It’s no secret that one of the keys to life, is balance. Lean too much towards work, and we can lose focus on our personal life and risk burn out. Lean too far towards the personal side, and we can end up losing sight of the career dreams and things we want to accomplish. When you toss Mental Health into the equation, it adds a whole new dimension to this struggle.
Not only do you have to juggle your personal and professional life, what ever that looks like for you individually, now you have any number of mental health challenges that bring about their own daily influx of struggles. Talk about the need for balance, right!
As a mental health and LGBTQ+ advocate, and current MSW student, Lee Thomas shares her thoughts on this topic and several others during this episode of the podcast.
I first met Lee when I came across her weekly Facebook Live show, Crazy Talk, after the HealtheVoice 2018 Conference. Lee regularly interviews advocates, clinicians, professional, survivors and others all around the topic of mental health and advocacy. I was honored to be on Crazy Talk earlier this year (you can find that episode by clicking here) and now I’m pleased to have Lee join me on Beyond Your Past.
Lee was born and raised in a small town in northern Alberta. From a young age they were heavily involved in athletics, student government, and other extracurriculars. However, during their teen years they began battling a mental illness. Feeling scared and alone, Lee struggled silently for many years. Their illness worsened throughout their high school years and continued into university, until Lee finally sought help and began the difficult process of recovery.
After Lee began the recovery process, they realized that there were still many people struggling with mental health issues in silence. To reduce the stigma around mental health issues on their campus, Lee founded the #MyDefinition poster campaign in 2014. Since then, Lee has been working as a motivational speaker and mental health trainer, speaking to groups of all ages and sizes about their own mental health experiences, the important of reducing stigma, and LGBTQ+ issues.
While continuing her graduate education in the field of social work, she continues to serve as a speaker, trainer, and writer in the mental health field; her work has been featured on The Mighty, TEDx, CBC News, and more.
During our chat on the podcast, we cover some of the struggles and triumphs in her life so far as well as her future work as social worker serving the LGBTQ+ community and others who know what it means to struggle with a mental illness such as depression, eating disorders, bipolar, and more:
- Her struggle with depression, eating disorders, and self-harm in her teen-age years.
- The realization that she had been suffering in silence for so long, and then learning what a mental illness means for her.
- The limited information available about mental health when she was younger, and what she re-learned later.
- Starting the #MyDefinition poster campaign and how that lead to acquiring speaking engagements and sharing her story at conferences and workshops.
- The 3 keys of validation she needed to get started in her career: Passion, Knowledge, and Something She was Good at.
- What vulnerability looks like for each of us
- Staying busy and the risk of doing so to avoid confronting and working through tough memories and emotions.
- How staying busy reinforces the mindset of “uncopewithable” situations, and how this can set back healing.
Lee shares her thoughts on these topics and more during our chat, so I hope you’ll check out the po
Announcements and what the heck goes on behind the scenes of a podcast network all about mental health? Join podcaster and sound editor Joseph Fusaro (Joda) and Kristin Sunanta Walker as they talk about what’s up and the art of disengagement.
Join hosts Dr. Kristina Hallett and Kristin Sunanta Walker with the incredible Jenn Edden talking about our addiction to sugar.
Three women unleashed on this incredible new series Be Awesome!
Jenn Edden is a certified health coach specializing in sugar addiction and empowerment coaching. She is also a mom, speaker, and biz coach for other entrepreneurs looking for clarity and confidence. As a recovering sugar-a-holic, Jenn supports women to take back their lives and health by making small tweaks to food and lifestyle choices while addressing how much mindset plays a role in long-term success.
Join Dr. Kristin Neff for a lively discussion about what it means to be a compassionate mess! It’s okay. Our hosts Dr. Kristina Hallett and Kristin Sunanta Walker jump in to ask questions about what self-compassion really means especially in today’s world.
When you come to a breaking point in your life, continuously being beaten down time after time, struggle after struggle, never seeming to gain your footing for any length of time, one of the things you might find yourself doing is praying for help and for wisdom. You reach out for help to God, the great spirit, the universe, or the higher power you connect with.
Healing from physical wounds is one thing, but healing emotional wounds is something entirely different. Not to minimize the pain of physical trauma at all, that’s difficult enough as it is and can leave lasting traumatic, emotional wounds that go far deeper than the physical ones that can heal in time. When you’re talking about the deep, deep wounds of emotional trauma that leaves scars only you can see; you need more than the body’s ability to regenerate over time on its own.
It requires a commitment the likes of which you may have never experienced before in your life. Unpacking those old wounds that you’ve tried so hard to bury in the bottom of your mind, for years, even decades, is not something to be taken lightly. However, the rewards that can come from reliving those memories, processing and learning from them, and forging your personal healing path, are truly life changing.
Healing unresolved trauma takes a combined effort of mind, body, and spirit; which is exactly the message my guest on the podcast today is sharing with the world. Alexis Acker-Halbur is the founder and creator of the Never Give Up Institute, and the author of “Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness”.
Alex offers anyone who has suffered trauma or loss not just one way forward, but many. A survivor herself—of an astonishing number of traumas including, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, sexual exploitation by a therapist, rape, and cancer—she describes the connection between mind, body, and spirit and shows how the stress and anger she has experienced connect to her life-threatening illnesses.
I was in a hospital bed, diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, and fighting for my life—not once but twice. I suddenly saw the connection of how stress and trauma made me so sick. I knew at that moment I needed to survive and find ways to help me thrive.
I founded the Never Give Up Institute to help you understand how unresolved stress and trauma can cause illness, increase financial difficulty, and keep you from living a meaningful life.
As a survivor myself, and someone who works with trauma survivors, the message that Alex shares today on this episode of the podcast, and what she teaches in her book and online program, “T.R.U.T.H.“, is one that resonates so much with me. I’m so honored to share our conversation with you. During our chat, Alex and I cover the following topics:
- Some of her story of being a survivor, which includes childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, failed relationships and more, in addition to dealing with colon cancer, breast cancer, and auto accident, type 1 diabetes, and other medical issues.
- The experience of going for a colonoscopy and hours later finding herself being prepped for surgery for colon cancer. She tells of laying in the hospital and praying for answers and help.
- Her prayers were answered in the form of being presented with a list of every trauma she’s ever faced, every disease or physical challenge, and the matching correlation to a past that involved a multitude of unresolved trauma.
- What she did with this information, and how it took it happening twice for her true healing to finally take shape.
- How the body copes with unres