An Ongoing Journey of Survival from a Traumatic Past, with Jody Betty – Ep. 109

Throughout this survivor of journey which has been such a huge part of my life in recent years especially, I have come across countless incredible people from all walks of life, from all around the world. I can still remember the first time I hopped online and searched for “survivor chats” on Google. That was a moment that forever changed my view of what being a survivor was, and it gave me a sense of the support available from people just like me who were struggling to work through a past filled with invalidation, abuse, and constant struggle.

jody betty - suicide attempt survivor - abuse survivor - podcast on beyond your pastOne of the people that I connected with early on in my journey, was an incredible woman named Jody Betty.  We met on Twitter and over the years have continued to follow each other, support our respective blogs, and collaborate. Jody wrote a post on Surviving My Past, entitled “The Safe Place that Saved My Life”.  Where she talks about how her mind takes her to a safe place, a safe memory, to escape the pain of an abusive past.

Jody is an active writer for her own blog,, as well as being a regular contributor on Sick Not Weak, with her column, Raw and Open, and on The Mighty .

Her stories center around Mental Health Advocacy and writing about her own struggles as a 3 time suicide attempt survivor, and being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depression, and ongoing struggles with passive suicidal ideations. Her traumatic past includes being sexually abuse as a child, sexually assaulted as a teenager, as well as experiencing domestic violence at home.

Jody bravely shares her journey to help others realize they are not alone, and that here is hope even when that means you somehow just survive the day, hour by hour. Throughout the years of her writing, and in the time that I’ve known her, countless people across the globe are encouraged and validated by the vulnerable way that Jody writes. She is as authentic as she is raw and open about her life; and through that vulnerability she is able to continue her own healing and help others along the way.

A few months ago, Jody reached out to me about coming on the podcast to share some of her story in a new way, by using her voice, literally. Of course, I welcomed the opportunity to chat with my friend and amazing survivor, because her story is one that cannot be told enough. Like all survivors who choose too, and are able to, “get this stuff out of our heads”, there is comfort and healing by opening up and telling others about our struggles and triumphs.

During my chat with Jody on this episode of the podcast, she opens up about the abuse she suffered starting at birth and continuing into adulthood, and some of her ongoing story:

  • Being born to a mother who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and how her struggles in life began so very young.
    • In and out of foster homes, each time being pulled out and relocated because of abuse happening in the home.
  • An experience of nearly drowning which caused a fear of getting a bath or being around water
  • Being sexually assaulted by a group of people at a party, when she was 16.
    • That experience lead her to her completely closing out the world and shutting down inside.
  • The trauma of seeing her adopted mother pass away after battling cancer, when Jody was 19.
  • Her attempts at taking her own life, and the ongoing passive suicidal ideations that she lives with still today.
    • Coping strategies she uses to fight back when life becomes too overwhelming and the thoughts of taking her own life become too strong.
  • How writing her story has opened up a world of healing for her, and the support she’s found from fellow survivors.
    • The importance of finding a support system both online and locally.

I’m honored to know Jody, to call her a friend, and to help share her story in hopes that all who read it will be encouraged to keep going for another day when thoughts of the past tell them otherwise.

Be sure and follow Jody on Twitter: @onelastkick71, Facebook: @JodyBee and her writing on her blog and Sick Not Weak.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

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