Month: July 2018

Podcast – Ep. 80 – Life with Autism, C-PTSD, DID, and Narcolepsy, with Kelli Gettel

Over the last couple of years that the Beyond Your Past Podcast has been in existence (including the previous name of Surviving My Podcast), I’ve had the pleasure of talking with dozens of incredible guests on a variety of topics. Everything from Dissociation, to PTSD, DID, Anxiety, along with clinicians and coaches discussing various trauma informed modalities used with their clients, and countless survivor stories that always leave me feeling so encouraged and honored to speak with such incredible people.

The power of sharing your story can never be underestimated. You never know how much you’re going to help someone who you’ll never meet.

This episode focuses on a topic that I have not yet covered on the blog or podcast to date; autism and being a survivor. So when Kelli Gettel contacted me and wanted toAutism_Awareness_Ribbon - beyond your past podcast share her story of living with Autism, PTSD, Narcolepsy, and being raised by a Narcissistic parent, I knew this was going to be an episode that would be as educational as much as it will be inspiring.

Kelli is an entrepreneur living in the central Pennsylvania area, and a parent of 3 children, including a 4 yr old who also was diagnosed with autism. As you’ll hear on the podcast, Kelli has overcome tremendous odds in her life, as so many survivors do, and wants to help others understand life with the challenges she faces. By doing so she wants to educate others that these are not reasons to stay silent, isolated, and living in fear or shame. Rather, by utilizing the power of research and learning about your situation, you can find ways to adapt and overcome, and reach others with a positive, stigma fighting message.

Some of her challenges we discuss on the show include:

  • Life as a female, living on the autism spectrum; including when she was diagnosed, the struggles of non-verbal communication with others.
  • How Narcolepsy affects her relationships, and how Narcolepsy can be a form of Dissociation.
  • Sensory Struggles; the challenges of not being able to filter out surrounding sounds and distractions to be able to focus on a single event or conversation.
  • Social Rules & Protocols – how she had to, and continues to learn how to interact in a social setting. Things that come natural to others have to be learned and adjusted too, which can cause struggles in relationships of all types.
  • Her ability to think in pictures; in her mind she sees life in the form of pictures and moving images, so trying to translate that into words and communicate her thoughts can be a huge challenge.
  • We also touch a bit on her life growing up with a parent who had narcissistic tendencies, and how she’s learning more about understanding her alters and using the IFS model to help.

As you’ll also hear how Kelli is so proud of her youngest son, who, diagnosed with autism, taught himself to read before the age of two and is a huge Beatles fan, knowing every song they’ve ever written and nearly everything about the band. Which also leads into our chat about some of the things that she wants to share about how she’s adapting to the daily struggles that multiple diagnoses can bring:

Education has been so important to Kelli; especially reading books to help understand what she’s experiencing, and make sense of the challenges in her life. She shares some of the books that she has found especially helpful; some of which you might recognize:

This was such an incredible podcast, and as you’ll hear there was no way we could fit in everything that Kelli wanted to share, in just one show. So be on the lookout for future episodes with Kelli as we dive a bit deeper into particular areas of her life.

If you’d like to connect with Kelli Gettel, you can reach her on Facebook. If you would like connect with her, she requests that you please be sure and let her know that you found her via the Beyond Your Past Podcast.

Thank you again Kelli for joining me! Your story is inspiring, your resiliency is amazing! I look forward to future shows with you.

Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

Thank you to my incredible sponsors of the podcast – iNLPCenter.org and Daily Recovery Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Podcast – Ep. 79 – Julie Coons, the Challenges and Triumphs of Sharing Your Story as an Author

I’m so honored to welcome back returning guest, Julie Coons, to this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast. Julie first joined me back in October 2017, to discuss her upcoming book at the time, This Does Not Leave This House. That was an incredible show, and the first time that I was introduced to Julie, and learned more about her amazing and heart wrenching story of being a survivor.

Julie tells us that the inspiration for the title of her book, “This does not leave this house”, comes from being raised in a family where she was told regularly by her father, “what goes on in this house, stays in this house, it was their family secret and nobody’s business but theirs.”

As outlined on JulieCoons.com –

Raised by an abusive, narcissistic mother (who once tried to trick her into having an abortion), Julie Coons was also raped in college by a stranger and later married an abusive man who threatened to kill her if she ever tried to leave. Suffering from physical and mental torment resulting in very low self-esteem, Julie often felt so completely alone during the many struggles of her life that she tried to take her own life.

This book is her true story—telling all the secrets she was never allowed to tell to encourage and motivate others to heal their own lives and break the cycle of abuse. Her story shows that there is hope and life after abuse. Now that the secrets are finally out, Julie has found freedom.

So can you.

This Does Not Leave This House is a raw, poignant, and secret-revealing memoir written to lead a movement to break the silence of abuse and finally end its vicious cycle. With strength and resiliency, Coons provides a voice for the silent abused, letting them know they’re not alone. Justice and hope can prevail. The abused can become victorious. Read the heartbreaking true story of her journey to triumph above overwhelming obstacles.

I wanted to bring her back to see how things have been going since the release of her book, and discuss more of how her life has changed, the struggles she’s faced and the trials that she’s overcome and used as a learning experience throughout the process. As you listen to our chat, we’ll discuss many topics, including:

  • Expecting backlash from her family, and what it was like to not get any at all.
  • The response of her friends who offered her incredible support and validation.
  • The struggles of being an author and a survivor of childhood trauma, including the memories that resurface while writing.
  • How writing a book is not necessarily as cathartic as you might think at the time, and in fact can be retraumatizing as old memories resurface and new ones come to light.
  • Dealing with reviews and comments, both positive and negative, and the struggles of not letting those define her or invalidate her story.
  • Updates on the situation with her mother and where she is now with those challenges.
  • Her new work of fiction, titled “Why She Lied”, is in the works, and Julie shares how that book is coming along and why she’s writing it.

All this and much more on this episode of the podcast is waiting for you, so grab those headphones or plug us into your car and join me as I chat with Julie.

I encourage you to check out JulieCoons.com for more information on her story, a link to buy the book on Amazon, and to sign up for her newsletter so you can stay in the know as she progresses on her new book.  Follow her on Twitter @JulieCoons1

Special Thanks to my Amazing Sponsors iNLPCenter.org and Daily Recovery SupportPlease consider checking them out and exploring how you might benefit from these two incredible resources. 

Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on your favorite podcasting app…that would be so awesome and I’d sure appreciate it!

If you’d like to be a guest on an upcoming podcast, just contact me anytime right here!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

 

Podcast – Ep. 78 – Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the Living DID Program, with Erika Reva

On this episode of the podcast, I’m talking with returning guest Erika Reva, of The We in Me. I first met Erika through Twitter, and I reached out to see if sheErika Reva - The We in Me - Podcast might be interested in writing a guest blog post for Surviving My Past. To this day, her story is still one of the highest viewed posts  on the blog, which speaks not only to her ability as a writer, but her genuine desire to share her story, continue her healing journey, and also help others who live with DID.

Since then she has joined me on the podcast to discuss DID and Self Harm, and we’ve remained in contact through social media and periodic emails following each other’s journey. After one such recent email exchange, I learned of a new program she had created, called Living DID. After hearing more about it, I knew I wanted to see if she’d be interested in coming back on Beyond Your Past, to share with us how this program came to be, what it’s about, and the feedback she’s received from participants who’ve taken it.

As Erika outlines:

The feedback has been wonderful and many others with DID & trauma disorders have contributed their stories and journey’s for us to share as various examples throughout the discussion based course. Each week we delve into detailed discussion based lectures that pertain to various topics on DID.

Week 1- intro to us (The We in Me) and the course.
Week 2-  Protectors, these parts that are often demonized and feared will be discussed
Week 3- Triggers
Week 4- Littles, the young traumatized parts that are protected and hidden
Week 5- The problems with Docs, we have 2 systems who have also agreed to join us and discuss their struggles as well as our own story and several others who have given us permission to share, so they can remain anonymous.
Week 6- Therapy, an in depth look on what therapy can/does look like for someone with DID and as the psychologists ways to best help them.
Week 7- Relationships & Closing – Focus this final week will be on relationships within the system, people such as romantic or friend type relationships as well as the correlation of BDSM & the trauma community that is vastly overlooked.

As you’ll hear, Erika has fostered collaborative relationships with her local NAMI chapter, and the Chicago Police Department to help educate first responders on how they can prepare for and have a better understanding of, the challenges of walking into a situation involving victims of trauma and those living with DID.  She’s also been invited to speak at an event sponsored by #SickNotWeak, not-for-profit corporation started by Michael Landsberg.

It’s always such a pleasure to talk with Erika, and to discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder with her and others who live with it and have decided to take their story and use it to try to help others. The more light we can share on this topic, the more we continue to educate ourselves and those who are affected with DID.

Be sure and follow Erika and her work with Living DID on , TheWeInMe.com – and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheWeInMe.

Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to Beyond Your Past on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, Spotify, or your favorite podcasting app! 🙂

Matthew Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 77 – Vennie Kocsis – Healing from Childhood Trauma, Learning to Love Yourself

Vennie Kocsis - Guest Podcast - Beyond Your PastWelcome to Part II, of my new series with Author, Artist, Poet, and Incredible Survivor, Vennie Kocsis. I’m so excited to be recording this series with Vennie, because the message she has, from her own lived experience is one that countless survivors can relate too. Plus, I enjoy being able to help support her work and message any way that I can because it’s helped me in my own journey.

Vennie is an author, artist, poetry writer, and survivor of Sam Fife’s Move of God cult.  My creativity is the therapy by which I have survived the memories of my childhood abuse. There are many  caves where memories hide out, and I intend to travel them all in this lifetime. I am raw. I am flawed. I am open and here without shame, to tell the true story of my own childhood. I write to survive, and I write for those who cannot find the words to tell their own story. Most of all, I write for those who cannot express it. For you, I give my heart and all of my tender parts.

In the first episode of this series, How Trauma Manifests Itself in Adulthood, we talked about the struggle with food. This is something that is close to both of our hearts, and during the show we share many lived experiences in areas such as:

  • Self Shame with how, when, and what we eat.
  • Why dieting doesn’t work for us
  • Reparenting ourselves when it comes to food
  • Moderation
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • and more!

In Part II, we’re talking about some of Vennie’s own personal survivor story, which includes enduring childhood sexual abuse, and being raised in a religious cult.  You’ll hear some of the tragic circumstances, grooming, and brainwashing that inspired her write her best-selling book, Cult Child. Through it all she is here to share her story, in her own unique and personal way, to not only continue her own healing journey but also her passion of reaching others and being a voice for those who are unable to speak their truth.

Along with her story, we spend a lot of time discussing what it means to love ourselves, as a survivor. We explore that means for her, how I’ve learned to do that for myself, and how you can explore that in your own life. As you’ll hear, it’s important to remember that the way we choose to do this is an individual experience, a very personal and heartfelt part of healing.

We’ll discuss how journaling and post-it notes can play a huge role, especially early on in the process. Writing letters, embracing the mindset shift, working through the pain and anger, and realizing that as an adult, free from abuse, nobody has the right to tell us that we can’t love ourselves, or that we don’t get to heal.  What an incredibly liberating time when we get to that point, and as Vennie shares, it opens up a whole new world of healing and speaking our truth.

We cover all this and much more, so grab those headphones or plug us into your speakers and join us for the next installment in the series, How Trauma Manifests Itself in Adulthood.

Be sure and follow Vennie on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, @VennieKocsis.  You see her artwork, read her poetry, and pick up a copy of her book, Cult Child, at VennieKocsis.com

-Matt Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 76 – Vennie Kocsis – How Trauma Manifests Itself in Adulthood – Food Struggles

Trauma manifests itself in so many ways in our adult lives. While we’d like to think that “what happened in the past, stays in the past”, the unfortunate reality is that regardless of when a traumatic event(s) occurred, the effects last long into adulthood.  That’s not to say that there isn’t hope for healing, because I absolutely believe that there is, but we must first understand what’s happened and then we can begin to heal from it.

For someone who spent about 30 years ignoring those effects, it was quite a shock when I finally did start to confront all those memories and bring them to the forefront instead of leaving them stuffed away in a shoe box, in the back of the closet of my mind. “Out of sight, Out of mind” can no longer be an option when we start to deep dive into recovery. As intimidating as that can be, it’s also an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Being able to put the puzzle pieces in place, and shine light in the dark corners of our minds can yield incredible awareness and lead to self-compassion in ways that we never dreamed of.

Vennie Kocsis - Guest Podcast - Beyond Your Past

One of the struggles that I have faced my entire life, and most certainly as a result of childhood trauma, is in the area of food. Or better put, realizing out how unhealthy of a relationship I’d had with it for most of my life and finding ways to turn that around. Not out of guilt, but out of self-awareness and compassion for who I was, what I went through, and where I wanted to see myself in the future.

My guest, Vennie Kocsis, joins me on this episode of the podcast to discuss this particular aspect of how trauma manifests itself in our lives.

Vennie is an author, artist, poetry writer, and survivor survivor of Sam Fife’s Move of God cult.  My creativity is the therapy by which I have survived the memories of my childhood abuse. There are many  caves where memories hide out, and I intend to travel them all in this lifetime. I am raw. I am flawed. I am open and here without shame, to tell the true story of my own childhood. I write to survive, and I write for those who cannot find the words to tell their own story. Most of all, I write for those who cannot express it. For you, I give my heart and all of my tender parts.

I first met Vennie several years ago, through Twitter, and almost immediately we hit it off as friends and fellow survivors. Our mutual respect for each other as survivors and being willing to share so openly about our struggles, helped form a lasting bond of friendship that I value so much.

Her insight into the world of surviving some of the most horrific abuse imaginable has helped her in using her voice and talents to reach a huge audience with a message of hope and resilience. A message of finding ways to tell your story, and not be ashamed in asking for help.  To that end, not being ashamed to admit that she is still a work in progress, as we all are on our own journeys. She uses her book, Cult Child, her art and poetry to convey what’s in her heart both now and when she was experiencing the trauma first hand.

It’s real, it’s raw, it’s vulnerable, and it’s all about not being ashamed of who she is and the message that she has for the world.

In this podcast we cover topics related to food and survivors:

  • Self Shame with how, when, and what we eat.
  • Why dieting doesn’t work for us
  • Reparenting ourselves when it comes to food
  • Moderation
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • and more!

As you listen to the show, we hope that you’ll feel validated and encouraged with the realization that you are not alone. The struggles of looking at ourselves in the mirror each day can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way for the rest of your life.  Making small changes in our lifestyle and a conscious effort to give ourselves a break for a change, can be just the ticket towards finding that self-love and acceptance that’s been absent in our lives for so long.

This is the first in a series of how trauma manifests itself in adulthood, so be sure and watch for future episodes on other topics of being a survivor.

You can learn more about Vennie, her book “Cult Child”, check out her poetry and artwork, on VennieKocsis.com.  Be sure and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well, @VennieKocsis.

-Matthew Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.