In this blog, I’m sharing a, mother daughter, journey that goes beyond life. into the afterlife. Susan Young Oskey author of The Scent of Roses talk about the unbreakable bond between her daughter and herself and how this bond transcended death into the afterlife. Susan’s goal is to encourage mothers who lost daughters to know that there is, life after death. She shares thoughts on the afterlife and why the love between a mother and daughter is eternal.
If you’re interested in hearing more about Susan’s journey, or want to share your own thoughts on life after death, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Susan Young Oskey had a happy childhood thanks to her loving and nurturing parents spending her teenage years being bullied and battling anxiety and depression. Susan found her calling as a teacher, she is a retired Elementary School teacher with an M.A degree from Stony Brook University. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. After marrying Christopher she welcomed her baby girl Brittany and the following years were easily the best years of her life.
However things took took a tragic turn when her beloved daughter was taken from her. Soon after losing Brittany in a tragic accident, Susan’s life would have stopped if she hadn’t discovered resources that helped bereaved parents like her find solace. Since then Susan with the help of her family and friends in some ways to talk to Brittany who loves communicating with her mama, she’s thrilled to be sharing her life experience with the Afterlife with those who are grieving over the loss of a loved one.
Myrna: Susan can it you share your incredible story of a mother-daughter bond that that transcended death.
Susan: Brittany was a joy to us, we were thrilled when she was born because I had a late miscarriage before her and then we struggle to get pregnant again. She had a unique personality from a young age, she never held back what she was feeling. She was very sassy, and very loving. In her early teen years that her personality started to change a little bit and that’s really where the story begins with her.
She started having, mental health, issues when she was around 12 or 13 years old. I noticed the problems the anxiety, depression and just the lack of confidence. Something that she always had when she was young and she didn’t have it anymore, her confidence was just gone. I immediately got her into therapy and all through high school we worked on that. It wasn’t until a couple of psychiatrists gave her medications for her anxiety that we had we started to have some difficulties.
They kept changing her meds and as she went into the College Years, her anxiety wasn’t getting any better, as a matter of fact it was getting worse. She got into a great University she got into a Stony Brook University and we were just thrilled, but by that time it was her junior year in college she had given up on herself. She stopped doing her homework, she stopped socializing she was depressed all the time and and the anxiety was through the roof.
Brittany’s tried to relieve her pain with methadone and it killed her
She went to a friend’s house one night in February of 2018, she had a lot of pain because she had an infection and she only had antibiotics for the infection, nothing for pain and her friend told her that she had a bottle of methadone that would help with the pain. So unknowingly my daughter took it because she just wanted to be relieved of the pain and it turned out to be fatal.
Myrna: Oh my goodness, so that’s mixing the drugs. I’m assuming because for those that doesn’t know what methadone is, it is the drug that they give you when you’re getting off of heroin isn’t it?
Susan: Yes, it used to be used for pain relief as well.
Myrna: I am so sorry. I grieve for your for your pain. Let’s unpack it a little bit. Can you share what Brittany’s, mental illness, was diagnosed with? Was it bipolar, was it just depression?
Susan: It was bipolar depression and anxiety, so they were trying to treat those issues with the medication but she got worse and worse. She had just turned 21 and the accident happened just 10 days after her 21st birthday.
Myrna: Oh my gosh, it’s still fresh because you said 2018 so five years ago. Wow my heart bleeds for you. I was just watching the biography of Anna Nicole and her son and almost the same thing happened to them. Mixing drugs these days is pretty dangerous.
A mother daughter bond in the afterlife
Myrna: I can’t say enough how sorry I am for your pain. So tell us what happened after her death that transcended into her communicating with you?
Susan: Well I always had visits from family members through my dreams and at the beginning, I thought they’re just dreams but it turned out they started giving me messages. My uncle came to tell me to stop smoking, he had died from lung cancer. A cousin that had taken his life came to me in a dream and told me I’m okay now, please tell the family that I’m okay.
I was very open to communicating with my daughter. Of course the weeks that followed her death were traumatic, we were in shock and disbelief. This was beyond any pain that I have ever experienced in my life. I mean I’ve never felt such pain before and I think anybody that’s a parent could definitely understand. I couldn’t believe she left so young at the age of just turning 21 she was barely legal.
So soon after my daughter’s death, I started smelling very strong scent of roses. At first I thought this has got to be an air freshener, but there’s no air freshener plugged in. It didn’t matter where I went, I was visiting my sister down in Florida and it happened there. It happened when I was driving my car to meet friends and I’m like at that point I said no no this is real this is really happening.
Myrna: Let me jump for a minute. Why roses was that one of her favorite flowers?
Scent of roses: communication from the afterlife
Susan: Roses were her favorite flowers and she would keep the roses in her room even after they died, so I I knew right away that’s what she was doing for me. Then I started having the dream visits from her and she was showing me herself and how she looked. It was amazing, she told me that she was okay. Even my husband who never ever had any dream visits from anyone before, got one from her and I was just amazed that she got through to him.
I asked him what did what did she look like and he said she’s wearing one of those plaid shirts that she always wore and she was with a friend and she said Dad I’m okay and he said to her I’ve been looking for you lamb. He used to call her lamb and and she said I’m okay now. My husband never believed in the afterlife at all, he didn’t have any kind of beliefs but he does now.
Myrna: Did you ever talk to Brittany other than in dreams? Did you ever go to a medium?
Susan: Yes I have, many came through with validations of things that happened to me when I was a child, things that she could not possibly know. The medium said to me she’s telling me that when you were a little girl your father almost drowned in the pool.
Myrna: For those of you listening, I’ll link out to it this past episode, it just gives collaboration to this story. In a past episode called http://blog.myhelps.us/is-there-life-after-death-mothers-story/ A mother and her son again was having some issues, he was 28. and he went to a party and a friend gave him heroin and even though she said he was six foot six or something a big guy that one dose was fatal. She was devastated, she had some Clairvoyant ability in her from the past and she kept feeling her son around her.
She it was like a bird fluttering and then she decided to go to a medium and they started communicating and she became a Shaman and and now she helps other spirits communicate with loved ones. So why do you think that Brittany started showing up with the the, Scent of Roses? Do you think she came back because of the, mother daughter bond, transcended into the afterlife?
A mother daughter bond in the afterlife
Susan: the bond between a mother and daughter that transcends debt do you think that she came back um because of that Bond she came back because she had a message for you what why do you think it happened we were very close as mother and daughter we went beyond the usual mother-daughter relationship we would travel all the time just the two of us we would do everything together you know as she got older into adulthood you know she was my best friend.
I mean that’s what we were and she was the type of young adult that would share with me things that other parents probably didn’t want to hear but she felt comfortable enough, so I feel that she wanted to let me know that bond has not been broken.
It was okay for me to get communication from the afterlife because I’ve had it before. She was able to come to me a lot easier.
Myrna: Brittany must have been a very powerful spirit because one of the things that I’ve learned from having several conversations about, life after death, is that the reason that we don’t see Spirit all the time even though they’re all over, is because they’re at a different frequency. In order for them to come into our experience, they either have to know how to lower their frequency or we have to know how to raise ours.
Susan: That’s exactly what I was told. Brittany was able to lower her vibration and because I am an empath too and I’m a sensitive, if I really concentrate I can make mine higher as well.
Myrna: Tell us why was it important for you to write about your daughter’s story in the book Scent of Roses?
Susan: I wanted to share her story and I shared a little bit of my story, I wanted to bring to the light the, mental illness, problem that we do have here and I also wanted to share my experiences with the afterlife to give people a little bit of hope. I know I have helped some people, I’m not saying everyone, but people have told me they’re not afraid of death anymore.
I joined a group called Helping Parents Heal and parents are communicating with their kids in the afterlife.
Mental Illness causes families a lot of pain
Brittany did not get any help to relieve the symptoms of her mental illness. I really don’t think the drugs they gave her were helping. I have nothing but bad experiences from them, her mental illness was real but there’s kind of be a better way to treat it than just loading them up on drugs that didn’t work.
Myrna: It’s great that you’re helping someone that’s grieving about a loss of a child or a spouse or a loved one to know that the afterlife is there. You’re also highlighting the issue with, mental illness drugs, they’re not doing anything to help manage the illness.
Tell us about your book why should someone go ahead and get the book
Susan: I think a lot of people can relate to the mental health issue because there are a lot of people out there. I also talked about bullying people not being nice to one another and all things that Britney stood for. Also the healing comes from knowing that you’re going to hear from them, you’re going to see them again at some point. In the beginning after her death she practically threw herself in front of me to say Mom I’m here.
I truly believe that if people knew the truth about the afterlife that they wouldn’t be so fearful.
Myrna: Where can our listeners pick up a copy of your book, if you’re on social media what are your social media handles. What do you want them to walk away with after reading the book?
Susan: I want them to walk away with a sense of peace and calmness. I also want them to know they’re not alone with all the struggles that we go through in life and I want to give them hope that life’s gonna continue on. My book is on Amazon it’s also um on my website www.thescentofroses.com
If you have been diagnosed with, mental illness, or, Bipolar disorder, it means that you probably think of ending your life all the time. In this episode, I interview Gabe Howard, who was diagnosed with, Bipolar disorder, at age 25.
Before then Gabe said that he did not know he was sick. His parents thought he was just acting out and would punish him for his behavior. But he remembers thinking of suicide all his life, until he got treatment. No one knew he was, Bipolar.
I was diagnosed with, Bipolar disorder, when I was when I was 25 years old. I didn’t know that I was sick. I had all of these, mental health, symptoms. They were causing me a lot of personal problems. I had a drug and alcohol problem, hyper sexuality was an issue, my relationships were just being destroyed, all because of, mental illness, but I didn’t know anything was wrong.
Then one day I ended up in a psychiatric hospital, because I was ready to end my own life. I thought about suicide as far back as I can remember.
I just thought it was normal to want to die.
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What is, Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme changes in mood from high to low, and from low to high. Highs are periods of mania, while lows are periods of depression. The changes in mood may even become mixed, so you might feel elated and depressed at the same time.
The problem Gabe says is that when you are in the middle is when you get the job, the girl, the promotion, get married. You usually loose these things when you are depressed or manic; being in the middle is where you want to be.
I became an advocate because I consider myself to be a smart person and I don’t have like some story about how my parents were awful. My parents are good people, they loved me very much. My dad was a truck driver my mom a stay-at-home mom and they did all the things right.
They were engaged, they loved me, they were present and none of us knew that I was, Bipolar, None of us got me any help. I thought wow if I didn’t know, if my family didn’t know, if all of that love and engagement and connection and caring and they just missed it. There must be other people that are in my shoes. That’s why I became a, mental health advocate.
I just wanted to talk about, Bipolar, openly so that there just wouldn’t be other people wandering around sick and scared and symptomatic. They could get help, because I was really lucky.
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Mental Illness is an Asshole is Gabe Howard’s first collection of articles about living with mental illness.
All the articles date from 2014 through 2018 and include his observations on reaching recovery, stigma, and living well in spite of depression, bipolar, and anxiety. Totaling over 380 pages, Gabe even shares the story of his :): logo for the first time.
For years, Gabe Howard’s entertaining articles and essays have been educating people about living with mental illness. His observations cover everything from practical advice to family relationships to the fears that people with mental illness experience.
In essays such as “Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me,” “I Have Bipolar and I’m a Hypocrite,” and, yes, “Mental Illness Is an Asshole,” Gabe makes mental illness less scary and more understandable.
I had a suicide plan and I just happen to run into somebody that understood that understood mental illness and it she looked at me and asked me “are you planning on killing yourself?” Her training allowed her to ask that question and I said yes! She he me committed to the psychiatric hospital.
I was diagnosed with, bipolar disorder, and of course once I was diagnosed with, bipolar, to go on and lead good life. This is why I always say that I was lucky.
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Bipolar disorder, is commonly described as extreme highs to extreme lows. From suicidal depression all the way to God like mania. As a, Bipolar, you will have to battle depression where you want to die, and feel like you want to die, you feel like you want everything to end. When you are in Mania, you feel like the whole world revolves around you.
Then there is the middle. Everything is normal. That’s when you get the job, that’s when you meet the girl, that’s when you get married, buy the house, have all the friends; all the things that you lose when you become symptomatic.
Psych Meds for, Bipolar Disorder, the Good, Bad, and the Ugly
Psychiatric medications are the religion and politics of the mental health advocacy world.
In this episode, we cover the good, the bad, and the ugly surrounding medications. Like whether or not you should take them. We tackle side effects like feeling numb and sexual dysfunction and share our personal histories with medication therapy.
If you have any form of, mental illness, that you need Meds to function. Medications are amazing, they saved my life. I want to be very clear. Without my medication I cannot live the life that I live. So many people mistakenly believe that psychiatric medications are magical that you just need to take the pill and boom everything is fine and it’s simple.
It’s much bigger than that. In addition to psychiatric medication, therapy is very important, learning coping skills is very important, and going to support groups. You have to deal with the trauma of your past and all of these things matter; but all we ever hear about is psychiatric medication and I want to change that. I want to change it to, did you take your meds and did you go to therapy and did you utilize your coping skills?
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What is the most common cause of, bipolar disorder?
Hormonal problems: Hormonal imbalances might trigger or cause bipolar disorder. Environmental factors: Abuse, mental stress, a “significant loss,” or some other traumatic event may contribute to or trigger bipolar disorder.
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Mental Health Advocate for, Bipolar
Gabe is a, Mental Health Advocate. He remembers when no one knew he was sick for over 20 years. He had a plan to end his life and luckly for him, someone asked him the question “Are you planning on hurting yourself” He answered yes and he was admitted to the Psychiatric ward in hospital.
That saved his life so now, he is a, mental health advocate, to help others suffering from, mental illness, or, bipolar disorder, receive treatment and services.
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Additional Resources for, Bipolar Disorder.
The book is a collection of Articles and all of the Articles have something to do with, mental illness, mental health, loving somebody with, mental illness, dating someone with, bipolar,
It’s almost a reference guide that you can carry around for people with, bipolar, or dealing with somebody who is living with, mental illness, and depression and anxiety, don’t just live with, bipolar, you can have just depression, you can have just anxiety. Even people with schizophrenia, they suffer from depression and anxiety as well.
Child Abuse, and, sexual abuse, Statistics, show a connection between, child abuse, Mental Health, addiction, and depression.
In her book “Call me an addict, war on Women” By Dr Tra Ahia. shares Kreta’s story of, child abuse, and sexual abuse, that started with her biological mother. I think this is very rare. Kreta said her mother was a sick person. Her, child abuse, was by her mother. Her mother used to make her kids do sexual acts on her boyfriend and her. Her mother and boyfriend also had sex in front of her and her brothers and sisters. This, abuse, started when she was about 4 years old.
Listen to the full interview here:
Kreta’s story of, sexual abuse
Kreta was raped by an older boy around the age of 7.
Kreta’s, child abuse, started when she was only 8 or 9 years old when she started smoking weed, crack and sniffing blow. As she got older when she didn’t have money, she would perform sexual acts for coke.
Even though she was a good student in school she started ditching school to sleep with older men and eventually dropped out of school.
She started working for a pimp who continued her, sexual abuse, he beat her all the time and had other men rape her and pie on her. After a string of, sexually abusive, relationships She got pregnant several times while still doing drugs. She had two abortions; but decided to keep her third pregnancy – a baby girl.
She went in and out of rehab several times trying to stay clean but always relapsed.
Kreta’s story ended the saddest of all 3 stories from the book “Call me an Addict, war Her, strange addiction, was out of control. She got so high one night that she stabbed her baby to death. She got life in prison.
Child Abuse Statistics
Risk for intimate partner violence
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
Illicit drug abuse
Smoking & drinking at an early age
I want to say that Kreta’s mother surprised me; but I have heard, sexual abuse, stories like this one before. I had a coaching client who told me that her mother stopped having sex with her husband and when she was 4 years old gave her to her husband to have sex with. Tyler Perry tried to bring attention to this, child abuse, and, sexual abuse, in his movie Madea Family Reunion .
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Here are 5 Statistics about sexual abuse offenders
70 percent of perpetrators have between 1 and 9 victims.
Child abuse, statistics, show as many as 40 percent of children who are, sexually abused, are abused by older or more powerful children.
Sex offenses are the crimes least likely to involve strangers as perpetrators. Although a smaller percentage of, sex offenders, are women, the majority are male. Sex offenders, are generally NOT “dirty old men” or strangers lurking in alleys. They are typically not obviously mentally ill or retarded. In fact, sex offenders, are usually well known and trusted by the children they victimize, and frequently are members of the family, including fathers and stepfathers, brothers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins. There is no clear-cut description or profile of a, sex offender. Thus, there is no way to recognize a potential, sex offender, and abuser; and it’s often hard to believe that a trusted individual would be capable of abusing children.
Children who disclose their abuse within one month are at a reduced risk for, depression, or substance abuse and, addiction. Believe your kids when they talk to you and LISTEN.
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Why, Addiction and Depression are by products of Child Abuse
Although any type of, addiction, can trigger violence, those most likely to impair judgment, like drug and alcohol, addiction, are most often linked to addiction-related violence. Drug and alcohol use can weaken self-control, it’s not uncommon to see people who are under the influence engaging in behavior they usually wouldn’t if they were sober.
People living with, strange addictions, who commit violent crimes, is usually as a result of intoxication or as a means of obtaining money to finance their habits. According to an article published in Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, more than 75 percent of people who seek treatment for, drug addiction, report having performed acts of violence, including mugging, physical assault and using a weapon to attack another person.
People who suppress negative feelings like anger or, depression, are more likely to drink or use, drugs, to the point of intoxication and exhibit violent behaviors. If you have Pent-up rage and you are using drugs, you are more likely to act violently because loss of self-control can increase your chances to act on your anger.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help sexual abuse survivors
Dr Tra Ahia How does CBT help , sexual abuse survivors, to love themselves? What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Evidence is growing that, cognitive-behavioral therapy, (CBT) is an effective treatment for, child abuse, and, sexual abuse, including those who have experienced physical, child abuse, and other traumatic events.
Most of the studies that have evaluated Trauma focused-CBT have been well designed. This treatment model represents a synthesis of trauma-sensitive interventions and well-established CBT principles treatment-outcome studies for, child abuse, and, sexual abuse, and otherwise traumatized children. The therapy was developed to resolve, post-traumatic stress disorder, and, depression, and anxiety symptoms, as well as to address underlying distortions about self-blame, safety, the trustworthiness of others, and the world. The treatment also fits, child abuse, and, sexual abuse, and other traumatic experiences into a broader context of children’s lives so that their primary identity is not that of a victim.
Child abuse, statistics, show that CBT therapy allows, sexual abuse, victims to learn self-love.
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Arifah What does, Child abuse, statistics, show about self love?
It shows that if, child abuse, and sexual abuse, victims do the following, They begin to heal.
Take your time
Recognize that your needs matter
Forgive yourself and knowledge of self through therapy
Find a support group
Learn to practice self-compassion, to rid yourself of shame-based beliefs, such as you are worthless, defective, bad, or unlovable
Find time for self care activities (journaling, exercise, mediation, art, hanging out with people that care about you).
Gain new experiences (i.e. get involved in the community)
Dr Tra I am curious after listening to 100 stories like the ones you told in your book and from all the data you have collected over your 30 years in this space. Why do you think fathers and stepfathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and cousins, abuse, little girls?
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I want to comment on one of the, child abuse, statistics, the one that says 70% of perpetrators have between 1 to 9 victims. I remember my, sexual abuse, It was from a man who I called grandfather, even though he was no relation. He used to tell me to bring my friends, and he would do the same thing to them as he did me. In fact he had a reputation of liking little girls. I never told anyone!
That’s another thing, child abuse, and, sexual abuse, statistics, show, victims never tell.
Here are 5 tips for loving yourself after, child abuse, and, sexual abuse,
Read Positive affirmations
Heal the mind through the body (ie. Boxing, Running, Martial Arts)
Mindful breathing exercises and meditation (stop, breathe and think app)
Channel your pain into creativity ( i.e.journaling)
Ask for help when you need it
Conclusion, Child Abuse, and, Sexual Abuse
Dr Tra, Do you support the, child abuse statistic, that says that if kids who are experiencing trauma of any kind tells someone who offers support, it has a direct and positive effect on the, sexual abuse and addiction connection?
Totally, when you tell someone what is being done to you, you release the shame of thinking you are to blame. You will also get help to cope with the emotions. When you stay silent it eats away at you all your life and then you self-medicate with, drugs, and alcohol and your, sexual abuse, continues into your adult relationships.
Additional Resources on Child Abuse and Sexual Abuse
Dr Fred Moss, psychiatrist, shares why he thinks that, psychiatric medications, is like cutting off your arm if you have a mosquito bite. In this podcast we discuss using your, true voice, to reclaim your, mental health, and why actively doing one of the creative 8 activities like creating music, dancing, singing, drama, cooking, writing, gardening, and photography can remove the need for, psychiatric medications.
Dr. Fred Moss, MD is the foremost expert on delivering your True Voice into the world so that it can heal because your voice matters. Your voice can heal. Dr. Fred has been actively practicing in the, mental health, field internationally for over 40 years, and as a, psychiatrist, has been an unwavering stand for the transformation of, mindset. He is a firm believer that conversation, communication, creativity, and human connection are ultimately at the source of all healing of all conditions in all fields.
Along with being a highly successful restorative/transformational coach, his signature technology, True Voice Podcasting is for people who are ready to take their lives back by speaking their authentic message into the world. TVP is designed to guide people from all walks of life, who are ready to rediscover the confidence and courage necessary to bring their full and real humanity back into all areas of their life.
Communication is a mental health tool
Fr Fred: I was born to be a communicator. I was trying to bring healing and joy to the world. My family was in a fair amount of disarray. I had two brothers 10 and 14 years older than me, I still have two brothers 10 and 14 years older than me and, I learned a lot from them about, communication. One day as a young adult my said well, you have to get a job now, and told me that so she got me an application.
I applied and got the job. I started working with adolescent boys at a state hospital, a state, mental health, facility. I was finally getting paid to communicate. And that’s all I was doing. I was communicating with these wonderful human beings who were now living in a in a state hospital and we were healing each other’s, communication.
It was really fun and really a great job. We got to take field trips and play softball and all the cool stuff that I did with these kids. The thing I didn’t like, was the way, psychiatry, was treating these kids. We would call the, psychiatrist, and say Jimmy is up too late or Timmy and Tommy got in a fight.
And he would come down and after three seconds of talking to the kid and maybe six seconds talking to us, he takes out his weapon, his pen. And he would write something in the chart. And then we’d have to go get Timmy and Tommy and hold them down while we injected them full of very high-powered sedatives to put them out of their misery and for the next 12 or 24 hours and if Timmy or Tommy didn’t say another word for 24 hours, we would call that a success.
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Now, that’s still happening in all the state hospitals around this country and mostly around the world too. We’ve not grown past that; it’s still going on. I made it my business to become a, psychiatrist, at that point. I was going to become a, psychiatrist, and bring, communication, back because that I knew that, communication, healed. So took in a big inhale and 13 years later, I graduated from the University of Northwestern University as a as a, psychiatrist, and did my residency in Cincinnati and started being a, psychiatrist.
But in the meantime, Prozac, had been introduced to the world. Prozac, was a medication that changed the whole paradigm of, psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, chemical imbalance.
Myrna: what’s the difference between a, psychiatrist, and a psychologist?
Dr Fred: A, psychiatrist, prescribes medicine, but that’s actually the last thing I wanted to do as a, psychiatrist. But now it was my typecast and it was what I was doing. Yeah, for the next 30 something years, I wrote over 100,000 medication prescriptions. I saw over 40,000 patients who call me their doctor. And it was very difficult because every time I wrote a prescription, my heart would wrench just a little or my soul would sacrifice it sometimes, not just a little sometimes later, in 2006, I finally decided that I could no longer do that.
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I started taking my patients of psychiatric medications
It was 15 years after I started. I started taking people off their diagnosis and taking them off their, psychiatric medications, and seeing how they did. Now I know that sounds kind of radical. It’s kind of interesting that we’re more concerned about taking people off of medicine than giving it to them.
Myrna: It’s the society, right? It’s life. Why did you become radical?
Dr Fred: I was radical. I took away stuff that was making them worse until they got better. Then I started becoming a healer. I call it my, true voice, moment. When I really started becoming a healer, I was no longer just a doctor, but a healer. And I began communicating with all my patients a little bit more and a little bit more. Until I really knew that I was back to being little Freddie who was pretty sure that, communication, and connection was the point here on Earth.
And over the last 15 years since 2006, I’ve really been just edging myself forward to being a stand for, communication, and connection and my practice has evolved over time, I’ve done work all over the world. A lot of, telepsychiatry, and a lot of utilization review, and I’ve been in every single corner of American, psychiatry, usually as a leader and really attempting sometimes without much success to inject, communication, as the core source of all healing.
Communication with podcasting
Telepsychiatry, a subset of telemedicine, can involve providing a range of services including, psychiatric, evaluations, therapy (individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy), patient education and medication management. Telepsychiatry, can involve direct interaction between a psychiatrist and the patient.
Eventually I set up Welcome to humanity.
Welcome to humanity is my brand name. That’s where you’ll find me is the www.welcometohumanity.net that’s what my main website is and it’s self-explanatory. It just says all of the experiences that we’re having as humans are to be embraced, including the ones that are miserable and painful. Now I’m actually a restorative transformational coach, and I’m a podcast teacher and I’m an expert speaker and a podcast guest. I have my own podcast and I am so finely aligned with who I really came here to be again after 50 years of trying out some other stuff.
Myrna: Well, that’s amazing. Number one that you felt that you knew that you wanted to communicate, in kindergarten, I guess because you had older brothers. So why did your mom get you a job in the, mental health, field? Did you do some work with, mental health, in college?
Starting in the mental health field was coincidence
Dr Fred: You know, it was easy enough to get a job in the, mental health, field. My mom was already a social worker. She didn’t quite give me the job. She got me an application at Fairlawn Center, which was a state, mental health, facility, a civil service job.
Myrna: Well, that’s amazing because that’s usually how if you’re able to be on purpose, that’s how God directs you. Okay, the second question that I have here is, so when you decided to take your patients off of, psychiatric medications, and you said it taught them to communicate. Are you saying that let’s say that someone is on, Prozac, because, Prozac, settles them down. Are you saying that if people really heard them and listened to them, they won’t need these, psychiatric medications? Where are you coming from with that?
Dr Fred: That’s an important question. So, the first thing I want to say to all the listeners is if you have found something that works and it has to do with, psychiatric medications, and your diagnosis, by all means, please don’t switch. Okay. I mean, we’ve got something that’s really working, I’m not telling you to switch. So, let’s make that really clear. This is for people who really know that they’re not living their ultimate optimal life.
Prozac controls your emotions by stopping feelings
When I took my patients off their, Prozac, or the medications like that, what would happen is they would find themselves again coming in touch with their own feelings, coming in touch with their own emotions in ways that have been muted over the years. When they got in touch with themselves, we could learn that they didn’t even have a diagnosis in the first place and in many cases the, psychiatric medications, and the treatment were really perpetuating the actual symptoms they were marketed to treat.
So, you know, that when you start really looking at that, and we pull people off of their diagnosis, because now I can’t just pull people off their, psychiatric medications, the medicine is not the problem. It’s the idea that we all think there’s something wrong with us. And then we get confirmation that there’s something wrong with us and then we need so called, psychiatric medications. The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re making it through the world like any of us and you’re just as confused. At times are fearful and other times anxious or depressed.
You make mistakes, you hurt people or something, that’s called being human. You know, people are like, oh, no, I have a diagnosis. It’s interesting a, psychiatrist, can’t get paid unless he gives you a diagnosis. Right? If he writes no diagnosis, he won’t get paid. So, there’s a major incentive to diagnose every single person who comes into their office number one.
Number two, it’s also the only field in all medicine where if you come into the office thinking there, there might be something wrong with you and the doctor says that there’s nothing wrong with you. Then you get upset. If you had gone to the heart doctor, and he says you’re okay, would you get mad at him?
Myrna: Of course not.
Psychiatrists write prescriptions to control diagnoses
Myrna: I understand people like to feel good. And these conditions don’t make you feel good. I don’t know about, ADHD, but all the other ones you don’t feel good. So, you want some kind of beta blocker or something to block the symptoms if you’re not feeling good. It’s not what you say these, medications, do. But I wanted to get to the point where you’re saying that they can talk it out.
Dr Fred: Well, inside of, communication, what we really are talking about therapy. Therapy also presumes that there’s something wrong with a patient. Okay? Well, what this is really about is connection. So, it isn’t really about just talking it out. It’s about connecting with another person at whatever level that takes resonating with another person or with your experience.
Myrna: Can they connect that way to their psychiatrists, or we’re just telling them to talk to anybody to connect with anybody?
Psychiatry has a power gradient
Dr Fred: The deal with, psychiatry, is that there’s a power gradient, there’s this idea that the, psychiatrist, is okay and you’re not, right. That’s actually not true. We’re both not okay. When we look across the table at each other and see our actual humanity, that’s where healing starts. When there is a gradient, psychiatry, if you’re a patient down there, this perpetuates an ongoing experience of there being something wrong with the patient.
Myrna: Okay, so that’s actually good, because if you walk into the room thinking that there’s something wrong with you and you need help that’s is what you expect. Tell us about healing through creativity and self-expression and the, creative mindset.
Dr Fred: One of the things is that none of us really seek out being uncomfortable. We’re looking to be comfortable. However, we are so addicted to this idea of comfort being normal we think being uncomfortable is abnormal. The truth is, being uncomfortable is totally normal. This is a really crazy world out there. And not only that humanity is an uncomfortable experience. What I noticed in when writing the book, The Creative 8 Mindset, was that when we’re creating our, mindset, shifts.
Healing using the creative 8 mindset
When we are creating music, dancing, singing, drama, cooking, writing, gardening, these are all things that when we’re creating, they really work to decrease that negative symptomology. While we’re doing any of those creative things, the negative experiences dissolve and disappear. So, with the, creativity, this is different than if you’re listening to music, I want you to be making music. It’s different than if you’re at an art museum, or looking at a beautiful piece of art. I want you to actually be making art. It’s just like if you’re watching Dancing with the Stars, or if you’re actually dancing.
So, the, creative 8 mindset, reminds us that we are here to be creators. So, I invite people to really do that creative eight, exercise which is finding three of those things, art, music, dancing, singing, drama, cooking, writing, and gardening and doing them each day even for just one minute. And really noticing how positive experiences can evolve simply by becoming creative.
Now ultimately, there was a couple more I added on photography and cleaning. And then there’s the trump card if you will, and the trump card is to help anybody do anything. When we’re helping other people do things, it’s also an amazing experience of having our own concern about ourselves disappear as we become service oriented. And that’s just another way to use the, creative 8 mindset, to our benefit.
Finding your true voice for mental health
Myrna: How does finding our, true voice, connect to the, creative 8, mindset?
Dr Fred: If you’re already on medicine, it’s actually really hard to do that. Because medicine can really stifle and smother creativity. The, psychopharmacological medications, do not expand the, creativity, in any way shape. The, psychiatric medications, often perpetuates a condition to remind you treat and it isn’t a matter of you do get to come off medicine, it’s a matter of that’s a good way to manage your life. If you want to come off medicine, the best way to go for that it’s going to be to start connecting with people.
Right now, you know, still help others still be creative, still be loving and still be accepting and compassionate and friendly and kind and all those things. Can you do that even in the face of a world that’s looking like it’s spiraling out of control?
Myrna: So how does using your voice help, mental illness?
Dr Fred: I don’t know anything else that’s gonna help with, mental illness, except using our voice actually. And the truth is, we think that taking medicine is going to help and really in the end, once you’re diagnosed with whatever condition you have, and you’re started on, psychiatric medications, the medication is frequently designed or at least, achieves the goal of perpetuating a symptom of market intention.
Getting off psychiatric medications
So, you’re on that, psychiatric medication, for good. Very few people come off, psychiatric medications, when you first start medicine, you think if it’s not going to work, well just stop it, but it’s not really true. It’s not going to work, we’re going to change it or we’re going to increase it or we’re going to add another medicine. Doctors are not even trained not to take you off, psychiatric medications. And when I started taking people off medicine people were like, you’re doing what?
Myrna: I’m sure your patients were happy with that.
Dr Fred: Well, some of them were scared, because they knew that people get sick again. They’re like, I don’t want to come off. Here’s the other thing, these, psychiatric medications, are built so that when you do come off of them, at least for a short period of time, you get an actual spike of the symptoms that were there in the beginning. And it has you thinking that you have returned, but in fact, it’s not you that returned. It’s a function of coming off of these medicines. They’re built that way.
Myrna: So how does your, true voice, help you with, mental illness? One of the things that, Prozac, does is, is keep you calm, right? Can using your, true voice, keep you calm?
Using psychiatric medications is like cutting off your arm because of a mosquito bite
Dr Fred: That’s not what I’m saying. Let’s say you are a mosquito bite doctor and I had a really bad mosquito bite on my on my elbow. For three weeks I’ve been trying to get rid of it. It gets bigger, it’s painful. It wakes me up at night itching, itching, and I finally decide I’m gonna go to a mosquito bite specialist. So, I find you in the yellow pages, and I go into your office and you’re like, Yeah, I’ve seen something like this before, and we can cure it. Oh, good. That’s why it came to you. You know, it’s only going to hurt for a minute you tell me. Okay, let’s do it. We’re going to cut off your arm at the shoulder.
Myrna: Oh, wow. That’s drastic.
Dr Fred: If we say okay, and then you’ve cut off my arm. Then the next time I come to see you, when we look for that mosquito bite on that elbow, it won’t be there.
Myrna; No, because you don’t have an arm.
Dr Fred: If all I’m looking at is do is cure the mosquito bite then cutting off your arm at the shoulder was a cure for that mosquito bite.
That what, psychiatric medications, do. It totally wipes you out. It blunts you out. And it’s not just, Prozac. These, psychiatric medications, do a lot more than just fix the mosquito bite, by taking away your capacity to have proper feelings, it feels like it’s curing you, but it’s not really curing you. It’s taking away your capacity to have proper feelings, including that one.
Myrna: Wow, what a powerful visual you presented. I get it.
Psychiatric medications blunt all feelings
Dr: Fred: And that’s what we’re really talking about here. Now, again, to our listeners. If you have been going far and wide and it found a combination of, psychiatric medications, that works for you and your, mental health, improves considerably, stick with it. By the way, I don’t use the phrase, mental illness, anymore. I don’t think there is such a thing as, mental illness.
There’s definitely such thing as mental discomfort, mental misery, mental pain, for sure. But illness suggests that you’re sick and I don’t think that you’re sick, you’re only experiencing an unpleasant part of life. Now when we started looking at that, then in, true voice, actually voicing your real self, it’s amazing how healing can happen immediately.
I chose, podcasting, to be the avenue for that because you can say your, true voice, right here on a podcast. It’s one of the last remaining spaces on the planet where you can actually say your, true voice. You can’t do it on social media, obviously, you can’t do it. You know, in most cases, you can’t go to like a concert and do it. You can’t have an auditorium full of people to speak your, true voice, anymore. So, your, true voice, is being taken away from you.
True voice, is a way when you resonate with another person and truly, honestly authentically connect with another person. It’s amazing what that does instantly for your, mental health. Even if you haven’t connected with anyone in a long time when you do connect. It’s amazing what healing takes place way better than any, psychiatric medications, I’ve ever written. And like I said, I’ve written prescriptions for over 100,000, psychiatric medications.
True Voice podcasting contributes to your mental health
Myrna: Well, explain it a little bit. What happens when they come on your podcast and talk about their, true voice?
Dr Fred: The, true voice, podcasting is not a podcast, it’s actually a course that I teach so that people who want to express their, true voice, will learn that they can do that best through, podcasting. We spend the first half of the course of a 13-week course really honing on people to get in touch and rediscovering their, true voice, authenticity. And in that authenticity, really exploring what they love.
In your case, you’ve got, mindset, somewhere along the line, mindset, became part of your, true voice. When you start doing it, you can wake up every single day like who am I going to talk to you today about, mindset. And there’s something that drives you forward inside of your commitment to learning more and to teach you more about, mindset.
So other people they’re gonna come up with whatever they come up with. Maybe some of them will come up with really big ones like, climate change or racism or sex trafficking, and maybe others will come up with seemingly smaller ones like petunias in Arkansas or something.
It’s fine, whatever. Your Podcast theme is. We then walk you through your authenticity into a world of a maximum podcast creation and production. I have a couple of teammates who co-lead with me and we take people from zero to podcaster in three months, and then dive in really learn how this method works if you go to www.findyourtruevoicebook.com And you go in there and then I will send you a copy of the book for free. If you go to www.welcometohumanity.net you will find information about my true voice podcasting course. Check out my book: The Creative 8 on Amazon
In, Bipolar Faith, Dr. Monica A Coleman openly talk about some very personal and intimate details that happened in her life as an evangelical minister. Such as living with, depression, and also being raped by a fellow minister. She shares how that experience effected her faith and why she was angry with God.
Monica A. Coleman is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware. She spent over ten years in graduate theological education at Claremont School of Theology and Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Answering her call to ministry at age 19, Dr. Coleman brings her experiences in evangelical Christianity, black church traditions, and indigenous spirituality to her discussions of religion.
Dr. Coleman is the author or editor of six books and several articles that focus on the role of faith in addressing critical social and philosophical issues. Her memoir Bipolar Faith shares her life-long dance with trauma and depression, and how she discovers a new and liberating vision of God. Her book Making a Way Out of No Way is required reading at leading theological schools around the country. Dr. Coleman co-hosts the web series, “Octavia Tried To Tell Us: Parable for Today’s Pandemic.”
Dr Coleman speaks widely on mental wellness, navigating change, religious diversity, mental wellness, and religious responses to intimate partner violence.
Myrna: How you were called into the ministry at an early age? How did your grandfather influenced you in that?
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My Bipolar Faith story
Dr Monica: In my book, Bipolar Faith, I tell the story of my great grandfather, my maternal grandmother’s father. Whom I’ve never met of course, and his experience as a black man in a small town in South Carolina. The story I tell how he decided to hang himself and had one of my great uncle help him to hang himself. My great grandfather asked my great uncle to pull the chair out from underneath him and allow him to hang.
I did not know this story until I was well into my 20s. So, it wasn’t the story that I was told as a child. Even though many people in the family knew what my grandmother meant when she talked about being orphaned or having her parents die at a very young age. Her mother died from complications with childbirth. And then she said, six months later, my father died. And so, I understand how she came to that conclusion, that there was this deep sadness that leads this kind of activity.
This was actually just part of my family’s story that was talked about in these metaphorical ways, rather than in more direct ways. So, I think it shaped me in the sense of, there was something in me that knew that you could get so sad you will die.
BEING BLACK IS TRAUMATIC ENOUGH!!!, “Walk A Painful Mile In Our Agony Shoes” is an untraditional new style of poetry. The books’ theme is based on being black in a America. Each poem will put you in the shoes of blackness as we walk, march and run through this pernicious society. With over 40 poems and pictures depicting black love, black unity, black creativity, black self-hate, black struggle, discrimination and mental Illness and other more personal poems. This book was very emotional for the author to write because each poem is tied to the emotions felt before, during and after the Black Lives Matter protest.
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Grief and faith
And I think this is a kind of backdrop to a lot of the many other things that I ended up talking about in “Bipolar Faith” as it’s my story. I am also hoping that other people see themselves in the story in ways in which, poverty and class and war and sharecropping and the effects of slavery and all types of things, contribute to what we would now call, mental illness.
Being black in America, is very complicated. And a lot of times people aren’t stopping to ask “How do you feel?” And so, a big part of this book is really trying to shine a light on, mental illness. Having people ask,
How are you doing?
How are we feeling?
How are you managing these various things that we know that we all manage?
And so, I would say that’s really where I was going to push through and I think it became a part of my calling whether I was not aware of it all.
It is important to talk about these things, whether that’s around issues of, sexual violence, or, domestic violence, or issues around, depression, and, mental health.
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Myrna: This is so true, we inherit the blessing of our ancestors, and we inherit the, curses, of our ancestors.
Dr Monica: I don’t want to quite use that language of, blessings, and, curses. But yes, we inherit what our ancestors have. We can get the bad stuff and the good stuff, we get the things we would rather live without and we get a lot of their, survival techniques, and their joint, faith, as well. And you know, when I think we you know, so in the fact that we get genetically right isn’t new or knowledge, but the fact that it’s kind of part of who we are and it shapes us and part of our experiences and put up our family stories that we’ve known for a long time.
My great grandfather could have been depressed and that is why he decided to commit suicide, no one was giving a clinical diagnosis of, depression, in that time period. So, what I want to say it’s not about checking the boxes and saying that is what he had, because maybe it was the grief of losing his wife and being like oh, my gosh, I have to take care of these eight, nine kids, that’s overwhelmed for anybody plus sharecropping and, racism. I’m saying I think it’s all of those things. I don’t think you can say, oh, let’s take one out.
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Bipolar faith of Black Women in America
Myrna: I understand the horrible things that our ancestors had to go through. So, you have something like, mental illness, or, depression, or something like that. But this segues right into the next question I have here. You say that, Black women, we’ve been overlooked, black women, in the United States. What do you think, Black women, have been overlooked?
Dr Monica: I’ve seen things change a lot in the last five years, but for the last five to 10 years, there’s so much more conversation. I would say, since the COVID pandemic, everybody’s got some kind of, depression. I mean, we think about how we talk about political movements, and the political activism and the voting power of, black women, and the sense that we’re going to hold it all together, we’re going to raise a family, go to work, do all things.
And oh, by the way, while you’re doing that, there’s I think, still is very much expectation that if you’re able to do the things and handle business and make ends meet, that you’re okay or even better, that you’re better than okay that you’re strong.
There’s very much a sense that if you are a person of, faith, then you should be fine. And you should be okay. You shouldn’t have challenges and problems and we have specific expressions that actually imply that. We all need some help, and I am thrilled to see more of those conversations, but I think they’re still very much sensitive to that.
The Superwoman Syndrome and the Black Woman
Myrna: I got to circle back on that the first one was the, Superwoman, tendency of, black women. And you’re right, black women, they’re raising children and a lot of times there’s no man and so they’re holding down two or three jobs and, and they pride themselves on being, Superwoman. In fact, my mom was one of them. She raised four children by herself, had two or three jobs, I came around and did the same thing. I would say, I can look after my kids, my mom did it, that’s the, Superwoman, tendency that we can do it because we’re strong.
White women, they all have husbands and who may stay home to look after their kids by choice. The second part of a circle back is that you’re saying that the, superwoman, syndrome creates some kind of, mental illness, and, depression, they should go to a doctor and get a checkup. What are you leading to with that?
Dr Monica: My friend and colleague Dr. Chanequa Walker Barnes has written a wonderful book about chocolate the strong black woman is called “Too Heavy A Yoke,” I highly recommend. Whether it’s legacies of war and poverty, these are also the ways in which black families look on legacies of slavery. And in the United States even the enslavement has manifested in parts of the African diaspora in terms of how families are structured. Even the policies and practices around what family structures look like.
Therapy wasn’t always covered by insurance, but I think it’s getting better. There are more, black therapists, and more culturally competent therapists who will understand all that people are bringing in terms of their racialized and gendered experiences.
I was raped by a fellow minister
Myrna: In, Bipolar Faith, you kind of cut yourself open and talk about some, some personal issues and personal things and you’re sharing so you can help others. So, you share some very intimate details of your life, such as living with, depression, yourself and also being raped by a fellow minister. How did that experience effect your, faith? Was there a time where you know you’re angry with God?
Dr. Coleman: I think experiences of deep suffering cause all of us to have, at the very least a hiccup in our, faith, walk. You’re going to have some kind of pain, whether it is the kinds of, traumas, that I discussed. There’s going to be some level of suffering and no one likes it. No one’s ready for it. Nobody wants to suffer. It’s not a part of the human experience that we’re happy about or that we’re going to welcome and say, hey, let’s have some pain here.
There are levels of grief. That’s all part of our life and because our spirituality and our, faith, is part of our life, it’s part of our, faith, as well. And for some people, faith, is very helpful and instrumental and holding them up and they find great resonance in the, faith community, and a lot of support there. But at some point, people don’t ask why me? Why someone I know and love died? I need some answers here.
Crisis of Faith
We act like asking why is a problem like it’s a crisis of, bipolar faith, and you’re not supposed to do it? Why do I have to do this? Why is this happening? Why it’s happening to my people? It’s a very natural part of the spiritual life to ask why. I think what doesn’t happen very often is people don’t always say, you’re going to lose the, faith.
And that’s okay. For a lot of times, there’s a sense that losing your, faith, is the end of the world and it is like heresy or some terrible thing. We’ve all lost, faith, at least once, maybe 2-3-4 times. And it is our responsibility, I would say as a, faith community, to stay with you while you find it again, and to hold the space for you, to walk with you to hold you and bring you food.
Until you and God find your way back to each other or something like that. Because of course we don’t have the same, faith, we had as five-year-olds. We don’t have the same, faith, we had as 15-year-olds, because we’ve seen more and we’ve grown more, we’ve evolved and had different kinds of experiences.
Doesn’t mean I don’t have a relationship with God. I don’t have a, faith community, but that’s not what it looks like anymore. And so yes, it definitely caused me to have some questions and to be angry and to say, what I’ve been taught, is not matching up with what I’m experiencing, and I’m trying to figure this out. So, I kept changing, faith communities, until I found one that was able to hold that space of, faith, for me.
Does Depression follow grief
Myrna: So, my circle back to that is when did you become, depressed?
Dr Monica: I really can’t quite pinpoint when did I become depressed or say Oh, well I have this very deep grief, my grandmother died when I was 13 years old. I named it as, depression. You know, my family negative, depression. I didn’t come up in a context where people were like, Let’s label this as, depression. Let’s give you some therapy. That came much later. But that’s how a lot many black families were in the 70s and 80s. No one said, let’s go to therapy like white people do.
Oh, yes, I can look back and say this was, depression. I felt that there were definitely some challenges and hard places in life. That made me sad, but to me, I was like, well, sadness is the appropriate response to some of these things. And I would later have clinicians say, well, most people feel sad in this way and you seem to be sad in a deeper way. And I’m like, oh, because I don’t know most people only know me from the inside.
Making a Way out of No Way
In many ways, I would say “Making A Way Out Of No Way” is the theory behind, Bipolar Faith. So, Bipolar Faith, is my story. It’s the story of my family. And I like to think that there is there’s some gray threads that feel like an African American story, it presents like an American story. And I think Making A Way Out Of No Way is the belief system that’s behind, Bipolar Faith. This is what I believe about community, what I believe about salvation and that salvation in the what gets us to heaven.
Salvation is the root word set out to heal, to be evolved and to make us well. Salvation is what I believe helps us to be whole and helps us to do well. And then it is making a way out of no way. But it’s really not no way, it’s just a way we can’t see. And that’s where the God part comes in. It’s, you know, God and hopefully us as you know, as creative people’s humanity and the rest of creation, working together to in the best of worlds to make the world a better place. Transforming creative ways.
Myrna: So that’s great, it’s like, blind faith. Of us knowing that regardless of how bleak it looks right now, that God is going to make a way out of no way tomorrow. Joy comes in the morning kind of thing kind of thing. So, I like that. So, do you feel that your story and, Bipolar Faith, you said that was the foundational principle? Do you feel that that is how your life progressed, that you had the spiritual power, that propelled you along and God always made a way for you to prosper?
Dr Monica: I’m not even sure if I’m prospering, I think I’m doing meaningful and I would even say needful work. Trying to creatively transform what we got, whatever we’ve inherited, into something better. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s this is what we got to work with, to transform what we have into creative ways. To make the world a better place.
Conclusion Bipolar Faith
Myrna: How can people connect with you and pick up copies of, bipolar faith, and other books?
Dr Monica: You can always pick up a copy at www.bipolarfaith.com. If you go there, you’ll find more than you ever want to know about the book. Find ways to buy it. You can also always call your local bookseller and ask them to order it for you. You can use larger online booksellers, if you prefer. If you go to www.bipolarfaith.com. I do a lot of music in the books. So, you’ll see some playlists there. You’ll see a couple of videos there. You can grab a little bundle I call, behind, bipolar faith, where there’s a workbook available if you want to do this like a reading group, for example.
And you can also hear a couple interviews from a psychiatrist and other, faith leaders, with me about, bipolar faith. You can also go to www.monicaacoleman.com and find more information about me and you can also grab a free devotional. If you go to the homepage, you’ll see a free five-day devotional there. And that’s just my gift to others a little devotional that I use for the spirituality.
Grief, is like going to a movie where you’re watching a horror movie and the next person to you is watching a comedy. It was poignant for me to understand that somebody’s life can be storming and the next door neighbor has sunshine.
My guest today is Samantha Ruth, grief expert and we are going to be talking on the topic “What does, grief, and, mental health, have in common.” I know that we’re in a time where a lot of us are experiencing, grief, – our loved ones are dying left and right. We’re in a place where we can’t really socialize, so we’ve got a lot of, grief, and, mental health, issues come in. Samantha will shed some light on how to ease some of the pain and suffering that accompanies, grief.
Samantha Ruth is a Transformational Psychologist, speaker, best-selling author, and founder of Griefhab, a 24/7 support community for anyone who has experienced a loss. Sam helps people around the world turn their pain into their power by guiding them to be their true selves.
Her mission is to change the way the world views, mental health, so people can openly speak about whatever issues they have, and get the help they not only need, but deserve without fear of judgment, labels, and repercussions.
Sam understands what it’s like to feel overwhelmed, lost, stuck, and alone. After unexpectedly losing her husband Jim, Sam felt like her life had been shattered into tiny, unrecognizable pieces. It took this experience for her to learn how to tune out the noise of everything and everybody else and focus on listening to herself. Her favorite quote:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Helping others through their grief
Myrna: Can you share your story of losing your husband and how did that tragedy help you achieve the purpose of helping others through, grief. A lot of times, I firmly believe that God gives you a test so you can have a testimony. God puts you through the storm so you can help other people and that’s obviously what your story is turned out to be. Now, can you share a little of it with us?
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Samantha: My husband was everything me. I met him when I was 24 years old and living in Michigan. We were together for a few years, but we were still young, silly and career driven. So, we went our separate ways. During that time, he moved to Colorado and we reconnected in June of 2013. We were married the following August and he passed away unexpectedly just a little over three years later. I had left my family and my career. I was just completely lost and had no idea what to do next.
Grief is like watching a horror movie while someone else is watching a comedy
Myrna: There’s a, grief, story I heard a few months back. This woman told the story that one day, ( she was a psychologist) she and her husband were going to pick up their son from the Airport. He’s wasn’t her child, it was her husband’s son and he was turning 18 the next day. They were going to go pick him up from the Airport and she decided to walk her dog before they left. While she walked her dog, her husband said he was going to jump in the river for a quick swim (that’s something he did every day).
While she was walking her dog, she suddenly heard him scream. She didn’t pay much attention to it, because she knows he was a strong swimmer. When she heard him scream again, she decided to go to investigate. She saw her husband clutching a tree in the middle of the river, apparently there was some kind of a wild current that day and her husband was trying to hang on to the tree, but the current was too strong and he was swept away.
She actually physically saw him drowned right in front of her eyes. Her whole world shattered, she was overcome with, grief. The hardest thing she had to do was telling his son that his father died in his 18th birthday, knowing that he would never be able to celebrate his birthday again.
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Grief is like a black cloud
Until that story, I never really understood, grief. She said when you have, grief, it’s like you don’t have sun anymore, but your neighbor has sun. She said she would get up in the morning and while she had this black cloud of, grief, her neighbor would be getting up and going to get his morning paper and clueless of what’s going on at his next door neighbor!
Grief, is like going to a movie where you’re watching a horror movie and the next person to you is watching a comedy. It was poignant for me to understand that somebody’s life can be storming and the next door neighbor has sunshine.
Myrna: You said your, grief, was like your world shattered into tiny pieces? Can you expand on how you handled that?
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Grief is invisible
Samantha: I also want to add that, grief, is also invisible. We don’t have a cast over a broken arm or something that people can see. We live in this world that avoids the uncomfortable conversations. The first year after my husband died was a complete blur to me. I was in deep, depression. If you told me we went to Japan together, I would trust your memory over mine. I went through the motions, I survived.
I am a psychologist trained in, trauma, and there was pressure. I don’t know if your friend who’s also a psychologist experienced that, but there was pressure to bounce back quicker than anyone else would, because it’s what I do and I couldn’t or wouldn’t do that. I had to find my own way. There were sunny houses all over the place, but I felt like I lived in a forest. I had to figure out how to get through the maze all by myself. The world expects you to get back to work, your family, everybody’s pulling from a different direction.
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Self care is important in grief and loss
I made a conscious decision because I was in so much pain, I had to take care of myself. I went in a direction that was unfamiliar to me and to everyone else, which made more noise, but, self care, was the way through.
So, to anyone struggling with, grief, I encourage you to find the strength to listen to the voice inside your head, don’t listen to the others.
Myrna: You’re able to take the knowledge that you learned from going through that traumatic experience to help others through, grief. You founded the company called Griefhab, can you tell us about your company.
Samantha: I am on a mission to change the way the world views, grief, and, mental health, because my experience showed me how similar the two were.
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Grief and loss because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Myrna: We’re on in some unprecedented times with the, Coronavirus pandemic. How does your company help other experiencing, grief and loss, because of the, coronavirus pandemic?
Samantha: Tuning out the noise and not letting people expectations like – “Hey, you should have gotten over it by now.” What I mean, and my advice as a psychologist is, you need to have a support system and that’s important. Grief, can be isolating and you can feel different and lonely and there are people who get it. The pandemic has uprooted millions of people’s lives and you are not alone.
Talking really does help even if somebody is just listening and they’re not actually physically doing talking, it does help. Talking is the way through, grief. Please, loved ones and friends, be patient with us. It might be uncomfortable for you, but it is the only way we will heal.
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What does grief and mental illness have in common?
Myrna: What does, grief, and, mental illness, issues have in common? What are the, stages of grief, and how does it affect your, mental health?
Samantha: I do not believe that you can grieve without, anxiety, and, depression. Going through the grieving process, there are such stigmas around both. I’ve lived with the world of, mental health, stigmas when I was early in healing journey. I learned that people treat someone grieving the same way as they treat someone with a, mental illness; they don’t know how to act around them and they don’t know what to say. I felt all of these stigmas and all I had done was lose my husband.
What, grief, and, mental health, have most in common is that they can be isolating and alienating. That’s the reason I am trying to make noise and let the world know that everything we know is backwards. We have to talk about it, we have to lean on each other and the stigmas are backwards. We need each other. I am one voice and anyone that’s willing to share their personal stories by raising their hand and saying I am not okay, even just saying “I’m having a bad day”, will erase the stigma.
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People don’t know we’re grieving. It’s invisible, mental health. They can’t see, depression, or, anxiety.
Samantha: You can’t grieve without going through, anxiety, and, depression, it is one of the, stages of grief.
Myrna: They also say that there are, seven stages of grief. So, where does the, anxiety, and, depression, fit in?
Samantha: Well, I mean there’s pressure to attend A, B, C, D and E immediately after, grief and loss. I haven’t spoken to anyone who has experienced, grief and loss, that doesn’t have some sort of, anxiety, about going back to work or attending an event, even if it’s virtual.
It’s a tidal wave of, anxiety, it comes and it goes and it doesn’t end. You get through in the beginning, it’s like you’re drowning and you come up for air and you find a buoy or somebody to hold on to (that’s one of your support system). That’s how it is for a while, then eventually you can swim and float and then all of a sudden, a wave comes out of nowhere and knocks you down and it could be a month later or a year later or even a decade later.
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Is there an end to grief?
Myrna: As a psychologist, is there a way to do something to prevent the, grief, coming back like a decade later?
Samantha: It doesn’t get better, it gets different and that’s why people expect holidays, anniversaries and certain life events to be difficult days. But it could just be next Tuesday and it could be a difficult day for no reason. The good things you experience are met with sadness, because the person you want to share it with the most isn’t physically here, so, grief, is always there.
Something would knocked me to my knees in the beginning and I would be down and out and I would barely get myself back together, and then something else would come and knock me right back to my knees (it’s not like that now). If something happens, I can cope and get through it. It’s still painful, but I have learned how to navigate so that I’m not back down on my knees.
I went to the University of Michigan and I can’t perform the same way I did, my brain has been permanently altered because of the, trauma, of grief.
Myrna: That is very interesting, trauma. They call it big “T” – traumas and little “T” – traumas. Now, what you’re saying someone with, grief, should take it one day at a time. Work with the present moment, that is how everything changes. You can’t go back into the past, you can’t go into the future, all changes happen in the present moment.
Myrna: Let’s say that I have somebody that’s going through the grieving process, what are some of the things that I can do to help? This is very important because I remember what you shouldn’t say to somebody. What can we say or do for someone experiencing, grief?
How to Help with Grief
Samantha: Say “I’m here for you”. Don’t ask “what do you need”, is a very stressful question. We don’t know the answer, so just be there for us. Give someone experiencing, grief and loss, multiple choice questions, not essay – say I’m going to the store and I’m getting you stuff. Do you want bread or milk? I can answer that question.
Myrna: Yes, the same woman who lost her husband in the river said that people came to her home and helped her clean her house and cooked for her, because these are things that you have no interest in doing during the grieving process, but nobody ever really thinks about that.
Samantha: Grief, is a tough journey and something each one of us is going to experience in our lives because death is something that happens and it’s unavoidable. Not everybody lives until they’re 95, there’s going to be sudden death at 30s, 20s or whatever. Where people don’t expect it and that’s when it’s harder, but we’re all going to be touched with it.
Mental Health stigmas
Myrna: How can we help break some of the, mental health stigmas?
Samantha: I think it’s similar to, grief, I think by talking about it, we break the stigma. When I tell people I have, anxiety, a lot of people ask questions because they don’t know. Telling one person or starting one conversation helps break the stigma of, mental illness. It doesn’t have to be going on the news and telling the world, but we won’t change things if we continue to hide it and make it like it’s something bad.
Myrna: Tell us about your book, why you wrote it, what do you want the reader to walk away with at the end of reading it?
Permission Granted to Grieve
Samantha: My second book was called “Permission Granted to Grieve”. I think it’s important that the world understands that you have to grieve, you have to heal, you can’t ignore it. Everything I’m saying is the same for, grief, and, mental health.
My upcoming book is called “Ruthless”. My last name is Ruth and I lost my husband. I became ruthless, but ruthless is perceived a negative. So, redefining ruthless is my journey. I want people to see negative things as strengths and perceived weaknesses as advantages. I’m taking this negatively charged word and making it okay.
Myrna: Tell us about your company Griefhab and your 24/7 support community. How can someone get in touch with you? What is your website? Tell us how you help people at Griefhab?
Samantha: There are two elements to Griefhab; one – it’s 24/7 support community. You don’t have to wait until your next appointment to talk to somebody. You don’t have to struggle, there’s always support available and that’s a free community on Facebook. You can go there on FacebookGriefhab or it’s on my website www.samantharuth.com.
There’s no judgment, this is about healing your way and asking the questions that you don’t feel safe asking anywhere else. People who feel that they need more support like I did, like sending out the death certificates and dealing with the creditors and all the things like getting the light bulb changed, finding somebody to get your groceries and make things, so you don’t have to do anything.
I do all of that in addition to working with you. When I had to present a death certificate, it knocked me down. So, I want other people to know those are tasks that we can do for you, so you can just heal.
Myrna: Thanks for tuning in to the Transform Your Mind to Transform Your Life radio podcast and television show. If you’ve not done so yet, please rate and review us on iTunes so that we can get this message out to a wider audience. Until next time, blessings.
Trauma, is a shock to the, nervous system. And when, childhood trauma, is stored instead of released, it can cause physical and, mental health, issues down the road. When, trauma, occurs, in an effort of protection, your brain temporarily pauses your memory processing system, and the experience is not stored as traditional memories.
Today I am talking with Emily Francis. Emily is the best selling author of “Healing Ourselves Whole”
Listen to the full interview here:
Healing Ourselves Whole will give you the tools you need to clean your emotional house from top to bottom, complete with journal prompts and access to audio meditations for you to listen along to as you read.
As a trained, body worker, Emily Francis offers a refreshing perspective into healing, trauma. She reveals unique knowledge of the body as a holder for memory. Emily will lead you on a path deep within yourself to rearrange the ways that, pain, and, trauma, have been holding you back from whole body, mind, spirit, and, energy healing. You will rearrange the dialogue within your body memory systems as well as learn a practice to re-birth by healing your, inner child, and adolescent selves, coming into the present to create the best adult self possible.
This groundbreaking interactive book contains a journal and access to audio meditations for you to listen to as you read. The meditations will help you dig deep into past, trauma, and discover when and how, trauma, took root. Learn to get in touch with various parts of the physical and, energy body, and how to use them to let go of stored, traumas, and rediscover the deeply held joys that have also been stored within the body. From this, you will learn to live from a new mindful and powerful space.
How to release trauma from the body
My Psychotherapist told me to do something called catch and release. Which means whenever you catch yourself being triggered by past, trauma. This happens whenever you begin to feel bad, and you are not sure why. Whenever you feel your body going into reaction mode, breathe in and then release it. This allows the feelings you have stuffed down to come out.
Myrna – Emily can you share with our readers how they can to us start to release, traumatic experiences, from their body?
Emily – In my book, Healing Ourselves Whole, I help my readers put their own hands on their body. When I am helping my clients in person, I help them, release trauma, in their body by putting my hands on their body to help them locate where the, trauma, had gone in, or the shame, or the guilt.
Why our bodies hold Trauma
Our muscles and tissues store the memory of, trauma. They also store memories of Joy. That’s my work; but I couldn’t write a book and teach you how to do Hands On Healing, so I wrote a book teaching you how to dialogue inside your body. This book “Healing Ourselves Whole” has a chapter for every emotion we hold in our body. We go through a 15 to 20-minute meditation on releasing, body trauma.
The workbook included with the book allows you to journal and go through all the senses to find the, trauma, carrot or the shame carrot or the guilt or grief. I teach you through this book how to do the body work by yourself. I’m not a therapist, so some behaviors and thoughts still need to be treated by, hypnosis therapy, like EMDR.
I work on the part of the body that is holding the, pain, and blocking the healing, so you still need your, cognitive therapist.
Childhood trauma and body trauma are connected
I have some, childhood trauma, and I know that until I became conscious that I was stuffing things down instead of understanding my emotions, I never understood that my, childhood trauma, was influencing my present. My, childhood trauma, also affected my relationships earlier in life before I was able to start to release them.
This is a great topic on releasing, chronic pain, because some people go to their graves not understanding that their quality of life was hampered by, what happened to them. Sometimes the, wounds, were only from, childhood, but relationships earlier in their lives eg. lovers, friends, teachers etc.
Emily, what made you become a wellness expert?
I graduated undergraduate with a science and, wellness, degree then I went on to become an aerobic yoga instructor. Then I started suffering from extreme panic attacks and agoraphobia, so I went from loving to be on the stage, to not wanting to leave my house. I was a college cheerleader, I worked out every day, I was at the gym three to five hours a day teaching different classes and I was like rocking.
The more crowded the better. I fed off the energy and then I turned twenty-five! I stopped drinking and the mask dropped and the crazy came up. All the, pain, that I had stuff down came to a flying head and I had to stop myself from extreme anxiety and panic attacks.
It took seven years for me to understand that the reason for my anxiety and panic attacks were because of, childhood trauma, that I had stuffed down. I missed a lot of my hot years as a young adult because I couldn’t hang out with friends or go to bars without feeling like I was crazy. I really stepped away from life and just sat out and watched life pass me by. My, mental health, was of grave concern to me. I prayed a lot. I did a lot of intensive work, meditative work. I went to a million different, healers. if I heard of something for, body trauma, I was there. I went through 7 years of, holistic therapy, and nothing worked until I finally broke down and tried a child’s dose of an antidepressant.
When I was able to heal myself, I want to share and that is why I wrote the book Healing Ourselves Whole
Can medications help with Childhood Trauma?
After 7 years of looking for a treatment, I came across a book by a psychotherapist named Tom Rutledge. He suggested medications. I tried it and it worked for me. The antidepressant worked because it regulated my brain and here is the thing that I learnt from Tom. I was reading his book and embracing fear and I decided to write this letter to him. I wrote that I was a big phony and a liar, and I’ve been writing all these years and it was just crap. I am crap and I wrote this long letter. It was like reading my autobiography. I just wrote out all the things I had been telling myself all these years.
Tom Rutledge replied that I should consider medication. He said that we must first regulate the brain before we can start the healing process and suggested that we should try medication. I rejected medication, because it goes against everything, I believe in. It goes against my holistic principal, it was a Band-Aid. I said no I’m not interested, and he wrote back. He said there’s a part that I think you’ve missed, the brain and the mind are not the same thing. The mind is where your thoughts and behaviors are, the brain is an organ in your body. It’s like your heart or your liver or kidneys. You would not hesitate to take medication if your heart or liver or kidneys were malfunctioning.
But, mental illness, comes with a stigma. People hesitate to take medication because they feel it makes them crazy. Antidepressants are just something to regulate your brain. The brain is an organ and you’re missing some chemicals in your brain and that is the reason for the anxiety and panic attacks. Once you get that regulated all the work that you’ve done because you’ve done significant with healers will be able to come through.
Hollywood Endings and How to Get One
Yes, you can create what you want with imagination an intention. The movie themes the world loves are few and simple; they are the themes that have been portrayed over and over since Hollywood began to make movies. These classics have the most wonderful endings: love overcomes all; good defeats evil; the wayward child comes home. Anyone can be a hero, and everyone has a Guardian Angel.
Hollywood Endings – Using Imagination and Intention is about self-awareness, recovery and enlightenment. It’s for anyone who has ever wanted or dreamed of having a “Hollywood ending.” It is for those of us who never had a role model to show us how it’s done. It celebrates the wonder of the movies and urges us to see movies once to be entertained, and then return to see them again to learn from them. We all deserve a Hollywood ending. This book can show you how with life lessons from Dances With Wolves, National Velvet, Die Hard, and The Color Purple, to name a few.
Rewrite your own story and give it a Hollywood ending.
Trauma gets stuck in the body
Trauma, gets attached to your tissues, because the experience of stress, particularly, childhood trauma, causes stress and can trigger active survival responses of fight, flight, or freeze. When your, body trauma, can’t activate or complete these responses, those sensations become trapped in your nervous system.
Trauma, is a shock to the, nervous system. And when that, trauma, is stored instead of released, it can cause physical and, mental health, issues down the road. When, trauma, occurs, in an effort of protection, your brain temporarily pauses your memory processing system, and the experience is not stored as traditional memories.
Instead of being stored as a complete memory, traumatic experiences are thought to be stored as fragments of pictures of, body sensations or, body trauma. These fragments are unprocessed and thus don’t fit in the system as they should. Because they don’t fit, these fragments can surface unexpectedly as nightmares, flashbacks, or general angst and unease. Most of the time you don’t know why you are feeling uneasy.
How to Release Trauma Trapped in the Body
International Trauma-Healing Institute founder Gina Ross has developed a simple process called Emotion Aid. Here is a summary of those steps you can use to begin to, release trauma, trapped in your body.
First, assess where you are: rate your stress or upset from a low of 1 to a high of 7. If it is high, first practice the following Grounding Steps.
Begin by Butterfly Hugging and Tapping– hug yourself and then alternately tap on your arms, from side to side, 25 times. Then take a deep breath. Repeat this until your stress level begins to drop noticeably.
Next, Send Roots into the Ground. Notice your feet or, if your seated, your back, buttocks, and back of your legs in the chair. Now notice your feet or lower body being firmly connected to the floor, then to the ground, like roots going deep into the earth. Take a deep breath. Then gaze about the room and notice objects or textures about the room, remaining connected to your “roots.”
Finally, Notice Breathing: Put one hand on your chest and one hand your belly. Now just be with your breath, not trying to change it, but just noticing the rhythm of it. Then make a heart shape with your fingertips and bring awareness to your beating heart.
How to discharge body trauma
Now begin to Discharge Sensations and Release Stress.
First, notice your breath and Breathe Notice any sensations that come up naturally. As you release, trauma, and stress hormones, they will present through sensations like shaking, heat, sweating, yawning, goosebumps, changed breath, and gurgling in the stomach. Be curious about the feelings and be with them, and they will naturally discharge. Do not judge or critique what you are feeling or sensing.
Next, briefly review the, childhood trauma, or troubling thoughts that lead to the sensations. As you review, notice the Feelings that come up as you consider what happened. It’s important to go slow so that you’re only allowing the activation of one feeling at a time. Just be with it and give it plenty of time. Then notice the discharge that emerges as you follow the sensations. (Know that you can temporarily set aside sensations and emotions that you are not focusing on at the moment. For example, imagine putting them on a shelf for the moment.)
Then work with the Thoughts. Again, as you notice one thought at a time, observe the sensations that show up with these thoughts. Let go of the judgment or criticism. Just be present and continue to observe what happens next and experience the sensations discharging and releasing from the body.
Now notice and bring to awareness Resources. A resource is anything that feels strong and calm to you. These can be external (for example, the kind eyes of a good friend) or internal (perhaps the memory of a personal achievement). As you recall or hold these resources notice the sensations that show up in your body. Take a few minutes to feel the sense of calm and strength in your body.
Addiction and recovery side effects can include, anxiety disorder, and panic attacks. In this episode Dr Tra Ahia, Psychologist offers treatment options for dealing with, anxiety disorder.
I was listening to a podcast last week and the guest was talking about her, anxiety disorder, and her story triggered a memory of a personal acquaintance who was a heroin addict and developed, anxiety disorder.
My first introduction to Anxiety Disorder
In the late 80’s I was working in sales and my boss’s daughter was an, Heroin addict. We were close enough that she would tell me what it was like being addicted to Heroin. She told me how she would cook the heroin until it became a liquid and then she would shoot it into her neck because she got a more immediate high. She showed me the holes in her neck which she covered up with scarves. Her father who was wealthy gave her a car and she sold that car for peanuts to get money to buy Heroin.
She attempted to go to rehab several times; but always walked out because she said they just left you in a room to scream in pain. She said the pain of withdrawal was unbearable. She then started a methadone treatment which is a synthetic version of Heroin. They reduced the dose of the methadone gradually to wean your body off Heroin. But what I want to get to was her, anxiety disorder. She got such bad, panic attacks, her gut was always in knots, that she couldn’t leave the house without her safe person, her boyfriend. I don’t remember if he used drugs; but when the relationship ended she was unable to leave to leave the house for weeks, not even to buy groceries. Then she was too anxious to start dating. She stressed about some man asking “Can I touch your boobs” I don’t know what became of her; but I think of her often.
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If you have an, anxiety disorder – Your brain raises ahead to predict the future. The guest on the podcast had, anxiety disorder, and she described it as “life fright” or , agoraphobia, She said to think about Stage fright. You feel nervous, you think you are going to freeze up or faint, you start to sweat, you think people are going to laugh at you etc. well people with, anxiety disorder, or, agoraphobia, feel like that all the time.
They have, agoraphobia, talking to strangers, checking out at the grocery store, at the bank, going for an interview, at a cocktail party, almost any conversation with a stranger, that’s why the guest called it “life fright.”
How does Anxiety lead to Life Fright
Dr Tra as the author of the book “Call me an Addict, war on women” How does my story regarding anxiety being called “Life Fright” relates to your experience?
I think for that young lady or whoever coined that term, for her that helped her manage her, anxiety disorder. That term helped her understand for herself this thing that she was feeling, so for her that was a good term to use, this, Life Fright. My thoughts when I think about, life fright, is that I’m afraid of living period. The entire gamut of life, so for me I would not use that term as a replicator to, anxiety disorder; but I can see why she did.
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I understand there are 3 types of, Anxiety Disorders,
social anxiety and
high functioning anxiety
Can you explain the difference of these forms of, anxiety, and which is most common with substance abuse?
There are more than just three types of, anxiety disorder, way more. I think it’s important also for the audience to understand that when we talk about, anxiety disorder, we’re talking about an irrational fear or, agoraphobia, of something that someone is experiencing. It’s irrational, it’s not logical that you are excessively fearful over this specific situation or you’re apprehensive about something or you have difficulty managing daily tasks. So when we think about, agoraphobia, or, anxiety disorder, I want them to know that it’s irrational to know your heart is racing, and you feel like you’re going to die.
There are six main categories of, anxiety disorders, like I said there are more than three!
Panic attacks, with or without, agoraphobia, you have
Generalized, anxiety disorder,
Obsessive compulsive disorder or, OCD,
Acute stress disorder and
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
The American Psychological Association lists research on how, anxiety disorder, is diagnosed.
This disorder called, anxiety disorder, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
It’s normal to become anxious and at one time or another. A car almost hit you, you are going for an interview, you sense danger etc. Anxiety is normal under certain conditions, what we are talking about here is the irrational fear or, agoraphobia, that is a disorder.
Something who’s unable to leave their home. This is, agoraphobia, they have a fear of leaving surroundings that they’re familiar with.
This a serious affliction.
There are three systems of functioning that need to change in, Anxiety Disorder
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How would, high-functioning anxiety, work?
An addict could develop a, panic attack, because perhaps they’re they don’t have the substance anymore, or it could be someone who gains, agoraphobia, as a result of some interaction they’ve had with a place they frequented to attain their substance.
An addict with, high-functioning anxiety, usually is on a treatment plan in conjunction with medication to control their, anxiety disorder.
An addict could develop a, panic attack, because perhaps they’re they don’t have the substance anymore, or it could be someone who gains, agoraphobia, as a result of some interaction they’ve had with a place they frequented to attain their substance.
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Anxiety disorder is a form of mental illness. Dr Tra outside of substance abuse, what are some other contributing factors to, Anxiety Disorder?
I understand that mental illness presents itself in many forms:
My research shows that these disorders present themselves as early as 14 years old and can be treated successfully by mental health professionals if treatment is started early; but because people feel that mental illness equals crazy, they don’t talk about it or seek help.
Research show that 90% of suicides results from mental illness like, anxiety disorder, and depression. How does talk therapy from a Life Coach, social worker or Psychologist such as yourself help patients?
Talk therapy allows the client to feel listened to and understood. It allows them to download and get advise. It can save many from suicide.
How would you help someone suffering from, anxiety disorder?
Mental illness is something that keeps a lot of people up at night but nobody wants to talk about during the day
It is the visitor who enters without knocking
1 in 20 become disabled by mental illness i.e. Can’t function in society
So let’s start talking.
ANXIETY, has become the defining mental health issue of our decade — women are affected at twice the rate of men, and now children and young adults are also more stressed and anxious than ever before. Join us to learn nutritional and gut solutions for your anxiety!
Nothing is impossible, always finish the race, don’t be a quitter.
Come all the way through!
Don’t stop in the middle, don’t turn back!
Just finish the race.
Look at life like a long distance swim trip.
When you start out you have no idea what you are going to meet up with.
You can’t predict the weather, the waves, or any other hazards and obstacles on your journey.
You have to make up in your mind, that you will Come all the way through, nothing is impossible. That if you are able, you will finish the race.
If you get to the middle of the ocean and you run into a thunder storm for instance, you just can’t stop.
Going back is just as perilous as going forward. You have to, believe in yourself. You must , believe.
That is exactly how life is, you can’t predict the storms in life, you can’t predict the challenges that you are going come up against.
You know that they will come. You have to decide up front to, believe in yourself.
You have to know for sure that, Nothing is Impossible, if you, believe.
God planted that goal or dream in you for a reason. You have something to give to mankind.
If you, believe, you will achieve!
You just have to keep moving forward, going back is death to your dreams, it should not be an option!
Show notes Nothing is Impossible
Today’s show discusses, mental illness, and how Dr. Williams cared for her mother as she suffered through clinical, depression.
Her purpose for writing this book is to shed light on this taboo topic and offer healing to her readers who may be going through something similar.
She decide to be very transparent on her mothers, clinical depression, and how she cared for her mother from the young age of 10.
Nothing is impossible, if you, believe. Listen to hear how Dr Sheila overcame her childhood story and succeed as a Mental Health Therapist/Counselor, a behavior Analyst, Published Author, Life Coach and Educational Director. She tells how she worked sometimes 4 jobs while caring for her terminally ill mother and still was able to earn her PH.D.
I know you’ve you have a really you know powerful story told in your first book My mother’s Keeper. What is the book about and what inspired you to write it.
Dr Sheila – My book is about my mother. It is a very candid look into my life and me caring for my mother. It took me about 40-plus years to be able to tell this story. I also tell my mother’s story; it was a family secret. No one wanted to talk about my mother, mental illness and the fact that had, clinical depression.
I felt for a very ashamed for a very long time in my life about my mother’s, mental illness, and depression so at the point when I decided to go ahead and be very candid and very transparent about my life it was for the purpose of healing. Not only for myself but for anyone else who have dealt with the stigma of, mental illness.
The stigma of mental illness and clinical depression
I decided to write specifically about my mother and her, clinical depression, as a small child who had to care for her mom instead of the other way around.
People see the doctorate degree or the position that you hold with the company you work for, or you know they see your success in other things, but they don’t realize behind the scenes, you had to tell yourself, nothing is impossible, to just get through the day.
You hear the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover. You see someone with the professional title and you see these accolades and all of the things that they’ve accomplished; but you have no idea of the struggle or the obstacles in which they’ve had to overcome to get to where they are.
So I wrote the book for numerous reasons:
To show that, nothing is impossible, if you, believe in yourself.
To show the effects on the family from, mental illness, and depression.
You can still accomplish whatever goal that you have in life regardless of your circumstances.
What was your motivation and how did you find the strength to push through? Did you have a vision?
Dr Sheila – from a very young child maybe four or five six years old, I did not know that my mother had, clinical depression, I just knew she was a little bit different from other kids’ moms. My mother would not get out of bed for days on end. She would not open the blinds, just lay in bed in a dark room all day.
Is it true that nothing is impossible?
Nothing is impossible, This means that anything is possible. Dr Sheila did not have the nurture from her mom and dad. When she became grown, she decided she wanted to become a doctor. She worked 5 jobs to put herself through school because she did not want student loans. Believe in the, impossible. However, just because something is possible does not mean that it is easy, or that it should be done at all. If you use this statement, you are probably referring to something which is very difficult to accomplish or labeled, impossible.
Anxiety, in teenagers and young adults is much more than a phase. It’s a real condition that can interfere with daily life, lead to, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
In this interview, I am speaking with Megan Gallagher, mental health advocate and Tedx speaker.
While growing up, Megan experienced chronic, anxiety, and panic attacks, as well as body image issues. Inspired by the lack of honest conversations among her peers/teachers about “real life topics”. After therapy and healing, she dove headfirst into making that change in the public school system! Gallagher currently speaks at middle schools and high schools about, mental health, self-care, following your dreams & mindfulness. She has spoken at over 500 schools and been featured in major media outlets like Forbes Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Today Show, OK! Magazine, NBC news, FOX news and Yahoo!
Listen to the full interview here:
How did you traverse your painful childhood? What exactly caused your, anxiety, and how did you become an, anxiety, and, mental health advocate?
Growing up as a youth I can remember as early as elementary school, I have vivid memories of just sitting in class and noticing my stomach churning and getting really sweaty under my armpits. All these things would happen and I didn’t really know what triggered these spiral of symptoms.
I would think I ate something weird at lunch or maybe something’s not sitting right on my stomach or even that I had stomach flu.
My mom figured that I was more sensitive than my sister and needed more attention. I wanted just to be alone. Going to crowded public places really overwhelmed me. My parents would say Megan tends to freak before an event happens so they would try to find ways to calm me down.
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It wasn’t until I was 13 years old in eighth grade about to graduate to go to high school, that I became aware of my emotions and become in tune with my body. These, anxiety attacks, were really scary and they came out of nowhere.
I would be sitting in a classroom and I felt like I was like coming out of my skin. Just wanting to get up and go the bathroom and just breathe. Freaking out, I like didn’t want to be around people, I just wanted to just have a moment for myself.
Myrna – Do you think you are in introvert? Did you put a label on it?
Megan – I’m actually the most social extroverted person ever. I thrive off of being around people and I love having a big friend group and I love hanging out with people, so I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert, I would say I’m have high functioning, anxiety.
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Teenagers, can go one of two ways with Anxiety and Depression :
People who show their, depression, and, anxiety, through shutting down. They kind of isolate themselves.
I handled my, anxiety, and found comfort in talking about my feelings. I just love talking and being around people. I loved being around people hosting events and parties.
Now that I’m 24, I don’t really get the, anxiety attacks, but I still have anxious moments.
I learned how to handle it though. I know how to stop the negative thoughts before they turn into a full-blown, anxiety attack.
My, anxiety, continued into high school. I remember so well gearing up during the summer and counting down the days until my first day of high school. I had the normal thoughts of you know, where’s my locker. What if I get lost in this new school. The what if thoughts would fuel my, anxiety.
How to Control your Anxiety by being in the moment.
Now I know I should have stayed in the present moment, my mind was trying to anticipate what’s gonna happen two months from now, one month, 3 weeks etc. But the truth of the matter is we can’t control the future.
With, anxiety, you have such a fear of losing control. For people with, anxiety, being in control is what they want.
My, anxiety, has manifested itself in different ways throughout my life. When I was younger in high school, my, anxiety, manifested in an eating disorder. I was too anxious to eat in school, so I would starve myself all day and then binge at night.
My, anxiety, showed up where my mind would just black out. I would feel like I got shot off into space and then I would get hot and sweaty and see stars. It was so scary and so uncomfortable in public.
Anxiety, can mimic a heart attack or a stroke or it can mimic other life-threatening health conditions.
My freshman sophomore year of high school I was a mess, in constant, anxiety, mode. My mind would calculate that an episode happened at 9 00 a.m. in English class, so then the next day my body, that internal clock started saying it’s 9 a.m. Yesterday I got an, anxiety attack, so I would have another, anxiety attack, thinking about the last, anxiety attack. It was a vicious cycle. I got so deep in the ditch I felt like a prisoner to my own mind.
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My, anxiety, had reached a point where I felt like I was being cornered in a wall, so I had to ask for help. I sat my parents down and told them what had been going on with me for years. They told me that, mental illness, and, anxiety, runs on my dad’s side of the family and what I have it’s called, anticipatory anxiety.
They scheduled me in therapy and told me your first session is next week.
Forms of Therapy for, Anxiety.
Talk therapy where it’s just the typical talking while the Therapist takes notes.
Hypnotherapy where you lie on a couch and the Therapist puts you in a hypnotic state where you can reach your subconscious mind.
EFT Tapping for, anxiety, and fear. EFT is the abbreviation for Emotional Freedom Techniques, an effective self-help tool for calming anxiety and fear. EFT is like acupuncture for emotional healing, but you can do it for yourself and there are no needles, just tapping on a sequence of calming meridian points with your fingertips.
I am such an advocate for therapy. I think everyone who suffers from, anxiety, should do therapy because every single person on this planet has their own stuff. It doesn’t have to have been something traumatic; but every person has baggage.
My therapist in high school told me “Megan everyone in life has baggage.” Just like people getting on a plane, some just have a little carry-on while some have like four suitcases. Some people have designer baggage, others have a trash bag; but everyone has something to bring on the plane.
What made you become a, Mental Health Advocate, talking in Middle and High Schools?
My therapist also taught me your mind is like a dog on a leash. When you walk your dog outside and you let the dog do its thing while on the leash. The dog just want to take off; but you have to maintain control of the dog on the leash. You mind is the same way, it wants to take off and anticipate everything and then get, anxiety attacks, but you have to reign it back in. You are still in control of the leash.
When I talk in schools, I try to teach teenagers that they are in control of their minds.
We’re in a pandemic right now and people are getting, anxiety attacks, worrying about the future, worrying if they are going to find a job, it they are going to loose their homes.
Why do you think there is an epidemic of teenagers with, Anxiety, and Depression?
Teenagers were always having a problem with, depression, and, anxiety. A lot of people blame it on the social atmosphere, the social culture. The culture we live in today it’s so different from the 80s or the 90s even the early 2000s. A huge switch happened when social media like Facebook and Myspace took off. Now there’s Tumblr, there’s Twitter, there’s, Tic Tock, there’s Instagram. It’s insane but it is important to remember social media does the same thing to human beings as, anxiety, it triggers the fear of missing out. Oh I didn’t get invited to that party that I see on snap chat, oh my gosh what’s going on with me, my friends are posing on a yacht with a celebrity, so their life must be better than mine.
Social media it really is a very negative thing and I think it’s important to really be aware of how does it make you feel?Before you go on Instagram versus after you get off Instagram. If you are feeling, anxiety, or, depression, after you go on social media, you should cut back your time on it to like 20 minutes a day instead of scrolling for hours.
Here are some of the signs that your Teenager is Depressed
Since teenagers are often moody, it can be difficult to recognize when your son or daughter has become depressed, and might need help. The thing people tend to notice first is withdrawal, or when the teenager stops doing things she usually likes to do. There might be other changes in her mood, including sadness or irritability. Or in her behavior, including, appetite, energy level, sleep patterns and academic performance. If several of these symptoms are present, be vigilant about the possibility of teen, depression.
This is especially important because by the time family members and other people around a teenager note her lack of interest in most things. She’s usually been depressed for some time. Depression, is an internalizing disorder, i.e. one that disturbs a patient’s emotional life, rather than an externalizing one, which takes the form of disruptive or problematic behavior. As such, it takes a while not only for others to recognize it but often for the patient herself to realize that her thinking, and emotional responses, are disturbed.
What your main message for teenagers battling with, Anxiety?
My main message is follow your dreams in life. Once upon a time, it feels like a decade ago, when I went was allowed to speak at schools, I talked about, mental health, anxiety, and self-care. I touched on a lot subjects; but the main takeaway was follow your passions. First fill up your cup, take care of yourself and get to know your body.
Connect with Megan for speaking or to hear any of her work on Instagram @ meganwgallegher on Linkedin @ Megan Gallagher