Mini Episode 1: Survived & Thrived Stories
Mini Episode 1: Survived & Thrived Stories
Welcome to the very first episode of the mini series: Survived & Thrived stories, where listeners write in to share parts of their lives, including the many ways in which they have found peace and comfort after enduring trauma, pain, and suffering.
Send your story in to the podcast at email@example.com
Alyssa Scolari: [00:00:23] Welcome to another episode of the Light After Trauma podcast, but also the very first episode of the mini episode series titled Survived and Thrived stories. I am so excited. I have been waiting for this segment of the podcast to launch, and it is finally here. I am really looking forward to this because this really gives me the opportunity to hear from you, the listeners, and to get to know you all on a much more personal level.
And it almost makes me feel like I’m able to have conversations with you all. And that’s really exciting for me. It helps me just as much as in my own recovery, to be able to connect with all of you. So just to recap, this is the mini-sode where I read your stories that you have sent in. And these are stories where you could be talking about any kind of trauma that you endured, any kind of hardship that you’re going through.
Any kind of success, you know, we want to hear about it. I want to hear about it. So if you have not written in yet and you want to write in, you can go over to my website at lightaftertrauma.com and you can send in your story through the website, or you can email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org. And again, there is a full description of what kind of stories we are looking for on the website.
But really, if you are somebody who wants to start speaking about your story about any kind of trauma or hardship that you have endured, I want to hear from you. I have found that it was so helpful for me in my recovery early on, to really start writing. I began writing about what happened to me before I could actually speak it.
So I wanted to create a part of the podcast that’s definitely more interactive where I can hear from you all and you can share the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between with me. And I read it on the mini-sode and we’ll respond and reflect on what you are saying.
So just some house keeping things. So number one, whatever email that you send,everybody stays anonymous. So if I do feel like there’s an email that you sent that might have identifying information, like maybe a location or a name, I might change the email a little bit, just to refrain from the possibility of your identity being leaked
We want to keep everybody anonymous on this episode. And the other part is, I just want to make sure that you all know that my reactions and my responses to the messages that you write in, in no way substitute as therapy. This is not a substitute for therapy. I am not providing therapy that would not be appropriate or ethical in the slightest.
So it’s not therapy. And I just want to make sure that everybody knows that because I wouldn’t want anybody to feel like this is something that is a substitute for therapy. Cause it’s most certainly not. So with that being said, I’m going to launch right into our first story. So the subject line of this email is Podcast: Sharing My Story.
So we are diving right in. It says my story. My symptoms started at age 17 when I had a trauma and I was hospitalized over 40 times until age 27. I have been hospital free for one year on March 15th, 2021. So I guess it’s two months ago at this point. The longest hospital stay was at the state hospital for three years where I went through even more traumatic experiences.
I am diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, eating disorder, and PTSD. I self-harmed for 14 years and had many suicide attempts, but through DBT therapy, I learned other ways to cope and haven’t self-harmed or attempted suicide and almost a year now. Because of my PTSD symptoms being so severe, I am getting a service dog.
Having dogs is really the main thing that has kept me from going back to the hospital when I feel low and we will call this person M. So, M, I am so happy you’re here. I just…I read that email. And I think about what you’ve been through and being in a state hospital and how hard you have had to fight to get to the place where you are now, which is now you are over a year hospital free! Huge fucking congratulations to you!
That is like…it’s incredible. And what you said about just going to a hospital and then enduring more trauma when you’re in the hospital. I don’t think you’re alone in that. I have heard so many stories and I myself have had so many horrible stories from being in a hospital and just being treated like absolute trash
But also even more severe things happen, right? People are sexually assaulted in hospitals, people are not given their rights. I’ve heard stories about people not being fed, lots of terrible things that happen in those hospitals that I think that it’s very important to shed light on because these things do happen and they only further traumatize us.
So I am so sorry that you had to endure that, but I also see how incredibly resilient you are. And I’m so happy that you’re here. And I think I speak for the other listeners that we’re also happy that you stayed because your beating heart and the air in your lungs tell you that there is more here for you to do on this earth.
Alyssa Scolari: It is not your time and suicide is a way to try to escape the pain, but I’m so glad that you have persevered and you have not given up. And now you are getting a service dog. Okay. What is more healing than a dog? Please tell me. Or any kind of pet, really horse, cat, rabbit, whatever. I know as a therapist, I’m supposed to be like, Ooh, therapy therapy is more important, but no, like pets are so healing.
So, I am thrilled for you that you are getting a service dog. I personally, my dog right now is behind me playing like a lunatic. So if you hear some scuffling in the background, no worries. It’s just my seven pound dog. That is the dog who honestly saved my life. I got her two months after I escaped from my abusive relationship and she truly has saved my life over and over and over again.
So I just believe wholeheartedly in the healing power of animals. And I’m thrilled for you. So thank you so much for writing in M. You keep up the good work and know that you are loved and you are wanted and needed here on this earth.
So okay. Woo. Trying to shake off the chills I got from reading that one because, man, so, so much resilience there.
Okay. So this one, the subject line is My Story/Need Direction. And it reads: Hi Alyssa. I discovered your podcast this week while searching for information on recovered memories of sexual abuse. I started my recovery process about three years ago with the decision to attend a support group, meeting adult children of alcoholics shortly after joining the group and starting the very long and arduous process of becoming more emotionally sober.
I heard a lead from a woman who is now a dear friend. In her lead, she spoke of childhood sexual abuse and her process of recovering repressed memories as part of her healing that same week, I had a flash, a dream, a body memory. I can’t remember what form it came in, but there was a sense that something terrible happened sexual in nature to me as a kid.
I wrote it off mostly .Fast-forward three years, lots of therapy, meditation, 12 step, and lots of two steps forward, three steps backwards, I have continued to have dreams and I sense that something happened, but became frustrated with not knowing and let it go for awhile. When I say, let it go. I mostly mean I spent much of the last year numbed out with workoholism, perfectionism, people-pleasing, fantasy, alcohol, weed, food.
You get the picture. Punctuated by some transformative experiences with EMDR, psychedelics, and float tanks. This winter though, I had had enough. I came to believe my job was killing me. Only partially true. I’m a therapist and had been working primarily with DCS referrals. As an aside, I believe that stands for the Department of Children, Child Services, something like that, but it’s like a, it’s like social services.
I think they call it like DCP&P in my state. I mean, don’t quote me on that, but I believe that’s what that means. So in other words, as she says in this email, Lots of traumatized kids and parents. I decided to make a change. As I knew I couldn’t continue to function the way I had been. I started a new job last week and had begun to reduce my numbing behaviors and feel more grounded the morning of the second day of my new job, I woke up from them.
Incredibly detailed, vivid, realistic play by play dream. And I’m going to insert a trigger warning here. This is a trigger warning for incest. So if this is something that’s too triggering, please feel free to skip at this point and I’ll give you a second skippers.
Okay. So. A vivid and realistic play by play type dream of my dad sexually abusing me as a kid. It feels more like a recovered memory than anything else has. Cool timing. Right? Anyhow, I’ve been able to process some with art, talking to friends ,and energy work, but I feel confused. Like maybe I’m making it up for attention to justify my mental health issues, but there’s also a deep knowing. Any thoughts or resources or direction you can give me?
It was helpful to hear part of your story. I’d like to hear more. Thanks for what you are doing. Signed, Confused.
This email truly hits me like a ton of bricks and I feel very very connected to the words that are spoken in this email, because it very much happened for me in the same way. I would have a dream, a flash, a body memory. So for those of you who don’t know, and I know I’ve talked about it on the podcast before, but a body memory is a type of a flashback, but you feel it in your body.
So some people genuinely feel like they are being physically assaulted, even though they aren’t at the time. And that’s a flashback that’s called a body memory. Or maybe they feel like they’re being physically abused or something of the sort, but speaking directly to you Confused. I, 1000% understand this.
I mean, for me, it was an eating disorder. I didn’t ever dabble in any kind of substances, but food was my drug. Like food was my addiction, whether I was running away from it in the form of anorexia or eating myself sick in the form of binge eating and bulemia, I definitely battled with an eating disorder my entire life.
And then until one day I kind of…I woke up and it hit me. And I just had this like memory and I was very confused and I said all of the same things to myself. Am I making this up? Am I doing this just to justify my mental health? And for me, I also would question, am I making this up? Just because I know my therapist.
So my therapist, who I was seeing at the time also had a history of trauma and I knew about it. So I was also wondering, like, am I making this up? Because I have a therapist who I know was traumatized. So I’m just trying to be like her. I told myself all of these tales and spawn all of these, these webs on like I’m a liar and I made it all up and, and things like that.
And I think the one thing that I would say to help with that narrative is, well, there are a couple of things and I think one is: if you truly are making this stuff up, then why do you feel so terrible? Because we aren’t just born feeling terrible for no reason. We don’t just choose to numb out. There’s a reason why we have deep. Feelings that are unbearable and untouchable.
So we need to engage in like workaholism, people-pleasing, things like that. There’s a reason why we need to numb out. We don’t just have these feelings that are so, so incredibly painful for no reason. It’s not just a way for you to kind of justify. It’s that you feel this way.
Right? The one thing you’re very, very clear about is that you have led a life of trying to numb out as did I. So when it comes to the memories, denying it and telling yourself that you’re lying only keeps us in the not knowing. And the more we stay in the not knowing, the more likely we are to turn to other things, to numb out: eating disorders, alcohol, weed, whatever it may be.
We will do whatever we can to keep ourselves in the not knowing because we are terrified of the feelings that come with knowing something bad happened to us. The other thing I want to say is that there’s often in times like this, a sense of urgency to figure it out. I know for me, I was like, I need to figure out what happened to me.
And I remember my therapist at the time saying to me, You don’t need to know everything all at once. And I really wasn’t ready to hear it. And I actually kind of snapped back at her and I was like, “Well, how would you feel if, if you were just having little memories, like snippets of information, come back to your conscious memory a little bit at a time, and you were confused.”
You would want to know everything too. Yeah, no, I, I absolutely snapped at my therapist, but she was right. You know, she. She was right. For all the things that my former therapist did wrong. And she did a lot of things wrong, which I’ll get into at a later date. She did that so, so well in that she helped me to understand that, you know what, you don’t need to remember every single detail to know that things have been done to you that were abusive. And I just want to say the same to you Confused. It is a really confusing process. Hence you signing the email confused, but with that said, know that your brain is going to reveal more parts to you as you’re ready.
And as you are prepared to handle it, knowing that you didn’t just start uncovering repressed memories for no reason. It was because you were ready and you were ready to face it, even though it doesn’t feel like that .Your brain would not be revealing this stuff to you if you weren’t ready. So try to trust your body, try to trust your brain, and try to know about the answers that you’re searching for.
You already have, even if you don’t have the details. So I hope that that helps. There’s so much more I could say on this, but obviously I don’t want to inundate you and overwhelm you so I will leave it at that. And, you know, I hope that this helps for anybody else out there who might be listening, who struggles with this type of stuff as well.
So with that being said, that is a wrap on our first mini-sode. Thank you so much for writing in to M and to Confused and to the others who have written in. I will read your story on the next mini episode. Again, if you want to write in, please feel free to share any or all parts of your story at email@example.com.
And then lastly, I want to ask you to please subscribe and rate and review the podcast. I would say if you can subscribe and rate, even if you don’t leave a review, a review is kind of like…it’s like the icing on top. It’s not totally necessary, but a review would be fantastic, but the subscribe and the rate is really, really important to be able to help this podcast to continue to climb the charts.
If you like what you’re hearing, if you relate to what you’re hearing, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, it would take honestly, probably two to three minutes of your time, please hit that subscribe button and rate the podcast. It would mean the world. So thank you so much for listening. And again, be sure to write in, share your story.
I would love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org. I am holding you all in the light. Be well and stay safe.
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