Podcast

Podcast – Ep. 93 – Mental Health in the Workplace, with Petra Velzeboer.

Mental Health overall has been getting more visibility in main stream media and socially, now more than ever. The awareness continues to increase, and more and more people are understanding the importance of not only their physical health, but also their mental health.

We don’t always realize however, that our mental health at work is just as important as when we are outside of the office or job site. With the responsibilities of every day becoming more and more strenuous, we find ourselves with fewer and fewer opportunities to address our mental well-being. There’s a million and one things that pull us in a million and two directions every single day, which means that self-care can go by the way side in favor of simply trying to make it through the day. Opening up and talking to someone; reaching out for help when the pressures of life become overwhelming, feels more like a luxury than a necessity. Or worse yet, feeling like asking for help is a sign of weakness, rather than self-awareness and strength.

My colleague, friend, and fellow podcaster, Petra Velzeboer joins me on this episode of the podcast to talk about her work as a mental health business consultant; how using her own life experiences helps break down the walls in the office and job site, encouraging employees to speak out about their own struggles and not be ashamed in asking for help.

I also had the honor of being Petra’s podcast, Adversity to Advantage, where I share some of my story of surviving and thriving after trauma. Give it a listen on her podcast website or your favorite podcasting app.

Petra Velzeboer is a psychotherapist, living in London, as well as an executive coach, mental health consultant, speaker, and podcaster.  Her expertise of mental health in the work place, allows her to travel abroad speaking to companies or all types, about the importance of addressing mental health within the company.  By sharing some of her own story to help break the ice, she encourages employees from all walks of life to normalize the conversation of mental health in their lives.

In addition to our chat about normalizing the conversation of mental health in the workplace, you’ll learn how Petra was raised in a religious cult, where she experienced multiple types of abuse and public punishment. By the time she was able to leave and strike out on her own, she had no idea who she was, and how to survive in a world which was so foreign to her.  The pressure was so unbearable, that she found herself nearly unable to function outside of of the bubble she was raised in, which eventually lead to thoughts of ending her life.

In a final effort to survive, she made a pact with herself to give it 1 year to figure things out and learn to live successfully like she saw others doing. This was the opportunity she needed, and during that time she learned and practiced mindfulness, living authentically, taking care of herself, and realizing her own potential to not only survive, but thrive.

As she shares, you’ll learn more about her struggles with being sexually assaulted, living as a young mother of two, learning personal boundaries in relationships, and eventually through all her trials; realize her calling as a therapist and coach. Even in the midst of extreme circumstances, she was being transformed into someone who now inspires and encourages others not only in the work place, but in their personal lives as well.

Petra talks about the important lesson she learned during the darkest parts of her life, and throughout her ongoing healing; to show continue showing up in life. Be authentic, and keep tearing down the walls that only keep others out, but keep you from receiving the help you need as well.

We discuss the importance of allowing yourself a designated time to “fall apart”, and feel the emotions and struggles without pushing them aside and burying them in favor of simply pressing on. Learning to take care of yourself in this way means that you are setting healthy boundaries to feel your emotions, but not let them take over your life.

There is much more to Petra’s story that we talk about on the show, so please give it a listen, and share it with your friends and social media.  Don’t forget to subscribe to her podcast, Adversity to Advantage, and check out some of her past episodes featuring guests who have overcome incredible struggles and found a way to thrive.

Be sure and follow Petra on Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin, as well as her website, PetraVelzeboer.com

-Matt Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 91 – Insight on Intergenerational Trauma, with Emily Wanderer Cohen

Trauma survivors have literally experienced first hand what many could not even comprehend. A past filled with abusive parents and  caregivers, toxic family members and friends, and a childhood full of secrets that, when told, can make your hair on the back of you neck stand up on end! It’s a past that none would wish for, yet is more common than we realize. Chances are if are reading this or listening to the podcast, you know someone who is a survivor, or perhaps you are one yourself.

What about a different type of trauma though, one where you don’t need to experience first-hand, in order to feel its effects. I’m talking about intergenerational trauma, and I’m honored to be talking with expert, author, and coach, Emily Wanderer Cohen about this very subject.

Over the 2 years or so that I have been recording this podcast, I’ve covered many different types of trauma, modalities of treatment and healing, and talked with incredible survivors who have overcome tremendous odds and now share their story to help inspire others.  This is the first time I’ve covered intergenerational trauma, and I learned quite a bit from talking with Emily.

Emily Wanderer Cohen is a two-time international bestselling author, speaker, coach, and intergenerational trauma expert.

A second-generation (2G) Holocaust survivor, she knows what it feels like to live with transmitted trauma and helps her clients, including second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors; sexual, spousal, and child abuse survivors; and other genocide, natural disaster, and other severe trauma survivors heal from the trauma, move forward with their lives, and stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma.

So what exactly is intergenerational trauma is (also referred to as inherited trauma or transgenerational trauma)? As Emily explains, it’s described as effects of trauma that the sufferer did not experience first hand. She dives deeper into that explanation during our chat, as well as:

  • Does it only affect descendants of Holocaust survivors or others as well?
  • What are some of the common signs of intergenerational trauma?
  • How can someone stop the cycle of transmission?
  • How do we know it’s real? Are there any scientific studies that you can point to?

Emily shares more about some of the case studies and information on how those who have experienced this type of trauma often have lower cortisol levels, and therefore can be less equipped to handle this or any other type of trauma than someone who has normal cortisol levels. Intergenerational trauma survivors also have an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and trauma based chronic illnesses such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and more.

We cover these topics and more as Emily Wanderer Cohen gives us insight into a type of trauma that can begin to manifest itself without the survivor ever even considering the possibility of its existence in their life.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast and do some additional research, including checking out both of Emily’s international best selling books: From Generation to Generation, and The Daughter’s Dilemma.

You can follow Emily Wanderer Cohen on Twitter, Facebook, and her website, TraumaHealingCoach.com

I hope you’ll consider sharing this podcast on your social media, and maybe even subscribing and leaving a review on your favorite podcasting app! I would definitely appreciate it.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

If you’d like to be a guest on a future episode, just contact me anytime to share your story. 

 

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. 90 – Depression and Men’s Mental Health, with Al Levin, “It’s OK to not be OK”.

As fate would have it, divine intervention, or just total coincidence (not that I believe in coincidences), recently on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, I’ve been talking with guests surrounding the area of men’s mental health. Being a guy myself, it’s not like I haven’t covered this topic before on the show, however given recent events politically and socially, I’m glad that these recent episodes are helping to shine light on the male side of mental health and being a survivor of trauma. We are truly all in this together, regardless of gender, and the more we continue to bring this out into the open, the more we chip away at the stigma and shame of reaching out for help.

In episode 89, I talked with Andrea Schneider LCSW about overcoming shame, feeling alienated in regards to the #metoo movement, and reaching out for professional help as a male survivor of trauma.  You can click here to check out that episode, or listen on your favorite podcasting app. 

al levin - the depression files podcast - guest on beyond your past podcastMy guest here on episode 90, fellow podcaster, advocate for men’s mental health, and friend Al Levin.

“I’m an assistant principal in a public elementary school.  I’ve been in education for nearly twenty years.  I’m married and have four children. I’ve recently completed all of the coursework in working towards a Co-Active coaching certificate through the Coaches Training Institute.  The coaching work has allowed me to support the staff I work with in the public schools, as well as others who are seeking support in reaching their goals or working past challenging times in their lives.

I am also a person who has recovered from a major depressive disorder, an illness that was quite debilitating for nearly six months of my life.  Through this experience, I have become very passionate about learning more about mental health and supporting others with a mental illness, particularly men with depression. In addition to this blog, I speak publicly for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and I tweet @allevin18.”

Al’s podcast, The Depression Files, and his advocacy work focuses primarily on men’s mental health and specifically with depression, along with encouraging men to open up and seek help when their depression reaches a level where thoughts of suicide begin to surface. Al Levin himself was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and knows first hand what’s like to wake up in the middle of night contemplating ways to take his life, feeling like a burden on his family and society, and living life completely consumed by depression.

His website, also outlines more of his story of “how everything seemed to be going well, yet everything seemed to come crashing down.”  Which is precisely the topic of our conversation on the podcast. I wanted to chat with Al because his story is one that so many men and women today can relate too. A guy who’s life was seemingly humming along; good job, hard work paying off with a new promotion, loving wife and family, good friends, yet something lurking in the background and beginning to surface that he didn’t expect.

During the podcast you’ll learn how:

  • In 2010, Al received the promotion he had been working so hard towards, but once he took on the new responsibilities, everything began to change and his was slowly but surely being turned upside down. The stresses of late hours, budget constraints, managing staff, and oversized classes began to take its toll. He was running on adrenaline more often than not, not sleeping well or eating properly,  and not communicating with his wife, family, and friends.
  • How those events translated into seeking help from his family doctor and starting on medications to help with a new diagnosis of depression.
  • As things began to continue spiraling down, affecting his job, family, and friendships, thoughts of suicide began to surface.
  • How waking up in the middle of the night after dreaming of ways to take his own life, prompted him to talk with his wife and family and seek the help of a mental health professional.
  • Along with Al’s story, which he shares much more in-depth on the podcast, we discuss:
    • The shame that men face in asking for help.
    • How anxiety and depression can go hand in hand
    • Asking a safe person to help advocate for you when seeking help
    • How thoughts of suicide and those who unfortunately take their own life, is not an act of selfishness but rather is often feeling of being a burden on their family and society.

We cover all of this and more on the podcast, as Al uses his voice and life experiences to help inspire everyone who lives with depression, thoughts of suicide or any mental health struggle to not be ashamed or embarrassed about asking for help.

Thank you again Al for joining me today, your message is so important, now more than ever.

You can follow Al on Twitter: @allevin18 , his website TheDepressionFiles.com , and his podcast on iTunes and Podbean

-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. 89 – Men’s Mental Health, #MeToo, and Overcoming Shame, with Andrea Schneider LCSW

For all of the progress that has been made in recent years in the area of men’s mental health, it’s still a subject that can yield a variety of responses based on not only who you talk too, but also the current social media and political climate as well.

I can remember back when I was I was in school, (and no the 1980’s weren’t all THAT long ago) the subject of mental health in general was not something you heard much about, and even less in the area of men’s mental health. We didn’t have bullying prevention rally’s in school, sex education was a 1 semester class in your senior year, and intro to psychology was class you took to study the reactions of other classmates when you asked them certain types of questions.

Nowadays, mental health is all over social media, commercials on TV and radio, there are podcasts devoted to all aspects of it *hint hint*, incredible advocacy groups who share knowledge and help inspire change,  and overall the exposure that this previously ignored and taboo topic is getting is encouraging.

So why is it then, that for all of the positive movement, there are still so many that feel ashamed to talk about it with a doctor or therapist, much less discuss it around the campfire or weekend cookout?

My point is, to reiterate that while we have come a long way, there is still so much work to be done. So much stigma and shame to expose in the area of men’s mental health.  I feel it’s important to mention that I am by no means minimizing the important of mental health in women, but for the purposes of this podcast with Andrea Schneider, we’ll focus more on the male challenges.

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in San Dimas, CA. She received her MSW from University of Michigan (the top ranked social work program in the country) and her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA (#2 in the country). 

During her 20+ year career, Andrea has counseled thousands of individuals and families covering a broad range of issues and challenges, developing specialties in maternal wellness, narcissistic abuse recovery, special needs parenting, and  grief/loss.  Andrea is EMDR trained, a modality which helps clients dealing with a wide range of concerns in trauma recovery, including PTSD, complex-PTSD, relational trauma, depression, anxiety, grief and loss.

She also has experience in helping children and families deal with loss and trauma issues. Not only is she trained in EMDR, but during her Master’s program, Andrea interned at a hospice agency and trained under an art/play therapy program. She uses art intervention in her treatment with both children and adults, and has a Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Credential from the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute. 

Andrea is also a fellow podcaster on the Mental Health News Radio Network, where you can find her show, The Savvy Shrink.

During our chat on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, we discuss some areas surrounding men’s mental health including:

  • The man card, and tough guy image that follows males regardless of background
  • Building the trauma language, emotional language, and confidence in opening up to others
  • How men are getting more confident in reaching out, yet still feel ashamed and self-conscious
  • How much political climate and social media affect our confidence in talking about mental health, and how much we share.
  • Bullying and mental health, and the changes from decades ago and now in 2018.
  • Men and the #MeToo movement, including the feelings of alienation that are present even with all of the exposure.

Andrea Schneider and I dive more into each of those topics and hopefully shed some light on not only men’s mental health, but the importance of reaching out for help regardless of gender. Everyone deserves to be heard, validated, and appreciated for who they are and what they’ve been through.

Please be sure and check out AndreaSchneiderLCSW.com , and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

If you haven’t done so, please consider subscribing to Beyond Your Past on your favorite podcasting app and sharing it on social media!

-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. 88 – 3 Key Components of Healing and Transformation, with Christy Maxey MC, LPC.

Healing and Transformation, something most of us have likely heard about in one form or another. Perhaps it’s in regards to mending a broken heart, transforming negative mindsets, or a shift in the way we feel about ourselves in everyday life. When we’re talking about healing from trauma, it’s all of those ideas and more.

When you are working through something that has negatively affected your life on a level that perhaps you don’t even fully comprehend yet, your core beliefs are shaken and many times completely twisted so much that you don’t even remember who you once were. Or, you have very little idea, if any at all, of being any other way than what you’ve been groomed to believe and accept.

christy maxey - podcast guest - beyond your pastChanging those negative core beliefs is an essential part of healing, and if we’re being honest, it’s vital to our healing. If we don’t learn to transform the very way that we see ourselves in all aspects of life; healing becomes exponentially more difficult. Essentially we are fighting to change something that we aren’t willing to or don’t know how to change, because it’s been so ingrained into our minds over years, decades even.

My guest on the podcast today, Christy Maxey, talks about the importance of changing negative core beliefs with 3 key components of healing and transformation.

Christy Maxey, MC, LPC, is based out of Arizona, and works with clients locally and virtually in the areas of depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma,
self-esteem issues, divorce, and PTSD. She has also branched out into personal development coaching, which you can read more about on her website.  Christy utilizes a method she created and developed, called the Maxx Method, which helps manage emotions, identify the inner critic and find ways to change negative core beliefs, solve the wounds that keep you stuck, give yourself permission to dream and learn how to take action now on your own behalf. You can learn more about her Maxx Method by clicking here.

During our chat on the podcast, Christy talks further about the essential components of healing:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Self-Compassion

As you listen to Christy share about these 3 key areas, you’ll learn not only the importance of each and why, but ways that you can implement them into your life. After all, it’s good to know about something but it’s even more important to learn how to do it.

  • In addition to those key components, we also chat about topics including:
  • The 3 areas that we are all driven by in daily life and in healing
  • Why we can get stuck in one or more of those areas
  • More on the negative core beliefs and how to change them
  • The importance and benefits of inner child work in healing
  • How we judge ourselves, and why that makes it uncomfortable to revisit feelings and events of the past
  • How we are all valuable, but along the way in life we learn to devalue ourselves

There’s so much more I could tell you, but hey I don’t want to spoil the podcast for ya before you even listen to it, so why not click that play button right here in this post, or listen on your favorite podcasting app and learn more about Christy’s work in counseling and coaching, and about the importance of changing our negative core beliefs in order to heal.

Don’t forget to follow Christy Maxey on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin as well as her website, MaxxMethod.com

– 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. 87 – Mental Health Advocacy from Personal Experience, with Charlotte Underwood

Living day in and day out as someone who has experienced extreme hardship from the loss of a parent, childhood trauma, addiction, eating disorders, and more, is hard enough as it is, but to speak about it publicly as you continue to face your past each day as well can be even more difficult. After all this is something that we’d probably rather push down into a dark corner of our mind, and never think about again.

It’s often a source that still has open wounds which are decades old, some of which still feel as fresh as the day they happened. Others, well the scars are there to remind us of what we experienced. Either way, those things that we’d rather forget, can be a source of motivation and encouragement, both for us and for those whom we influence each day, knowingly or otherwise.

charlotte underwood - author and advocate - podcast guest - beyond your pastCharlotte Underwood is an advocate, author, and freelance writer who’s dedicated her life to talking about areas of personal struggle in hopes of helping others and instituting the change that is so desperately needed in the areas of mental health care and support. Her content includes topics such as: Anxiety & Depression, Self-Harm, Suicide Loss and Suicidal Ideations, Eating Disorders, Bullying, and more. Bringing her on as my guest for this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, is something I have been looking forward ever since I came across her profile on Instagram and began following her work.

As she outlines on her website, CharlotteUnderwoodAuthor.com I’m Charlotte Underwood, a young 22-year-old from Norfolk, UK. I am a growing mental health advocate and like to use writing to inform and support. On this blog you can keep up to date with my written work, both self published and through other means. I post a lot about mental health, depression, anxiety and suicide. I want to raise awareness as well as end the stigma.

I have been writing professionally for a year now but don’t let that put you off, for though it seems like I have little experience, that is not that case. I have written two E-Books and run my own growing and successful blog, soon I even hope to break my poetry out into the world! I have written over 100 Guest posts, …and have worked for The Metro, TalkSpace, Young Minds and The Content Wolf.

My content is focused on mental health and lifestyle, you can expect candid and thought-provoking content from me.

During my chat with Charlotte, you’ll learn:

  • When she first felt like something was wrong in her life.
  • What it’s been like for her living with a mental illness
  • How her recovery continues to progress
  • Ways that she manages daily life with her mental illness
  • What being an advocate means to her, and why sharing from personal experience is so important.
  • Seeking out mental health assistance in the U.K.; including her personal challenges and ways that she’s working to help change that process.

Charlotte speaks very candidly with a perspective that is well beyond her age. Indeed, she’s lived through some tremendous adversity, including losing her father to suicide and surviving her own attempt. Her honesty and drive to help others and bring about awareness and change, is inspiring. Her willingness to talk about the topics that many would rather avoid,  is and surely will continue to make a difference in this world.

There’s much more I could share about my chat with this incredible advocate and survivor, so head over check out my podcast with Charlotte Underwood, and learn more about her life and her dedication to helping others :).

Please consider following Charlotte on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where she is very active on a daily basis. Her blog is a great follow as well, and her two eBooks are available for download on her website.

Thanks again Charlotte for joining on the podcast, I’m honored to know you and to help share your message!

-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. 86 – A Diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder, and Identifying Hypomanic Triggers, with John Dickson.

Living with a mental health challenge of any type, often means that you go through many stages of exploration until you reach a true diagnosis that will allow you and your helping professional to put a plan in place of the proper treatment and self-care routine. Initially these types of changes in our mental health can often lead to having more questions than answers, but in time the new insight gained can be invaluable to our recovery.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, John Dickson, lived with Major Depressive Disorder for 40 years, before being officially diagnosed. As he shares on his blog, The3inMe.ga, …Over the majority of that period, my illness was undiagnosed and untreated. It’s only in hindsight that I can see that I’ve experienced many depressive episodes. Each episode was both darker and longer in duration than its predecessor. The most severe episode culminated in a suicide attempt in September 2014. It was after this attempt that I was diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder.

More recently I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder. Bipolar II Disorder differs from Bipolar Disorder in having a hypomanic state rather than a manic state. Hypomanic simply means less manic. I’m still coming to terms with this new diagnosis and don’t yet fully understand it. I’ll share what I learn in this blog.

Depression is the silent killer. This is true especially, among men. Men remain silent and steadfast while they suffer. I was one of those men. I suffered in silence until I succumbed. This lesson has taught me to speak out about the dangers of silence and in this blog, I speak out. I also have a son and family who I love very much. This blog is for them. Here they can see for themselves that I’m recovering.

John and I first met at the HealtheVoices 2018 Conference, in Chicago. We struck up a friendship there and have kept in touch since that event. You can listen to some thoughts that I had about the conference on a special edition podcast that I recorded this past spring. 

During the podcast, we cover topics including:

  • Why John is so open about sharing his mental health struggles.
  • More about the events that lead to an attempt in taking his own life in September, 2014.
  • How those events lead him into not only his blog writing but advocacy work.
  • Talking specifically with your therapist or counselor about specific diagnosis treatments and options.
  • How his life has changed since the events in 2014, including the new diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder and learning to understand what it means for him, including the hypomanic states that come along with it.

Be sure and check out his blog, The3inMe.ga , as he writes weekly about his journey of understanding and healing, both past and present. John’s message is one of vulnerable insight… an expression of hope, a declaration of love and a celebration of a life reclaimed. Ultimately, it’s my letter to my son, my apology and my promise.

You can follow John on Twitter @Zelandroid009

If you haven’t done so yet, please consider subscribing to the podcast, to get notified when I release new episodes each week! I’d sure be stoked to have you on this journey of inspiring others with the power of sharing their stories.

-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. 85 – Depression, Bipolar, and College Life, with Anja Burcak

When I was approached by recent college graduate, Anja Burcak, about being a guest on the podcast, I was intrigued not only because she wanted to share her story, but also that it would be coming from the perspective of a young adult, fresh out of college, speaking on the struggles of Depression, Bipolar, and mania. I’ve covered these topics many times in the past, usually though from the perspective of someone who had experienced similar struggles during their younger years.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to help share get the word out about what living with a particular mental health challenge is like, from as many perspectives as possible, and being able to chat with Anja is surely going to help reach so many, especially those who are young adults and parents who’s children are growing up and heading out on their own.

anja burcak - podcast - beyond your pastAnja is a blogger and advocate for Mental Health, and a recent graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, where she studied Psychology, and is now looking to begin her career in addition to continuing her current advocacy work.

As outlined on her blog, “She often writes about mania, depression, and anxiety, from a first-person perspective. Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Type 1) 2 years ago has given her insight into the struggles many face with finding the right diagnosis, treatment, and providers. She hopes that sharing her story will create more open, honest conversations about mental health, fighting the stigma one conversation at a time. Lately, she has been exploring new ways to be an advocate, including getting involved in a podcast, guest posts, and vlogging.”

Her blog, The Calculating Mind, is her thoughts on living with Bipolar, Depression, and Mania, written from a unique and insightful point of view. As I read through several of her recent articles, it gives me a sense that Anja writes with the intent of telling it like it is, and not sugar coating the challenges or what she feels needs to be changed. Her blog was also recently nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Congrats, Anja!

Some of the topics we cover during her podcast include:

  1. FIRST SIGNS OF DEPRESSION: What were the first signs that what you were experiencing was more severe than a typical “low” period? How did you know that it was depression, not merely sadness?
  2. BIPOLAR DIAGNOSIS: When did you realize that your diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder was inaccurate? What were signs of bipolar disorder? How did you anja burcak - podcast - depression - bipolar - young adults - beyond your pastreact (i.e. denial, sad, angry, relieved)?
  3. IMPACT OF ILLNESS ON COLLEGE: How did being depressed or manic impact your academic life (i.e. exams, grades)? –This could also be asked about impact on family, friendships, relationships, etc
  4. HOSPITALIZATIONS: From your experience (hospitalizations), what do you believe are some misconceptions the general public has about psychiatric wards? What did you think the hospitalization would be like (i.e. Were you scared to be admitted)? How did your perception of those with “severe mental illnesses”, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, change during your hospital stay?
  5. RECOVERY: What has helped you get back to “baseline” level? Medications? Therapy? Support networks? Coping mechanisms?
  6. ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY: You are an active member of the mental health community online. What got you started? Why do you continue to be active with mental health blogging and social media? What is your overall goal (i.e. fighting stigma, psychoeducation)?
  7. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: What is your outlook regarding your future and your condition? Are you concerned about relapsing? Are you keeping a more positive outlook? Given your past episodes and what you know now, do you feel better prepared for another episode, should it happen?

If you are in college, have a child in college or perhaps getting ready to head off to school soon, you’ll definitely want to check out Anja’s perspective on how these diagnoses changed her life, and affected her time at college. She shares how things were humming along in life, she finished high school, getting ready for college, and then in 2014 everything changed.

Suddenly she found herself working with a mental health professional, and not exactly having a positive experience, which lead to a search for more help, getting on medication, and then not receiving follow up support and trying to navigate life with more even more struggles and challenges that she wasn’t expecting.

Her story is one that I’m sure will be relatable to so many who have struggled in similar ways that Anja has, but her resiliency and desire to educate herself, along with finding good helping professionals has aided her during her ongoing journey of discovery about herself and her future.

Be sure and follow Anja on Twitter, LinkedIn, The Mighty, The Odessy, and her blog, The Calculating Mind.

-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. 84 – Rob Goldstein, No longer sick with DID, I am well with DID.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast is Photographer, Digital Artist, Blogger, and Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist, Rob Goldstein. He is also a former guest blogger on Surviving My Past, where he shared some of his story in a post titled, “Life with DID where everything is a trigger“. That post has been incredibly helpful and validating for so many who live with dissociative identity disorder, or those who have a loved one who lives with DID.

As outlined on his blog, Rob writes:

I’m a Certified Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist who became symptomatic with a dissociative disorder in 2010. When I started this blog in late 2013, it was to advocate for myself and other people with trauma related mental health problems.

I wrote in my first profile statement that as I evolved the blog would evolve and over time, I learned about photography, digital art and I rediscovered my writing. I call the blog Art by Rob Goldstein but I can just as easily call it life by Rob Goldstein.

This is my life as I live it, evolve, process its history, and prepare for an uncertain future. My life is my work and my work is my art.

Art by Rob Goldstein is an expression of my emotional and intellectual evolution and an ongoing journal of my psychotherapy. I’m blunt, passionate in my beliefs, and willing to state my mind. If an honest exchange of ideas is what you want you’ve found the right place. 

During my recent chat with Rob, we dive into more of his life leading up to getting the true diagnosis of having DID. As you’ll hear him describe so eloquently and in detail, there were so many things going on in his life that just didn’t add up; people were saying things like, “you aren’t the Rob that I knew before”. He knew that things going on in his mind and in life were fragmented, but hearing things like that was devastating to him. After all, he’d been living his life for decades knowing that something was going on, but wasn’t able to put it all together with a true diagnosis from a professional who understood dissociative identity disorder and was able to get him a proper diagnosis much later on in life.

As Rob points out, what drove him to seek the help of a psychiatrist was the realization that his alters had a constant desire to log into virtual reality to have their own lives. This became such a pathological routine that it was consuming all of his time and finally something had to give.

Our conversation continues with his experiences in life, 6 months after his psychiatrist referred him to a therapist that specialized in DID. However, it wasn’t until about a year and half later, that he finally called and made and appointment with that therapist, because he didn’t want to accept that he could have something like dissociative identity disorder, and due to his research, finding out that DID is often caused by sexual trauma. Quite simply, the thought of it all was overwhelming and something he just didn’t want to deal with.

Rob continues to share more of his story:

  • How things finally started to make sense since he began receiving the help he so desperately needed.
  • He also discusses the challenges of his relationships, and how the evolution of healthy boundaries in all aspects of his relationships was life changing for him and his recovery.
  • You’ll learn how something like VR, that was completely taking over his life and becoming nearly toxic to his well being, is now something he is using to help others and himself along his journey.
  • We discuss his view on how DID has truly been a gift for him, as he’s lived through all of the challenges in his life to date.

There is so much more I could tell you, but I don’t want to miss out on this amazing conversation, so I definitely encourage you to check out my podcast with Rob Goldstein. Whether you live with DID or not, I’m sure you’ll be as enlightened and memorized by Rob’s story as I was. It’s a true honor to know this incredible survivor and talented artist, and I look forward to another podcast in the future with him.

Be sure and check out this recent post on his blog RobertMGoldstein.com , inspired by our conversation on the podcast: Coping with DID, I Love All of You” and follow him on Twitter: @Robrt_M_Goldste

Thank you again to my incredible sponsors, iNLPCenter.org and Daily Recovery Support. Please consider checking them out, as they’ve come together to keep the coffee brewin’ and the mics powered up on the podcast!  🙂

-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. 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.