Author

Podcast – Ep. 83 – Marriage, Mental Health, and Self Care, with Joe and Beka Lombardo

When you’ve been married for 17 years, you can certainly say that you’ve seen your share of struggles and triumphs, ups and downs, good times and rough times. Even more, through all of those experiences you can most definitely say that you are dedicated to each other and your relationship. It’s that kind of dedication that can help carry you through the challenges that come with mental illness, and also help you celebrate each and ever win in your relationship and advocacy work. That’s especially true with my guests on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, Beka and Joe Lombardo.

beka and joe lombardo - podcast guest on beyond your past - marriage and mental healthI first came to know Beka a few years back when I started Surviving My Past, and she offered to be a guest blogger, and share some insight in the area of body image and bullying. Since then we’ve kept in touch and supported each other’s work while building a friendship and mutual respect for the struggles of living with mental health challenges.

Beka is a blogger for The Mighty, and an author of her own book, It’s Not Your Journey, the true story of one woman who fights a battle inside her mind every single day and attempts to document what she is feeling to help others while she helps herself.  Her ongoing battle is not fought alone, her incredible husband Joe is there with her every step of the way as they navigate daily life in the wake of a troubled past. Their never-ending desire to help others is forged not only in blogging and her book, but also with their podcast, Voices for Change 2.0, which I had the pleasure of being a guest on previously.

During my recent chat with Beka and Joe, we talk primarily about their relationship and the unique challenges that come with being a suicide attempt survivor and having a mental illness:

  • Did Rebecca explain her mental health struggles before you started a relationship?
  • You’ve been married for nearly 17 years despite the difficulties mental illness brings.
  • What advice do you have for someone entering a relationship with someone with mental illness?
  • The effect that Beka’s suicide attempt had on Joe and how he’s been able to support her as well as making sure to take care of himself.
  • How and why they started the #KeepTalkingMH hashtag and what it’s meant for them and so many who use it on social media.

Thanks so much to both Beka and Joe for joining me on the show, and being so open about their struggles so that others can benefit and realize that no matter what they endure, there is hope and that they are surely not alone.  Be sure and check out RebeccaLombardo.com for information about their advocacy work, her book, and the podcast.  Oh, and if you are looking for a guitar teacher, Joe teaches on the weekends and just might be looking for some new students!

Please consider subscribing and leaving a review on your favorite podcasting app, I would definitely appreciate it,  and thank you to my incredible sponsors, iNLPCenter.org and Daily Recovery Support.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 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. 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. 72 – Author and Survivor, Larry Ruhl

There’s a certain type of kinship that exists between survivors of childhood trauma. It’s certainly not something that anyone would wish for, and definitely not the most desirable of circumstances in which to strike up a friendship, but none the less when you meet a fellow survivor, there is often this connection that allows the conversation to flow as if you’ve been friends for years.

It’s not only a mutual respect for one another, but a feeling of just “getting it”, by knowing where the other is coming from. Even though your stories are different, the feelings are often very similar if not the same.

I’ve found out first hand through my own healing journey, that survivors are some of the most compassionate, kind, and understanding people that you will ever meet. They know what it’s like to live through hell and find a way to keep fighting. To use their story to help inspire others, and to help give a voice to those who are still silenced.

That is certainly the case with my guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, as I talk with author and survivor, Larry Ruhl.

Larry’s book, Breaking the Ruhl’s, is his story as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Throughout the book he faces the challenging questions. “Is it truly possible to move through the shame I carry every day? Can I have a full life without depending on mind-numbing drugs and alcohol? And the most difficult question of all: Do I tell? But how do I tell? Who do I tell? What happens if I do tell?”

Larry Ruhl serves as a board member for Taking Back Ourselves, which facilitates weekends of recovery for female survivors of sexual abuse, and is a registered speaker with the RAINN network (Rape Abuse Incest National Network). He previously served as a board member at Male Survivor. He also spoke at colleges and retreats to increase awareness of sexual abuse against men and boys. Today he shares his story publicly to spread awareness and to help others shed the shame and stigma associated with sexual abuse. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), with a degree in Display & Exhibit Design, and worked as a creative director at a textile firm for ten years until opening his own home furnishings/interior design business in 2004. He works as an artist and designer in the Hudson Valley.

During my chat with Larry we cover topics including:

  • This memoir is so personal and the story is so painful. How did you find the strength to share your story? Did writing it help you heal?
  • When did you first realize that what was happening in your household was not only not normal, but was physical, emotional, and sexual abuse?
  • You talk about how you’ve found a way to forgive your parents, but that you’ll never forget what happened. Can you speak to that?
  • You’re no longer in contact with your parents, but you are close with your sister, who still lives with them. Can you talk about how you decided to move forward with this book?
  • Now that the book has been released, how has it impacted your healing journey, your relationships, and your life as a whole?

Larry shares openly and vulnerably about his life and struggles, and offers such hope and encouragement during our conversation that you can help but be inspired by his bravery and the bravery of all who speak out and refuse to be silent.

I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to talk to this incredible survivor and I look forward to bringing him back on the podcast in the future to talk more about his story.  Thank you again Larry for your book, your message of hope, and your continued desire to reach those all who have survived the trauma of abuse.

You can purchase, Breaking the Ruhl’s on Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. Be sure and follow Larry on Twitter & Instagram, @LarryRuhl

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation 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.