Bipolar Faith: Dealing with Depression and Faith

Bipolar Faith: Dealing with Depression and Faith

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.

Download the Podcast Here:

https://pdcn.co/e/https://chrt.fm/track/897G7/www.buzzsprout.com/1761155/10458691-bipolar-faith-dealing-with-depression-and-faith.mp3?download=true

Bio

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?

Book Bipolar Faith
Book Bipolar Faith
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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.

That deep grief kills.

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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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We inherit mental illness from our ancestors

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.

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Transform Your Mind Amazon

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.

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Google Podcast Transform Your Mind

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.

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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.

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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.

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Transform Your Mind Podcast Player FM

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.

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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.

Additional Resources

What Are You Patiently Waiting on Almighty God For?

How Does Grief Affect Mental Health

Samantha Ruth Grief

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.

Download full interview here: 

https://pdcn.co/e/https://chrt.fm/track/897G7/www.buzzsprout.com/1761155/9673108-how-does-grief-affect-mental-health.mp3?download=true

Brief bio of Samantha Ruth

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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Depression and anxiety is a stage of grief

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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Book Holly the Elf
Book Holly the Elf

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.

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Grief vs trauma

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.

Conclusion

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.

Additional Resources

Understanding Mental Illness – My Bipolar Life

 

How to Release Childhood Trauma of Guilt Shame

Healing ourselves from Childhood Trauma

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.

book: Healing Ourselves Whole from trauma
book: Healing Ourselves Whole

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

Google Podcast Transform Your Mind
Google Podcast Transform Your Mind

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.

Book: Hollywood endings How to get one
Book: Hollywood endings How to get one

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.

Soundcloud Transform your mind podcast
Transform your Mind Soundcloud podcast

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.

Transform Your Mind iHeart Radio
iHeart Radio

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.

  1. 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.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.”
    3. 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

  1. Now begin to Discharge Sensations and Release Stress.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.)
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

Conclusion

Listen to Emily radio show All About Healing 

Subscribe to the Transform your Mind Radio Podcast and TV show on iTunes, Spotify, or any of the podcast players

If you would like daily inspiration on how to transform your life, I invite you to join my Facebook group Lifecoach

Additional Resources

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Women with Trauma

Dealing with Anxiety Disorder after Addiction

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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Podbean Transform your Mind Podcast

Podbean

What happens to the brain with Anxiety Disorder

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.”

 

Transform your Mind Spotify Podcast
Download on Spotify

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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Transform your Mind Stitcher
Transform your Mind Stitcher

I understand there are 3 types of, Anxiety Disorders,

  1. Situational anxiety
  2. social anxiety and
  3. 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.

Transform Your Mind iHeart Radio
iHeart Radio

There are six main categories of, anxiety disorders,  like I said there are more than three!

  1. Phobias
  2. Panic attacks, with or without, agoraphobia, you have
  3. Generalized, anxiety disorder,
  4. Obsessive compulsive disorder or, OCD,
  5. Acute stress disorder and
  6. 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

  1. Cognitive
  2. Physical and
  3. Behavioral

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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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Transform your Mind Stitcher
Transform your Mind Stitcher

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:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Anorexia
  • Depression
Transform your Mind TuneIn Radio
TuneIn Radio

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!

 

Additional Resources

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Women with Trauma

https://blog.myhelps.us/understanding-and-managing-compulsive-behaviors/

https://blog.myhelps.us/call-me-an-addict-child-abuse-statistics-p3/

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/suicide

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/suicidal-thoughts-ideation-193026

Nothing is Impossible: How to Turn Life’s Challenges Into Opportunity

nothing is impossible

Nothing is impossible, If you believe. How to turn life’s challenges into opportunities of self-discovery and personal success.

Todays’ guest on the Mindset Transformation Radio show and podcast with Coach Myrna, is Dr. Sheila D. Williams. Dr Williams is the author of “My Mother’s Keeper

https://twitter.com/drsdwilliams

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.

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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.

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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.

Connect with Coach Myrna on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/MyhelpsInc/

Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/myhelps/

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/myrna_morris

web: www.myrnayounghelps.com

To download a copy of Coach Myrna’s book “How to Mind your own business while working your day job”

Small Business: How to Mind your Own Business while working your day job
Small Business: How to Mind your Own Business while working your day job

https://myhelps.us/small-business-ebook/

Listen and Subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Additional Resources

Reflection 4 Rejection: Surviving My Mothers Abandonment and Abuse

How to Live in Infinite Possibility

 

How to Tackle Teenage Anxiety and Depression

Tackling Teenage Anxiety and Depression

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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How did you Heal Yourself of, Anxiety?

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

Additional Resources on Anxiety

How to Heal Your Brokenness

Understanding Mental Illness – My Bipolar Life

My Bipolar Life

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.

Today GABE HOWARD is an award-winning speaker, author, and podcast host who lives with bipolar disorder. He hosts the weekly Psych Central Podcast and is the co-host of the Not Crazy podcast. He’s the author of Mental Illness is an Asshole – and Other Observations and has appeared on numerous websites, podcasts, and in many traditional media outlets

Introduction to My Bipolar Life

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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What is Mental Illness?

My Bipolar Life
My Bipolar Life

Mental Illness is an Asshole!

In his book Mental Illness is an Asshole – and Other Observations

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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What is, Bipolar Disorder?

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?

Biological traits

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.

Dealing with Anxiety Disorder after Addiction

https://blog.myhelps.us/understanding-and-managing-compulsive-behaviors/

https://blog.myhelps.us/9-steps-to-effective-advocacy/

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324602.php

 

 

What is the Connection between Sexual Abuse and Addiction?

child sexual abuse
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.

Kreta’s has so many of the, Child Abuse, Statistics, in her story

  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Illicit drug abuse
  • Smoking & drinking at an early age
  • Depression
  • Suicide attempts

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

  1. Ages 12 to 14 are the peak ages for child offenders.
  2. 70 percent of perpetrators have between 1 and 9 victims.
  3. Child abuse,  statistics, show as many as 40 percent of children who are, sexually abused,  are abused by older or more powerful children.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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Dr Tra Ahia How does CBT help a, sexual abuse, survivor 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.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Women with Trauma

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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)
Call me an Addict
Call me an Addict

 

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.

Transform your Mind Stitcher
Transform your Mind Stitcher

Here are 5 tips for loving yourself after, child abuse, and, sexual abuse, 

  1. Read Positive affirmations
  2. Heal the mind through the body (ie. Boxing, Running, Martial Arts)
  3. Mindful breathing exercises and meditation (stop, breathe and think app)
  4. Channel your pain into creativity ( i.e.journaling)
  5. 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

Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Women with Trauma

https://blog.myhelps.us/whats-your-story-breakthesilence/

https://blog.myhelps.us/10-ways-childhood-trauma-impact-adults-in-love/

https://www.masterproblems.com/2017/02/what-can-be-done-about-child-abuse.html

When Your Child Can’t Speak

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/subabuse_childmal.pdf