknowledgement. Admitting to myself that I wasn’t okay. Looking in the mirror after too many benders in a row and realizing I’ve got a problem. Truth is so many Veterans are going through the same exact struggles. Maybe that’s you reading this message right now. I remember moments where it felt like a 300 lbs man was standing on my chest, unable to sleep, breath, or calm myself down. I was on a constant roller coaster of uppers and downers. But I’ll tell you, the booze and drugs never did me any favors. Getting sober was the best decision I’ve made in my life. Even though I still have daily struggles with PTSD, bipolar, insomnia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and severe anger issues, I’m not alone anymore. I’m not hiding anymore, and I can confront it. I’ve found that talking about it openly and helping others with their struggles makes it easier to deal with. Be the first to be vulnerable — you’ll be amazed at how vulnerability leads to more trust, which leads to more influence. Helping Veterans celebrate LIFE CHANGE is my WHY.

What happened that made you decide to write the book “You Deserve It” — a how-to playbook for all things Veteran Benefits?

I wrote the book I wish someone would have written for me. It’s the story of my own personal frustrations with trying to navigate the VA benefits process on my own. It took me 7 years of fighting the VA, and thousands of hours of time in the trenches to figure out exactly what I needed to do to obtain the benefits I deserved by law. And the crazy part is I still lost over $100,000 worth of compensation because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And I consider myself lucky. Many millions of veterans have it far worse: 75% of veterans alive today do not have any VA benefits at all. In fact, according to the most recent Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA) annual report to Congress, just 1 in 4 veterans (25%) alive today receive anything from the VA. This is shameful and it must change now. In my experience helping over 10,000 veterans since 2016, this is due primarily to the lack of basic education and training on the subject. It should not take an advanced degree and thousands of hours of effort to obtain VA benefits. That’s why I wrote You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned. It’s not just information. It’s a “how-to” action-book with specific tips, strategies, and lessons learned for veterans to get the benefits they’ve earned for their honorable service.

What was the exact moment when you realized you had to write the book?

We had just conducted a survey of over 1,000 Veterans in our VA Claims Insider Elite Membership program. I needed to know “WHY” Veterans didn’t have the benefits they’ve earned for their honorable service. What was holding them back and standing in their way? The results were shocking. The #1 reported reason was, “I told myself I didn’t deserve VA benefits because other Veterans are worse off than me (the lies we tell ourselves).” The #2 reported reason was “I wasn’t educated about the VA disability claim process and didn’t know HOW to get benefits.” The #3 reported reason was, “I tried before and got denied so I quit until I found VA Claims Insider.” It was at this moment when I realized I needed to give Veteran’s permission to get the benefits they deserve, hence the title of the book: You Deserve It. In addition, Veteran’s need a “how-to” guide with specific tips, strategies, and lessons learned to get the benefits they’ve earned. This is the only book that’s a detailed resource guide so veterans can get the federal benefits, state benefits, non-profit and for-profit discounts, and bonus resources available to them. Literally, 20 million veterans haven’t had a comprehensive resource available to them for all things veteran benefits — until now.

What are some things Veterans will learn by reading You Deserve It?

You Deserve It is written in a way that makes veteran benefits simple, straightforward, and easy to understand (unlike just about everything else you’ve probably heard or read online). It’s no B.S. and no fluff. It’s the best-of-the-best of my 10,000+ hours of deep research, writing, teaching, coaching, and on-the-job training put down on paper. It’s full of real, awesome, actionable content that teaches you “HOW” to get the top VA benefits, state benefits for veterans, the best non-profit resources, military and veteran discounts, as well as bonus resources. The book is broken down into 4 Sections with 15 total chapters and is just over 339 pages in length, and here’s a snapshot of what you’ll learn:

  • SECTION 1: The BEST VA Benefits from A-Z! Simple and made easy answers where I show you exactly “HOW” to get them (even if you’ve been denied VA benefits in the past). You’ll learn about the “SEM Method” and why medical evidence is key to your VA disability benefits. You’ll uncover the Top 10 VA disability claims to include the importance of high value claims versus low value claims. You’ll also gain a deep understanding of the importance of “mindset” when pursuing your VA benefits. Of course I also break-down VA pension benefits, VA loans, VA education benefits, VA job training benefits, among others.
  • SECTION 2: The TOP Veteran Benefits for all 50 States! You’ll learn the best states for veterans along with little-known Veteran Benefits in YOUR state…like NO PROPERTY TAXES…all 50 states are covered in-detail…regardless of your state, you’re going to learn about HOW to get the best veteran benefits in your state.
  • SECTION 3: Incredible Non-Profit Orgs and Military/Veteran Discounts: Uncover FREE vacations to amazing destinations, hunting and fishing trips, $1,000s of dollars in special scholarships for your dependents, along with the very BEST “everyday” discounts for military members, veterans, and their families … this section alone is potentially worth $1,000s.
  • SECTION 4: BONUS RESOURCES! Get your FREE BONUSES to include digital downloads and step-by-step video tutorials for HOW to get the BEST VA Benefits (VA disability benefits, VA education benefits, and VA medical benefits), State Benefits (e.g., NO property taxes, FREE license plates, hunting and fishing licenses) … and much more!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned going through the journey you share in the book?

The biggest lesson I learned through the journey is that “It’s okay not to be okay.” Stop faking it. We’re all struggling with things other people know nothing about. It’s a sign of strength to admit you’re not okay and to ask for help. It’s okay to be open, honest, and uncomfortably vulnerable about the severity of your mental and physical conditions. The truth will set you free. Your path to celebrate life change starts by looking in the mirror, admitting you’re not okay and need help, and taking action to get connected with resources at the VA for care and treatment. This book will help you do that. You were created for a purpose. You are here for a reason. You are not alone. You are enough. Your life matters. I lived to tell you that.

How will you apply this lesson in your life moving forward?

Here’s a great example that just happened the other day and it perfectly highlights the lesson of “It’s okay not to be okay.” I woke up with shooting pain in my lower back, a migraine headache, and pretty severe depression, anxiety, and anger (probably just like many of you fellow veterans reading this right now). I started off the day with a morning call and realized I needed to tap-out. This was a bad day for me, and I had to be honest with my team. So, I told my Executive Leadership Team that I needed a mental health day to focus on my breathing, mindfulness, and well-being. They were very supportive, encouraged me, and took care of things at work that day so I could focus on my mental and physical health. I took my dog for a long walk and did a few different mindfulness meditations on the Calm App.

You don’t believe ‘knowledge is power,’ why is that?

I dislike the quote because I think it’s misleading. I’ve known many knowledgeable people who haven’t found a way to make a big impact in the world. They don’t get any results and haven’t changed things. Why? Because knowledge alone is just knowledge. Power alone is just power. I think knowledge can only become power through action. That’s a core concept I teach throughout this book. Nobody is going to hand you benefits just because you served in the military. You must will them into existence through your actions. If you apply the things I teach you in this book, you will be well on your way to getting all the veteran benefits you deserve by law.

How do Veterans get a copy of the book?

The book will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other outlets online on May 11, 2021. And, for a limited time, you can get a free copy of the book just by covering $9.95 for shipping/handling (I want to get this book to as many Veterans as possible).

>> You can get a FREE copy of “You Deserve It” by Brian Reese at this link now. <<

About the Author

Brian Reese was good at masking his combat PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. He even told himself he did not “deserve” benefits, which he later discovered was complete bullshit. As an Air Force officer deployed to Afghanistan, he embodied the motto of “service before self.” Unfortunately, like many veterans, his service came at his own expense, and abusing alcohol and drugs to cope with mental health issues nearly ended his life. But by the grace of God and the power of pure vulnerability, Brian began a transformational journey of overcoming social stigmas and persevering through adversity. This journey has become a global movement of Veterans Helping Veterans Worldwide™ In You Deserve It, Brian provides veterans with a step-by-step blueprint to help them obtain virtually unknown federal and state benefits. With years of personal experience, and more than 10,000 hours devoted to helping veterans get the benefits they’re entitled to by law, Brian provides readers with unparalleled insight and expertise that forms the foundation of his “SEM Method.” Strategy + Education + Medical Evidence = Veteran Benefits You Deserve in Less Time. Whether you served 30 days or 30 years, this book will educate and inspire you to reap the rewards for your honorable service to our country.

Brian Reese Air Force Veteran and Author of “You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (coming May 11, 2021)

Brian Reese Author of “You Deserve It” Biography

Brian Reese is one of the world’s leading experts in veteran benefits, having helped millions of veterans secure their financial future since 2013. A former active-duty Air Force officer, Brian deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a distinguished graduate of management of the United States Air Force Academy and earned his MBA as a National Honor Scholar from the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University.

How to Get the Book for FREE + $9.95 Shipping/Handling

For a limited time, you can get a FREE copy of the book just by covering $9.95 for shipping/handling (I want to get this book in your hands regardless of your financial situation … this book could literally change your life).

>> CLICK HERE NOW to Get Your FREE Copy of “You Deserve It” by Brian Reese <<



Brian Reese

I help Veterans get the VA disability rating % and compensation $ they deserve.