Episode 381: CASTMWUP: Andrea Owen and Amy E. Smith talk about Mental Health, Getting Support, and Friendship - Your Kick-Ass Life

PODCAST & BLOG

PODCAST & BLOG

Joining me to discuss mental health, as well as, my journey through somatic therapy is my dearest friend, Amy Smith. This isn’t an expert-on-expert episode; instead, it’s two friends talking about a topic from a place of curiosity. 

Here’s some background as to why I wanted to bring you this episode: Last week, Mia Hemstad joined me on the podcast (episode 380). She vulnerably shared her story of her suicidal ideation and major depressive disorder. And, I shared a little bit about my journey too. I wanted to share more of my story, so I decided, this week, to bring you a Conversation About Shit That Matters with Unqualified People. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • My breaking point – what led me to a point of complete anxiety and terror. (7:16)
  • About my FaceTime call to Amy, where I opened up about thoughts of suicide ideation. (7:31)
  • How having a friend there to listen, comforted me. (17:03)
  • Amy’s experience being on the other end of that phone call and how she was able to compartmentalize what was happening. (18:23)
  • My somatic therapy journey and how it helped me work through trauma. (26:24)
  • Some thoughts about being supportive to a friend going through a mental crisis. (49:14)

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Suicide Prevention National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800-273-8255
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
Episode 358: Healing from Narcissistic and Traumatic Relationships with Britt Frank
Episode 380: The intersection between mental health and social justice with Mia Hemstad
Psychology Today
Amy’s website
Follow Andrea on Instagram

YKAL is supported by:
Better Help –  Use code kickass to get 10% off your first month.

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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Andrea 00:00
Really what's the worst that's gonna happen, we have to sell our house and move in with our parents to live in San Diego? Poor me. That would make me feel worse, and then not want to tell anybody and not want to talk about it. And again, just totally made it worse. And so, I had to really learn to be self-compassionate and know that it really kind of get to know my anxiety disorder again because it had been mostly at bay for a long time. And so, it just, it just came back with a vengeance and just sort of roaring back. And I also realized how powerful it can be and how I don't have control and the best thing to do is surrender and ask for help.

This is Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast, Episode Number 381…This is the Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast with Andrea Owen. A no-BS guide to self-help and badassery. Because ladies, let's face it. Life's too short for tonight. And here's your host, the girl who serves it up straight with a side of crazy, Andrea Owen.

Andrea 01:11
Hey there ass-kickers. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you are here. This week, I have a conversation about shit that matters with unqualified people. If you are newer to these parts, these episodes are where I bring on a friend and/or colleague, and we don't so much come at the topic from the place of being an expert. But more so everyday things that we are currently walking through. I've had people on where we talk about body image, about aging. I think I've done a couple now on mental health. And this week we're also talking about mental health, I'm bringing on my very best friend Amy Smith. And she has walked with me through many topics of my life as she and I are very close. And I thought she would be perfect to come on. Sort of as a follow up to last week if you remember I had Mia Hemstad on where she was kind enough to share her story around major depressive disorder, and suicidal ideation. And I wanted to share more in-depth about my own story and what has been going on for me over the last year. I've mentioned on the show a couple of times over the last several months that I hired a new therapist in 2020. And we got down to business with some trauma therapy. And I wanted to let you know what that kind of looked like. So that's what this episode is. I also wanted to let you know, a trigger warning, we do talk about suicidal ideation. So, if that is a very sensitive topic for you, I just wanted to give you a heads up on that.

A couple of other quick and exciting announcements. There's a new podcast name coming. After let's see eight years almost of the show, I'm going to be announcing it on my birthday, April 15. So, the next few podcast episodes will be the same with Your Kick-Ass Life and coming up on April 15, I will announce the brand-new name of the show. Nothing really different is happening over here. But I am excited to sort of freshening up a bit if you will. And also, I have a new Instagram name. I am @HeyAndreaOwen over on the gram. And I am back to posting, I am back to sharing stories. I'm also going to start making reels, which I'm super pumped about. And I would love for you to give me a follow over there. Hey, and DM me, I still at the moment, am the one that responds to DM’s. And I love hearing you know when you guys are sharing about the show when you're just lol’ing to the dog videos that I post on my stories. So, I would love to connect with you over there @HeyAndreaOwen.

I also wanted to give you a quick heads up about this particular episode. So, the episode will carry on as usual. And then at the end, I wanted to share with you a story that Amy shared with me when I started recording the episode. She told me this story just as friends share funny stories with each other. And I thought it was so hilarious, I wanted to share it with you, but it didn't feel right putting it in the beginning. You'll see why. It's a, I don't want to say it's an adult story. It's probably PG-13. And for reference, because it might be confusing if you're listening to it and you're like what in the world who are these people that they're speaking of? Who are these women that they're speaking of? Delilah and Fiona are her dogs. She has two cute little Japanese chins, Delilah and Fiona. And Gisele is my dog. So, we refer to them, and I know they have human names. So just so you're not confused as we're telling the story. It's Delilah, Fiona, and Gisele, who are our dogs. So that story is coming at the very end of the podcast. Alright, so without further ado, here is my conversation about shit that matters with unqualified people with Amy Smith.

Andrea 05:18
All right, Amy Smith is back on the show.

Amy 05:20
Yes, I am.

Andrea 05:22
Well, and I just did an Instagram story where I was, I was precluding to this episode coming out and saying, we're gonna have a serious episode about mental health. And then you come on, and I just had to pause the recording because I was laughing so hard, I started coughing. Yeah, I always hear to lighten the mood.

Amy 05:36
That's right. That's right. We can't take things too, too seriously.

Andrea 05:46
No, and I think that's one of the reasons we're such good friends is that we have such a similar sense of humor. And, and that being said, I wanted to kind of it's not really a part two, from last week's episode, but I want to point people to the interview that I did with Mia Hemstad last week, and she came on and talked about and talked about the work that she does in the world with women and self-care. And she also was super vulnerable and shared her story around major depressive disorder and, and suicidal ideation. And, and then I shared my story, and I hadn't expected to do it until I read her story. And I asked her ahead of time if she wouldn't mind sharing it. And if you wouldn't mind me, you know, also sharing my story. And, and so that's what we had decided to do. And I was really nervous for the episode to come out. And I had, I had put it in my marketing calendar for like, May. And then Prince Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah came out, and I was like, well, if Megan can do it, and she's part of the royal family, then I think it would be a good idea for me to put it out there. But I also wanted to add have an episode where I added more context as to what got me to that point because it wasn't just COVID that I think got me to that point. It was really years sort of in the making. And COVID was kind of the breaking point.

Amy 07:12
So, it, cuz I remember this, it's kind of the anniversary time of when that happened. Right? So, we're about a year out.

Andrea 07:14
Yeah, exactly. Mm-hmm.

Amy 07:16
For people who don't know what the last year was like, which is pretty much everybody. What was the impetus? What was the straw that broke the camel's back?

Andrea 07:31
It was probably, you know, it was multiple well, that if I had to name one thing, it was the onset of COVID. And just the massive uncertainty that it unleashed. As someone with anxiety disorder, that's really been, I've been well around my anxiety disorder. And I think maybe that's why it took me much by surprise.

But it was coming also, because that same week, my husband had left his job, which we had been planning for six months. 2019 was probably my best year. And we needed help around the house, we had hired someone to help us, and it didn't work out. And so, we just decided through careful deliberation and planning, to have Jason leave his job. And he wasn't retiring as much as he just like, let's try this. And he's a woodworker. And he wanted to be home and work on that, and maybe get something off the ground with that. But it was really scary becoming the sole breadwinner, right, and, you know, switching gender roles, essentially, with my husband of 12 years, and the both of us having to walk into these new roles. You know, like we kind of, we knew what we were getting into, but we had no idea what we were getting into. So that was super stressful.

You know, the school was canceled for all children, my kids came home. And I had signed a really big contract with the biggest publisher in the world, which was exciting, and a dream come true, but also just a huge amount of pressure. And I think I had also now, and I want to talk about this more too because I know you've read the book as well, Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, wrote the book Burnout. And now that I'm almost totally through that book, I can, I can look back and see I've had periods of probably three or four burnouts over the course of the last like 11 years of my career. And I just kept getting up and going. Yeah. And I had like some other kid stuff that was happening, and it's not my story to tell but just really big, heavy things going on and also feeling the weight of just the collective scariness that was happening with everyone in the world and it was late April, I Facetimed you because I needed to see your face to gauge your reaction to what I was about to tell you. I knew that it was serious. And the way that I also make sense of things because I think I, like many women, try to pretend that things aren't as serious like with my mental health, and I'm like, it's not that bad. Like, I'm overreacting.

Amy 10:10
People do that with just trauma in general.

Andrea 10:11
It's right, which I've been doing for like over a decade. And I wanted to see your face because I knew that if, if I could gauge your reaction, I would know if it was it was serious or not. I never told you that.

Amy 10:27
So, I'm curious now in hindsight, because, I have my own experience with what that was like. What did you think about my response?

Andrea 10:35
Um, I think you responded as I thought you would, as far as being my friend, you know, you were super compassionate. And you were listening, and I felt like I had your undivided attention, which is all I could have asked for. But I think when I knew that was really some weight to it was when you I could tell that you compartmentalized a little bit and I'm making this up. I may be wrong. But I felt like there was a moment where you compartmentalized and you were like, asking me if I had a plan asking me, you asked me some other kind of like, checkmark questions that you're supposed to ask someone that it was the same thing my therapist asked when I told her a couple of weeks later. And that's when I started to get a little bit scared.

Amy 11:18
Well, do you want to share exactly what you said? Or?

Andrea 11:21
Yeah, yeah, I should probably say that in case people didn't listen to the episode from last week. So, I had probably been sitting in it for about three days of just acute, severe anxiety. And what, how that manifests for me is rapid heart rate, my armpits tingle, sometimes my fingers go numb, my palms sweat, I get dry mouth, I also get tunnel vision and all these physical symptoms, but also mentally, I start spinning. And I can't stop them. It's like a runaway train. And I was, and I was also googling things that I should not have been googling. Like, about, I was reading about the Great Depression, I was reading about just the economic collapse. Yeah, that was possible. Both, you know, here in the United States, as well as globally. I also was like, this is mass extinction, right? This is where we're going to lose billions of people on the planet. And it's going to be like this apocalyptic. You know, like we see in movies and read in books, and I was terrified for my, the safety of my children, for my entire family, which is sort of like spread out all over the United States. And I couldn't stop them. I couldn't stop the thoughts. I couldn't. It wasn't just fear, it was terror. It was complete terror, coupled with the pressure of I need to show up for my community. You know, here I am this self-help expert, yeah, who's supposed to have her shit together. And I'm failing. And I'm failing really, really fast.

So, it was both of those things combined. And I knew about all the tools because I have them because I've written about them because I teach them. And I, it was as if I could not even begin to try to use them. That's right. So that's when I knew that it was beyond just like, oh, you're a little scared. Like, this was like clinical anxiety that was happening. And then I thought, well remember, I was sitting here at my desk, as I am now. And I was just kind of like daydreaming and just, you know, spinning, spinning, spinning. And this the thought came of like, well, I can always kill myself. And it sounded like a reasonable solution. As if, like, here are all the options. Like, we could, you know, try out a new stream of income, we could sell our cars, we could, you know, move back in with our parents and granted like, this is like the first week of COVID like, yeah, nothing truly bad had happened to me yet. And it scared me so bad because it seemed so calm and just like a regular thought. And then my next thought after that was, this is how it starts.

Amy 14:19
Yeah.

Andrea 14:20
You know, people who do succeed and taking their own life, yeah, I, I had a feeling that this is how it starts just like this almost innocuous thought. That sort of swoops in from seemingly nowhere. And then if you don't tell anybody or don't get help, it just becomes more frequent and more frequent and more clear and more clear and more and more reasonable.

Amy 14:45
Yeah, especially if the pain that you're experiencing continues to escalate and continues to be more and more unbearable, but I also think there was this interesting thing that happened with you too were before that little season, things were pretty fucking amazing. And it was almost like this light switch. Because it was, I remember at our Christmas party that year, you and Jason, which was only a handful of months before this, we're celebrating the book deal. That was a massive professional accomplishment. And the biggest stress was gearing up towards being the breadwinner, and Jay stops, stopping working. And then it was like, it was the worst possible time for that to have been the plan. Because that just happened. And then COVID hit like a week or two later. And then it's like, oh, by the way, the kids are going to be home and…

Andrea 15:51
And we don't have insurance and…

Amy 15:53
And everybody's dealing with collective trauma. And I remember, I remember the amount of angst that you went through around that time because I remember thinking, Oh my God, I've got I remember I was having conversations about generating income and, and I didn't feel as holy shit, this is really gonna fall apart. And I had some conversations with my husband about it a little bit. And one of the things that he said that was so comforting to me was, we will always have the ability to make money, you know, and I, but I remember just having that conversation of what if I'm not capable of making money? What if I'm not, you know? Right. So, anyway, so when you said that do you remember what I said to you about that?

Andrea 16:46
Do you mean when I said it to you when I called you? Like, couldn't even talk. Yeah. I was like hiding in my office.

Amy 16:53
You were like, crouched down.

Andrea 16:54
Next. Yeah, cuz I didn't want Jason to hear me cuz I hadn't told him yet. No, I don't remember. I hardly remember that conversation at all.

Amy 17:02
Really?

Andrea 17:03
Yeah, I remember being comforted by you. And feeling like and feeling relief that I had told someone. But before you share your experience, like there was real fear. My hesitation in telling anyone even you who like you, there are only probably two or three people I trust in this world. And you're one of them is that if I tell someone that I've had thoughts of taking my own life, they will come and take away my children. Yeah. I will be deemed an unfit mother. Like, I at that point. I didn't trust my husband enough to tell him because I was afraid of his reaction. Yeah. And I think that that's what a lot of people fear, especially mothers, you know, like, we have this fear of being seen as mentally unstable, right. And it's used against us. And I was terrified to tell anyone, right,

Amy 18:01
Right. I mean, that's the whole word. Hysteria is the same root word of hysterectomy. It's like women's madness, right? Well, I remember thinking, Oh, yeah, me too.

Andrea 18:16
Yeah. I talked to another friend later after I'd calmed down. And it was the same with her. And I felt so much better.

Amy 18:23
I remember a couple of things that I thought one was, I need to figure out where in this process she is. So, fortunately, because of the work that we do, we're privy to this sort of information. And so, I wanted to know, do you have a method? Have you thought through a method? Like, how you would do it? Do you have an actual plan? For doing it? You know, like, I'm going to say goodbye to these people. And then I'm going to do you know, and do you have a time, like those three elements? Had there been any of those? I would have been way more involved, I probably would have started by making you check in with me, like on a really regular basis. But those are I mean, that's part of the whole as a professional, there's a law specifically that started in Supreme Court in California, that had to do with mandatory reporting, if you are a therapist, or you know, too, and so I kind of recognized okay, if any of those things are in place, obviously, you're not my client. I'm not a therapist, but those are the elements that would say, hey, yeah, you probably need another additional type of intervention. Yeah.

But what I think people don't realize is, and I don't want it I don't want this to come off dismissive at all, but rather inclusive of how common it is when you're under such extreme stress. Where the idea of that all going away is it's, that's what you're searching for is like I want the alleviation of this pressure. And the idea that that is a possible way to do that. There's that like appeal in that mental thought process when you're carrying so much trauma, and rapidly incurring trauma.

Andrea 20:31
Right? For me, and we've talked about this since then, is that when I calmed down enough to be able to think a little bit more clearly and talk to you about it, and my therapist, I was clear on that. I didn't feel I didn't have like major depressive disorder where I couldn't get out of bed, or I felt like, truly, nobody would miss me. Or that I, you know, like, I could live with wanting to leave my child-like none of that, like I knew that that would people that would be devastated if I did take my own life. And I, I didn't actually want to die. I wanted to just the way I described it is I felt like I wasn't getting an ROI from the effort I was putting into my life. Like, this isn't worth it. Right. Yeah, I just wanted relief from the terror that I was feeling total and complete terror.

Amy 21:23
I mean, if you think about what anxiety is, it's a fear response. Right? So, it's like being in this heightened fear response. It's like being like, you're about to be attacked by a bear all the fucking time.

Andrea 21:38
I would stand outside of myself and beat myself up, because like, here I am this fucking privileged woman, really, what's the worst that's going to happen, we have to like to sell our house and like move in with our parents to live in San Diego, like, oh, poor me. And then that would make me feel worse, and then not want to tell anybody and not want to talk about it. And, again, just totally made it worse. And so I had to, I had to really learn to be self-compassionate, and know that it really kind of get to know my anxiety disorder, again, because it had been mostly at bay for a long time. And so it just, it just came back with a vengeance and just sort of roaring back. And I also realized how powerful it can be and how I don't have control. And the best thing to do is surrender and ask for help.

Amy 22:27
Yeah, for sure. But I think, you know, that's, that's one of the hardest parts is, I mean, you've danced around it a little bit here. But how we, we make up that it's not that bad. We make up that that's something that we surmounted, we already got through the anxiety disorder, that couldn't possibly be it, I'm just stressed, we make up all of these ways that we override what we're really feeling and not really giving it credence. It's like you had to have that sobering moment of, this is how it starts.

Andrea 23:01
Yeah, and I don't know if that was some kind of divine intervention like intuition thought that sort of whispered and tapped me on the shoulder. Because from there, you know, I ended up telling Jason and ended up telling him like, I really need to hire, hire a therapist and get to the bottom of this trauma. I also decided to go to my doctor and got on an antidepressant, which was hugely helpful. And then I hired Helen. Yeah. And it's been like quite a year.

Amy 23:20
It's been curious to watch you go through the different iterations of therapy, as I've known you, you know, and the various levels of things that you've worked through. And I don't know as if you if you hadn't had that breakdown I don't know as if you would have actively sought the healing the way you have.

Andrea 23:40
I think you're right.

Amy 23:45
Overstuff that was still affecting you still looming still showing up in dream right.

Andrea 24:04
Now. I think you're absolutely right. And I think I have a very high pain tolerance which so many women do have a very high pain tolerance for emotional and mental pain. You know, you and I met in ‘09. And I had my last break. In ’06 and ‘07, which was, you know, my first husband had an affair with her neighbor got her pregnant was a complete dick about it. Then I met someone who ended up conning me and lied about having cancer and was a drug addict. And it was a crazy 18 months, and I met you only like, a year and a half after that. Maybe two years. Yeah. And it's interesting. I didn't know you when it happened. You've been my closest friend, as I have walked through the healing portion of this journey.

And I was, you know, my good friend Anna Maria, we were really good friends when I went through all of that. And then we lost touch for several years and have since reconnected in our friendship. And one of the things she said to me when we first were talking again, this was a couple of years ago, I can't even remember what it was that we were talking about. And she said, it was so hard for me to watch, you go through so much. And she broke down and started crying. And I was so taken aback by that, like, for a few different reasons, but the point I want to make is that I, it made me realize, like, holy shit, that was a big deal that that happened. Yeah, it was a, it was not just incredibly painful but just was incredibly painful for other people to even watch me go through who were dear to me and the weight and the magnitude that it had on my life. And so, it was just kind of these, like small things that were happening. And like you said, I kept, I kept dreaming about my ex-husband in various ways. And I, it just was irritating to me. And I'm like, why is this happening? And it was me pointing to the fact that the trauma was still living in my body. I had healed a lot of it on a surface level, I had done some EMDR and healed somewhat, but I still needed to like I felt like I had gone snorkeling in it. And I needed to go scuba diving like, right?

Amy 26:23
Yeah.

Andrea 26:24
I really needed to spend some time and do some true somatic trauma therapy. So, I looked specifically for a therapist that did that. And I hired her and she, she asked me like in the beginning, like, what is it that you? What is it you're trying to clear? Yeah. She said, what are the thought or behavior patterns that keep coming up that are keeping you stuck? And I thought that was such an interesting question. And I said that you know, I want to just really get to the bottom of these dreams and, you know, decrease them, I want to really work through the shame around the choices that I made back then, just ignoring red flags, just, you know, so many things.

I had a lot of disillusionment around. what it came down to, it wasn't just my former relationships, it was my family of origin. So it was all connected. And, and really just disillusionment. You know, to get a little bit more specific. I didn't trust anyone, because I had had the rug pulled out from under me both from my family of origin and to relationships, which I thought people cared about me. And it turns out, they didn’t. And I mean, that's I'm being a little bit dramatic there. But that's definitely what it felt like and what my subconscious was telling me. Grieving the loss of, of my former family, you know, both my family of origin and my ex-husband's family, we had been together for so long, I think that was pretty much everything that I told her, I wanted to clear, and also, you know, the feelings of when these really big things, feelings of I always, for a long time, even after he passed away, have felt responsible for my dad's feelings and his emotional well-being.

You know, my dad was an alcoholic, a high-functioning one. And I always poo-poo that as well and thought, like, you know, my dad wasn't a drunk, he wasn't abusive. He was emotionally absent. And there were, you know, like emotional stuff, but no abuse or anything like that. So really, what do I have to complain about? Right? And my therapist said, she was like, virtually no one comes out of a family where there is an addict or alcoholic, unscathed. You just don't, you know, she had all these diagrams, and she was showing me all these different things about like the parent-child relationship. And it was super interesting to from a clinical standpoint to have her talk about that. Yeah. And also validating that the reason I am the way I am and how I get triggered in my marriage now is because of what I was modeled for me growing up,

Amy 28:55
I think what's really interesting, just about the evolution of how everything came to a head, you know, this time last year, when you talk about all of those things that you've just spelled out, you spend a lot of time snorkeling, right, like, and that's to say, like, oh, I worked through some of that stuff. I did. I didn't, I did my work. But something that I see constantly with the impact of the last year and what that's meant for different people, is that the new trauma has kicked up old trauma in such an unbelievable amount. That it's, it's a reckoning, it's kind of forcing everybody to look at that stuff. Right. So, you know, you were chronicling your severe anxiety, all of the terror that will remind you of past trauma of when I have spent time being fearful of what was happening with my dad or fearful about what was happening with my ex-husband when you're going through that same emotion. It's emotional memory, right? It's like, right oh, I remember this other type of trauma, and then if it hasn't been rectified it compounds and it just creates this an actual breakdown.

I've had one myself circa 2018, a breakdown in 2018. But I think what one of the things that I want to emphasize about all of this stuff is, is that it doesn't matter if somebody else has had it worse, if somebody else has a worse experience has a bigger T trauma than you. If you are experiencing something that is causing you such severe unrest, it is worthy of healing. It warrants searching out support. So, you don’t, and many people think that they're like, well, I haven't been to war, I haven't been had a near-death experience…

Andrea 30:59
Or sexually assaulted.

Amy 31:00
I can't, I can't actually be going through trauma. And that's not how trauma works. It's directly relational to what your experience was, like. You know, and your experience was calling for support.

Andrea 31:18
Exactly. And that's what was also interesting about that book, Burnout is that Emily and Amelia Nagoski, talk about the stress cycle. And, and, and I kept saying to you, I don't know if you remember me saying this, when I would talk about the work I needed to do with my ex-husband, I kept feeling like there was unfinished business. That's what I would call it, I would either say, I feel like there's unfinished business. Or I would say, I feel like there's a loop that I need to close. And then when I heard them talking about that, the stress loop and closing the cycle, I was like, that's exactly, I think what's going on in my body. Yeah, that it's not clear.

Amy 31:59
I remember talking to you early on because you were so frustrated about still having dreams. And I was like, it's because your subconscious isn't healed yet. And that's okay. Because we don't always have the continuity between the conscious and the subconscious, like, consciously you were like, I'm fucking done.

Andrea 32:18
Yeah, I don't want to have a conversation with him. Like, if that's what closure means I don't want it.

Amy 32:21
Right. You know, it's something else that's that I've really watched as you as our relationship has grown, is, and this is true for everybody. It's like you, you're only ready to go a specific depth until you're ready to go deeper. You know, and I don't think because of the severity of the trauma that you went through, not just with him, but then the relationship after that. And all of that being in such a short time period, I have really recognized that our healing is not fucking on our timeline. It is not. I mean, it's not when you think about somebody who has a broken ankle or something like that, they are so ready to get up and go running far earlier than their ankle is actually fixed. Right. It's like our healing is not on our timeline. And I think that was the case for you. It was like, I don't think you were ready to do the work that you've done with Helen. All through the other different chapters that we've discussed this like five years ago, six years ago, I don't think you could have gone to the depths that you're going to right now I think you had to have these additional experiences that illuminated it in a different way.

Andrea 33:43
I agree with you. And it also made me very frustrated that I wasn't ready. Because on the surface level, like on a conscious level, I was more than ready. And I was yeah pissed off that. I felt like I wasn't over it. Like I made it mean something that I didn't need to make it mean. And I remember you telling me about cord-cutting work or something like that, or that, you know, one of our mutual friends knows somebody who we always know, we always know a guy. We always know a girl. And they were talking about cord-cutting. And I told you I'm like, I don't know if I'm ready to do something like yeah, and I was so mad at myself.

Amy 34:21
Yeah, I remember that.

Andrea 34:22
But I had to be honest. Yeah. And I was like, why would I not be ready to do that? And it was like my body knew, like, nope, not yet. I needed to hold on to that identity. That was a couple of years ago.

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Amy 35:50
I always love when I tell you something. And then you go to Helen and Helen's like, I agree with Amy and I'm like, fuck yes.

Andrea 36:08
I love that your ego…

Amy 36:10
I get so excited about it's like, oh my god. Oh, I think that's a little bit of like…

Andrea 36:08
Well, it's a huge compliment. She has 40 years of experience as being a therapist.

Amy 36:12
I also think it's I read too much true crime. And so, I'm always like, sociopath! Yeah, which is its borderline personality disorder now. But I remember you were it was the discussion about I can't remember if the word was abuser like if he was abusive, or if the relationship was an abusive relationship.

Andrea 36:36
Early on in my, in my therapy with her and I was describing the relationship and telling her some particular stories. And she asked me to look up this one particular cycle of abuse. And I was very taken aback by it. I had a really hard time calling it abusive. Was that what you're with?

Amy 36:55
Yes, because I was I kind of remember I remember thinking like, okay, well, this sort of behavior is abusive behavior, this sort of this that is abuse, that is abuse, that is abuse, but I also recognized that you were grappling with something. I was actually just talking to some students about this today. Where when you are a good, moral, loving, compassionate human, you don't want to ever think that somebody else could be other than that, or that. So, first of all, there's like the holy shit, I can't believe I fell for that. So, there's the shame in who you are. Then there's the grief of did they never mirror how I felt. There's all these various, it was loaded.

Andrea 37:43
Yeah, it might have been we're talking about reactive abuse because I had a hard time labeling it that I think it was when Britt Frank was on my podcast. It was a great episode. I'll drop it in the show notes. And she specializes in helping heal people heal from being in narcissistic abusive relationships. And I think it was her that told me about reactive abuse because I was saying like, I have a hard time categorizing him as abusive because I used to throw it back at him. I learned from him. What was happening is that he would gaslight the shit out of me. And then me being the fiery personality, the outspoken woman that I am, I would lose my shit guess and be mean and call him names and sometimes throw water glasses at him. I only did that once. And I missed it. And you know, I've slapped him across the face many times. And so, I felt like, I'm no better, right? And then she told me about reactive abuse when you're basically defending yourself and someone pushes you to your absolute breaking point by gaslighting or abusing you. And then you react with abuse because you learn how to do it from them. And also it feels like it's your only defense mechanism kind of like if you can't beat him join.

Amy 38:56
Yeah, well, gaslighting is abuse. Like that is abuse.

Andrea 39:02
I had no idea what that even was until 2016. And then I was like I had a hard time coming to terms with that that was a thing. I'm like that was that was my whole relationship. And then also what you mentioned just a few minutes ago about if this person if my ex-husband, which all signs point to yes, that he I mean, it's for sure he was a narcissist. But there were some sociopathic tendencies. At the very least, did this person ever even love me? Like, right? How did I spend almost 14 years with this person? Like, was it ever really real? That shows the undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant at the very end she says, I don't know if he ever loved us or if he loved us loving him. Right? And that hit me like a ton of bricks because I was like, I don't know if he loved me, but I definitely know that he loved me loving him. Yeah. Was that it? Yeah. Is that what he kept me around? And I'll never know Yeah. I'll never know the answer to that. And that is what I've had to grapple with over the last year that I spent all this time. And, you know, when Helen was telling me when she said she looked at me, and she said, what you're describing to me is an abusive relationship. And he was like, I can't say for sure, because I don't know him. I've never treated him. But it sounds like he was a sociopath. And…

Amy 40:22
And you said, that's what Amy said.

Andrea 40:28
Yes, I did say that. But I also had such a hard time I wanted, I immediately wanted to defend him, right? Of course, I didn't. But I told her that I said, I'm not going to but my first thought and reaction to you saying that is that I want to tell you the great things that he did, and how much fun we had and how normal we were.

Amy 40:52
Wait, because first of all, you're never rooting for the person that you were with to actually be a sociopath. You're never like, I bet that's what it is. You want to find every reason why that is not what this is. And you're rooting for them. Right? You because you're a good human.

Andrea 41:10
And, you know, to make it about me. I felt fucking stupid, right? You don't like what kind of my inner critic says what kind of stupid idiot girl stays with a sociopath for 13 and a half years, right? And the truth of it is I was a 17-year-old girl when I met. My parents got divorced a year into our dating relationship. I was engulfed, and just, you know, enveloped by his loving family, a loving but dysfunctional family. And it was a slow burn of abuse. It didn't just like wake up that way. And then that another TV thing that totally threw me for a loop was that documentary, The Vow About NXIVM and all those people in that in that self-help group, oh god, and then talking about adult grooming, which up until then, and this was literally like six months ago, I didn't think grooming happened to adults.

Amy 42:09
Yes. That's what religion is. That's what religion is.

Andrea 42:15
And I saw, I saw that, and I had to stop the documentary and walk away because I felt physically sick to my stomach, it was towards the end of the docuseries. And it was so painful because it very much is obvious that the relationship that I had with the fake cancer guy, that was grooming, like, hands down, no arguing with that he groomed me, and it was abuse.

In my long relationship with my ex-husband, I was like, oh my god, and then I googled it and looked at, you know, what is adult grooming and there were these bullet points, and I read all of them. And I was like, oh my god, that was my life. That was totally my life. And so, it was just all these things that happened over the last year that I do think it was some divine intervention was like pointing me to the answers that I needed to hear that I was finally ready to accept yeah, as painful as it was, for me to be able to do the somatic work that I did with her. And it was rough. I mean, there were days after sessions with her that I had to like, go take a nap, or headaches learned to not have any classes or like the headaches I had. I had headaches after almost every single session with her. And I was extremely thirsty. Yeah, it was weird. So, I mean, to me that was saying like, something's happening to my body. Sure. And when we would do these somatic exercises, my body would twitch and she said people have different experiences, but that's energy moving through you. It was spooky.

Amy 43:42
Yeah. I was wondering about feeling dehydrated or feeling really thirsty because water is is a conduit for energy. You know.

Andrea 43:55
I never thought about that.

Amy 43:56
Because we talked about that sometimes in with EFT work, like if if you're not getting the results that you need that it's like, you need to drink more water because it's a conduit for energy. So, I wonder if there's something like that, that it was just zapped up all your energy was just zapped up that water.

Andrea 44:14
That's interesting. Maybe? Yeah, it wouldn't surprise me. The kind of therapy that she did with me, there were a couple of different kinds, but it's called AIT. I forget what it stands for. But you can find someone who's certified in your area. Unfortunately, my therapist is retiring this month, you know, as we wrap everything up, but one of the things one of the more recent things that we talked about the conclusion that I came to, you know, cuz she kept talking about you know, worthiness and things like that, and I would stop her. And I would say that's an, I don't feel that way. Like I don't feel unworthy, and I think it's because I've done so much work and I've worked so hard to get to a place where, of course, I have my moments where I feel not good enough, like, as we all do, but for the most part, I do feel like I have come to a place of worthiness. And I was taught, I was talking out loud. And that's, especially for people who are extroverts. We process out loud. And sometimes the way I describe it is like, I walk in a big circle, and come to my own conclusions. And we're talking about my issues with trust. And I said, it's not that I think that I'm unworthy. It's, I think, that nobody really cares about me.

Amy 45:38
Like, you don't believe what they're saying? Is it a belief?

Andrea 45:42
I do on a conscious level? Okay. I do on a conscious level, like, I know. I know that, that you care about me so much, and my well-being I absolutely know that my children do my mom especially, my husband. But it's, it's when people describe, you know, the feeling of unworthiness like they know consciously that they're worthy, but it's like the deep dark core secret or feeling is my deepest fear is that people don't really give a shit. Yeah, even though they say they do.

Amy 46:17
Well, that is a direct parallel to the trauma that you've experienced.

Andrea 46:23
Like, totally, my family of origin, and my romantic relationships. I thought that they cared, and the action showed me otherwise.

Amy 46:31
That is a defense mechanism, 100% of I mean, all fear is real, but that that is my deepest fear, based on evidence of what it feels like to actually have that happen. Right? Like, it's, it's rooted in a real-world experience. So it's not like it's outlandish or crazy or anything like that. But then it becomes, and this is what I think is kind of the nucleus of all personal development. It's not that you stop having those thoughts of, maybe they don't really care about me, or it's not that you don't have triggers, it's that you choose to contend with them differently over and over and over. So, it's even though you have those thoughts, still choosing to confide in me.

Andrea 47:26
Right, right. And work on my relationship with my husband being more vulnerable, like all those things. It helps to, and I just want to say for anybody listening, I think when I had that the day, I had that epiphany with her. I was totally crying. And I didn't cry a whole lot through our therapy, a few times. But that sort of told me like I was past the part of feeling really sad about it. I don't I don't know. I don't even know really the reason. But when I had that epiphany of It's not that I I feel like I'm unworthy. It's, I feel like nobody really cares. Again, like, palms totally started sweating, like my stomach hurt. And I want to emphasize that because what I have come to learn over the years is that I need to listen to my body and that my body's always talking to me. And that the more I listened to it, the more I do think that my body talks to me and gives me clues. Right?

Amy 48:25
Right. And that I mean, gosh, that opens up such a can of worms that I don't even want to go down. I've been, for me personally, I've been exploring how my religious upbringing was so focused on discounting the messages from the body. And you're you can't, your intuition cannot be trusted. And so, you know, that is a whole other level of trauma, right is religious trauma. But one of the things that I think is so important with this discussion, and what we've talked about is that trauma comes in so many different forms. And it's highly likely that you are gaslighting yourself about your own trauma that you're saying. It's not that big of a deal. It's not that serious. Yeah, comparing…

Andrea 49:13
I did that to myself.

Amy 49:14
Comparing it to others. Well, so and so is such a has such a worse experience. This couldn't possibly be. Meanwhile, it's stacking and stacking and stacking and you're reaching this breaking point. That's exactly what happened for me in 2018. I was like this can’t. I was comparing stuff to my stuff to your stuff like, well, Andrea can handle it. Why can't I can't You know? So, but that doesn't ever get you healing. It doesn't get you to know, where you need to go. I also remember very distinctly when we talked and that day that you called me hiding behind your desk and telling me that you hadn't told Jason and that to me was not necessarily any about the relationship, but it was, she does not have to carry all of this on her own. And she is. She's carrying all of it on her own. And granted, I know you have very solid reasons why that was the case. But I think that is one thing that I want everybody to hear is, that's not heroic. You know, we make it we make this notion of I don't want to burden other people. I don't want to bring anyone down, right? Like we've both said to each other. I feel like you're gonna get sick of hearing the same story from me. All of that stuff is bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. Like you deserve to actually get support for things. You don't have to carry it all on your own. And that is one thing I do remember talking to you about. Like this is I'm glad you brought this to me. Jason needs to be looped in. You need to get some support and therapy. This is not about muscling through.

Andrea 51:02
Yeah. And I it took me a few days, actually, even after I talked to you to talk to him about it. And that afternoon, I sat down at my computer and  I wrote about it. And I, because I thought of the metaphor of an  I titled this piece, what did I call it something like ‘Enough Licks Before the Meltdown’ or something like that. And remember, when you were a little kid, and like the ice cream truck would come and it was like summertime, and it was super hot, and you would get a popsicle. And you would lick. And if you were too slow, then the popsicle would break. And it would hit the street, and then you were super bummed. Like that's how I felt my life. I was always trying to stay one lick ahead of the meltdown. Yeah, that's what I called it. And, and I was so close, you know, like, I had all these plates spinning. Yeah, my popsicle broke. And I felt like it hit the pavement. It was melting. And I didn't, I couldn't. I couldn't save it anymore. And I was scared. Like, there was a moment, there were a few moments where I was, I was really scared for my mental health and knew that if I didn't tell my husband that you were probably going to intervene and drive up from Charlotte.

Amy 52:11
Yeah, I would have gotten way more stern with you. If I didn't feel like you were going to take any action. Yeah. But one thing that I've seen you consistently do, you know, you've definitely done this with your sobriety. And recovery. Is to is really recognizing and kind of surrendering to what's actually happening. I think that was a really, pardon the term, sobering moment for you when you went, this is how it starts, is these suicidal ideations, and you to your credit, same thing with any sort of stress that may have led to drinking years ago. You've called in the support right away. You know you said like, okay, I need to get ahead of this. It's like, it's like, the minute it becomes evident that this is fucking serious. You're ready to, to handle it.

Andrea 53:12
But I think as hard as it is, yeah.

Amy 53:15
But for most of us, I wait, we wait till that breaking point.

Andrea 53:19
Right. And that's how I used to be. I mean, first and foremost, I learned that I had to nurture friendships around me that that fostered that, yeah, because it wasn't just about my friends, like it was about me, I had to be a better friend. In order to have these reciprocal relationships, to ask for the right kind of help. I sure wish that I could just muscle my way through it. And Lord knows that I've tried, but it just, it wasn't going to work. And I think that the conclusion that I came to, was that I was not going to get the kind of like, perfect closure that I wanted. And even if I got that I don't think that it would have mattered because it wasn't about you know, what my parents could say to me to apologize or make up for it, or my ex-husband could say to apologize and express remorse or, or you know, what Mr. Fake Cancer could come, you know, come out of the woodwork and do it was really about me, and I had to take responsibility. And I had to create the kind of closure that was my own way. That's right.

Amy 54:27
And this is what I will say for anybody who is in a friendship situation like that, where you, you where you have the honor of somebody turning to you, you know like I feel so honored that you called me. And that's not that I always know because we converse through a very specific app. And so I know if you're actually calling…

Andrea 54:51
It wasn't just calling, I was Facetiming you, and it was like a Blair Witch Project type of situation with like snot.

Amy 54:58
I know. It's not really, really serious, but and we've had a couple of those throughout our friendship. But that is such an honor to be on that receiving end. And I think that there's some distinction. I was thinking about this as we were preparing to talk about this. Because I do think that there's a difference between supporting a friend through a breakdown like that, or a really rough, like mental patch, and having a friend who bitches and moans about the shit that's going on in their life and never takes action. So, because I could see people listening and going, Yeah, but my friend always has shit that's going on. And it's always dramatic. And it's always hyperbolic. And it's always the end of the world. And they never take any action.

And I started thinking about, like, what are those delineations and how, for our situation, there's always been active investment in wanting to heal that you, it wasn't about, I'm just, I'm upset. And I need you to hear me. We have plenty of those times. But that you were like, I'm in a crisis point, and I, I know that I need to reach out and get support. And you were ready to actually do that, like, take some steps to do that.

So, I think one of the best things that you can do in those types of situations is for the love of God, do not tell somebody how they should or should not feel. Don't say “No, you shouldn't feel like that”. That's the most dismissive thing that you can say to somebody when they're in such a heightened emotional state. So do not do that. And then one of our things we've talked about plenty of times is saying, “What do you need from me?” or “How can I support you the best?”, “How can it be amazing for you?”. You and I both have gotten very specific in are there specific things you want to hear or do not want to hear? like things that are helpful for me to say, semantics, phrases, and things that are, are an or not. And I can't say that there's like a blanket way to always handle this. But I do think that really leaning into compassion be just being with somebody. Being seen by you can be so unbelievably powerful, because a lot of times when people are in those places, the other party wants to fix it. And most of the time, we just need to be witnessed. There's so much power in that.

Andrea 57:38
Yeah, never once did I say like, what do you think I should do?

Amy 57:43
Yeah, I'm like, well, that's an option. No.

Andrea 57:50
Oh my God. Well, and then I forgot to mention our super fun burning party that we had a few months ago.

Amy 57:57
Oh, yeah. I'm still trying to get the ash smell out of my two coats that we dolled ourselves up in.

Andrea 58:02
So, I came over to your house and I brought hundreds of pictures from my former relationship. And we had a bonfire in Amy's backyard and had a little trouble getting the bonfire started. Almost had to ask your husband for help, which we did not want to.

Amy 58:21
I really didn't want to do that. I’m so glad we didn't.

Andrea 58:23
But we figured it out. dressed up for it.

Amy 58:28
And that was another example of a friendship vulnerability to like you. Like, you ask me, “Hey, I'm thinking about doing this thing. What would you be actually would you witness me doing this.” And of course, I was fuckin thrilled. I was like, “This is my ideal situation!”. I love vulnerability.

Andrea 58:48

Well, it was kind of it was like Valentine's Day they were doing, they kind of made it be like this witchy thing where they were burning, I don't remember it was pictures of their old boyfriends or something like that and had to call the fire department. It was a burning ceremony. And actually, I think it was Hannah Mercati that gave me the idea to do it. Because I couldn't bear the thought of having all of those pictures in a landfill somewhere just like throwing them away, but at the same time, I don't want to keep them. So uh, you know, I had the idea to this idea to burn’em and didn't want to do it by myself, but kind of did want to do it by myself. And the only person I could think of to do it with was you. And so yeah, it was super fun. We dressed in ridiculous outfits that didn't match and just had a lot of fun.

Amy 59:34
Because it was winter bundling up and…

Andrea 59:37
I was outside. Coats. And I felt okay like I had no idea how I was going to feel looking through my old wedding album and the album from my honeymoon and just so many pictures from my 20s, early 30s. And I was okay.

Amy 59:52
You were ready. You know, for the first so many years. even getting rid of those pictures was not an option.

Andrea 59:58
Even asking my sister to ship them to me because they were at her house like I didn't, I wasn't even ready to see him. I didn't know how it was, I feel.

Amy 1:00:06
You know, we had a moment then too, doing all of that, where again, this is something that I've really tried to employ, instead of trying to fix things for people is to just say, do you what can I? How can I support you? Even that night, I remember saying, ‘Do you want a little bit of time by yourself? Do you want me to step inside? I'm good. Either way. I'm not over it. I could do it all night.’ A lot of times the instinct in really intimate friendships or partnerships is to say, here's how you should behave. Here's what you should do. Instead of what do you need from me? Yeah, you know, and definitely, we have advice portions of our…

Andrea 1:00:50
Well, I'm curious, you know, before we wrap up, I would love for you to talk a little bit about it, and I don't know the answer to this. So actually, curious myself, like, do you work with clients on things like this? Because I know through hypnotherapy, that's another somatic modality that people can use, who want to quit smoking and all kinds of different things. So, what do you see? When people have issues as I brought to my therapist?

Amy 1:01:16
Yeah, so typically, I advise people to go where, where it hurts the most because this is what I see the most commonly. The primary work that I do that is in it's a medley kind of multiple modalities, but hypnosis and coaching and NLP and etc. The entry-level, sort of what we work on is usually that worthiness. Right? It's usually that notion of, I recognize that I'm the only, I'm the one that's in my way. So, I keep thinking, if I get this perfect career, if somebody loves me, if blah, blah, blah, then maybe I'll be happy, maybe then I'll be valuable. So, what I find is that we kind of go through that, that baseline, and then once they graduate, then it becomes some of the more systematic or deeper levels that they work through.

So, I've seen a lot of people then, as their next step, sometimes we do it one on one, sometimes it's through my graduate group, sometimes it's with other practitioners, then they'll go through oh, shit, I'm realizing that there's a lot of my worthiness that's tied to religious trauma, or I've realized that this worthiness issue, the stuff that we've worked through, or about money, or about this past relationship. So, it's not dissimilar to the journey that of yours that we've chronicled, it's like, you're only so you're only ready to peel away certain levels, layers of the onion.

And spoiler alert for everybody who doesn't want to hear this, but you're never fucking done. Yeah, you know, even all this stuff that you've shared today, there will be the next level, there will be the next thing that you work through. And it might be completely unrelated to any of the stuff that we've talked about today. So, I think everything is rooted in the subconscious part of the mind like all of that is. But we have to recognize that that's also a protective mechanism. So, we're not always ready to process things. Yeah. So, it's about meeting yourself, where you are currently. Just talking to my brother about this, because he was like, shit, I've got sexuality stuff. I've got religious stuff. I've got mom and dad issues I've got, he's like, I've waited too long, you got to jump on this. You started working on this early, and he's like, overwhelmed with the amount of stuff. And I'm like, okay, let's just start where it hurts. Like, let's start where it hurts right now. And go start peeling that layer of the onion and just know that it's, it will continue. You don't have to do it all in one sitting. You don't have to do it all in one interaction. And that you and I are still doing it. And we're teachers of it. Yeah. You know, that's part of it.

Andrea 1:04:03
Yeah, I love hearing about the work that you do, because it's been so clear to me that it's all about the subconscious, mostly because of the dreams that I keep having. And, it was interesting. I don't know if I told you this or not, but the more recent dreams that I've been having about him, and I was telling Helen this, I was saying they I'm back at his parents’ house where I spent a lot of time and it's a mess like there was some kind of party or someone just like didn't clean up their laundry and didn't make the bed. It's not dirty. It's just messy. And I have to clean up and its present time like he, you know, we're this old and he has, you know, the child that he had with another woman and there's typically another family member there. So, it's like either his mom is also there or one of his brothers or somebody and I have to clean it and I'm cleaning up. Yeah, I have to clean up and I feel like I need to clean up. I didn't get the connection until I told her and she like stared at me for a minute.

Amy 1:05:04
I'm looking at I'm holding my hands up like, Hello!

Andrea 1:05:10
And then I looked at her, I was like, oh my god, and I'm like, I'm cleaning up the mess. And I feel it's not that I feel frantic in the dream, but it feels like it's my top priority.

Amy 1:05:23
Right? I'm gonna have to agree with Helen on this one.

Andrea 1:05:30
There's, there are other dreams. Since I've been working with her, they've definitely sort of loosened their charge, so they don't feel as emotionally charged. They're still weird. And this is another reason like the subconscious I think is so interesting, is that I could not tell you right now, like details of his face, and his mannerisms and stuff. But when I dream about it, it's there. Right, that tells me like your subconscious hold on to these memories. And it kind of seems like a ‘well duh, but when you're dreaming it, and you wake up the next morning, and like you have like that visceral feeling like, ugh. I feel that we want to have drinking dreams. Still, it's just like, right, all these old memories that are living in your subconscious, it was a clear indicator to me that these old traumas were still living inside my body. And then I needed to close the loop.

Amy 1:06:19
It's imprinted. It's imprinted in your cells, it's imprinted in your psyche. You know, what do they say we use as such a small percentage of our brain's actual power, like, of course, you have records of that.

But what I think is really interesting. And this is, at least from what I've learned around dream therapy, that a lot of times, you will get context clues of whatever it is that you're dreaming about, that will be in reference to a specific time period. If you are actually a different age, in your dream, that's typically indicative of something that wasn't rectified at that particular age. So, for you in that dream that you just shared, that's very different because of your present-day self, so it's indicating that it's something you're contending with right now. But you have these context clues of the people who were around during a very specific time period. So, it's quite clear that the metaphor of cleaning up is you're doing it on your own, right? It's that whole thing you just said about closure. You don't have him to have a sit down with or to have any sort of, you know, quote, closure. It's you cleaning up the influence of these people. And that I would think the symbolism of the other family member who's there is representative of the layers of grief that you've experienced around losing this relationship. That it was not just the loss of the marriage, but the community and the connection each in the family. And this that that whole, does anybody really care. Right? Does anybody really care? They’re all tethered. Yeah, it's, it's all completely tethered.

Andrea 1:08:21
Yeah. Fascinating. It is. Thanks for coming on and doing this with me.

Amy 1:08:26
Are you do you have a headache now?

Andrea 1:08:27
I don't.

Amy 1:08:28
Okay, good. I'm glad.

Amy 1:08:32
Yeah, I have my kombucha and my dog is near me. I'm really, really hot, though. I don't know if it's because our heaters up too much. Or it just is it's a difficult conversation. And I am proud of myself, I've come so far in this, and I would not have wanted to come on the show and talk about this like, of you know, in May of 2020. Like I needed to come all the way full circle to March 2021, to be able to share this with the audience. And I hope it was helpful for people I just, I like to be really transparent about things. And I think before I went through it, I always wondered what somatic trauma therapy looked like. And this is what I went through isn't the only way there are. There are, you know, therapy, I was about to call them camps, but they're like, they're just, you know, therapeutic workshops and that you can go to for like weeks at a time I looked into those. They're very expensive, but and I also didn't want to do group therapy and I wanted, yeah, so  I specifically looked for someone who because I had done talk therapy for so long, and I knew this was an issue that I could not talk my way through anymore.

Amy 1:09:40
Right. Right. And, you know, if if you go to Psychology Today, the online publication, they also do a physical publication as well, but they have an amazing resource where you can search by all sorts of modalities, you can search for therapists who also do EMDR or who also have coaching backgrounds or who worked primarily with LGBTQ+ community to Great. So, it's, it has a robust search option. So, there's definitely support available to you.

But I, you know, it's been pretty amazing to watch this journey. You know, I remember having various conversations where you've been like, “Yeah, I don't know, if I even fully trust you”, you know, and I'm like, “Okay”, you know, like, I guess I'm very clear, that's, that's, you know, yours that you're working through that's not an indication of me not being trustworthy or something. But to be with somebody as they grow. And I know, you've definitely been with me too, with a myriad of ups and downs. But I felt that pride for you to like, just such extreme. It's courage, it's brave to stand in front of your trauma and say, I'm not going to let you control me anymore. Exactly. Is, um, is not the choice that a lot of people make. Yeah. And I think it's also one of the reasons why you have such a devout following, because of that transparency, and, you know, suspect any guru who acts as though fuckin hate that term, by the way, but anyone who acts, expert, who acts as though they're done, they have all their shit together. Yeah, yeah, I don't, cuz you are.

Andrea 1:11:21
Yeah, I don't. I don't believe that either. Well, and I told Helen, early on, I was like, I need to do lots of talk therapy sessions, only because I don't trust you yet. Because for me, if someone really struggles with anxiety, I like to stay up all in my head. I have a hard time getting into my body. I really struggle with somatic exercises, like I've told you, like, I really struggle with visualizations. I struggle with meditation, I just, it's this disconnect. And so, I told her, I said, for me to trust you enough, so I can completely be vulnerable, not just with the words that I'm saying and the stories I'm telling and that you know, the truths that I'm setting free, but to drop into my body. And yeah, that's like releasing all control, like, what am I going to do? Am I gonna start crying? Am I gonna, you know, like, I don't know, like, what's gonna happen to my body like it like uncontrollable diarrhea?

Amy 1:12:18
Am I gonna shit my pants? What?

Andrea 1:12:22
Right? So, when she said, I so appreciate you telling me that and being transparent. Because I knew that if I tried to people, please. And like, okay, I'm totally ready, I would have been like, faking it the whole time. So, it took me weekly appointments for a few months of just talking in circles, and like telling her all the history and giving her all the details, before I was finally ready, and I am, you know, she would ask me every time and I'd be like, No, I don't trust you yet. You stay over there.

Amy 1:12:46
Yes. Yes. Back up. Well, okay. So, I want to make a distinction, though, about when you said, I have a really hard time visualizing. That, that does not necessarily have to mean that you're not in touch with your body. That's quite simply just a sensory preference. Yeah, we all have sensory preferences, right? Because and I know that because I'm extremely visual, and I have a hard time being in my body. So, one of the things that, like a little fun fact, for anybody listening, if in your dreams, you are in your body, like looking out your own eyeballs and in you know, engaging with your dream that way, then you have a tendency to be more aligned with your body. But if you are disassociated, meaning in your dreams, you watch yourself almost like on a movie screen, then you tend to be a little bit more distant from your body a little more disassociated, which is absolutely me. And I attribute that a lot to religion trips that I've also worked through. So that's interesting.

Andrea 1:13:57
I do the other one, I actually dream as I am, myself.

Amy 1:14:01
You're associated in your dreams. So, I think you may have more. This is what I speculate about you is you have way more connected to your body than you get credit for, give yourself credit for. But other people have described it in such a visual way that it makes you feel like you've done it wrong.

Andrea 1:14:18
I think you're right.

Amy 1:14:21
Yeah, let's ask Helen if she agrees with me.

Andrea 1:14:22
We’ll call Helen, we'll call an expert, and ask her so she can validate you. She's married, you could just take her job.

Amy 1:14:26
Yeah, I'm sure. I’m so sure.

Andrea 1:14:35
Well, we'll have you know, the links to all the things that we talked about in the show notes. And thank you again for being here. I hope this was helpful for the listeners. And I appreciate all of you. I know this was a little bit of a longer episode, and so tell people where they go to listen to your awesome podcast.

Amy 1:14:51
Well, if anybody is interested in picking up what I'm putting down, you can go over to TheJoyJunkie.com. Junkie is J-U-N-K-I-E. I have a podcast, free workshops, free workbooks lots of free ways to engage with me. My podcast is called The Joy Junkie Show. So, if you're on a podcast platform right now you can very easily find me. I'm on all major, major places, and subscribe, rate, review, and subscribe, that I'm only accepting five stars currently.

Andrea 1:15:23
Thank you, Amy Smith. And again, thank you, listeners, I'm so grateful for your time. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye, everybody.

Hey, there as Kickers, I just wanted to mention a few things that might be helpful for you, some resources. If you or someone you care about is talking about ending their life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1-800-273-8255.

I also wanted to let you know, you know, there are so many different modalities out there for trauma therapy. There were a few that my therapist did, she brought me through visualizations. And AIT is the one that I mentioned in the show. That stands for Advanced Integrative Therapy. You can find someone certified in your area if you're interested in it. There's also EFT tapping. There are many different modalities. And if you are looking to do this type of work, I would definitely ask around for a referral from people that you trust and find someone who specializes in this type of work. There are you know, I think that most therapists for sure can do talk therapy, which I do believe is important. But the therapy that I'm specifically talking about is more of a somatic experience. And like I said, there are many, many different modalities to help you with that.

Alright, so that's all about that. So, I'm going to leave you with this short, candid conversation, a bit of a behind-the-scenes story that Miss Amy Smith shares with us.

Amy 1:17:07
It was, it was terrifying at the moment. Okay, so. So, Ken and I both were had had an edible. So, we were a little stoney…

Andrea 1:17:10
I thought you were gonna say an enema was like, why?

Amy 1:17:20
No. No, definitely not. An edible. So, we were about both a little stony. And it was sexy time. Okay, and so we're having sex detox. And all of a sudden, we hear Delilah starting to throw up.

Andrea 1:17:26
In your room? Like…

Amy 1:17:30
No, we were downstairs in the living room. Okay. And so, the, so we immediately stopped and we're like, oh, my god, like Ken goes rushes over to her. She, we didn't want her to throw up on the couch. So, we're like, at least get her onto the wood floor because it's so much easier to stay clean up. So, he's like, both of us stark-ass naked, he's jumping around like trying to take care of his boner and, with his bonder around, and Delilah, Delilah like *puking sound*, you know.

And so then we're also stone so we're paranoid that she is going to actually die. Because I give them these chews. Yeah, give them their chews, and they get so excited about it. Well, I noticed that Delilah inhales it to the point where Fiona still has a majority of the chew left and Delilah is completely done. And she's like, half her size. I'm like, and so he's reaching into her mouth, trying to get the chew out and I was like, oh my God, is she choking to death right now? Like I was freaking out. And then she ended up being fine. She threw up a little bit. She looked really butthurt and just a real sad, just depressed, little girl.

Andrea 1:20:00
Was she embarrassed or…?

Amy 1:20:05
She was pitiful. She was kind of a little traumatized by her dad's boner. I know. Well, it was just such a funny, funny situation. Then…

Andrea 1:20:10
I'll keep my questions till the end.

Amy 1:20:14
Okay, so, so it was towards the beginning of sexy time. So, we hadn't gotten where we wanted to go. I'll say that. So, we're both sitting there like all defeated naked on the couch. And he was like, “Wow, baby girl. You really know how to kill some sexy time”. And then so I'm sitting there and I'm like, “Well, do you want to get back into it?”, you know, because I'm like, dude, and he's like, yeah, but I don't know how to kind of bridge the gap between where we just were.

Andrea 1:20:07
You’ve gotta just go for it like…

Amy 1:20:12
And so we had had an adult film that was up on our, on our television. So, he was like, well, let's just start here.

Andrea 1:20:14
Was it paused?

Amy 1:20:16
No, it was like we're one video had finished and so it was just like, all the thumbnails of all your possible options. So, so we're like, okay, well we're back to this. Okay, let's pick a new thumbnail. He's like, well, let's just start here. But it was just so funny the way he was like, I don't quite know how to just jump back into that because it was quite harrowing. I mean, I was, he was concerned I was like, what if she chokes to death right here like that's not a rush them to the hospital thing. That's like you have a couple of seconds right now…

Andrea 1:21:00
To do like little dog Heimlich.

Amy 1:21:03
And then and then, we, at another segment during the evening. We go upstairs and I'm like, “do you think it's okay to leave her down here like should…”. So then this morning when I came downstairs and I saw that she was fully alive and okay, I was like, I'm so glad you didn't die last night, baby girl. oh, my God.

Andrea 1:21:30
You're expensive and full.

Amy 1:21:33
Well, just a mood killer. Like just said, we're…

Andrea 1:21:35
Of course, it was her too and not Fiona.

Amy 1:21:37
Oh, Fiona would never. Fiona would never. Delilah. De-rowdy, she's the worst.

Andrea 1:21:45
So okay, so my question is because I don't I can't have the dog in the room when we're doing it.

Amy 1:21:52
Oh, you feel like observed?

Andrea 1:21:55
I feel like because of the codependent relationship I have with Giselle. She, she would be judging. And….

Amy 1:22:06
Well, okay, have you seen Have you seen those people on TikTok that have like those big mats with different like bells? Yeah, there they look like on a buzz. They can communicate with the dogs. Yeah. So. So maybe you have that for Giselle? And she's like, ‘gross, stop, eww, nasty, eww.’ You need to warm up more before you do that. Or what if she's like, ‘yes. Get it, girl. Get it. Oh my god. I think I’m going to pee my pants and we haven’t even started yet.

Andrea 1:22:41
Yeah. I just always have to kick her out of the room. And she looks so disappointed. Like, I don't think she knows. I don't know. And then I always feel uncomfortable. If we have private time together. And then I open our bedroom door and she's laying down right outside the door. And she's like, ‘I heard everything’.

Amy 1:23:04
And she’s like ‘I know. She hits the buzzer. ‘I'm on to you.’

Andrea 1:23:08
She knows she's had puppies before she knows.

Andrea 1:23:18
Oh my gosh, so are the dogs. Okay, you said that she was on the couch? Are they? I know you have that big sectional. Are they on the other side of the sectional? They're not like right next to you. Are they?

Amy 1:23:27
No, not like where I'm like, hey. So, this is happening? No.

Andrea 1:23:32
A little scratch behind the ear. No, okay, good.

Amy 1:23:37
No, plus, they're so small and you know, they like just curl up in this tiny little puffball. I mean, for the most part, they are just unbothered, you know what I mean? And so that we weren't even paying attention to them at all until Delilah starts retching. And, wow.

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