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 to 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:
- The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kolk,
- Neuro Tribes, The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity – Steve Silberman
- Boundaries – John Townsend & Henry Cloud
- In Sheep’s Clothing – George K. Simon
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
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.