Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivor

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. 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.

 

Podcast – Ep. 75 – Rachel Grant, Survivor Struggles and Mentally Ill Labels

Living in today’s volatile and controversial world can take its toll on anyone. With so much violence happening around the world, discord among not only world leaders across the globe but certainly in the US, and the phrase “mentally ill” being tossed around in context to some of the most heinous crimes in recent history, and it’s no wonder we can feel unsettled.

For survivors, it’s tough enough navigating daily life in the wake of a traumatic past, but add in all of the pressures of being bombarded with news and current events 24/7, and the struggle gets exponentially more difficult.

I too struggle with my own thoughts and even my most trusted coping strategies are taxed to their limits at times trying to stay grounded while “fighting the good fight” as it were, to raise awareness and get involved in areas that I’m passionate about. It feels like an uphill battle that gets steeper and steeper, even with the best plan and self-care strategies in place.

Rachel Grant - Sexual Abuse Survivor Coach, Podcast GuestThat’s why I wanted to spend some time chatting with friend, colleague, and returning guest to the podcast, Rachel Grant. From the very first time that we collaborated back in the earlier episodes of the show, we’ve developed a friendship and mutual respect for each other not only as advocates and survivors, but as everyday people just trying to find our way in this world and make a difference while we continue to heal.

Rachel Grant is a Sexual Abuse Survivor Coach, with an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Her website, RachelGrantCoaching.com features not only her individual and group work with survivors, but also her book “Beyond Surviving”, Facebook Group, Master Class, and free and low-cost Audible Downloads covering topics such as Shame, Boundaries, Abandonment, and much more.

 

Some of the topics that Rachel and I discuss on this episode include:

 

  • Feelings of Shame and Triggers that can arise in regards to the mass violence and political climate across the world.
  • “Mentally Ill” labels being tossed around in negative and stigmatizing ways in regards to school and church shootings, gun control, world leaders, and those who suffer with depression.
  • Getting involved in causes that we believe in, and trying to do too much.
  • Looking at labels in a different context, as a way to help feel inspired and educated, and provide direction towards treatment and resources.
  • Learning to pause, think before we speak and react, when it comes to highly charged situations, reducing anxiety, and in everyday life.
  • Using “service” to help get out of our heads, reduce burnout, and re-energize for not only our own journey but our involvement in causes we are passionate in.

Thank you again Rachel from coming back on the podcast and sharing your insight and heartfelt message for survivors. I’ve learned so much from you and I look forward to our collaborative work in the future.

Be sure and check out RachelGrantCoaching.com and follow her on Twitter: @CoachRachelG.

-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. 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.

Podcast – Ep. 63 – Kristin Walker – CEO, Podcaster, Survivor – Using her Voice in Advocacy

Kristin Sunanta Walker is the CEO of the technology consulting firm, everythingEHR, and the founder of the Mental Health News Radio Network. She’s also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and an advocate for survivors of childhood trauma. She has interviewed leaders in the behavioral health community such as CEO’s of technology companies, counselors, best-selling authors, and global experts in the field of Behavioral Health. Her show is downloaded in over 171 countries and continues its reach with inspiring guests from every corner of the world.

Kristin is on the board of several organizations within Behavioral Health as well as the subject matter expert regarding EHR technology. Multiple strategic partnerships and speaking engagements about childhood sexual abuse, narcissism, and behavioral health technology keep her traveling schedule extremely full as well as being a sought after guest on other popular podcasts.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because my podcast, Beyond Your Past, is also on the MHNR Network, and I thought it would be great to chat with my friend and amazing advocate, Kristin, so she could share her story of being a survivor, her struggles and triumphs along the way, and of course about how and why she started this amazing platform for mental health and advocacy podcasters.

Podcasting is something that Kristin is passionate about, and even though the MHNR Network now has over 20 active podcasts and many more waiting in the wings, it didn’t start out like that. It started with her having a vision of just needing to get her story out there, to start talking about not only her past and the things that she struggles with, but to shed light on advocacy as a whole. She knew that she had to start talking about it; silence was no longer an option.

So she got a mic and started her own podcast, talking to anyone and everyone who would want to share. Over time and utilizing her connections in the business world, her own “1 woman show” blossomed into the MHNR Network. A place to give her a past, and healing, a voice, and where other people who had a similar vision could come together with a common goal of Advocacy.

During our chat, we cover several topics in a very open, vulnerable conversation:

How old were you when you were sexually abused?
How did that make you view men?
How has that affected your interpersonal relationships?
What were the circumstances around you telling and how old were you?
What people can you remember that helped you through this?
How did your past of being a childhood trauma survivor inspire you to start MHNR?
What is Mental Health After Dark?

It was a wonderful time chatting with my friend and fellow advocate, and I’m honored to share that with you now. I hope you’ll consider checking out her show, and as many of the other amazing podcasts on the network. It’s through using our voice, and sharing, that we can make a difference in our own journey of healing and in the lives of countless others.

Check out Mental Health News Radio Network and learn more about Kristin Walker by following her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

Matthew Pappas, CLC