I am a Florida girl who loves a simple life, Jesus, family, friends, football and the beach (usually in that order). While being introduced for a speaking opportunity a few years ago, the pastor asked me "who are you?". The words that followed shocked even me: "I am the precious daughter of the most high God". There were many years when I would not have answered that question as I did that day. I have spent most of my life defining myself by all that I have survived; all that I have accomplished or all the degrees on my wall. The truth is, my answer to that pastor's question that day is the definition that is most important, and one that I hope truly defines my life when I am gone. The rest: survival, accomplishments, and college degrees are certainly a part of my story; and why I write, mentor and speak. My description of "who I am" that day is why I stand proclaiming Him and Him alone.
As a survivor of a lot of things that tried to kill me, it is my desire to use my story to spread a story of Hope for any who may find themselves in similar situations as mine. If this story is interesting to you, sign up to receive an email, you will get notified when I add a chapter. It's a crazy story and one that only God could redeem.
Amy Watson 0:01 Most of all, thank you Jesus. Thank you for your nail scared hands that reached into my heart that day and Dr. Pettits office who reminded me that I can never be shameful to you. You paid much too high a price for me to have that experience that David thank you for paying shadow Hey everybody, and welcome to the season finale of the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. We made it y’all three seasons of this little passion project of mine. I am immensely grateful for this platform. And for you the listeners. The truth of the matter is that I would get behind this microphone for just one of you. Because your work that Jesus taught me that by stressing the importance of leaving the 99 to find the one if you’re the one that needs this episode today. Welcome. This is the first two episodes, and you’re gonna want to listen to this one before the next episode with Dr. Pettit. Gotta be honest with you guys, this one is difficult. And the people that are watching this on YouTube may see it on my face, probably see a few tears glistening in my eyes, because this is a tough one. But in obedience, I’m bringing it to you. It is time for me to finally get behind this microphone and tell you how God is continuing to heal my own unspeakable childhood trauma, as it has been the focus of the season, Places Spaces, and aces childhood trauma and the home. I’ve talked a lot, a lot about shame on this podcast and how she wants us to believe that we are at a mistake, not that we made a mistake. That is one of the many definitions are saying. But the point is there’s no denying that shame robs us the truth, the truth of who we are. And you know, it acts like a thief in the night that steals our sense of value and greatly affects how we show up in this world. I believe it is one of the greatest tools where enemy, an enemy that we cannot see, but is out to destroy us and our faith if we have faith in the first place. While I have shared my story on many platforms, I’ve always been careful to speak in general terms. And I do that for a lot of reasons. These were these reasons make sense. They’re prudent, partially because I know better. Some of my trauma still brings with it an incredible amount of shame. When I started this podcast, and I’ve said this several times, I started there for you, not me. But I also understand the responsibility of what we’re doing here. And so when I curated an entire season, on childhood trauma, I had to go into those closed off dark rooms and open the door of my soul, as John Eldridge says from inside out, and I had to invite God in to help me to spell the lies. I’m not very good at asking for help. So that battle was real for me. As I’ve mentioned, we have spent most of this season focusing on childhood trauma, how we process it based on the way God made us. We did that through the lens of the Enneagram. And some of the later episodes highlighted its effect on us as adults, we talked about how food is connected to helping us heal from trauma. I have purposely purposely stayed quiet about most of mine this season, as I absolutely wanted to highlight the stories of others. And I wanted to finally address my own shame and I needed to do it privately. For me, knowing full well, one day it would end up here and your earbuds. Today’s episode is part one of our season finale this, this episode will highlight the miraculous, the miraculous work that God has done in my life over the course of this podcast season. But first you need some perspective before Dr. Pettit comes on to end the season. And we’re going to talk about a day a counseling session that happened in his office. You guys know how important counseling is to me and how important I think it is in our healing process. So this is a good place for me to stop and say, if you’re interested in helping us provide counseling services for people who cannot afford it, please click on that contact me button in the show notes. We have awarded two scholarships in 2020, to apply to a war two more to people that just could not get help. Because the fact of the matter is, I would not be, I just I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be behind this microphone. If it weren’t for my access to counseling, I am so immensely grateful that I have been able to provide that for myself. And so I want to provide it for others. And if you want to share along on that journey, just click on that that button, there’s several ways you can do it. This all started guys, when I found a picture of me when I was about seven years old pictures of me of a child, I thought were pretty relatively non existent. And so I struggled remember being a child. And so this picture and some subsequent ones that came behind it, jarred V. I remember that little girl who I sometimes call the towheaded monster slayer. And one day audibly spoke to that picture and promised that little girl who kept me alive that I was going to take care of what she had protected. She got me here to this day recording this podcast, the more importantly, she got me here to this life, that I am living, abundant, and free. And so my promise to the monster slayer was that I was going to do the hard work of healing parts of me. And there was a part that not a single soul knew existed. I knew if I was going to continue to get behind microphones and keyboards that I had to invite Jesus the start of the entire story into my pain. I was feeling incredibly burned out on my work here, the pandemic and life in general. I think John Eldridge said it best in his new book resilient, we have not yet paid the psychological bill for the pandemic, he has likely referring to the world at large. But for those of us who are trauma survivors, it has been a double whammy. Early last year, I added another tool to my toolbox by way of hiring an Enneagram coach. And while I know that not all Christians believe that the Enneagram can be used with through the gospel lens, I chose to learn about my core motivations and my core fears through the gospel lens and the way God made me what makes me tick and to address my propensity to help others sometimes to my own detriment. I did it because I was done guys. I was done fighting. I was done fighting for me, and I was done fighting. I was getting very close to being done fighting for you. I learned a lot through that process and realize that my childhood message you must always plan in the background. As my core fear of being unwanted and unloved had been met from my earliest memory. We spent the first half of this season learning about how each of us process trauma. And all the while I was learning that I am wanted and loved by the Most High God operating from that truth ingrained in me by both Dr. Pettit and Carissa Harrison, who was my Enneagram coach, it was time and here’s where YouTube you viewers are going to see it on my face, it was time to address the shame of sexual abuse. For some reason I was able to share the abuse when I was a small child through elementary school. But it was my last abuser that left marks of shame on the deepest parts of me. What I’m going to share with you today is only been shared with Dr. Pettit and a close and a few close friends. It is my hope again, leaving the 99 to find the one that one of you are helped by this gut wrenching battle to defeat the shame that I have endured for decades. It was my last abuser the seventh of seven that haunts me but a finally laid it down nailed it to the cross I can hear it in my ears now the hammer hitting the nail because that was on that cross where they took my Jesus and the earth was changed forever. Why as bloodshed for you and me. The completed work on the cross gives shame the knockout punch. It has no game. And that is all because of Jesus the story the story. This man my seventh abuser I’ve mentioned before mentioned before that even as a young adult I’ve had I when I was very young. 789 years old, I had odd jobs that put food on the table and clothes on my back. One day I was canvassing for set jobs and people who didn’t care about child labor laws. When I walked into a thrift shop to find a fragile man sitting behind the counter. I asked if he could use some help and after negotiating my $32 a week salary. I found my first sales job as surely as I got At more further secondhand items than he was getting on his own, I swept floors hung up close counted money, and I was immensely proud of that work. Because I think we all get a sense of fulfillment and work is how God made us. I was perhaps just a decade early on the work, my friends were outside playing, and I was selling secondhand clothes to people. I will not get this man airtime by giving you his name. But it wasn’t long before he wanted more than that, but in sales skills or keeping his shop clean. It was the summer between my fifth and sixth grade season of school. My uncle Lloyd, who had already been a steady presence in my life offered to put me in a private school as I was incredibly bored and not challenged in the public school system. I was going to church, as I’ve mentioned before the robust ministry and they had a school and so I was so excited that I was going to be going to school with my friends from church. The only problem is that there was a dress code at that school and I had nothing that met that dress code. So that summer was all about earning money to buy clothes for the school year. I saved that $32 A week all summer and at the end of the summer, I jumped on the city bus went to the mall, I filled my closet with acceptable school clothes. But that summer job came at a great cost to me. And at 50 years old, it was finally time to address it, as shameful as it was, and can sometimes still be because I don’t believe that these things are one and done. I believe that I constantly have to take this to the cross. I was active in church as I’ve mentioned, I want all the sword drills memorized scripture for contest got picked for Bible trivia teams went to summer camp and heard some of the main most amazing preaching I’ve ever heard still to this day. However, those were the days where the most of the preaching was hellfire and brimstone and perhaps the beginning of what many Christians call and I’m err quoting when I say this purity culture. Now, before I go further, I want to make clear that I believe that these people were well meaning because the Bible does in fact, teach sexual purity. That the idea that my generation was beat down with sexual purity messaging without the why behind it is real. Like I said, I believe these people were well meaning that this message was damaging. To many of us. The message was simple. Don’t have sex before marriage. Don’t do this before marriage. Don’t do that before marriage. Don’t defile yourself. Don’t make yourself unclean. I think that those people will teach us differently now perhaps telling us the why behind the double biblical truth of sexual purity. That back then all that we knew was sexual activity, and any form was bad, dirty, defiled, perhaps even evil. No one could have known that kids like me, who had some of that stuff forcibly taken from them were sitting under their preaching and teaching. They just wanted the best for us avoiding the ills of premature sexual activity Not to mention, all the things they were teaching us is in fact that local when engaging in their sexual activities was a choice. And so when my new boss added some things to my job description that fell in that room, I chose to keep collecting my $32 a week and hope they got understood. I was 12 years old, my body was also confusing me. And he realized he put me in the palm of his hand as he began providing for my almost my every need at that point, food, transportation, lunch money and attention that I so desperately needed. Not too long after that summer, my mom made that decision that got me removed from her by the state and this man disappeared because he knew that what he did left marks on my body that the doctors would notice and questions would be asked. They never found him. My heart and my mind never lost the shame and regret from not saying something forgiven at my quote, purity, for food, transportation and attention and attention. The indictments remained until the beginning of this podcast season, the barrage of purity culture preaching only added to that shame, and I was certain that I was damaged goods and no one would ever want me. And moreover, God would be forever disappointed in me. I should have known better right? I should have told somebody dirty MTA filed. Plan over and over my mind like a broken record. Visiting this 30 years later also highlight some pain guys that my mom let it happen. Often fewer 25 yards from the shadow of shame, the settlement same property of our rented house. I’m not sure that pain will ever go away this side of heaven but the pain of her not wanting me and not loving me enough to protect me added to shame and that started the ball up performing for people to love me doing things for people so that they would keep me around working to the point of burnout so that I could prove that I love God in spite of the 13 year old decision to let this man air quote defile me. Fast forward many years later, when I met and married the man that about killed me, I figured he was the best I was ever going to get damaged goods dirty to filed center spoil goods. But the day I arrived and I walked into Dr. Pets office to tell determine to tell him things that I had never told his soul including these details about my last abuser. finally able to see him in person because of the of the pandemic I drove the two hours to his office and I felt more and more sick. As I watched the miles click Buy, was I really going to do this was I going to share what a horrible, unclean, defiled and unpure person I was, because I should have known better. I was learning that at church. I knew I was wrong. I knew it was wrong in my soul. And now decades later, I was finally going to tell somebody after an interview with my friend morally, the season before I became fascinated with inner child work. My fascination though was for you, not for me. But the more that I researched inner child work and even repairing, I could easily conjure up images of that towheaded monster slayer that kept me alive from the first time I was locked in a room and the physical abuse that happened there. She protected me in weird ways for me to the seven abusers including the serial killer. Somehow that little girl got me to this place. I am now alive and a productive member of society. And so I walked into Dr. pedis office that morning for that towhead monster slayer, little Amy. Little Amy deserves some attention. She deserves some validation. And moreover, that little girl deserve to heal. Little Amy deserved that promise to take care of what she had protected in childhood. Her very wife, my very wife. I sat in the waiting room of his office and that picture in my hand blurry when I looked at it because my hands are shaking. When he came into the waiting room I swallowed hard and stared down on the picture of my hand. He knew I was finally was as ready as I was ever going to be. I handed them the picture one of the few of the towheaded monster slayer, the seven year old snaggletooth little girl dirty but smiling that signature Amy Watson smile sitting on a pony. As odd as that is. I remember the people that knocked on doors with a pony and a hat. The pictures cost money. I don’t know who paid it. But somehow there I sat on Apone the monster slayer squinted from the Florida Sun. And for reasons that defy logic gifted the camera again that trademark AMI smile. That’s to this day is one of the first things that people notice about me. Dr. Pettit gently took the picture for me and taped it on a dry erase board in his office. I could hear my heartbeat and I was sure that he could to. I couldn’t look at him at first. But when the words began to flow as did the tears, I stared at that picture of that little girl once that somehow found a way to survive. I felt gratitude in my heart for her and pride that a girl is short on trips around the Sun managed to stay alive. I began telling the floor my story, the story of the last abuser I could look up at Dr. Pettit. I guess he heard the story too. When I was done that looked up to see the words he had written on the board. He wrote them as I said them and even kept count on him many times I use phrases like I should have known better. God has to be so mad at me. I am dirty. I deserved to marry into domestic violence marriage, I am spoiled goods. I failed to protect my purity for some clothes, and for some housing and for a ride to school. Because I just should have known better. The board was full of such phrases and words he didn’t need to write them all because all of them are covered by one simple word shame. We are on holy ground because then Dr. Pettit began right in the opposite of those words on the other side of the board, Queen and isn’t resilient, and a bunch of other words that I still struggle to attach to myself. He then got up and handed me the EMDR paddles and asked me to repeat the words on the right side of the board. I was a little girl. I wasn’t in and God isn’t mad at me. I am not defiled. I did what I had to do to survive. It was your mom’s job to protect you. And finally, monster slayer. Thank you. Thank you for doing what you needed to do to keep me alive. He took the paddles from my hand and as like a veil have been lifted. And the fogginess of guilt and shame was gone. I felt an immense warmth of my Jesus holding me grieved at what happened to me and remind me that is why he came to this earth to save us all. Song popped in my head that cross I have sent me earlier in the year by Maverick city. I have never been more loved than I am right now. It wasn’t holding you up. So there’s nothing I can do to let you down. It doesn’t take a trophy to make you proud, never been more loved than I am right now. And so as we close out the season where we have well covered shoulder trauma, I want you to hear what that day was like for Dr. Pettit. We both took pictures of the board. I didn’t need it, as EMDR had done his job. No longer trapped in the trauma loop both sides of my brain. No more counts. No more shame. This is what I want for you. In the next episode, Dr. Pettit dives deeper into what happened that day, and how you too can experience the same piece that comes with surrender to the truth of who God made us. And not our circumstances or decisions want us to think that we are. As for me, this is the last solo episode of season three. I am so grateful for all of you all around the world who pushed play and sometimes told me when things have helped you. You plan to push forward on our central focus continuing to be the star of the story of Jesus. Guys, if you don’t know him, I would love to tell you how you can know Him. You can contact me anytime by hitting that contact me button. But while the mic is mine, I want to thank a few people me Highland who so excellently produces these episodes and keeps me sane, with the things that would rob me of creativity and carefully listening to the voice of the star of the story. This season like the two before podcast covers were created by Brittany knight who donate it to to us for this season. All the graphics that you see on social media are by my friend Rebecca Miller, I would like to thank her. Thank you to those who support us on Patreon and who participated in last year’s fundraiser. As I mentioned earlier, we still have two more school counseling scholarships to award this year because of your kindness. Look for new merchandise in the store. By the time you hear in this episode, we hopefully will have launched the umat er line from merchandise. Profits from merch sales also goes to support our effort to award counseling scholarships. Finally, thank you to Phil Baker, whose music you hear always plays us out on the podcast. Most of all, thank you Jesus. Thank you for your nail score us that reached into my heart that they had Dr. Pettit, Sophos who reminded me that I can never be shameful to you pick up much too high a price for me to have that experience experienced that David, thank you for paying it. Next up is Dr. cadettes perspective on this day in his office, that episode will be in two weeks. Till now, if I’ve left them on you notifying them why now I hope that you are a loved one. And I never close a podcast without reminding you that you are so busy. You’re so loved. You’re so heard. You’re so valued. And you’re so now tune in in two weeks for Dr. Pettit. But I have a treat for you. I mentioned that one day and nailed this literally to the cross. That was at seven rivers Presbyterian Church in Crystal River, Florida. About 14 years ago. At that church there was a worship leader whose name is Josh bales, who has a song called isn’t that amazing grace. It is one of the most played songs on my phone. He has given me permission to use the song today. And I think it speaks to this message perfectly. So enjoy this song by Josh bales. Isn’t that amazing grace Unknown Speaker 25:04 underneath the counter guy we all try to hide we forget how he loves us so we forget mihrab as the gospel drown joy is amazing there imposters in the sky trust is love it on ourselves we must drown? Shadow Shadow Amy Watson 29:07 I hope that song was a blessing to you we will see you here in two weeks when Dr. Pettit comes and talks about this very same day. You guys have a good one Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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Chef Kibby 0:00 I think the biggest struggle that that many of us parents face when it comes to relating to a child who has behaviors that seem to push away and push against us is to understand that those behaviors are a form of communication. Amy Watson 0:18 Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the donor support at Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. As you know, by now our sole mission is to provide help and hope for those who have experienced trauma and those who love them. We have a mission here, and that is also to provide funds for pro bono counseling to those who can’t afford it. If you’d like to join that mission, simply click on the Contact Amy button in the show notes. While you’re there, if you’re not following or subscribed, I would love it if you would do that. This along with rating and reviewing the podcast helps us get the word out. Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s step into the healing zone. Today’s guest is here to share one of our aces and dealing with childhood trauma. As we are highlighting trauma in the home with a particular focus on childhood trauma. He is Chef Kibby. And he is he has found a way to connect with children on a practical level level. He is the father of both biological children as well as a foster parent. And I am excited to bring him to the might today. His website cooking is connecting.com is an excellent resource. And after this episode, you’re gonna want to make sure you head over there. We will provide that in the show notes. So welcome chef Kibby to the podcast to the Wednesday’s with Walton podcast. I’ve been so excited for this. Chef Kibby 1:41 Thank you so much. I’m so glad that we were able to finally connect. I know that we had some some scheduling issues here and there. But I’m so glad to finally be talking face to face, Amy Watson 1:50 same same life of a podcast. All right. Well, I. So you and I connected on an audio app called clubhouse. And people have heard me talk about it before. And I just really loved what you had to say. And I immediately sent you a DM and when I say I love what you have to say I just love what your passion is, which is cooking is connecting with your children and with children in general. And so I wanted to bring you onto the show. And so then we began to communicate back and forth. And I just was like this is going to be one of our aces in this childhood trauma focus. So you have found a way and a very effective way and practical I might add to build connection with children with or without trauma, right? This is a trauma podcast. But with or without trauma, you have found a way and we’re gonna get into that. So I want to dive into what that mission is, how it started and all of that. But first tell us so you are a father of how many children? Chef Kibby 2:47 Well, I currently have three children under my roof being a foster adoptive parent, you know, sometimes that number can fluctuate from time to time. But we do have both biological and one child that we have fostered and adopted out of the foster care system. Amy Watson 3:02 As a product of the foster care system. I’m so grateful for people like you who bring children into their home and you never know whether you are going to be the one that plants a seed or gets to later much later in life. Reap the seed I on my 50th birthday. It happened to be a Wednesday and we dropped a podcast episode and I was able to get my foster mom onto the podcast and and she was you know she planted seeds. And later people other people were able to reap them and now she can see it thanks to social media and all the things but so foster foster care is very, very close to my heart. So that begins the Genesis I think into cooking is connecting. And so one day you’re preparing as you told the story on the on the clubhouse stage, you were preparing dinner for your daughter or dinner period. And your daughter asked if she could help you chop some some vegetable rubbish, as you called it. Can you share that story with us including what you glean for that? Because I think that that is so important. And and I’m guessing the genesis of what what you’ve figured out in this cooking, cooking is connecting can you share with me that story and why it was so powerful for you? Chef Kibby 4:14 Sure. And to that point, I think it’s important to kind of put this interaction with one of my daughters in its proper context leading up to that evening. A lot of things that happened in my life in the in the months that led up to that night was in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. And before March or April of 2020 I had a family catering business. I was doing hands on kitchen sessions. I was creating my first podcast series. There were a lot of things that were working in my favor. When COVID happened when the lockdowns began. That was all taken away from me. And not only was my business taken away from me, but also my sense of validation for who who I am as as a man and as a chef was taken away. But to be completely vulnerable with you as well, I had lost a bit of my escape, because as a foster adoptive Dad, we were dealing with a lot of behavioral issues, issues at home issues that I was not fully prepared to deal with, mentally and emotionally and relationally. And so I was able to use my position as an entrepreneur to kind of escape from things and just pray for my wife that God would enable her to be able to handle things with our kiddos, I lost all of that escape route. And when that happened, I came back to the place where I find comfort. And that was the kitchen. The kitchen was a place being a certified chef, being someone who had been in the industry for 25 years, that was a place of comfort and a place of rest. And a place where I felt a little bit of control in my out of control world. Now, at the same time, I was coming face to face with a lot of these relational issues. And I was faced with a choice as to whether or not I wanted to continue down this road of frustration and agony and just butting heads with with my children and with the other caregivers in this home, or to seek some help. Whether it be through through books, through courses, through listening to podcasts, through bringing in trauma informed counselors, which we as a family did all of those things and more. And through that process, I was beginning to reshape my own understanding of myself and of my children, and specifically of how trauma had impacted my children, especially those who would who had come out of the foster care system. And it was in that, that redevelopment of myself in my mindset that this interaction took place. And just as a reminder, this was not something that I did. One of my children had to come to me in the place where I was safe, chopping vegetables getting ready for dinner that night. And she came to me and asked me if she could chop her vegetables, my my vegetable scraps. Now this was not something that was going to help me make supper it in a strange way. It it wouldn’t help me at all, it potentially create a distraction. Yeah, potentially, yeah. And I had to stop and think about what it is that my child was asking me to do. I mean, obviously, she was asking to take the vegetable scraps and chop them up, even though they were just gonna go get tossed out to the chickens so that they can eat them. But what I saw in that moment, was that my child was reaching out to me for connection that she saw me she saw what I was doing in the kitchen, as, as an expression of myself as an expression of what I am capable of doing, as an expression of love and compassion toward her and other members of the family. She aspired to be like me in some way to be able to handle herself and to excuse me, to handle a knife the way I do, and to be able to create, and to produce, and to serve others in this way. But most importantly, to see it from an aspect of, of connection. Yeah. And that meant so much to me in that moment that it helped me to move away any of the the other possible concerns that also came up in my mind in that moment concerns for my my time, the distraction that it may cause that there are other things that she could be doing with her time, not to mention just the safety issues and everything else, that I was able to overlook all of those things and see the need for connection. And that helped me to turn that all those potential nose into a yes. So to say, yes, kiddo, let’s, let’s grab you an apron. Let’s grab your cutting board. Let’s grab you a knife that’s appropriate for your level of skill at this particular moment in time. And let’s allow you to do that. And it was in that little itty bitty yes, that I began to form some new neurological pathways in my own mind to be able to see her differently, to see my role in her life differently, and to see the potential that the kitchen can have for healing relationships. Amy Watson 9:47 And I want to get back to that in just a second. But before I do I want to know something because you said something on the on a podcast episode and I’ll link this episode in the show notes about that day and And I think that this was so eloquently put. And so for my listeners out there who are, who have children in their home who have been traumatized, either as a result of adoption, trauma, foster care, trauma, or something happened in your family, God forbid, you thought for a second and said, What is the need? What is her need, behind this request to help me chop, chop vegetables. And you realize, as you just so eloquently said that she needs to connect with me and was astute enough, like you said, to know that this was your happy place. And this was a place where she could enter enter into your world and connect with you. And so you kind of just hit on something you’re like, Okay, cooking, is definitely a way to help children connect with especially foster parents, but especially when trauma is present. Can you tell me a little bit more, you gave a pretty funny example about some of the ways that they could express their emotions in the kitchen. So I would just love for you to expound a little bit more, but I wanted to, I wanted to highlight that to the listeners that you stopped and said to yourself, What is the need behind the request to help me chop these vegetables. And in that moment, you knew that, Chef Kibby 11:26 and it wasn’t by necessarily my doing a lot of it is just the grace of God, yes, of putting certain people into my life, putting books into my life, putting resources into my life, to help speak this truth into me. And I’m so grateful for that. And I’m so grateful that he’s allowed me to see things differently. I think the biggest struggle that that many of us parents face when it comes to relating to a child, who has behaviors that seem to push away the push against us, is to understand that those behaviors are a form of communication. And that that communication is, is not just about the thoughts that are going on in their mind, but the feelings that they’re having in their body, that it’s connected to things that are going on within their autonomic nervous system, and that specifically, children who have who have suffered from aces, adverse childhood experiences, who have experienced disruptions, and quite frankly, this probably applies to many, if not most children nowadays, because of everything that’s happened over the last couple of years with the lock downs and the masking and, and the restrictions and everything that has happened to decrease the amount of socialization that our children have been permitted to have, that it creates with within them a chronic sense of fear, of anxiety, of Who can I trust, what can I trust, knowing who am I connected with? Or am I even connected with myself, one of the biggest revelations that I’ve had Amy, is to understand that there are things going on, in my in my child’s mind and in her body, that she does not understand that there is not the integration between her nervous system and her brain to be able to recognize, acknowledge and then to vocalize, the needs are that that is a that is a that creates a lot of challenges for us as caregivers, because we have to kind of put on these, these X ray goggles, and kind of try to see past the behaviors, and try to figure out what the need is. And one of the great things about food, particularly food is that it is such a deeply embodied experience. It is more than just the sense of I am putting an apple in my mouth, I can taste what it tastes like. It is all of the sensations that come before it the sensations of hunger. And we often take for granted that we understand what hunger is, but again, it is one of those integrated bodily experiences that because we have gone through this cycle of being hungry, of eating and experience the the reactions that our body has, after we have been fed that we take for granted that we understand that when our stomach does this or when our head does this or when our joints do that. It’s because we need food. All right, that is an integration that takes place. Food impacts every aspect of our body and our brain and our memory. And so for us to see it as a way of first of all communicating to our children who have gone through disruptions, whether in your home or before coming into your home, to let them know that they are safe that that they do not have to worry about where the next meal is going to come from or if they’re going to have enough water to drink to know that that is that that is always is going to be a given for them. But then to take it to that next level of expressing to them, your compassion toward them by letting them see that you are preparing food for them, and then ratcheting up a further notch of allowing them into that process. So that that they can take part in expressing empathy to themselves by creating food that they themselves can eat. And then also to express that empathy back to the people in their lives. And to be sitting at that table and saying out loud, you know, before we’ve even, you know, stopped praying, you know, I helped cook tonight yes, and the pride that they see in that it’s not just a pride in what they’ve done. It’s a it’s, it’s an acknowledgement of the connection that they have with the other people around that table, in partaking communally in this activity of taking into their bodies, things that other people have created for them. It is, is a deeply powerful experience that I think many of us have taken for granted as merely a convenience or as a given, right. And I’m trying through my content through my public speaking through my workshops, to open people’s eyes to the power that we have at our disposal on a practically a daily basis, depending on your lifestyle, to communicate to our children, how safe they are, how trust worthy we are, and how connected we can be with them. Amy Watson 16:31 I love it, Chef Kibby. And I, you know, we both know about attachment styles. And we’ve mentioned it on this podcast, too. And you even in the episode that I will link I believe, give this example about hunger and caretakers and how a baby cries when they’re hungry. And if they get fed, cool, we’re all good, you got a secure attachment. And then if they don’t get immediately fed, they cry a little bit harder. And then they’re like, Okay, clearly not going to get fed, they ignore the need, they ignore the hunger, they ignore the discomfort and then they have unhealthy attachment. And so for you to weave in, particularly when trauma is present, particularly in foster care or adoptive care type situation, when you weave in something that we need to do anyway, which is eat. I am a survivor of trauma, as many as my listeners know, of 35 years of trauma, including an ace. In this case, again, as you mentioned, adverse childhood experience score of an eight, and a very insecure attachment, and certainly was never fed to this day, I still struggle with an eating disorder. Because I You said we take for granted this, this idea of getting hungry, my body doesn’t get hungry, I just don’t eat because that is how important making those connections in childhood is and what you’re doing is so unbelievably amazing. Because you can rewire those neural pathways, particularly in a in a child’s brain. We our brains don’t stop forming until you’re 25. And so when if we’re catching on, in 7,10 12, whatever, we are healing, those attachment styles that they learned in infancy, which I learned in infancy, insecure attachments, or I don’t trust you at all. And so what you did for her that day, what the need behind the request was something else that you didn’t mention, too, is I think time, which is something that we don’t make more of it is it is one, one of the very few things on this in this world, if not maybe the only thing that we as humans cannot make more of. And so how I would have received that in my foster home was chef Kibby wants to spend time with me. And I’m gonna rock this in the kitchen. And you’re teaching them skills and you’re teaching them all kinds of things. And I don’t want to I don’t want to give away too much because I want my listeners to go to your your your website. But one of the things that you mentioned to me and I thought this was incredibly practical, and I was like, well, I need to start doing that as an adult. So you’re in the kitchen at your havin chicken. And there’s some things you have to do to a chicken breast for chicken. You have a child that needs to get out some some anger and some angst Tell me some of those cool things that you’re doing in the kitchen to help them just basically let some air out of that proverbial balloon, if you will. Chef Kibby 19:24 Yeah, that’s a whole other aspect to food and food preparation that I think often gets overlooked is the idea that the we look at eating as a sensory activity that there’s that there’s touch and taste and sight and smell involved. But the process of preparing food is also very sensory and especially for young people who have issues with you know, sensory deprivation issues or body mind integration, that the the sensory activities that are involved in food preparation can be very healing and very comforting things like that. hot soapy water and scrubbing dishes or cold water running over produce that you’re scrubbing and getting clean. Or in the, in the example of perhaps a chicken, if you have chicken breasts that you need to take a meat mallet to and pounded out super thin, so that it cooks nice and evenly. I mean, that’s comforting to me. Yeah, as a child, I fully enjoy processes like that as well. So getting vestibular sensory inputs and other types of, of inputs into your hands. And then the smells, the touches, the tastes that are involved in that process can be very healing, and again, help with the integration that is so necessary for a child to understand themselves, let alone to understand them in relationship with other people. Amy Watson 20:49 Well, and even things like, because I’m thinking of myself, right, I’m super inept in the kitchen, I always have been. And that is simply because I was brought up in foster care, and then in a children’s home where food was made for the masses. And so I am not adept in the kitchen at all. And I’m also because of my trauma and because and we and we won’t take deep dives in the neuroplasticity in the brain and all the things. But you mentioned that just now, these connections between our sensory bodies and our minds, so something like knife skills, for example, a lot of kids with trauma would struggle with that you would struggle with coordination, which struggle with and I know my my mind is telling me to do this, but but trauma is present and it’s interrupting. And the neural pathways there are not firing. And so something as simple as the dexterity of teaching them that physical chopping, right? It’s kind of like I journal a lot. And they say, if you can, as a as a trauma survivor, journal by hand with your non dominant hand, because you’ll use the other side of your brain because when trauma is present, and children, there are some deficits, deficits that we have, and what you’re doing in the kitchen with these kids and the connection and things that you’ve said, the cold water, right. So if they walk in from school, and they’ve been bullied, and now they felt rejection again, same way, if somebody rejected them clearly, or they would not be in the foster care system, and they come, they come into your home after school fully activated nervous system on, you know, on steroids, and all the adrenaline dumps, and all the things, something that you just mentioned. And this is just a trauma hack, putting your hands under cold water, that hot, soapy water is helping and certainly pounding and chicken breasts would be would be would be therapeutic as well. And so I love I wanted you on for the series, because I think that is such a practical way to connect with kids in our home, who have experienced trauma. And I have lots of listeners who have adopted children, or trauma happen as a result of something else outside the home or maybe even trauma inside the home, unfortunately. And so I love what you’re doing here, I would love for you as we close out the podcast to tell us a little bit more. So I was on your website this morning. Cooking is connecting.com. And you have there a 20 day. I don’t want to call it a challenge but a 20 day program whereby you help parents understand the importance of things that we can’t cover in a podcast. And I would love for you as as as I want your content out there. I want my listeners to be able to know where to find you what that 20 Day Challenge is and where they can sign up. Chef Kibby 23:28 Absolutely. Thank you so much for bringing that up. So the 20 day cooking is connecting challenge. I want to be clear that I know that there’s somebody listening right now to the sound of my voice and saying to themselves, well, yeah, Chef Kibby it’s easy for you to connect with your child in the kitchen. Because you’re a chef, I want to be absolutely clear that you can take this mindset home to your kitchen, no matter how comfortable no matter how confident no matter how competent or incompetent, you may feel in the kitchen. If you can put on an apron, you can connect with your child in the kitchen. And in fact, that’s one of the best places to start. Ask your child to tie on your apron for you. Wow, you can ask them to do things that aren’t even involved in the in the preparation process, I wouldn’t recommend taking a child who’s in the middle of you know those cortisol dumps, running through their nervous system and hand them a knife. There are a lot of other things you can have them do have them gather up the ingredients, have them set the table, have them just sit in watch you do something, there’s there’s so many things that you can do. And so my encouragement to you who are listening right now is to take what it is you already know and are already comfortable with doing in the kitchen and look at it from a mindset of connection and to ask yourself, What can I allow my child to do? What can I ask my child to do? What choices can I give them in embracing and taking part in this shared act of cooking and eating hang together. And then when you reach a point where you want to do more and need to learn more, then you can come to me and take my knife skills course, or whatever else that it is that I can do to serve you. But the point behind the 20 day cooking is connecting challenge, it’s a series of emails. And each one of these emails is based in an activity that has been identified by child development research as an activity that children need to experience with their primary caregivers, in order to, to provide them with the internal, I would say assets that they need to grow up to be strong and healthy and resilient, and independent young people. And looking at those activities from the standpoint of the kitchen, and how you, as a parent, as a caregiver can, can involve those activities and those interactions, and to see those interactions as things that you can create, or allow to take place through the shared act of cooking and eating together with your child. So it’s not about specific recipes. It’s not about specific ingredients, or pieces of equipment. I can talk about those things all day as well. But the first thing that needs to happen is the first thing that needed to happen for me. And that was changing my mindset around around the role that I can play in my child’s life and the role that cooking and eating can play in the development of a healthier and stronger relationship with them. And so they can find that information. And other resources that I can provide on cooking is connecting.com. Amy Watson 26:36 Thank you so much. And I want to make sure everyone goes to that website. Even I might even sign up for it myself, even though I don’t have children so that I could understand this concept, guys, what Chef Kibby has given you is the ace of spades. And we’re not talking about adverse childhood experiences. In this season, we are talking, we’ve had some heavy stories, we had a couple of heavy stories, and then a couple that were surgical in nature with with therapists that came on and told you a little bit about how you can help your child. But what Chef Kibby has done here today is told us something very simple and so profound. And I just loved what he said when just ask them to tie on your a friend, right? Just ask them to make the grocery list, ask them to set the table. I wish when I look back on my life, that I would have had somebody do this with me, I can tell you as a trauma survivor, and somebody who has done a lot of work in a counselor’s office, that had I been able to stand in a kitchen with anybody who cared enough to spend that much time with me, because that is my love language, spend that much time with me, but then connect with me on this level that eating is one thing that we all have in common, we all need food. And so I just cannot tell you how excited I am to share this resource with my listeners in this series, all of his information will be really easy to find it’d be just I’ll put his link tree there, which is contact, it’ll say contact chef Kibby. And you also have a podcast tell us about your podcast is called the same thing right cooking is connecting, Chef Kibby 28:11 it is cooking is connecting is the name of the podcast. And you can find that through my website, as well. And the purpose behind the podcast is to dig a little bit deeper into the different aspects of the pillars of the cooking is connecting mindset. And again to give some really practical both mindset advice. And then also kitchen advice as to how you can take this mindset and put it into proactive practice. In your own kitchen no matter what experience level or comfort level you have in the kitchen. So cooking is connecting is the name of the program. You can find it wherever you lose, wherever it is, you’re listening to this podcast. Yeah, Amy Watson 28:46 wherever you’re listening to this podcast, and I will put that in there. Well, I want you to know that you are one of my heroes. And I mean that I don’t know you. But I was happy to have connected with you on the clubhouse app as a trauma survivor. I will say it again. I look back at seven year old Amy 10 year old Amy 14 year old Amy. And if somebody would have said, Hey, come in here for a second. And even using some people skills, I need your help. See, I’m we’re just coming off of a huge Enneagram series on my podcast and it was earlier in this season. But had someone come to me and said Hey, Amy, will you help me? Can you pour a half a cup of milk? Can you do this? Can you do that? And I’m a teacher by trade. I was a teacher by trade. I don’t teach anymore. But I would have also taken that opportunity to say See look like this is a like this is a half a cup. This is like 50 cents of $1 50% You know and so there’s so many ways because many of you may have foster children in your home who want zero to do with you. But would but that would. Their heart would go thump thump. Maybe for the first time if you said hey, can you help me I need your help getting dinner done tonight. Grabbed that can set these out for me very practical things. And then then the next step is okay, hey, gosh, we’re really running out of time, can you chop the vegetables. And so I just want to tell you that you are one of the heroes in this fight for childhood trauma. You’re a hero for fostering children. And one day, one day, Chef Kibby, you will stand before God and hear well done. One of the things that we say on this podcast that maybe you could introduce into your program is that I say to everyone under the sound of my voice, this is how I end all of my podcasts. And I speak it over to you chef Kibby, and I speak it over to my listeners, and I speak it over to myself, that imagine cutting in on and going, you are seeing, you are known, you are heard, you are loved, and you are valued. God wanted you on this planet so much, he actually said, You know what, we don’t have one quite like this. And so guys, as you connect with your kids, particularly those with trauma, Chef Kibby has provided some real insight here. Remember, always, always, always be curious about the need behind the request. Chef Kibby, any parting words for us here today? Chef Kibby 31:17 I don’t know how I could possibly follow that up. Without breaking down into tears. I think it’s amazing that you’ve allowed me this opportunity to be vulnerable with your audience and to speak truth and love to them. And to any of you that are listening right now, I just want to reiterate one thing that if you are, have a child in your home that has experienced trauma, one of the hardest things for me, and I don’t think I necessarily touched on this before in the episode, but just as a closing thought that a lot of times it can bring out some of the worst in us that dealing with these behaviors can often trigger things in us that make it difficult for us to to interact with them in a way that is healthy. And one of the most surprising things about spending time in the kitchen with your child is that not only will it help them to grow their attachment to you, but it will also help you to see them differently to grow your compassion and empathy for your child. And I just can’t reiterate it enough of how important that is that not only have I been surprised by how much it has changed my children, but I am equally if not more surprised and amazed at how much it has changed me. And that’s what I want for you. Amy Watson 32:36 And that’s what I want for you guys too. And it’s always true. Anytime you dive deep into work like this, this I tell people all the time this podcast is an example of that, like I never, I never understood that people on the other side of the microphone that I was interviewing was also going to be ministered to. So guys, I want you to head over to kookiness connecting.com Sign up for that series of emails. And let’s grab some aprons and grab some some kids and get them in the kitchen. Thank you, Chef Kibby for being here with us today. Chef Kibby 33:08 Thanks for having me. I’ll see you in the kitchen. Amy Watson 33:09 I’ll see you in the kitchen. Okay, well guys, I hope that you have enjoyed this episode with Chef Kibby I know I sure have as well as this series on trauma and the home with a particular focus on childhood trauma. Make sure you hit all those buttons right there in your app as for us we will see you back here and the healing zone. And I’m gonna say it again because we can never overstate it until then remember, you are seen you are known you were heard you are loved and you are so so valued. Transcribed by https://otter.ai
READERS: This is a transcript from a podcast and is not meant to be presented as a completed, grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for those who are hard of hearing or for those of you who prefer to listen in the blog.
Nicole Patraw 0:00 We’re still having the same struggles. And I’m not saying that nutrition is going to fix everything. And in the same breath, I am my own testimony in the fact that I changed my entire way of eating, and I still eat McDonald’s. So don’t get me wrong, I no longer on medications with the help of my doctor and my therapist and food. And I feel really good. I feel really good.
Amy Watson 0:21 Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts are as we have really come to call it and we love calling it the healing zone. This podcast is fully sponsored guys by donors for the entirety of 2022. And we just awarded our first pro bono counseling scholarship in March. If you’re interested in supporting our mission here, you can do that in a couple of ways. First, you can pray for us. Pray for wisdom as we award these scholarships and create content and a post pandemic world because we will have plenty more trauma and its friends. Second, you can subscribe rate review the podcast this helps get the podcast out there to people as efficiently as possible. Now that we get all that out of the way, let’s step in to the healing zone. We are in the back half of season three trauma spaces, places and aces. Today, I am honored to welcome my friend Nicole Patraw to the show, Nicole and I met on Advic advocacy stages on clubhouse. And she comes to us today not only a survivor of trauma, but she also comes to us with one of those aces that we talked about that will help mitigate the damages of trauma, especially in childhood. I am so honored to welcome Nicole to the podcast. Welcome to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast, Nicole.
Nicole Patraw 1:47 Thank you, Amy, I’m so honored to be here. I always love our conversations. And I’m just excited to sit down and share our story with each other because so often we’re sharing space for other people and to actually sit down and share stories with each other. And sometimes through sharing our stories, we’re helping other people. So I’m very honored that you asked me to be here. And I’m so excited. We’ll sit down and have this time with you.
Amy Watson 2:12 Well, thank you. I couldn’t think of a better person for the subject that I wanted to cover today. But But first, we’re going to start the podcasts the way we have started almost the entire season. And it’s been really interesting, because people have come back to me about this question and said, That was the question that that was the hardest for me the very first question out of the gate that you asked me because Nicole, you know, we both been on audio stages together. And so we know, you got to be short and concise. So I don’t want to, you know, say tell us where you’re from and what your favorite team is, and your birth order and all that. And so I wanted to come up with a creative question that met the mission of this podcast. And that is really helping people step into who God made them. So I wanted people to think and so the question here to open the podcast is, what is your favorite thing about the way God made you?
Nicole Patraw 3:03 You know, it’s funny that you say that, because this is the easiest question for me. And the first thing that came up automatically, it was my favorite thing of why God made me in the way that he made me it was with purpose. It was an automatic answer. And I have a really interesting vision of when I was younger, I always had this vision growing up, and I thought it was a dream.
But I was up in the clouds with somebody that just felt like a father and warmth. And I was like I want to go down there and help. This is a dream that I had over and over and over. And I haven’t shared it with many people. When I said I want to go down and help and he said, Are you sure because there’s a lot of pain down there. And there’s a lot of suffering. And I was so eager and excited. I was like yes, I want to go down and help. And so he goes, Okay, you can go down and help. And so I remember being sent down and then like kind of shot back up to where I came from. I was so confused. And I felt rejected. And I was like what was what was that he the fatherly voice said, well, sometimes we’re not wanted there. And it’s a place of suffering. I’m like, Well, I want to go help. And the same thing happened. I went down and came right back up and I was so confused. I felt so abandon and this is the weirdest dream, the weirdest vision to me and one day shared this with my mom. I finally got sent down and and stayed to the place that I wanted to help and serve. And I told my mom this and my mom expressed to me that
in a previous relationship, there were two terminate
pregnancies that were
did not survive. They were terminated. And to me like, I don’t know if it’s symbolic just to me, it makes so much sense. But when you ask this question of what’s your favorite thing about how God created you is with purpose. I feel like that vision and my connection with God I feel
like I have so much purpose here. And if it just means something to me cool, but I think it’s a really cool story that I really haven’t shared with many people. So I was kind of like, I wanted to share that with you. I thought it was kind of cool, a little bit cool.
Amy Watson 5:14 That is very cool. And I actually still have chills like when you first said it, I got chills, because you know, i i that is, so your heart is. So who I’ve known who I’ve experienced you to be are always out there helping people. And we’re going to talk more towards more about that. And that is why you’re here today. But wow, that is so cool. That is so cool. And God is using you. And you do have purpose. And you know that that’s why you’re here today. So I the chills are still not gone, I still have chill bumps. So thank you for sharing that that is very, very awesome. And I do think that
we have to turn our pain into purpose, because it would be wasted otherwise. And so I do want to say as I say to all of my guests, I don’t know your story, I’m getting ready to find parts of it out. But as a trauma survivor, myself, I’m sorry. So sorry, for your pain. But I am so proud of view. And I find myself getting very preachy and big sisterly on these podcasts interviews these days, because the listeners can’t see what I can see. But there are probably 30 years between you and me, well, maybe not quite 30. But a lot of years between you and me, we are a different generation, I am Gen X, I’m guessing you’re probably a millennial. But to have that kind of wisdom at such a young age is incredible. Well, let’s jump right and one of the things that I am asking guests to do, and I’m so grateful that everyone has agreed to do this, because what I’m about to do is not easy. But we have been teaching in this back half of the season about adverse childhood experiences. And so when I’m when when I have guests, I asked you ahead of time, if you would be willing to answer these questions fully knowing that this podcast is going to be out there forever, and your friends and your family are gonna listen to it. And you said, Yeah, I’m willing to answer those questions. And so what I’m going to do is understand either yes or no really quickly. And because what I want my listeners to understand is the authority of what you bring to this podcast today. And, and trauma gives us that authority to talk about it. And so these are the basic 10 wildly accepted adverse childhood experiences in Psych and psychology, that if you, if you have three or more of these, you, you are considered to have had toxic stress. And stress is something that you and I talk about a lot, we both will disappear off of social media, if I don’t get a text message from you, or you don’t get one from me, you know, we both went to shut down protect mode, because we had these experiences. And so let’s run through those really quickly. Because I want people to understand the authority of what you bring to us today. So before your 18th birthday, did you experience and you can just say yes or no for me, any of these things. And so the first one is did you experience in your home before your 18th birthday? And it doesn’t need to be in your home even though we’re focusing on the home, but especially if this were true in your home, but verbal abuse?
Nicole Patraw 8:16 I suppose if we’re talking outside of our home, definitely. Okay. Physical abuse.
Amy Watson 8:23 Okay, how about physical neglect?
Nicole Patraw 8:26 Absolutely. And we’re gonna be talking about that a lot today. Was there mentally? Was there mental illness present in your home?
Amy Watson 8:34 There was substance abuse present in your home
depends on perspective, but I would say you know, probably yes, yeah. Because things like food, cigarettes, drugs, people, codependency, alcohol, all the things.
Did you have an incarcerated relative?
Nicole Patraw 8:56 No, but my father was not there. My My father took his own life when I was three. So he wasn’t incarcerated, but he also was not in my life. So I think that’s relevant. Little bit. You just stopped me in your tracks on that because he kind of was incarcerated in his own hell. All right.
Amy Watson 9:16 I am so I am so sorry to hear that. I did not know that. Well. How about domestic violence?
Yes. How about emotional abuse?
Nicole Patraw 9:31 Yeah, not in my home but in a relationship outside of my home before 18? Yes. And emotional neglect.
Yep. Okay, how about sexual abuse?
None that I can recall. And that’s an important disclaimer that you just gave us none that you can work on set as that is and that’s a whole nother podcast because we we often actually, maybe not. We’ll probably get there a little bit today. Well, here’s the deal.
Amy Watson 10:00 Obviously, you have a score higher than three, therefore, all of the professionals out there would tell you that you would be subjected as an adult to toxic stress, which causes all kinds of havoc on our bodies. We are in a series of childhood trauma.
One of the biggest is neglect. And you mentioned to me that you had neglect. And I can imagine, and you can talk a little bit more about this, if you want, that some of that neglect came by pure nature of your father completed suicide, and your mom probably was just trying to do everything she could to survive. And therefore, I’m sure that may or may not be where the Nicole came from. I don’t want I don’t want to assume that I’m going to I’m going to finish the question. And I often say most of my guests are smart enough to answer these multi, multi layered questions. And so So as I mentioned, we’re in series of childhood trauma, one of the biggest is neglect. I have asked you here today though, because of not only because of that, a score that you just told us about, but because one of my favorite things about you is this, you have a passion for health, both mental and physical, and we’re going to discuss all kinds of things like food insecurities, and how it affects the developing brain, and give hope to those out there who experienced food security, insecurities or neglect food, food was withheld from them, that was my story, or not provided. So my first question is to you, why? Why is this your passion? Helping people for free? I might add most of the time. And nutrition, both. And then also your your Instagram handle, which I just love as well nurtured souls. Tell us why this is your passion. Clearly, you’ve been through some stuff. Tell us why this is your passion.
Nicole Patraw 11:52 Yeah, I mean, serving other people has always been my passion. I, I’ve just feel like that’s part of my nature. But nutrition wasn’t actually always my passion. At first, I actually didn’t know a lot about nutrition.
But growing up, I didn’t have the easiest upbringing, you know, and I don’t, I like to take myself out of the victim mindset. But sometimes I do have to acknowledge where I did come from.
Like I said, earlier, my, my dad took his own life when I was three. And then my mom raised me and my brother alone.
Therefore with with no fault from our caregivers, they’re they’re surviving, how can they
give us something that they don’t have for themselves, but there was a lot of like, emotional needs that weren’t met or physical needs that might not have been met. And food was definitely one of them. But as a young kid, this is all this is really confusing growing up, because it’s your normal, it’s the only thing that you know, going to school hungry, being in class hungry, not having a lunch to eat. I mean, it you don’t know any different because that’s your normal. And I started to have a lot of emotional regulation challenges. I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, later, bipolar and borderline personality. It’s a nice little mix of ingredients there.
Amy Watson 13:17 Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. And I think here’s a good place to talk about some of the scientific and then listeners of my podcast know that I have a degree and pre med and I love that to geek out on the science of it. But your passion is your passion for the same reason my passion is my passion is because I don’t want I don’t want to replicate it out there in the world, right? Like, you know, I remember literally been handed a can of dog food with the lid still up with a with a with a spoon on it and handed it to me. And that was what we ate. But one of the signs that’s horrendous, it is horrendous. And when I look back now, I wonder how I made it out alive, right? Because like, if you go to eating healthy, there’s an organization called eating healthy research. And they talked about like just the caloric necessities of children. And they range everywhere from you know, when you’re zero to three, to like, 1200. And then when you’re a teenager to 1700. And when you’re not getting that, like you and like me, there’s certain things that don’t happen. The same organization, healthy research talked about the things that that children need, and that’s it’s not dog food, obviously. And it’s not junk food, which we so often give our kids especially in situations like yours, where your mom was just doing what she she knew to do. She was doing the best she could and there are many people under the sound of my voice that probably grew up on McDonald’s or other things but but in order for our brains and we’re and we use fancy terms like neuroplasticity, which helps us handle this anxiety so this so this segue into you were then diagnosed with all of these things make sense?
To me, because from a scientific standpoint, when we don’t get that nutrition at zero to five, and so your dad completed suicide at three years old,
you may be like me and wonder what the heck happened after that, especially up until five years, five years old. And so we know that lots of brain development doesn’t happen when we don’t have that nutrition. And that is when we get that truncated window of tolerance that we’ve talked about so often on this podcast, again, that that window of tolerance, if you think of it like a, a gutter, and when you’re bowling, you know how they put up the ones for the kids will pretend that that’s not there and you bowl and the ball goes in the gutter, because some outside pressure either you throw it wonky or something happen, it pushes it into the gutter. Well, these traumas at such an early age pushes our what we call our window of tolerance, which is our ability to handle trauma or bill or ability to handle life in general, it makes it very, very narrow. So something very simple, can push you into an anxiety attack and all of those things that you just talked about. And so I’m not surprised that that you got diagnosed with those at that, that that age. The other the other concept to you have to think is happening in homes like yours and mine as hydration right water just dried up water. And water is so important for us now which you are my my accountability buddy on that just from your Instagram feed as an adult I got, I got that listeners can’t see me but I got this, this big old thing of water sitting next to me because water, because water cushions our brain, it so it also lubricates it for lack of a better word, especially from that zero to five. And so it doesn’t surprise me that you were diagnosed with those disorders at such a you’re at such a young age. And so for listeners out there, if you and I have Nicole a plethora of listener, so I have parents who have adopted children who have trauma, I have trauma survivors who are adults and have eating disorders, I am one of those people, we you know, all I have the gamut. I have people that don’t want to traumatize their kids or want to know how to do better. And the episode coming after you is going to be a very cool way to connect with our kids as it pertains to food. And so and so water is another thing. And so when we think of these basic things, I was telling you earlier about this, this study called the Perry so it’s p e r y preschool study, and they’ve been following these kids that were in marginalized communities. Now both of us are not people of color, we would not necessarily be considered a marginalized community. But it sounds like both of us grew up very poor, with with all the simple sugars when we got food. And you know, like I said that definitely a lack of resources, I would say, yeah, maybe that’s a better way to put it. And so they took these kids that had these lack of resources. And they they put them in this preschool program, and they followed them. So the youngest now is 52 years old, and the oldest is 56 years old. And not only did they provide them with the educational resources, that control group did not get those kids got two meals a day of all the things and you’re gonna tell us later what kids need, but of all the things that kids need for their brain development. And they followed those kids against a control group for 56 years now. Now, this was all about money, unfortunately. But it’s still got a very interesting outcome. Because the kids that they put into this, this preschool program where they were getting at least two or three meals a day and then educated year round,
were exponentially better off than the control group and the same community with the same lack of resources, and to the tune of a return on investment for every dollar that they spent. And that program, those kids grew up to have careers that that they turned back into society to a seven to one ratio. So for every dollar that was spent, to get them to where they needed to be and their brain to develop properly. And that such an early age from zero to five, they were able to give back to the community at a seven to one and that cool.
Nicole Patraw 19:28 Wow, isn’t that so amazing? But it’s I’m not even surprised about that, even though those are amazing numbers and chances
are, you know, and we look a lot at the pieces, you know, what are the missing pieces with our society or kids and I think that just proves one of those missing pieces. That’s so important. And we know it’s such an important thing is really just nurturing them nurturing their body and nurturing their brain because it shows that when we nurture a child’s body and their brain
In or in adults, they they strive more socially and they strive more academically and they will strive more in their career and, and emotionally and just, it’s not the answer. nutrition isn’t not the only answer. But it’s a really big puzzle piece out of this whole equation.
Amy Watson 20:21 Yeah. And especially if we want them because no matter what, you know, parents are going to screw up their kids in some ways. You know what I’m saying? Not not necessarily traumatically, but they’re going to screw them up somehow. And so if I even do at times, I’m sure, yeah, that was gonna be my next question to you. You have children, right?
Nicole Patraw 20:41 I have three kids, you have three kids, and I love following. I’m not sure which one of your three kids when you guys are playing hockey, you’re like, I’m dead right now. I’m just dead. But
Amy Watson 20:51 But, but you talk about, and this is a nice segue into asking you to talk to our listeners about what you do for your own kids. Because I laugh so hard when you go to these hockey tournaments, because we’ve all had family members who are in clubs something right and and it’s like you’re sitting and there’s tournaments, just wishing they’d lose so you can go home. But but you actually, that you actually, you actually, you talk to us on Instagram, especially about those times, because ideally, so let’s start with the ideal nutrition of children and your mind based on your research. And you have done some formal training with this. And you’ve got some some programs we’re going to talk about at the end. And so here’s where, as a survivor of trauma, and as a survivor of as somebody that like myself, who did not get nurtured as a child, we did okay, but because we did the hard work, right, maybe neither of us would suffer from some of the things that we still suffer from, because I don’t know about you, but my anxiety and the things that happen as a result of my childhood with nutrition being in play, didn’t go away, right. And so I always wonder how much better I would be had I been taken care of, while you have three children. And when you go on those hockey tournaments, you post, like, we still take snacks. And then occasionally, like I think I might have seen once I gave in and we just ate at McDonald’s and parents out there, I understand Happy Meals, make them happy. And all that. And this is not a knock against fast food or any of those things. This is to talk to you guys about the importance of nutrition and the child’s brain, regardless of whether trauma is present or not. Because one day they are going to have trauma. And if we can have that window of tolerance as wide as possible, because we have nurtured them. And Nicole not only with food, but just and listeners can’t hear me but just hugging them. And you know, like I I didn’t get that as a child. And there were parts of my brain not developed because of that. But talk to us about what you recommend to parents for nutrition to set them up the best we possibly can in life.
Nicole Patraw 23:01 Okay, let me start with I love myself a good spicy chicken, McDonald’s sandwich. There’s no shame in that. And I think it’s healthy to have a balance and to let yourself have a treat every once in a while. But that’s my little pleasure. And I’m not going to call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel guilty for it.
It’s really interesting being a mom, because my first child that I had, I got pregnant at 14. And now that kiddo that’s in hockey is 14 themselves. So that’s a little bit wild. And it’s been really interesting to watch their journey growing up.
Because as a teenager,
raising a child, I only knew what I knew, based off of what I’ve been shown and all children are different. And my oldest is a lot different than the younger two, in the way of where my oldest and I are kind of healing together if that makes sense. And not just nutritionally but we make a big point out of that, obviously, but also our social skills and
you know, identifying our feelings, why we’re feeling that way affirming
our kids and you know, because there’s that whole self fulfilling prophecy thing too. And I think affirming our children is so incredibly important. So my my journey as being a mother going through this whole wellness journey has been very interesting. Because I have been on both polar sides of parenting of being a teen parent. I’m just surviving purely surviving just like my mom was and definitely missing some of my kiddos needs. Like you said that the physical nurturing and being there because I was so busy working and trying to financially provide now being on the other side of that spectrum and pouring so much into
my kids, all three of them. So I have a six seven and the fort
18 year old, and just pouring so much nutritionally into them and awareness and affirmations. And it’s truly interesting to see, you know, by nature, they’re different they are. But my 14 year old has had a much different upbringing than my younger two. And it’s very interesting to see how their academics have
been different and unique and how their social life has been different and unique. And I think there’s some sort of radical acceptance of even if we’ve gotten to a certain point in parenting, where we go, oh, man, like I screwed up, I could have done so much more different. There’s some sort of radical acceptance of we did the best that we knew how. And when we know better, we’ll do better. And we’ll give ourselves grace because we want our kids to be able to give themselves grace to. So going into the nutrition. I like to keep it very simple. Nutrition can be very complicated. And I think that’s a lot of the reason why people kind of get scared off or step away from nutrition or they’re like, oh, there’s so much information. But when it really comes down to it, it’s you know, about sick, five really basic things, is what are they eating for breakfast, you know, whole grains and protein is so incredibly important for regulating our mood. It regulates our blood sugar, the whole grains and the protein regulate our blood sugar and our blood sugar can regulate our moods, and being diagnosed diagnosed with bipolar. I’m like, was I really bipolar? Or was I having these wild blood sugar swings with a lack of social skills developed? Did that manifest in the bipolar? I don’t know. God only knows. That is the answer. That is, I don’t want to interrupt you. I did interrupt you. That is so he’s okay.
Amy Watson 26:55 That is so huge. Which came first the chicken or the egg, right? Because even if you had bipolar disorder, would nutrition help, and we know it will? I’m sorry. Okay. So your that was one one point. I’m sorry, that that correlation, that correlation cannot be ignored? No, it can’t, it cannot be ignored. And, and so I just want people to under to hear you when you say that. Okay, go ahead.
Nicole Patraw 27:20 Well, you know, even just on the bipolar topic, and me being diagnosed with bipolar, I went to therapy, I went to doctors, I went to treatment centers, you know, I had, thankfully on successful suicide attempts. And in there was always like a piece missing, you know, the medications and this and I’m still feeling, we’re still having the same struggles. And I’m not saying that nutrition is going to fix everything. And in the same breath, I am my own testimony in the fact that I changed my entire way of eating, and I still eat McDonald’s. So don’t get me wrong. I changed my whole mindset in the way that it eats. I’m no longer on medications with the help of my doctor and my therapist and food. And I feel really good, I feel really good. And a lot of that, a lot of that is about breakfast. And if if you’re not feeling up to cooking a breakfast, we’ll toast and eggs and blah, blah, blah, We’ve even talked, just grab a protein shake, I drink a protein shake this morning, because sometimes, having breakfast in the morning is a struggle, especially if you have mental health challenges. It’s really a struggle to get that breakfast. So if you can imagine how important that is as as an adult is so incredibly important for a kid. But to keep it simple, it’s about our breakfast, it’s about the fat that the kids are eating.
Take away the hydrogenated oils, take away the fake fats, you know, that’s clogging up their brain that’s not allowing their brain to be elastic and flexible. We need to be having, you know, unsaturated and saturated fats like we just go to Olive oil. Keep it simple. It sounds complicated, but you know, I just go for the olive oil or the avocado oil, fiber, because our gut health is so incredibly important. We know that our gut health has a lot to do with on mental health. So feeding that good bacteria in our gut, with fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, just the good foods, whole grains drinking water. I mean, I don’t know if it sounds too complicated, but it’s pretty simple fats, protein fiber, whole grains water, you know, and I don’t get obsessed over counting it. I just make sure that I leave it around the house. I leave it in around the house so the kids can grab their fruit. Kids can grab their whole grain bagels, the kids can grab their water in because I’m tired. We do a lot of hockey. Yeah, we do a lot of hockey and we do I’m just a tired mom. To be honest. It doesn’t have to be complicated. But when we leave these nutritious foods around the house, which a lot of times you can find them
I’m for it within budget. Especially if you go to a place I like to go to all these, you don’t have to buy all the organic stuff and the wild stuff. It’s just making sure that the kids have access to food and even if you don’t have the energy to pick it they have access to.
Amy Watson 30:17 And I think that’s so important that they have access to it right, because neither one of us did. And we did and and we’re both I both still I tell people all the time I wake up in the basement, I don’t wake up on sea level, there’s lots of things I have to do to get to normal baseline, right. And I know that that is because as a child, I did not get these things that you’re talking about. You said something that I think is interesting about fats. And about the stretchiness I think was the word you use which is a much easier word to understand and the word I’m getting ready to use of our of our brains have our neuroplasticity. And the reason neuroplasticity is just a fancy word for being able to retrain your your brain, especially when trauma is present. And so if we have set them up to have a stretchy brain by making sure that they have these foods and especially fats and stay away from the the incredibly saturated fats, which are just fillers and waste of of everything, things like red dye too, by the way,
lots of red dye is is very highly coordinated, correlated, excuse me with diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and things of that nature. And so but but so you said that I think that’s important. So those five things listeners, making sure that that is getting into your children in whatever way you can. And and as young as you can right, we create these habits and their eating habits for them when they were very young. My cousin has twins, and I was up there when they were five months old, I went up to stay low in Canada and I went up to see them for spring break for and I’m literally air quoting when I say this vacation, because that was not a vacation. On my word. If you’ve ever been around when’s one cries, one goes asleep, and it’s a nightmare. But she and then as they got into toddlerhood, she would literally like cook up some asparagus, put some cut up some cheese, put some crackers have some hummus, and she would put it on a board and put it in the kitchen. And they would run up and grab a piece of asparagus and dip it in the hummus and put it in their mouths. Well, they just they just killed like all five of what you just talked about just by hummus, asparagus, nuts, that kinds of stuff. And so, so what we don’t want to do and I know your heart and Nicole is that we don’t want people to think I can’t do that. I also don’t want you to think that if you’re not doing or you haven’t done it that you screwed up your kids forever, because that clearly is not true. I cannot remember maybe you know, Nicole, the proverb, let your food be your medicine. And so this season of the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast is all about is never too late to heal. So those five things we you mentioned those for us one more time, the five things to make sure we’re getting into our kids.
Nicole Patraw 33:14 Yes, absolutely. So whole grains and fiber, protein, fats and water.
Those are the basics.
Amy Watson 33:24 And would you add water? I think, is it? Isn’t there a rule of thumb, half your body weight is what you should be drinking in water.
Nicole Patraw 33:33 Yes, same with protein. So you should be taking your body weight dividing it by two. And that’s how many ounces that doctors usually recommend for your water intake for the day. Wow, I did not know that about the protein that is really interesting. Okay, so parents if your child is go ahead, I’m sorry,
the protein is a little bit different for kids. So for adults, you’re supposed to take your weight divided by two. And that’s how many grams of protein doctors recommend you to have a day. But for kids, a lot of doctors recommends that kids have one gram per body weight. So if my little one weighs 50 pounds, ideally, he should be getting 50 grams of protein every day because they’re growing.
Amy Watson 34:19 Yeah, you’re dropping some gems on us. Yeah, because protein helps muscle development. And we’re gonna put all of this in the show notes. So if you’re on a walk or in your car, I don’t want you rocking trying to write this down. I will put this information in the show notes because that’s super valuable. So half their body weight and water and then protein is double basically right, their body weight. Did I understand you correctly on that one?
Nicole Patraw 34:43 One gram per one gram per 50 pounds, they ideally should have 50 grams of protein a day. Okay? And then if they’re 70 pounds, they should have 70 grams of protein a day, ideally,
Amy Watson 34:54 gotcha. And then norm and then obviously leafy vegetables and all the things and again, this is all
Helping with brain health, you’re setting them up to have a expanded window of tolerance, you’re setting them up to not be like me, and I can only talk about me because I know my issues. And Nicole, you have been a really good friend to me in this regard. Because you have taken your experience of not having not having the nutrition that you needed as a child. Combined with an ACE score, I think I counted seven or eight, which is very, very high, and then got pregnant at 14. And I’m so grateful that you chose to carry that precious child. And I know that you are growing up together. And I do think I do think it’s interesting to note here that while children are different, inherently, that we can see a difference and your oldest, based on all the dynamics because you were just doing the best you can with what you had, and you were young, you were just a child yourself, our brains aren’t completely developed until 25. And you’re barely barely older than 25. yourself, Nicole, but I do believe I do believe you’re an old soul. And but but I think it’s really important that we highlight there, that there is a difference between your oldest who did not necessarily get the nutrition and the nurturing that your six and seven year old got and they’re all cute, y’all gotta follow, follow Nicole on on Instagram.
Nicole Patraw 36:21 They are cute, they do have different genetics. I mean, obviously, they
do have different dads. But I think there’s a lot to say as far as how a child is nurtured how many affirmations they’re given, how many cuddles they’re given, if they have, you know, decent clothes to wear to school, and their confidence and the food and the access and, and just having safety and knowing that like, this is our home, this is our family, I’m safe here.
It makes a big difference with them. You know, it’s almost like with my oldest and me too, we have our genetics, but then there’s certain keys that turn those genetics, some maybe a lack of security and housing turns another key or like
physical neglect turns another key and those, those all end up somewhere building up into something bigger, you know, and so my oldest has had their struggles and and they’re pretty open, they’ve been diagnosed with autism and whatnot. And I think there’s something beautiful and just having that radical acceptance of this is who we are, this is who I am, this is my experience. And I get to create my own reality now because I’m being given the resources and education, and the tools and the support that I need now, you know,
Amy Watson 37:42 and that’s the hope that we talk about on this podcast all the time is that it’s never too late to heal. And that and that tagline just came to me a couple of days ago, as we introduced this new series, it’s never too late to heal. And obviously you were able to intervene and your oldest pretty early, but it’s never too late to heal. But part of and I’m speaking now to adult survivors of trauma who were not nourished. And we are we are focusing on nutrition here, but because it’s Nicole, who is a friend of mine, and I and I just feel so safe in this environment. I think too, that one of the things that we both have hit on is just that, that importance of physical touch and hugs and all of that. And so I always wondered Nicole like, Yeah, I’m fairly intelligent, I’ve got a decent IQ, I did well in school and things that my counselor says shouldn’t be able to happen. With, with the exception of the PTSD diagnosis, I was not diagnosed with some of the higher acuity things. And I often wondered, like, knowing what my mom did later, abandoned me. And so like I’m thinking, now as an adult, who potty trained me who fed me who did all of these things, right? And because she abandoned me and most of my family is, is are gone. There are not a whole lot of pictures floating around of me as a child period, I had one of me as a 20. My first Christmas was 24 days old. And it was only my profile, and you really couldn’t see anything. And so I wondered, I’ve wondered, and especially going into this series like
how, who fed me who did who took care of me because I clearly my brain got formed somehow even though I have PTSD, and anxiety and all of that. And I and I wasn’t well nourished, and I still have health conditions related to that. And we’re talking mental health here. But
anyway, so to make a very long story short, my dad’s side of the family somebody in his family had a picture from when I was only nine months old, and my sister was three years old. And Nicole when I tell you that I am the chubby us of the chubby of all the chubby babies in the world. It was but I bet it was so cathartic for me because it helped me fill in some missing pieces like okay, well clearly. When I was that young, somebody was feeding me and then there was a time
Time and I remember that time it was around the time of four or five, where we were given were locked in rooms and fed stuff that humans shouldn’t eat or not eat at all. So it clearly was my dad who died around the time that all that started happen that was taken care of man. So it’s so encouraged me because I looked at the picture. And I saw that chubby little girl and my sister who is holding me, barely can hold me because I mean, you know, she she to this day is four inches taller or shorter than I am, we have different dads. And so she’s holding me and I’m, I have a smile on my face. And I’m looking in the eyes of that baby. And I’m saying, I’m going to take care of you as an adult. And it was such a moment for me, because and here’s my question for you. That was a long question. You know this, because one of the reasons why you’re so precious to me is because I shared even more details about my own eating struggles as an adult, as a result of my childhood. And as a result of something that we haven’t really discussed a whole lot. I know that you’re big on with your kids, it’s calming down our nervous system so that we can get our fight or flight and end to rest and digest. And so one day you and I were just texting each other. And you asked me how I was doing, as you often do. And I just said, You know what, I’m really struggling, I can’t eat. I feel like I just ate Thanksgiving dinner, that I weighed on 10 pounds underweight, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, just started talking to you. You said something to the effect, what can you get anything into your body and I’m, I was literally laying in bed at like four o’clock in the afternoon. And I said back to you, I have these protein shakes in the refrigerator, but they’re full of preservatives. I know, they’re not good for me because they sit in the sun before they go in our refrigerator. But they’re 530 calories. And I guess I could get up and get one of those. And you message me back and you said those protein shakes are like love notes to your body.
And that now every time I drink one of those, I think of that, like I I’m reading a book by John Eldridge. And he talked about the verse in the Bible that says, Love your neighbor as yourself. And he said, If many of us are being honest, if we love our neighbors, like we love ourselves, we aren’t very good neighbors.
Nicole Patraw 42:14 Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.
Amy Watson 42:16 So let that read just for a second. And so when you said that, to me, it was like, I have got to value myself. And so my, my question is to you and your work that you’re doing now? Do you experience people like me where you’re you’re finding the need to maybe even go out and curate a eating program for those of us who
have no context of what it means to have a healthy relationship with food? And because I’m on the other end of the spectrum, where I just don’t eat? Do you have any any thoughts for my listeners out there who might be like me? And this goes both ways, because obesity is a thing too, right? We eat the wrong foods when we have trauma. And so I would say, for those of us who have a poor relationship with food as a result of our childhoods, clearly, you have done the hard work and put in the hard work. Can you share with us how we can get to where you are? And I’m and I know you’re not perfect, that clearly you have figured this out? Can you help? Can you give me and my listeners some hope about our relationship with food and the presence of all this trauma that we’ve been through?
Nicole Patraw 43:24 Yeah, I thank you for sharing that. Because I resonate a lot with what you’re saying, there’s, there’s something that we don’t really talk about. And I only have the education that I have. So I can’t give you the whole logistics of why this happens. But I’ve definitely experienced that of being so stressed and not being hungry, and not having like the will to thrive. And I don’t know if it’s been conditioned as a kid just not having food. And so it’s just the normal, but I definitely relate to that. You know, it’s six o’clock, and you’re like holy buckets. I haven’t eaten the darn thing all day. You know, how, or how many days have I gotten without eating and not even that it’s always intentional, but it definitely has happened. That’s something that I’ve experienced. And it affects us, you know, because then it it kind of can become this cycle in the spiral. Now we’re feeling worse, because we’re not eating and that we’re not eating, we’re feeling worse. And you know, self care was a really big buzzword for a while. And it’s still kind of is but I kind of look at self care as just making the effort to meet my basic needs. And even though I’ve done the work to be where I’m at, it’s still a daily practice to meet my basic needs like today, reaching for that protein drink to make sure that I had nutrition in my body that I was taking care of my body this morning because I was just tired. I was so tired and sometimes that’s what it looks like. So
I would say the first thing to start with
with anybody, and this is where I started as just having grace with ourselves, you know, we’re not going to go from zero to 10. Overnight, the very, very little, very micro baby steps that we’re taking, whether it’s a protein shake in the morning, or having beef jerky or snacks around our house sitting on the counter, so we fit we see it, if we see it, sometimes we’ll eat it sometimes that’s just the reality of what we live in when we’ve grown up in trauma is that
if, if we don’t see it, we’re not thinking about it. And then we we don’t eat for two days. I think that’s something realistic.
Amy Watson 45:43 And that is something that you told me to do. And I do I have a bowl of
on my counter, little, you know, the little Snickers bars, I have them. And yeah, I will, I’ll just mindlessly go by and grab them. And I’ve and I’ve gotten some protein. And you know, and whatever else was good about Snickers I’ve gotten and so so I think the point there is such a good one, but there but there are people like you out there doing good work in the world. And I wouldn’t, I would not, I would not be surprised as we end towards the end of the podcast. And I want you to tell us about your your mission and how we can follow you. And and I believe you have a course available right now. But I also could see you Nicole, curating a program for adult survivors of trauma and nutrition, whereby, for me, it’s accountability. You’re one of those people that are randomly just text me and ask me how I’m doing the but but I think that it’s people like you doing work like you do, that is going to keep people like me, going adult survivors who had not even had any context for our relationship with food as a young child. And so for listeners out there, this is the opportunity I wanted to give Nicole to tell us a little bit about well nurtured souls, and your organization and your program where people can find you and all the things.
Nicole Patraw 47:05 I think education is a great way to start. And that’s why I put together my nutrition one on one class, and it’s really basic, it goes over the fiber, protein, fat water.
The very basic things without making it too complicated. It explains nutrition, and then how it ties to your mental health, in terms of explaining it, like you would a six year old because I strongly believe, you know, if you can’t explain it to his six year old, maybe we shouldn’t be explaining it, but it doesn’t need to be complicated all the time. You know, so I have I have that course that I do offer and it’s online, it’s self paced, life gets busy sometimes.
And I’m on I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook,
at well nurtured souls. So it’s W E L L dot nurtured that souls and you can find me over on there, but like you said, sometimes we step away and just protect our peace a little bit.
So there’s that, and I try to make that, you know, very accessible to people. I don’t like to charge hundreds of dollars for a course that I feel like should be taught in schools. I, I wish this was taught in schools. And that’s one of my goals is to get it tied to all parents and all schools. But then sometimes we need a little bit extra motivation, a little bit extra accountability. So I do a one on one coaching to where I meet with clients once a week. And we talk about more of like, what’s going on in their life, what works for them? What makes sense for them, because what makes sense for me, might not make sense for them. We’re all so completely different. And how can we make those little baby steps and just make it simple. Like,
it might look different for everybody, but just haven’t I have a fruit basket out. And that’s what makes sense for me and my family. Because we’re busy. And I know my kids have access to food, then some people love to cook with their family. I you know, I’m a nutrition coach. But I don’t love spending hours in the kitchen every single day, I’m going to be honest. But if that’s what my client loves to do, we’re gonna sit down and we can talk about it and how, how we can make that work for them. And maybe like change the facts that they’re using or change the grains that they’re using. So I would say start with a very basic education. Just start asking questions, seeking answers, and in little tiny micro shifts can make huge changes. Absolutely huge changes in our life.
And just have grace with yourself. You know, one thing that I do that’s really funny
when it comes to eating and nutrition because sometimes it’s challenging with mental health challenges, as I literally set alarms for myself. So if I’m working with a client and they’re having a hard time remembering to eat
Then eat, maybe it’s just setting alarms on your phone, or setting alarms on your Alexa that says, Hey, Nicole, it’s noon, it’s time to eat lunch. As silly as that sounds, that’s my reality as a nutrition coach, and that’s, that’s what works for me. And so educating ourselves on what we can use to fuel our body and feel our mental health in our mind in our soul. And then surrounding ourselves with support. Whether it’s you and I, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a spiritual leader, a church leader, parent, a sibling, a friend, a counselor, those Yeah, I love going to therapy. Yes, absolutely.
Amy Watson 50:44 And so you just, I don’t know that you’ve ever listened to an episode of my podcast, but you just hit on something that we talked about, which are the three C’s, which are Community Church counseling, I am going to provide all the ways that you can connect with Nicole in the show notes, I did not know that you do that one on one.
Coaching, I probably would be headed over there myself to find out more about that. But we have really dived deeply in to trauma and the developing brain. And then even Nicole has given us some bonus content here with how even as an adult, obviously, nutrition is super important, but particularly in the presence of trauma, because even as an adult guys, we can expand that window of tolerance. And I never even thought about the diet, the possible correlation. And maybe even misdiagnosis sees with with lack of nutrition and diagnosis, like bipolar disorder because of something simple, like blood sugar. And so this has been so informative to me. But also, as a trauma survivor, someone who has turned your pain turning, I should say, your pain into purpose with three beautiful children married to a law enforcement officer, which is a feat in itself, like most people would be eating, you know, their weight and calories just because of that alone. And so I wanted to thank you for that sacrifice, too. And so all right. Well, Nicole, any parting words for our listeners as we end the podcast today?
Nicole Patraw 52:13 No, I just want to thank you. And you know, a lot of times we feel like we have to make these huge macro shifts. And that’s really not where change comes from. Change comes from the tiny little shifts that we make those little consistent things that we do, whether it’s just making sure that we drink one more glass of water a day, or we eat breakfast four days out of the week.
Don’t get too caught up in you know, this wellness stuff is very trendy right now. And there’s a lot of pressure on social media to like do it perfect. You know, my they have a lot of like my daily routine. I eat this every morning, I work out this much every day I do this and don’t feel like you have to measure yourself to that. You’re on your own journey. We’re all on our own journey and and just have grace with yourself because you’re so worthy of where we’re where you’re at.
And it’s such a unique process that we shouldn’t be measuring to any anybody except for herself yesterday.
Amy Watson 53:15 Oh, love it. And we talk we talk about that too. Not comparing our stories, not comparing our trauma. Well thank you, again for being on the podcast and Nicole, I am going to proclaim over you the same thing I proclaim over everybody. And I know that you believe this but when your faith is hard to find sometimes you need to borrow mine. And so I want you to know that what we have done here today has solidified the message of my heart and the message of this podcast which is something that I end every single podcast with as Phil Baker’s song places out of the podcast that declare the server Nicole and declare it over everyone else. Guys. You are seeing you are known. You’re heard. you’re loved. And you’re valued. Valued yourself enough today to take care of yourself nutritionally. We will be back here and two weeks with Chef Kibi with a very cool way that he connects with his foster kids in the kitchen. So you’re not going to want to miss that. Make sure you’re subscribed. Thank you so much for joining the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. And until we come back here, I will see you again. Two weeks and the healing zone.
READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these for our hard of hearing community as well as those of you who prefer to listen inside this blog.
Amy Watson 0:02 Hey, everybody, and welcome to the last episode of June of 2022. This is the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. And I am Amy Watson, by now, you know, I’m your host, shows us today, as we talk about a little bit about season three is we are definitely nearing the end of this season. And so we have a lot of new listeners, a lot of new followers. And so I just wanted to spend this last this fifth, Wednesday in June, this is a month that we have focused on racial trauma. And so we’ll talk about those episodes a little bit in just a few minutes. But it’s also PTSD Awareness Month. Now, this is a podcast that focuses primarily on post traumatic stress disorder. And we have spent 60 Plus episodes talking about PTSD. And so that is why I wanted to use the month of June, which is when we observe Juneteenth, and really segwaying into July, which is it’s mental health awareness month for people that are black, indigenous or people of color. And so with that is why I wanted to invest every episode during the month of June because I know some of you are catching up on the podcast, and you will actually hear these episodes in July. And so I learned a lot guys on the racial trauma series. And we’re going to talk about that in a few minutes. But I would love to do a little bit of just kind of a an update on on where the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast is, where it’s going, and how you possibly can help. But before we do that, for those of you who are new here, there are many episodes in the season that you may find helpful. And so I would love to tell you about them. When I when it came time to do season three. So season one is a season called PTSD, Jesus and me. And that is a season especially early on. As a matter of fact, I think the only guests I have on that podcast are Chrissy who has on episodes called the Memory Keeper. My friend Cheryl and Chrissy walk of daylight counseling, and my counselor Dr. Pettit. But for the most part that first season PTSD, Jesus and me, it was my opportunity to get behind a microphone and share my story and share my story and my journey about or share my journey, I should say, with PTSD, including and leading up to the diagnosis and really how life has been after it started. The podcast is immediately almost immediately after the pandemic started in April of 2020. Because I was bored and didn’t have anything else to do. And really my own PTSD was incredibly activated on so many levels. I did not feel safe. I didn’t feel any of the things that’s important for PTSD patients to feel. And I was laying in my hammock one day and looked up to the sky and literally said to the to the Lord now what and he said about that podcast that your friend JT has been telling you to start and so I went in my house got LMI hammock, I was super comfortable when in my house and bought a microphone on on on Amazon, before the whole world did and started that podcast. And so that first season, I said in the very first episode healing that doesn’t make sense that this podcast will evolve that it would grow in that I would grow. I didn’t have any idea though, that that first season season PTSD, Jesus to me would be as cathartic as it was for me. And just getting behind the microphone and sharing with people who wanted to know how, you know, how can I live, How then shall we live? When when it comes to things like PTSD. And so that first season in the shownotes, I’ll click it where you can find kind of the whole season together. And then the second season was PTSD, Jesus and you and that was mostly the stories of other people. There is an episode and season two called This isn’t my story. These are my songs. And it was the last public place that I shared some intricate parts of my story. And unless God tells me differently, it will be the last public time I did. And my friend Phil Baker, who has his own podcast, came on there and sang many of my favorite songs as I shared my story. And so that is Season Two PTSD Jesus and to you is a story of other people. And we’ve got we covered everything from medical PTSD on there to losing a spouse or losing a child. And also another season when we had a bunch of a couple therapists on and so that’s PTSD, Jesus and you and so when it came time to do season three, I did not want to pigeonhole ourselves into just post traumatic stress disorder, though that is what I have and what I’m studying and what I’m writing on and I write for the complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder found nation. So it is a lot of what we talk about that moving into season three, I wanted to, I really as a person grew from wanting to help the whole world to wanting to provide access to, to help to the whole world. And so when I said in that first episode healing, that doesn’t make sense that I would evolve to that is what I mean is that I know that there’s nothing I can do from behind this mic to actually help you. But I can provide you access to help. And that comes ultimately through the star of the story, who is Jesus, and everyone who’s ever listened to any part of this podcast knows that. So when it came time for season three, I wanted to continue to be more practical, I wanted to provide access to some some resources that would help people as they navigated through trauma. So we’ve called this season trauma spaces, spaces and aces. And so we started with an ace. And so the first nine episodes, and even some before that, there were a couple up Enneagram episodes before these nine episodes, including an interview with my own Enneagram coach Carissa Harrison, and so that so we use that as a framework, if you will, the anagram how God made us, because I wanted people to understand that you are going to respond to trauma differently based on the way you’re made. And we could have picked any number of personality tests, Myers Briggs, Strength Finders, any of them, but I happen to pick the Enneagram and that didn’t sit well with some people, because there is some some scuttlebutt on the Enneagram. But I decided to to use it as a framework to help people understand why they might respond to trauma or avoid trauma, as is the case with Enneagram sevens. And so the first nine episodes are interviews with Chris He is with me on the mic. And so the first one our type one was represented by my friend and best selling Christy award winning author, Becky Wade, and she represented our Enneagram one, I of course, came in and represented our Enneagram twos, and our threes were represented by my friend and also she’s crazy award winning author. Katie cantered with three Enneagram four was Rachel Odom, who is now to somebody who I love dearly, but I came to know as a result of this podcast, she represented our fours, Sophia Walsh, represented our fives as she talked to us about surviving thyroid cancer. And that that interview was incredibly fascinating, especially as it pertains to the way she was built and, and needing information that way. Enneagram fives do Enneagram six was represented by Christy Lockridge. If you’ve listened to many of these podcasts, you’ve heard her on the mic with me before. And so she she was our Enneagram, six Enneagram. Seven was my friend, Angie D. And that was a phenomenal episode. And really, really probably the one that fit this, this this topic the most, because Enneagram sevens do not like to deal with emotional issues. And so that we call that one setting an emotional pain. And Angie shared with us how she did that and how she is on the other side of some of that stuff. And as a matter of fact, just got engaged. And so that’s really exciting. The Enneagram eight was represented by my good friend and one of my 2am friends, Jennifer Dunlap. And that interview blew my mind because she was so knowledgeable about how God made her and she herself too, had to use the framework of the Enneagram. And then the Enneagram, nine was represented by my friend Joy Tiffany, and another really powerful interview, she prepared for it so much. And so all of these episodes, we asked the same questions, and one of them being how can we do life better with people that are of your personality type. And the answers to those were really, really, really helpful. We then moved in to some sciency stuff. And we began to talk about we went to the places and spaces portion of the season. And so we picked the home and we picked a childhood trauma. So the space B and childhood trauma, the place B in the home, several interviews of people who lived through childhood trauma, and some hope and help there. And then of course for the month of June, we moved into the racial trauma as an I would tie that into children, trauma that children and black and brown communities experience that other communities wouldn’t even know about. And so the first episode on that one was Tiffany Countryman Emma Lakeya Courtney, who had some really, really powerful examples of trauma that they experienced as children that I as a white person, never in a million years would have ever thought of. And so really good episode they opened up this month for us, Tiffany countryman, Emily Kia Courtney. Next up we had TJ McKnight and TJ is interview incredibly powerful and incredibly helpful because I asked TJ a very important question on that interview and that was So what can we do? Really not wanting to make a group of people who, who have been harmed my professor, but I didn’t know any way to do it. And so I was so grateful that TJ came on. And his answer to that was was quite fascinating. And so his episode is worth a listen for sure. Then we interviewed gender Ren, who Jen and her husband, Jim, adopted two biracial children when they were in their mid 40s. And so we talked about the dynamics of raising biracial children and a family that is culturally different than the children that you adopted and how the community receives you how the black and brown community receives them, and what her greatest fear for these children will be moving forward. And so another episode really, really, really worth the listen. And then the caboose of that series was an interview with Dr. Katherine Jackson, who it was really important for me and those of you who are have listened to the podcast and ever even heard me just kind of do a recap of the podcast, since it started, knows that it’s really important for me to provide education for you. And not for me, not just for me, even though I can teach you some things from experience and study, I always like to have therapists on. And so it would have been really a disservice to have a podcast on racial trauma and not have a black therapist on And so Dr. Katherine Jackson comes on. And we talk through all of those racial trauma episodes. And she comes at us from an educational standpoint, because it does not equal therapy. But she comes at us and helps us understand even more these these traumas that these guests shared with us. And why is it important to listen, like TJ told us and so her interview, kind of could boost that interview on racial trauma. So we’re not going to be dropping every week, though. Moving forward, we’ll go back to every two weeks for the remainder of season three, and we don’t have much left and season three, this season is quite longer than many of the seasons that we’ve done in the past. But coming up are a couple of fun episodes with one of them is with my friend, Nicole, who is a guru on the connection between mental health and food. And so we talked about that in the context of children and the importance of properly nurturing them with food. And she tells us, her story, very powerful story has tried to leave this planet many, many times. And thankfully, was not successful. And absolutely everyday struggles with her own mental health diagnoses, but has really become like me a mental health advocate. And so she talks to us about food and the connection between food and mental health, as well as her story. Really, really cool and informative episode. And then the next episode after that will be with a chef whose name is Chef Kivy. And he has his own podcast called Connecting with cooking, and he has a foster parent. And he came on to tell us how he realized how he could speak into these traumatized children’s lives in the kitchen, just by asking them something simple like Hey, will you cut up some onions for me and so he has created a whole ministry of when he brings these these children in his in his home to connect with them in the kitchen. And so that episode will follow Nicole’s and then bringing up the rear of this entire season will be Dr. Thomas Pettit and then a final episode from me and then we will move on to Season Four and excited about season four. I’ll be making some announcements about season four pretty soon. We’ll be some changes around here as there’s some life changes going on for me. But I picked a topic that when I look at all the podcasts that we’ve ever dropped, this topic is top two or three most important topic that people go back and listen to, for some reason. It just really resonated with them. And so we will be doing a whole season on this particular topic. So you guys will have to wait for that a little bit more. We have officially awarded two scholarships for pro Bono’s counseling based on the fundraiser that we had at Christmas time and merchandise sales. We hope to award three more. In 2022 we will be dropping a new line of merchandise So be watching it follow me on Instagram and you’ll you’ll find out when that happens. I post mostly in stories there but also static but if you follow me on Instagram, I promise not to drive you crazy but that is where you’ll find that merchandise and that does go to fund our mission of providing hope and help to people who can’t afford it. And so we do hope to be able to award a couple more scholarships before the end of the year. And so I hope that you have taken the time to invest in this series and listen to these people who may not look like you and even if they do look like you help us all be part of that completes intends that one of our guests said simply change. And do we want to be part of the change? I do hope that those of you who did listen to the racial trauma or who will go back and listen to the racial trauma series will understand my heart and that and be able to lean into a community that you may not understand. Or if you’re in that community, I hope that you will feel loved that the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast cares about everybody but I felt very called to do this entire month on racial trauma because you matter and so exciting things going on around here and more on that and other episodes and so as we end the month of June, I hope that you guys have a fabulous July 4, we will be back here and on schedule two weeks from today. Until then, you know what I’m going to say and I mean it with every fiber of my beating heart. You are seen you are known. You’re heard you are loved so so valued. You guys have a great see in two weeks. You teach me to zoom. You excuse me oh my god you Transcribed by https://otter.ai
LISTENERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and it not meant present as a grammatically correct, complete piece of written work. We provide these inside the blog for our hard of hearing audience and those of you who prefer to listen inside the blog.
Amy Watson 0:03 Hey everybody, and welcome back to the listeners afforda Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. I am so excited about today’s episode because today meets my mission or you guys know how important counseling is. On the Wednesdays with Watson podcast, you’ve heard my story, you know that it is an integral part of our healing. We have been in a month long series on racial trauma. To this point, it is June the 15th of 2022. Those episodes are still some of the least listened to episodes, which makes me double down if I’m being honest with you. And so I appreciate you guys being here. I know that you could be anywhere. But today, I’m excited that Dr. Katherine Jackson has agreed to come on to the podcast. I’m going to introduce her here in just a second. But it was really, really important to me, if we were going to do a series on racial trauma to have a therapist on that lives in the community that we were talking about. And so this series on the Wednesdays with Watson podcast, and the whole month of June, has been on racial trauma. And so today, I welcome Dr. Katherine Jackson, to the microphone. Now she is going to do something really cool for us at the end. And throughout the episode, she’ll be telling us a little bit more about herself. She is just as passionate as I am about this guys. And she is going to bring something to us today. I do want to say, though, that like every other therapist that we have on this podcast, Dr. Jackson is here for educational purposes only. This is not equal therapy. This may make you and I do hope that it does spur you to therapy. But this does not equal therapy. And her her presence here today is merely as a favor to me on so many levels, as we are working on this series on racial trauma where a person that does not live in the black and brown community is trying my best to educate people on trauma in that community that aren’t is not another communities. And all month we’ve been talking about how that has happened in childhood, because that’s what we’ve been focusing on. So with all of that being said, Dr. Jackson, I would love to welcome you to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 2:13 Thank you, thank you for having me. It’s gonna be a deep conversation is a big topic, but I’m hoping that we can keep it where people can digest and not get feel like they’re being triggered or trolled.
Amy Watson 2:28 Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And a really good point. And I’ve crafted the questions in such a way that, you know, my hope is, is that we can do just that and, and that certainly most of my listeners do have some form of trauma, or my podcast has been been recommended to someone. And so I appreciate that. I do believe that your your presence here today is going to educate those of us that don’t live in the black and brown community. And those of us who care enough to listen, just listen. And so with that being said, however, as cool and as amazing as you are you do not get L of season three’s question which is so funny because I’ve say on every episode, people you’re you might be the only one that didn’t send back to me like, okay, of all the questions you sent me this first one that you asked me this icebreaker question is the hardest question of them all. And so, so Season Season three’s question Dr. Dr. Jackson is what is your favorite thing about how God made you
Dr. Catherine Jackson 3:29 so I can’t limit it to one. So I’m going to cheat. I’m just I’m just going to cheat I’m just going to let everybody know cheating. One of my most favorite things is just the way he made me in general and I have such a thirst and a love for for God like I strive to stay in close relationship with God. But also this is what I’m seeing. i One of the favorite things about how he made me is that I am Black and I am woman and even though oftentimes those are not very big deals within the society. I’m honored to be in that role like we’re expected oftentimes to be superhuman but then we’re treated as subhuman as black women. But if I if I got a choice like if we get to come back here again I would check this box again either with all the that comes with all that you have to lit up yeah a three different thing
Amy Watson 4:23 no I love it I love it and those are three amazing things and as image bearers and the fact that you’re just using what is difficult to exist in this world a as a woman we both know that but but be your your second only to black males as as being marginalized in this country at least in the United States of America. This podcast is listened to all over the world. And so I love that I love that you would pick it again because that means that your mind people like you’re you’re on this podcast with someone who who was white, who you know, for the most part and learning your your mind for fessor and these people who have come on to this series before have been our professors, which is I don’t know what any other way to learn, but I don’t think it’s fair. I will tell you that. And so now, here’s another thing that I would love to ask you before we jump into it. And you can have a little bit just answered it. You are the caboose on this series. So you’re so we’re going to talk about some of those episodes. But I wait the rear. Yeah, you’re at the Rio. That’s right. You’re bringing us home, Dr. Jackson, you’re bringing us home. But before we do that, I also had another question because, you know, if I were younger, I probably would go back to school to be a therapist. Although my heart is so soft, I’m not sure that I could do that. But what inspired you to be a therapist,
Dr. Catherine Jackson 5:39 so you’re gonna laugh just a little bit, I decided to become a mental health professional at the time, I didn’t know which, where and within the mental health field where I work, but I didn’t, I thought it was either I saw not so good treatment of people in high school by the school personnel and the in the mental health people were in the school. So I like so many kids, I thought I can do a better job and the adults became my life’s mission, my passion, and it’s part of just my my life ministry is doing this work. So I initially thought that I would go into psychiatry, but then I later realized that medication was not the way for me to treat people and I am not putting down are saying don’t take medication, because psychiatrists are an integral part of some people’s overall wellness plan. And medication is a part of that for some people. And I know great psychiatrists when I need to refer out for people. But for me, I just knew that I would do this in a talk therapy way. And then the more I got into the mental health field, working with people of color, the textbook therapy doesn’t always work for us. So I integrate brain based practices, and more integrative and holistic wellness practices into what I do with people as well. So it’s gotten really fine tuned over the years.
Amy Watson 7:11 And I am going to put your website in the show notes. The holistic approach fascinated me, I found myself as I was preparing for the interview, learning about you. And thank you for mentioning that because it can be a both an either or we’re all so different. I have complex PTSD, which we both know is still not in the DSM five diagnostic manual, which is so frustrating. And I have spent many years on and off of different medications depending on what is going on. I certainly have taken holistic approaches, I am in counseling and therapy and all of that. And so I was absolutely fascinated and probably will be talking a lot offline with you about some of that holistic modalities. So and I want listeners to do the same. And so we’re at we’re absolutely going to send them to you. But we’re going to dive in and like you said, we’re going to dive in deep. So what we’re going to do is the very first episode in this series, was with Tiffany Countryman and Malik coordinate, both of them, African Americans. And what I want to ask what I want to share with you is what they said and then kind of ask you a question. So on the first episode, we I had both of them together, because we’re kind of a we’re a tribe, we connected on clubhouse during the pandemic. And we held rooms together and we did all kinds of things. And in fact, this series was born out of a room that we had together, where it became abundantly clear to me that I didn’t understand the trauma of the black and brown communities. And so these two were amazing. So the first one was was Malika Courtney, and she told the story of she said, I want to pick something really basic for your listeners to understand. And so for her, she shared with me what she called hair trauma. And she shared with us. Yeah, she shared with us a story of, you know, a just the process of what you know, her mom, you know, put her through and the perms and hair burns and blisters and all the things. But the real trauma was her parents had moved her into a white suburb, and she was in a school where she was was in the minority and she literally got beat up and they pulled her what she called her weave out which which I you know, absolutely broke my heart. And again, you’re you’re here for educational purposes only want to make sure everybody understands that. But can you speak to her experience as being attacked by that and how that would affect a child and you’re shaking your head when I when I mentioned hair trauma. So I think that you probably could relate and so feel free to share anything that would help my listeners understand why that’s a significant trauma for families.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 9:35 Because both are hair and for men and women so for males and females within I don’t want to speak more specifically to the black community, more so than other bipoc communities. But our hair and our skin are very important to our overall and identity. And it doesn’t matter if you are a child or if you are an adult. This is an important thing. to us when we grow up, most of us grow up with that. But when you when she was talking about like the perms and the straightener, the hair and all of that, for some kids that can be traumatic in and of itself, because we’ve gone against the natural light texture like I get, I got natural textures. And these are braised their twist right now. And so but kind of going against that, so that we mesh in with the general society. And some people don’t want to do that. And so what’s been nice, in more recent years is seeing more appreciation, like us having more appreciation for like, you’ll see more women wearing their natural hair, and so on and so forth. So, in the US hairstyles have been so very stigmatized, like, kids will be sent home for certain hairstyles, some, some boys will have their hair like and wax, and on and on and be passed over for certain things in sports or in workwise. And some, some companies will say you can’t even wear your hair, particular way. So to work at a company, and then it goes to this whole thing with what’s presentable, what is professional, and by whose standards by the standards, because if, if I go to Africa, right, they’re not wearing their hair like yours, right? They’re wearing their hair and something even greater than going on here today. And that is professional for them. Wearing African cloths and prints that is professional. They’re so by whose standards and it’s not fair to people of color, when we try to push everybody into that same standard, what we need is more people to have more appreciation for all of the differences. Like I love seeing the ladies and I might be saying the the name of the thing like the Indian ladies, or they wear the hijab, I might be saying that wrong, though. And so please forgive me.
Amy Watson 12:10 I think that is I think that is how you say
Dr. Catherine Jackson 12:13 that, but then some people look at that. And then it is stigmatized, and it comes with a whole bunch of other negative connotations. So when you think about being a child, and you’re being attacked, period just being attacked, period is bad
Dr. Catherine Jackson 12:32 But then if you when you think about that you’re being attacked for what you look like. And something that makes you unique, that definitely brings about a lot of trauma. And because at that point, that’s when our you know, we’re at key ages where the brain is still developing, we’re still developing identity, we’re still trying to understand the world as a whole. And then it can just turn into some, at its worst, it can turn into self hate, but then it makes you feel like you’re not worthy, you’re not good enough. And then if it really eats away at you, from at the core, it starts to turn into self hate. Because then you don’t, you don’t feel pretty enough, you don’t feel like you’re good enough, you don’t feel like you know, you fit into this world, when really it is the world that that is not accommodating and accepting of you.
Amy Watson 13:25 And that is why we’re doing this, if one person listened to these episodes, and makes a change and understand, when she told me that we didn’t, it was not on video, my jaw dropped, like, I never in a million years would have thought about it. And it just made my brain go in so many different directions. And it made me know that we were doing the right thing by doing this series and because in to your point, first of all, you’re born with what you’re born with, right? So I’m born with blonde, semi wavy pain in the butt here that I have to straighten because it’s got enough weight to be, you know, it’s kind of in between I’m born with when I’m born with and so Malika went home that day thinking I was born broken, you know, this is how I was born here is not something that you can I mean, you can alter it, you can change it and you can do but but but this is this is who I am. This is how God made me I came to this world with this, these follicles of hair that are going to come all throughout my life. And so hair is something that you can’t change
Dr. Catherine Jackson 14:24 before any before we go on and gas and the questions with that. So like you said, we’re born with certain hair, well, we can we can straighten it. We can do different things to and try to mesh into society. I don’t think we should have to but I love the differences that we all come with. But the same is true with skin. I just made me think of it as you were talking. So some people and I remember this from a class I said, you can go in and you can be Jewish and nobody knows. You can go in and you can be a part of the LGBT community and nobody knows. But what When you’re black, and sometimes even Brown, depending on the hue, we can’t take it off, we can’t straighten it out, we can’t, you know, change it and then change it back when we’re monks are people or anything? We’re black all the time. So that’s so powerful.
Amy Watson 15:15 It’s such a powerful point, right? Yeah. So so so these things that are stigmatized, and by bipoc communities, there are so many things that you can fix on air according when I say that, because I really should, you know, No, you shouldn’t have to, you should be able to do whatever you want to do, I do I wear my hair whatever way I want. Normally, I put it’s up in a ponytail 99%. And so, but that is a powerful, powerful point is that people in the black indigenous, you know, people of color communities are who you are, I am, I am incredibly, there is no pigment in my skin, there is not us SPF Sunscreen high enough for me, I can’t do anything about that. I’m saying, and so I just can’t do anything about it. I can’t do anything about it. And so to to judge me based on, on on how God put me on this planet is asinine to me, I will never understand it. i And you and I could talk for hours about that just on that one on that one thing that is so powerful. And I want that to breathe for a second. For my listeners think about this for a second. There is something that you were born with that a good portion of the world has a preconceived notion about that you cannot change. Think about living that life. I’m going to let that breathe just for a second. Think about living that life. The second person on that interview, Tiffany Countryman who is an absolute hoot trip, she is amazing. She’s Tift, the homie, countryman, and she does a bunch of things. She’s a playwright, which is why what she said to me was really interesting. She said, she felt like and she she weighed in a little bit on the hair, trauma. But she answered something very differently. She said, You know, my whole life, I was taught to act a certain way to say a certain, say, say certain things. And so when we look, I’m from the south, I still say Yes, ma’am. To people younger and older than me. And you know, people don’t quite say don’t say yes, ma’am, to me anymore. Because I’m, you know, I’m, I’m older than they are now that that that that switch has been flipped a little bit, but, but some of what she was talking about as basic manners, but but she said in her home, she said, and I quote, and I’m looking down, because I want to get it right. Black people have to act a certain way to not get judged or killed. And she said, for me, it was the loss of the ability to be who I am and to be creative was stifled. And I’m still trying to earn stifle that today, I was wondering if you can speak to that at all.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 18:01 So I grew up in a home, where being a part of I grew up in a black community, first of all, and being a part of the black community was very important. My parents still like, strong, black connection. And we’ve trickled that down to the younger generations in the family, too. So I feel really blessed to have had that. But I’ve had some experiences that were similar to what she she’s saying, like, as an adult. So none of that I didn’t have maybe because I grew up in a black community, I went to black schools. I didn’t start going to school with people of other races until I went to college. So got my BA. And then And then beyond the more I went up and became Dr. Jackson, the less of me I saw in different spaces. And especially being a black woman who specializes in neural, I’m often the only one at a lot of those conferences. So, you know, but my upbringing and the core of being black and having that, you know, a strong identity and connection to it is what helped me to buffer it. Because when I was doing my therapy practicum for my doctorate, one of my colleagues said something about what we were talking about here, you know, you just think two ladies talking about hair. She was a white colleague, and then I told her I was like, Yeah, you know, and I told her something about the hair hygiene of with black women and on and on, and she was like, oh, yeah, because your hair is dirty then and it was just Yeah, it was just so like I felt like your face looked and then stigma and you know, like that. It was like some stigma. It didn’t stick to me because of the strong way that I was brought up but I was just like, and it was just hurt ignorance. Knowing what the difference in our hair we cannot, you guys can wash your hair every day if you want, even though, like I’ve watched episodes Dr. Oz and he’s just sick don’t do that. And, and so but it was just like ah, and then with the whole thing of having to do things a certain way I remember being pulled over after working a 13 hour back to back to back, I do not recommend this to anybody. I don’t do this anymore as a as a psychologist myself, but I had 13 hours of Back to Back patients with very little like break, like the little break that you get just like to write your notes in between. And so I was extremely tired. And I stayed after to write notes, and I left just before. So I guess I was there long, 13 hours, but I left just before the alarm would come on at the office, I forgot to turn my lights on. And the police pulled me over. And this was during the time with Trayvon Martin and all the other major killings that were happening by police, to black people. And I was like, Oh, my goodness, and I was on the phone with a family member. So I put the phone down. I didn’t say I just said be quiet just in case on on and on and on. And then they and I didn’t know why they have pulled me over. They said it was because of the lights and on and on. But I was so afraid. And I don’t think I had that much of a threat. But I remember saying and I I didn’t know this was something I shouldn’t have even had to have said until I spoke to some other people at a place where I volunteered. They say you should never should have had to say that. But I said something like, because they were like, where are you coming from and I you know, on and on. And I was like, Oh, I’m Dr. Jackson, I’m coming from such and such a place. And I was like, oh from the hospital, I don’t work at the hospital, I worked at a place that was very close to the hospital. I just said yes, and on and on. And then I was like, but we we come up with whatever is going to save our life so we can get home. That’s it. And I said if if he thinks I’m a doctor, maybe he won’t do anything. And it was like a darker area and I should have drove to the lit areas that we have we say what we need to so that we can get back home to our family. So and I didn’t know I should never had to have like dropped the doctor thing to be safe and, and on and on. So nothing happened. Thank God, I don’t know if it was the doctor thing that helped everybody just say your doctor? Oh, yeah, seriously,
Amy Watson 22:25 I am. I want to say to you, I’m I’m so sorry. I mean, like my heart literally is just breaking. Because as a survivor of childhood abuse and domestic violence. I my whole life was about performing so that I so that I could not be identified by the things that had happened to me. For a lot of years when somebody asked me who I was, because we’re talking about, you know, we’re weaving identity a lot into this conversation. For a lot of years, when people asked me who I was, I would say, you know, my name is Amy Watson, I’m a CEO, I have a master’s degree, I’m a design, but this I’m at this. And then one day, I was at a speaking engagement, it flipped for me. The pastor said, Amy, tell the people who you are. And this is how I knew that the Lord had done some healing in my heart. And I didn’t say I’m all these things, letters behind my names are things that I had accomplished. Because I’ve spent a whole life performing. I said, my name is Amy Watson and I am a precious daughter of the Most High God. And I hope that if you ever get pulled over again, when that cop says whatever I am Katherine, and I am the precious daughter of the Most I got, ya know, get don’t get pulled over. I got pulled over. I got pulled over the other day. And he was he was really nice to me. But I was just like, I’m gonna get this ticket. But but he let me go,
Dr. Catherine Jackson 23:40 I usually will say I love to drop the doctor from it. But I will say this, and then I don’t want to spend too much time on it because I want to come back to the racial trauma talk. But working in print, primarily white spaces, I get treated a different way. I literally work at a group practice where they will say, Doctor, so and so we’re all doctors, we’re all psychologists and psychiatrists, like the whole practice is that except for interns, and so they will say doctor so and so and Dr. So and So and Dr. so and so and I hear them when their patients are checking in, they’ll say, Oh, you’re here for Dr. Sands, Oh, do you predict? And then when my patients check in or if they refer to me they say Katherine and it’s one of the reasons why I always say when people say what do you want to be called I say Dr. J, and it’s a silly reason to But Dr. Jackson, it’s not because I feel like I’m better than anybody else. But because I get highly disrespected and, and people will drop the doctor on me all the time, but say it for everybody else. Wow.
Amy Watson 24:46 That blows you’re a little bit shorter than Dr. J though.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 24:49 Yeah, I am. But that was why I went that’s why I say Dr. James.
Amy Watson 24:55 I love it and some of my listeners would be like who’s Dr. J? schoolwork. Well, yeah, basketball guy. That was really tall. Yeah. And we call him Dr. J. For the 76 years, I think I don’t even know much. I don’t I have no idea why I know that Dr. Jackson, no, no. Well listen, as somebody who has earned a master’s degree and is pursuing a doctorate degree myself, I can promise you, when I get that doctorate degree, I’m getting it. So people say Elementary, my dear Watson, or Dr. Watson, I presume and so. But that but But you said you wouldn’t talk too much about that, because you want to get back to racial trauma, that is racial trauma is yours. And that’s why you’re here today. And to that point, you
Dr. Catherine Jackson 25:38 see, racial trauma happens so much, I’ve never even put that together as a ratio 1,000% of the difference than of the way that I would be treated right.
Amy Watson 25:46 1,000%. And there will be a point where that we talk about trauma, I educate my listeners on what trauma is. And by definition, it is anything that moves us outside of that window of tolerance. And so if on any given day, you know, you’re you just made your massive payment on your student loans or on that, that that doctorate degree and somebody calls you, Catherine. Yeah, somebody calls you, Catherine. Yeah, you that is disrespectful, and that is traumatic, because it is not identify as not appreciating the hard work that you’ve done, and had to work double because you are not white, you know, and you are a woman on top of that. And so, so so no, I’m glad you threw that in there because that is racial trauma. And you said something there. That actually is a great segue into TJ night’s episode. TJ was a black male, and he came to the podcast, not was he is still he still here, y’all. TJ came to the podcast. I love TJ so much. He is loves Jesus loves people and wants people to love Jesus. And so but grew up in a difficult he had an ACE score of like seven or eight. And so this was not a dude that has not had trauma. But he he chose to share a trauma with us that we all know. And so I’m not going to rehash that it’s he got pulled over. And he he could tell, you know, probably 25 stories of being pulled over. And because he’s a black male being disrespected. But he said something on that episode that I want to pick your brain a little bit. As a psychologist, he said, Because I said to him, I said, I don’t want to have to make you my professor, I realized that in some ways, you what you’re doing here today, and I will say the same thing to you, Dr. Jackson as the opposite of bleeding on the people that didn’t cut you, even though I didn’t personally cut you, or cut TJ it was the opposite. And so I said, TJ, please help us know what can those of us that want to change? Because that was one thing that Tiffany said on her episode, as she said, as a complete sentence change. I said, What is one thing we can do? And here’s what he said, and I’m looking down again, because I don’t want to get it wrong. He said we didn’t want to answer mama taken off of the pancake syrup bottle. We didn’t have a problem with Uncle Ben’s, or any of the statues that were removed. All that happened with that was that white people felt better. We just want you to listen. Yeah. So my question to you. And this was power. This has a lot to unpack. But I say every time I exited microphone, the same five things to people, one of them is that you are heard. Can you talk to us about psychologically what it does when somebody actually shuts their mouth and listens instead of trying to fix it? Because TJ said, We don’t want you to fix it. We just want you to listen.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 28:41 I feel like when we take the time to listen to somebody,
we’re able to either without the words express a certain level of empathy for what they’re going through, even if you’ve never been through it. But when we rush to talk and rush to fix, oftentimes that comes off more as like sympathy. So I still feel so bad for your situation. It’s not that you can’t feel bad for it but when you listen, people feel heard. They feel seen and so rushing trying to fix it. Oftentimes that will take up space and sometimes and this has happened to me in some meetings especially after the George Floyd murder it then it the whole thing when people were trying to talk about it became more white tears and white fragile T and then it it just shifted from the people who were impacted by it or the most impacted by it and afraid for family members and even in my community which which which is a mixed community up at the gas station just straight up from my house. Like if I if I go a couple blocks a nice amount of blocks the first gas station near my home, somebody had put up a hate thing about like gold back to Africa or something like that, I can’t remember what the words were because I didn’t want to didn’t want to internalize it. But it was something to that effect. And this is a multicultural community. They didn’t want, I guess the black people who were starting to move over here, not even starting, we’ve been here, and on and on. So when you say, Listen, you just truly just listen and let the person express what is going on and express their pain without, like you said, bleeding on somebody and turning it to be about your pain for their pain, sort of stuffy, and we get it, we all go through, like you’ve heard all of these guests that you shared today. Your heart goes out to to them and the experiences that they went through. But you don’t switch it in, like I just feel so bad. And then the rest of the podcast becomes about how bad you feel about the racism that was done to them. So I hope that answered it.
Amy Watson 31:04 You Morgan has beautiful things in there. No, you more than answered and you hit on something that I was going to ask you anyway, because this was difficult for me to absorb myself, because I am an empath. And so I am likely to get teary when somebody tells me something sad. But you you use some words there that were convicting to even me. And I was going to bring this up anyway. So when TJ said we just want you to listen, because here’s the thing, there is one commodity on this planet that we all have, that once we spend it, we can’t get it back. And that is time. Right? Yeah. And so for him to come on and, and to say we just want you to listen. And then when we take our time out of our busy schedule, like you’ve done for me here today, and you have no idea how much I appreciate this. And because I’m honored because you are not being paid to do this for and so listeners out there when we just listened to somebody. And when TJ said that just made white people feel better. It feeds into your point. And I love the vernacular, you’re huge there. It became eternal, the George Floyd thing turned into white tears, and white fragility. Now listen, I absolutely sobbed over that. And I can’t unsee that knee on his jugular vein, I can’t unsee that as a human being. So I don’t want my listeners to think that we can’t be sad about it. But if you’re going to hold space, if you’re going to give the the only commodity that you have to someone that is that is a black or brown person or indigenous or, or anybody except for you, if you’re gonna sit down and give them your most precious commodity, then you’re telling them in a sense without saying a word, like if you just sit and listen and absorb what they’re hearing, as difficult as it is. My cousin called me out on this, she lives up in Canada, and she lived in Toronto for a good portion of her life. And that’s like a huge global melting pot and, and Toronto. And so she and I FaceTimed after after the George Floyd incident, and I was I was sobbing, she’s like you had to stop. And I said, huh, she says, that’s the problem. This didn’t happen to you. This didn’t happen to our community. This didn’t happen to you. It’s okay to be sad. And it’s okay to cry. But don’t do it in the presence of the person that’s trying to help you understand what it’s like to live
Dr. Catherine Jackson 33:32 events and sending her a virtual hug. Because, yes, and ask what is needed of the group that we are centering the group that we are focusing on at the moment, like we had the Asian hate attack, right. And so when we were having a meeting on that, then we will focus in on that group. It’s not, yes, I will cry. And I will cry before I get there. I will cry afterwards. But in this moment, I just want to hold the space and talk to talk to the Asian community about what they need from me as a person who’s not within Asian,
Amy Watson 34:09 right. And I think it’s a little bit you know, it’s a little bit like raising kids and some way to write like you, you know, you you focus in on what they what they need and listen to them. It’s not about you at that point. It is about the person sitting in front of you. And so if you are and one of the things that I did on all of these podcasts is admitted my white privilege now, that was not hard for me to say because again, as I as I’ve indicated to you and as my listeners know, I’m well educated I have a master’s degree in business administration. I was babysat by by well known serial killers. I survived a terrible childhood. I have an ACE score of nine. I am a domestic violence survivor and I am still white privileged. Still white privileged.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 34:59 Yes. Deep because you do a lot that people could focus on. But you still, I think you, you operate in a way that’s really different from a lot of people within your,
Amy Watson 35:10 well, I need. And that’s why we’re doing this because I really have a heart to help people. That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I do this podcast. I am so grateful to the Lord for what he has done for me, and my own trauma healing. And so it is all about my life versus Philippians 112, where the Bible says, I want you to understand that the things that have happened to me have really happened to further the gospel. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood. And so maybe that’s why I have a little bit of a different take on this. I don’t know. But what I know is I want to be part of that complete sentence, change period paragraph, and we’re going to talk about your app, I want to ask you one more question about the last interview, who was with genuine Rana and you and I are actually recording this episode on the day that Jen’s episode drops. So Jen is a podcasting friend of mine, and my age, too, right. And so, but but she and her husband through a series of events that only God could have orchestrated at 43 or 44, adopted a brother and sister who were biracial. And so I wanted to talk to her because that is something really sexy in the white community, particularly in the church. And there’s a lot of good to it, I have got really good friends that have adopted from other communities and other countries and all the things and I know that the black community has an opinion about that. And we’ll talk about that in just a second. But But Jen and her husband, Jen, Jim ended up with two biracial children. And she talked to me about her, she wanted to talk about the trauma that she’s worried about for these two children. They’re being raised in a white family, and I mean, white Chicago suburb, what you’re looking at right here, well educated. And so it’s not even like these kids go to school with people that look like them right there in white suburbs. And so I asked her a question, I said, What is your greatest fear for these children’s and it’s one of them as a little boy and little girl. And she said, you know, my greatest fear is, is that they will feel like they don’t fit in anywhere. Are they white enough for the white community? Are they black enough for the black community? And to your point earlier, we shouldn’t there, this should not even be a question. You shouldn’t have to change your hair, you can’t change your skin color. She shouldn’t have to worry about this, we should accept them because their precious children are the most high God, can you speak to that a little bit, because I do have quite a few of my listeners who have adopted outside of their culture and outside of their race. And there are some dynamics there that you probably can speak to both as a black woman and as a professional. And I would love to hear your opinion on that.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 37:46 So these are, these are my, my personal thoughts of this, definitely not more on a clinical basis, but from what I understand. Even even within my family, there’s interracial marriages. And so what I feel like, you know, we’re talking about being able to be like effective parents with somebody who looks different from you, or even if, if they have part of your genes, but then they might look different, and people are going to see them as that other thing. So like if it’s if you’re married, a white and a black person or married, that child might identify as interracial and love both sides, but a lot of times depending on especially depending on the hue, they will be seen as black, and treated as black. And so one of the big things from my own personal experience that I that comes from this, whether you adopt or it’s an interracial relationship, and you have interracial children, or biracial children is that love the whole culture, and then just the one person that you’re married to, because I see that a lot is that they love that black person, or they love that Latino person, but they don’t love all of it. And so if you don’t love all of what comes with the person, I just wonder if if if being in a interracial relationship is for you back then kids? Yeah, don’t look like you. If that’s a good thing, because you can, you can unknowingly still pass down some racist ways or trying to force the kids to be in and in spaces, because you’re coming from like your white perspective. We’re sort of
Amy Watson 39:45 space and she did share with me, which I thought was really cool. So they’re Caribbean and to your point, you know, not not all black people from Africa. So they are of Caribbean and so she talked a lot about the importance because she I had her on the podcast to talk to You because, you know, most of my listeners are Christians. And my church in particular, it has this amazing ministry that that works with a, with a with the state really and that that that ministry has been licensed to train foster parents. And so because of the dynamics of the black and brown community, you know, and you can correct me if I’m wrong on this, but they’re, you know, in the foster care system, at least in the state of Florida, it leans more heavily towards not white children being in the foster care system. So obviously, these these feel
Dr. Catherine Jackson 40:35 like this everywhere. I don’t know if it’s just Florida, like that’s a lot of different places where there are more children of color who are not worried adopted, because I don’t know that in our communities of color that we adopt as much as like the white community.
Amy Watson 40:52 Right. And and why is that you think I’m just curious?
Dr. Catherine Jackson 40:55 I don’t know. So that one I can’t, I don’t like I’ve never read anything, I’ve never researched it outright, just I don’t I don’t match your work.
Amy Watson 41:04 One of the things I really love about the black community in particular, and having grown up in a predominantly black neighborhood is just the Titan fitness, we talk a lot about committed community on my podcast, we have three C’s, we have church counseling and community, and just the tightness of of that community. And so I can kind of see and by the way, you’ve mentioned that about interracial marriages. So we are recording this on, on June the 15th. And yesterday, it was either yesterday or the day before was was was the Sunday or Monday. Yeah, they all run together at this point, Dr. Jackson, but after COVID I don’t even know what day it is half the time. But but it was a landmark anniversary of when interracial marriages became legal. And that that so was impressed on me as a child. My mom loved this movie. And I still can’t to this day think of it but that there was an old movie about a interracial couple, except for she was incredibly light skinned and 70. No, so no one knew that she was black. But I remember saying to my mom as a child, well, why can’t they be married? That doesn’t make any sense to me. And so and so when you mentioned that I immediately it popped up. But that’s good. That’s a good word. For those of you out there who are adopting from other cultures than yours, because Jen talked about on that interview, she was like, we celebrate their Caribbean culture. And this particular case, it was a bit of an open adoption, too. Even though there is no communication with the birth parents at this point. Jen knew that at some point when these kids get to be older. And this is true about any adopted kid not sure about me because my mom took all all of my childhood secrets with her when she left this planet. And that’s hard and not knowing where do I get this mannerism from like I you know, I talk with my hands or I talk fast, or where did I get this bent from? And where did I get that bent from? And so I can I get Jen just talked about the importance of immersing them in that Caribbean community. And that Caribbean culture, I guess, is what I should say.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 43:04 And that’s what I meant by love the, like, you want to accept, you don’t have to accept everything I don’t like everything about my culture, I wish the things we would get rid of, right? It’s a part of it, and I embrace, I embrace it. So accepting it and celebrating you can’t just love just these, you know, in her case, Caribbean kids, you got to have some kind of appreciation for all of it. And this is us the the show, it’s ended completely. This year, the whole,
Amy Watson 43:32 you know, the whole pride at every episode.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 43:34 But they did a great job of that because they had a black child. And so they did that modeled a really good way of how I feel like people who adopt out of the out of the race out of whatever, they’re racist, because I, if I adopted a Latino child, I would need to know about that culture. If I adopted somebody from overseas, even if their skin looks like mine, I still need to have an understanding of what they’re, you know, the differences in their culture,
Amy Watson 44:03 because we both know that their culture is embedded in their DNA, right. And so and so it is so, so important to do that. And so Jen, Jen mentioned, you know, she she gave some examples of, of how they do that. And so I just think that that circles back to identity, which you’ve been so great to talk to us about today. Well now is the fun part of the whole interview has been fun, but I love it when I get to it when the guest gets to talk about your passion, and how my listeners can go to your resources and get help now, You know, again, I know because of state lines and those things, but you’ve got this passion for the holistic portion of healing. That is so so impressive and fascinating to me and you had sent me an email after I sent you questions. You said hey, can we do this little exercise? But before we do that, because we’re literally going to close out on the exercise. I’m not even going to do my outro and so listeners you know that you’re listening to the Wednesdays with Watson podcasts on mobile We back in two weeks. But we’re going to end this episode a little bit differently today, after Dr. Jackson tells us a little bit about why she already told us why this is so important to her. And by the way, you don’t, it doesn’t have to be a medicine or a holistic approach. It can be a boat, that’s what I do. A lot of people call EMDR, a holistic approach that is absolutely what has absolutely saved saved my brain so many times. And so the mic is yours, my friend, tell my people about it about where they can find information on you. And then And then I’d love for you to exit us out of the interview with that exercise that you asked me if we could do.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 45:39 So. I’m not good at selling myself. I’m working on it. But I You can find me on my website, which is just my name. Dr. Katherine Jackson. And Katherine spelled the traditional way. My name is pretty much like Michael Jackson’s mom’s name, but with a C. Doc, Katherine jackson.com.
Amy Watson 46:00 Where can they find you on Instagram? A lot of my listeners, are you on Instagram? Yeah.
Dr. Catherine Jackson 46:04 So I’m all over the web I have. If you go to my website, you have a link tree to all of my most of my social media, but on Instagram is My name is Dr. Katherine Jackson. And you can find me at the same thing handle on clubhouse and on tick tock. I like to talk it’s fun way to share.
Amy Watson 46:24 I have I have I have dropped the TIC tock Kool Aid. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve fallen asleep just doing this scrolling. More than saying St. And the algorithm that has given me is so interesting. It’s a mental health and chronically ill people, but I watch it. So okay, so guys, so you find her it’s Catherine with a see, doctor, don’t forget to put the doctor in front of it, or you will not find her. Alright, so talk to so I’ve been so excited about this, since you asked me the question. So talk to talk to us about what you want
Dr. Catherine Jackson 47:00 to do. I’m going to dim my lights because I don’t like bright lights, period. And it’s better to know when we’re doing a meditation. So we talked today a lot about racial trauma. And so we don’t want to end with that, right, we want to leave with that feeling within our bodies. And so we’re going to do a nice quick meditation together and just release some of that. Rather, you’re on the side of experiencing trauma, or whether you’re on the other side where you’re trying to understand the racial trauma. And you’re trying to get through this thing and be an ally. In this process. We’re all going to take some collective breaths together, meditate, and we’re going to release some of this out into the world.
And so for everybody who is listening, I want you to take a moment and get really comfortable wherever you are. You’re listening on your couch, get nice and comfy. If you’re listening and you’re sitting in your chair, just just get as comfortable as you can. And if at any time during this meditation, you find that your mind is starting to get distracted, no worries, just gently bring your mind back to this meditation and back to the breath.
So I want you to just take a deep breath in and as you slowly breathe out, just begin to truly settle your body and get grounded
then take another deep breath in this time as you breathe out, began to truly excellently relax your body, slowing down your thoughts. We’re gonna take one more nice deep breath in. I just want you to become aware of how you’re feeling on the inside
now let’s gently scan our bodies and notice any places of peace or any places of comfort. Notice where that shows up in your body.
Allow yourself to feel more and more of that comfort as you continue to breathe in and out nice and slow. But with no specific focus on your breathing So we want to just go a little bit deeper into the meditation. So take another deep breath in as you slowly begin to breathe out let’s focus on these affirmations you can say them aloud or you can save them in your head. I am at peace I feel safe and secure in my body I am a nurse and I am a part of the change I wish to see just let those affirmation sit for a moment as you continue to breathe in and out naturally
we’re gonna say these two more times I am at peace I feel safe and secure in my body I am enough I am part of the change I wish to see
one more time. This time I want you to take it nice and slow to fully embody and let yourself truly feel each of the affirmations I am at peace I feel safe and secure in my body I am enough I am a part of the change I wish to see just let that sit there for a moment as you breathe in and out slowly but naturally if you close your eyes to see slowly began to open them and we acclimate yourself to the room. You can wiggle your fingers and your toes softly it replays some things as the other spots ever you just go back into your day as you
Amy Watson 53:31 okay guys, I don’t know about you but I am at peace. And so as we close this episode and as we close the series I hope that you will always remember what I never leave a microphone without saying you are seen. You are known. You are heard love and you’re so so valued. Thank you Dr. Jackson. And can you teach me to use them on my mind
READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct, piece of work. We provide these transcripts for our hard of hearing community, and for those of you who like to listen in this blog. We sure appreciate you, and hope that we are providing Hope and Help to you!
TJ McKnight 0:00 The solution is to get to the root of this cause and fix the root of the issue. Because if you fix the root, everything else, just like with a tree, if you fix the root of a tree, and that tree is cut off, it will spring back up. It’ll be beautiful and full back and back. It should be Amy Watson 0:19 Hey, everybody, and welcome back to the listener supported Wednesdays with Watson podcast, it is June of 2022. I cannot believe it’s June. We are in a series on racial trauma specifically, though, as it pertains to trauma in the black and brown communities. This podcast if any of you know have listened to the 60 plus episodes, you know that we have a mission. That mission is to provide access to help. We’re doing that through education. We have interviews with doctors and therapists, I’ve written blogs on research. I’m a freelance writer for the C PTSD Foundation, and stories like you’re going to hear today. But most importantly, the mission here is introducing you to Jesus who we believe is the star of the story, and does all things well. Before we step into today’s interview, I want y’all to understand something. I don’t know what the guest was going to tell us. I realized that tackling a topic like this is difficult, dare I say risky, but I feel like it is part of the mission of this podcast to help listeners understand all trauma, and how that they can provide support. And some people listening to this podcast today will even have some me too moments. Today. I welcome TJ McKnight to the show. TJ is a fellow podcaster and friend. My favorite thing about him though, is he is jealous for the souls of Jesus. He will tell us about that ministry towards the end of the podcast. But I want you to welcome TJ McKnight to the podcast. Welcome, TJ. TJ McKnight 1:50 Thank you, Amy. I’m excited to be here. And I’m extremely humbled and honored to just be a part of your podcast. i When you asked me to do this a while back, I was like, Man, this is crazy. I’m hoping that I say something that is, you know, beneficial and edifying for the body. And it’s also enlightening and educational, as well. So well. Thank you again for this opportunity. Thank you so much. Amy Watson 2:17 Thank you for being here. Like I said, I know that it’s dicey. And as a white person, I am struggling with vernacular. And so to those of you listening out there, particularly those of you that will know when TJ is episode drops when people who do not look like me, and this is what I mean by by the vernacular, people who are not white when they listen to this, I want you to understand that I feel like this is a risk worth taking, because I believe that all trauma matters. And that is what this podcast is about. And so before we get into that, one, I sent the questions ahead, just because everybody knows me. And we’ll be here for three hours if I didn’t have some sort of structure. But in season three, the icebreaker question that I decided to use has been one of the most enriching questions that I’ve asked, and now almost four seasons of this podcast, because the the guests have told me when you sent me the questions, all the other ones were easy, but this first question was, Wow, that was hard for an icebreaker question. But it’s been super cathartic for me. So TJ, my listeners want to know, they know the first question is going to be what is your favorite thing about how God made you? TJ McKnight 3:29 Oh, man, my favorite thing about how God made me is just how you know how the Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. I love the fact that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And not only that, but I am made in the image of God. And even over talking about racial trauma, and race, we tackling this tough subject of race. I wholeheartedly believe that all of us regardless of our skin, pigmentations regardless of our background, so who we are, we are all created in the image of God. He says that he created them in his image, He created us in his image, and that’s what I wholeheartedly believe. I love that I love that He has created me to be the individual that I am, by you. You put it so eloquently when you was kind of talking about me or introducing me, you know, jealous after the souls of God and, and, you know, it’s so humbling to hear those things. But you know, I always consider myself as a nobody. But at the same time, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s who I am, it’s who I strive to be, you know, not trying to, you know, be anything other than who God has created me to be. And I love that I love God. wholeheartedly. Yes, you do have a deep passion for God. So Amy Watson 4:59 I would love Have to take credit for that jealous for the souls of Jesus, I stole that from a friend of mine who will probably listen to this, but you are jealous for the souls of Jesus. And I love. I love that answer. Because we mentioned a lot on this podcast, Genesis 126, which we got 26 verses into the Bible before God had to remind us who we were, and that he made us in His own image. And then we also mentioned quite frequently, Psalm 139, which you just referenced them fearfully and wonderfully made, that he knew us and animals parts before the foundations of the world. And so to say, to identify that as one of your favorite things about how God made you, is to really honor the Creator, right? It’s like, what’s my favorite thing about this plate? Well, my daughter made it for me. And so I love that answer. And by far, probably one of my favorite answers of the entire season. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, probably one of my favorite answers. Well, so we are in a series this this season three, where we are talking about trauma spaces, places and aces, we started the series out with aces, and talking about the Enneagram and trauma and how God made us and how we how we deal with trauma based on how God made us. And then we moved into the places and spaces, which was childhood trauma in the home. And then and so I began to educate my listeners about things that we call adverse childhood experiences. And just like in the name, there are experiences that we have as children that are adverse that affects us later in life. And I sent these to you earlier and asked if you are comfortable in answering answering these questions as we move towards our goal of talking about racial trauma. And so this doesn’t necessarily need to have happened in your home, even though we are focusing on childhood trauma in the home. Right now. We’re focusing on childhood trauma and these adverse childhood experiences. And I’m gonna tell you what that means after you’ve answered the questions. And so just a simple yes or no, and then we’ll talk a little bit more so from zero to 18. Did you experience physical abuse? No. Sexual abuse? No. Verbal abuse? You say outside of the home? Yes. Okay. And any of these outside the home, by the way, physical neglect? TJ McKnight 7:22 Um, I’ll say yes and no. Amy Watson 7:28 That’s a hard one. How about emotional neglect? TJ McKnight 7:30 Yeah, yeah, definitely emotional. Amy Watson 7:33 Okay. How about a family member with mental illness? Yes. How about a family member addicts? How about a family member addicted to substances? TJ McKnight 7:48 Yes, Amy Watson 7:49 a family member in prison? TJ McKnight 7:52 I’m not immediate, but yes, I did have a family. Amy Watson 7:56 How about domestic violence? TJ McKnight 8:00 Wow. Yes. Amy Watson 8:02 Okay. So, so adverse childhood experiences, were these 10 questions that experts a long time ago came up with that they identified particularly that domestic violence question that I asked you, particularly if it’s against your mother, it will adversely affect you later in life. Experts say that if you have three to four of these adverse childhood experiences that you as a child and until it is dealt with, are under what’s called toxic stress, and it will present itself and other ways in your body, and in your spirit and in your life and in relationally, and, and all of those things. And so, adverse childhood experiences are important in the concept of this conversation, because some of those adverse childhood experiences could or could not be racially racial trauma. But what I want my listeners to know is that I’m sitting across the screen from somebody who gets it right. There are some of those people out there, though I’ve not had an interview yet. With that with it with an adverse childhood experience score of fewer than three. Now, obviously, it’s a trauma podcast, so but I didn’t know this about you. I don’t know anything about you, except for how much I adore you and respect you as a fellow podcaster Ran brother and Christ. But I didn’t know this about you. And so you’ve got a relatively high adverse childhood experience score somewhere between five and six. And so the fact that you are breathing air is a miracle. Yeah, simple lesson Exactly. It but it does cause us problems. And I’m sure relationally or physically or sometime in your life, when when we hit end on the end of this podcast, you’re going to think, Oh, I remember this and how that affected this and this and this and decisions that we make sometimes are bad as a result of these adverse childhood experiences. Like I’ll give you a great example. I am a domestic violence survivor. I have an adverse childhood experience score of nine. I married somebody stayed in the domestic violence marriage for 12 years. So I just made bad decision after bad decision after bad decision because As of that toxic stress. And so I think it’s important in the concept of this conversation, because we’re going to be talking about little TJ, teenage TJ, and those things, and I want people to know who I’m talking to. So, obviously, I want, I do want to thank you again, I feel like I can’t say it enough for being here, because we are focusing on racial trauma. I recognize that my community can never understand or the experiences that your community experiences just on an everyday basis, especially as a male, who probably as a young age was taught how to put his hand on the steering wheel when a police officer Okay, no, that’s the one that all the white people know, you’re gonna tell us on that though all the white people don’t know. But that’s but I do recognize that my community, we could never experience some of the trauma that you’ve experienced, both in this generation and wage generations back all the way back to the to whether we’re talking African roots, Caribbean roots, or wherever, trauma among black and brown people, the entire continent of Asia, is prevalent, and has been and will continue to be until we continue to do things like this affects it. For my listeners, as I mentioned to you, I don’t know what TJ is going to tell me. But I’m wondering, can you give us an example of a trauma that your community experiences that mine never could? TJ McKnight 11:20 And so off the bat, I think the biggest for me, was and I’m I’m really I’m gonna talk about like maybe childhood, TJ into teenage TJ kind of piggybacking off of your police reference, you know, my mom would tell me all the time, you know, speak proper speak up, you know, sit up when you’re talking to an adult and, you know, have respect for your elders and people in authority. And so, you know, when I was a teenager, I was an idiot. used to race a lot. I didn’t have a car for fit for racing, put it that way. So I had a 95 because Michigan line, but I used to race the mess out of that car. But I would always get in trouble with like, you know, I would get pulled over all the time. And even when I had my good light to when I upgraded to, which is crazy. I upgraded to like a 2005 Nissan Altima was all white with black 10, like you cannot see through the 10 You know, he’s it’s it was a beautiful car, in my opinion, stick shift, I will race in that car as well. So, you know, getting to, to that. I remember I would always get pulled over by the by the cops, you know this always and I remember my mom as even as a kid as a child. She would tell me, she would actually demonstrated whenever she would get pulled over by a cop How was to act. You know, when whenever we were pulled over by a cop. And you can always kind of gauge the type of responses that you would get based on the race of that cop. I remember one incident where my mom when she was pulled over. Funny story. She was pulled over it was on our way to church. He was already running late. We had he’s had some fried chicken in the back because she was in charge of Reagan fried chicken. And she was blasted her God from us. And we were blasting, you know, gas was going down a road back country road, didn’t see the police officer just just ran past him. And she and he pulled up behind her. And we saw blue lights immediately. Fear came across all of us. He was just oh my gosh, what do we what do we do? I’m looking at my mom through the rearview mirror because I’m sitting in the backseat, my sister sit in the front and we’re looking at her and she’s like, alright, I’ll just be quiet. I have handled this. And you know, and we’re, you know, just kind of calmed down and actually rolled down the window. She, the officer walked up to the car, he was black. And he heard the song alone Mama was playing. Ironically, he was black. He was a Christian and he was listening to the exact same radio station and the exact same song. That’s great. You walk up and he gave her jokes and you know, hey, you’re listening to the song, you’re getting caught up in the Spirit and you know, you’re you’re driving fast, what’s going on? And when he came and he said that kind of, you know, decompress our level of stress, you know, it put us at ease, like okay, we can now you know, engage this man as a regular human being. And I remember when he went back to his car, and he came back and he was asking us where we were going. I’m gonna say we’re on our way to church. I’m already running late. And she said, You know, I have some fried chicken in the back. You want a piece? I want a piece. Right? So she’s bribing officer with fried chicken. That’s probably no he was. But he was like, No, ma’am, I will take it. But he led us off with a warning. And I remember that vividly because that was one of the moments where I wanted to talk with us. And she was saying how, you know how you want to present yourself as a, as a, as a young, black person in this context, and then my mom would tell me all the time, she’s got wrestler, so I love her so much. She would tell me all the time, you’re you’re black, you’re you already have two strikes against you, you’re black, and you’re male. And most people see you as a threat. They’re just waiting to give you that third strike so that they can count you out. So always live your life thinking that you had those two strikes, and that you’re always about to hit that third strike at any time. And that helped kind of shaped how I navigated and how I did things with people. So going back to my police reference, I remember what time I got pulled over. It was very scary. This particular instance, because we were just leaving the hospital. My mom was in the hospital at the time just leaving the hospital. I wasn’t racing. But you know, I pretty much I believe I had a reputation for race. But I wasn’t racing or anything like that. I easily. I mean, it was just I was going to come and down the road. But I saw a police officer Get behind me. But what I did was I he got close to my bumper, I’m thinking that he’s trying to get past so I turned my blinkers on and get into the next 20 He gets behind me and turn the blue lights on. I’m like, oh, gosh, what did I do. And so I pull it over, pulled into a school. And I’m approached by this female officer, she was really nice. He was really kind I was, you know, kind of talking myself out of the ticket with her. But her male counterpart who was a white male officer, he was very much more aggressive. And I believe he was maybe like her training officer or whatnot. Because I could tell that there were some, you know, tension back and forth between the two. And I remember this vividly my sister, she pulls up because she was behind me. But she was maybe like five minutes off. And she saw that I was pulled over. She comes in full blazing. My brother yelling out the window, we live in a hospital. You know, my mom is in the hospital. And everything she’s saying is like, you know, counting my story, you know, she’s confirming my story. And I just remember to the white male officer put his his hand on his gun, he’s yelling at her telling her go get away, go park over there. You know, we got this. And I just, I’m just sitting there kind of stone and like, and he’s yelling at her, she’s yelling at him. It’s kind of crazy. She she’s, she could tell she’s my oldest sister. She’s very protective. She’s a fierce protector. But she’s telling him like, he’s he you know, he’s a good kid. And you don’t have to go down like this. And, and I’m just, you know, kind of stuck in the middle. And I just remember, pretty much how that story ends is. The female officer just lets me go with a warning. And come to find out. I mean, I knew what the issue was with my tags, three months, he pulled me over which of it was my tags, I had just got a new car. But I had my old tags on the plate on the car. And I remember having that conversation with the dealer when I bought the car like, Hey, these are old tags, it was like, you’ll be fine. Just leave alone, bear until you get your new tags. And it just so happened. Ironically, my new tags did come in that day. But they were on the frigerator at the house. Good place for him. And that didn’t have right great place for but I didn’t have time to switch them out. Because you know, we had to immediately get to the hospitals, a lot of things going on. I was explaining that to them. She was you know, I said the female officer. She was very receptive. She was understanding. But the male officer was very aggressive. He wasn’t I don’t know if he was on something that day, but he wasn’t getting it. And as I explained it to them. And I told him about, hey, my sister can go to the house and grab the tags for you. If it’s that, you know, serious so that you guys can see that I’m not lying. They believe the story. They’re like, you know, you you’re good to go. But it’s those types of incidences that you know, that kind of, you know, always kind of left a bad taste in my mouth with regards to police officers and how they deal with things. Yes, I had one cop who was respectful it was doing her job and then had another cop who just was just blatantly doing his his own thing. And it always kind of left that. I will say, yeah, it always kind of left that negative impression on me, because I know that there are good cops out there. And this is I can speak for this as a whole. For all black people. We know that there are good cops out there. But we also know that there There’s a remnant of bad ones that are like tainting the entire police force is just like good analogy one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing. And when you have that, you’re you’re promoting a distrust between the communities in Durham, North Carolina is notorious for not having. We’re notorious for just like, always having in the news with shootings, and just, it’s, it’s a great city, but at the same time, it’s a dangerous city, the community relationship, or I would say the relationship between the community and police has not always been great. So justice just kind of experienced that as a teenager. And oftentimes, throughout, you know, it kind of always kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. But did you know, there was one instance and I can’t say that this is, you know, as all police are bad, because there was one incident when I was I would say this, not all white male police officers were bad, because there was one instance where I was pulled over by a white male police officer. And I explained to him like, Hey, I’m breastfeeding, and I ran this red light, because my mom is sick, I’m going home. And I’m just getting here from college. And he understood that and he let me go with a warning. And he was very respectful. He was saying, hey, next time, just make sure that you slow down, take your time, he was giving me advice. You know, I know that there’s good cops. But we also acknowledged the fact that there are bad cops so Amy Watson 21:27 well, and that we’re still having this conversation, right? So we’re still having this conversation. 2030 35 years later, let me tell you, I’ve been pulled over so many times in the state of Florida, that for speeding, that I can I have maxed out and I maxed this out about 15 years ago, I maxed out the amount of times that I could go to Driver Improvement school, but never once as a white. Yeah, I have a heavy, heavy foot, I got places in ptJ. I got places to be. But but as a white female I can’t comprehend. And so one of the questions I wanted to ask you, and it wasn’t in the prep, but it was just occurring to me, as you were talking to questions I’m gonna ask you to, I’m gonna ask them in two separate parts. The first question is, do you as an adult struggle with any sort of bitterness slash resentment, like I am my precious Son of the Most High King, we talked about fearfully and wonderfully made a made in the image of God. But yet, we’re still having conversations. And I’m going to ask you about your children in a second. But we’re still having to tell, and the police reference comes up, because it is the one that we’re seeing the most, we’ve seen it, we saw it for nine minutes with George Floyd, we, you know, and we could go on, and then on and on, say their names, say their names, say their names. And so I’m looking across the screen of a college educated Christian man who loves his family who loves the Lord. But yet, if you were to leave this interview, and get in your car and drive across town, you still have something in your head that I don’t like, I gotta be careful, because I’m a black male. And the assumption is they want to give me that third strike. Do you struggle at all with bitterness or resentment against God? for that? I guess it’s my first question, or against just life in general? Or do you just kind of let you know what, this is the way it is? And so I don’t even think about it. TJ McKnight 23:23 Um, I don’t I don’t resent God for this. I really don’t. I think that, you know, when you when you resent God for something that he created, you know, you’re putting yourself in a bad place, because you’re telling God that, you know, what you did wasn’t good enough. But we also have to understand that various sin in the world. And so everybody who is a Christian, you have to recognize that there are good people, there are bad people. And at the same time, sin is still running rampant in the world. There are Christians who are not Christians, there are people who are Christians who are great people, there are Christians who are still sending in our bad people. But the fact of the matter is, they’re still Christians. I’m not gonna sit here and be like, Hey, I’m hating all people because of how they treat me or I’m hating God because of how his people who are treating me no, that means that I’m exalting myself above a higher standard or thinking that I’m better than God, when this is what God created, you know, he created this, he created this earth to be a certain way, but because of the Fallen half of Adam and Eve and Genesis three, you know, here we are dealing with the ramifications of sin, dealing with everything that comes from it. So no, I don’t resent God for going through some of these things. I can see how some people could if their faith was kind of attached to it, but I know that my faith is set on a firm foundation, which is the word of God. It’s not I didn’t come to God off of some emotional appeal or some you know, crazy story now. Oh, my foundation was set. When I was a kid, I gotta say, when I was eight. And from the time I was eight to the time that I was, I would say, 23. Yeah, I lived it up. And I did my own thing. But my foundation was always there when I was eight. And I’ll never be angry with God, because of how other people react to certain things, or how other people treat me Do you Amy Watson 25:26 struggle with? When you see things like George Floyd, and I’ve not been able to investigate the school shootings in Texas enough today to know whether or not I would imagine that there was a huge Hispanic community. Do you struggle? So not necessarily with bitterness or resentment? But can you help listeners out there, especially male listeners understand how you navigate the day to day like, you know what this sucks, but this is the way it is I walk out of my house, I get in my car, I’m a target. How do you navigate that? And I’m going to part two of that question. As you said, you have three children and two of them are school age, either of them boys. TJ McKnight 26:05 I have two boys and one girl. Amy Watson 26:06 Okay, so you have two boys and one girl. So you’re so we’re reliving that throughout in the same conversation with your with your own kids. Does that make you feel some kind of way that you still have to do that? TJ McKnight 26:16 From a humanistic standpoint? Yes, that does make me feel some kind of way that I have to have these conversations with my children. But I would say from a, I hate to say religious standpoint, but from from that perspective, with God, I don’t resent God for that. I’m big on accountability, you know, holding people accountable for the things that they do. God is the chief accountable person, why we he holds us accountable to his standards, if we’re not living up to his standards, and that’s that, and so when you when you see all these different types of things going on, and even as a man, I always err on the side of God, you know, what we’ve got to think about these things, God, and even when I’m leaving the house, or I’m going out and about and I’m doing all these different things, or Amy Watson 27:02 sending your children. TJ McKnight 27:04 Yeah, yeah, there’s always that, that notion in the back of my mind as a black males, like, at any point, this can go sideways. And so I always try to make sure that I carry myself in a certain way. And this, this is another thing that maybe, you know, maybe some people don’t know, but you know, it’s like, we have to shed layers of who we truly are, to become another person in the public eye. Because we want to be perceived as, and I remember, yeah, all growing up. And just even I would say, up until maybe like, a couple of years ago, you know, I would always kind of present myself in a in a standing manner, so that I don’t perceive to be a threat to anyone. But as I got older, and I, and things in life kind of happened, you know, I’m at the police now. Whereas, like, I shouldn’t have to do that. If I’m just being myself. I should just be myself at all times. No, I’m not a threat to nobody. I don’t present myself as a threat. But it goes back to what mom was telling me all the time. You know, you have those two stripes, you’re black, you’re male. And then now let’s add this to it. I’m black, I’m male, and I’m six foot two 200 plus pounds, and I have muscles and stuff, it’s like you’re always going to be perceived as a threat. And so that’s one of the reasons why you know, in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking like, How can I approach certain things certain compensation certain things certain people because our you know, you see me as as as a threat, even with like my hair like it is and, and everything like that you may perceive me as I complete. I consider myself as the Eskimos Gentle Giant, I’m a nice person that anybody will probably probably ever meet. But at the same time, not everybody will perceive that. And everybody will see that when they see me because they may see me or they’re like, oh, that’s another black kid or, you know, another dog or whatever. No, like, college educated. I have two degrees. I have a master’s in information technology. Yeah, information, information systems and technology management. And being a religion. Amy Watson 29:19 Yeah. Well, you loved it. Yeah. Yeah. You love you love Jesus, and you love people. And, and so but but I do want to recognize something for you. And I want to recognize it for you and for your two sons. And for for my listeners out there is I recognize how exhausting that has to be. Right? Because Because I wake up and I’m Amy. You know, I’m not a danger to anybody. You’re not a danger to anybody. But but but people don’t look at me a certain way. They don’t make assumptions about me. With the exception of being a white male. Being a white female is the best. The best demographic to be In this country, and that makes me very sad. And it kind of leads me into something else I, I only would have asked from a friend. Because what we find and what we found is white people, particularly after the George Floyd thing, mainly because we were all locked in our houses, and we got on apps like clubhouse and started talking to each other white people. Even though I grew up in a neighborhood that was predominantly black, most of my friends were black, I never got in a fight, because I knew if somebody was going to beat me up, I was going to have all of my black friends with me. And so I understand. I understand kind of the the community, but I don’t understand being any of these things like somebody’s looking at me going, you’re a danger, because you look different. I live in a county in Florida, where if we see a black person that’s like, you know, like, like a unicorn, it literally is like a unicorn, we’re still we’re still there, right? And so after the George Floyd thing happened, and after we were all locked in our houses and unclog houses and holding rooms, I began to the Amy Watson and me that started this podcast and Amy Watson, to me that writes and does the things that helps people with trauma, I want to fix it. And I very quickly in some clubhouse rooms realize that there was a better way to ask for that. And so I do not want to come across as like some white savior complex to you. I want to come across, and you’re looking at me on Zoom, and my listeners will hear the authenticity and my voice, I want to know, and I want to ask somebody who won’t get offended, and who will assume that I really want to make a difference. I want this microphone to be a megaphone for a message that a white person can can help. Right? How can white people help mitigate some of the damages of trauma and the black community? How do we, how do we earn the trust? And how do I learn without asking the victims if you will, to be my professor? I don’t know any other way TJ than to ask somebody? What can White people do? TJ McKnight 32:15 Well, the first thing is like what you said, don’t don’t come in and try to be a savior. Just listen, you know, don’t listen with the intent of trying to fix something. listen with the intent of just listening, you know, fully hearing what somebody is saying, clearly hear what we’re what we’re explaining. I know, for me, that is one of the biggest things for me is just listening with the intent to just listen, you know, if I tell you who I am, and I tell you about a situation I tell you about issue, you know, immediately and I’ve had the conversation before it with a white friend of mine, immediately, you know, thinking, well, this is how we have to fix this. And if any of them are going to handle this. No, just listen. You know, just listen. Because it’s so easy to try to think of solutions and think of things immediately. But sometimes the solution isn’t always present. Sometimes the solution is very hard to get to. Because if it’s been if it’s a systemic issue about racism, and it’s been going on generationally, yes, there are practices and things that you can do now, small things, small changes, as Matthew McConaughey has said earlier, small sacrifices that we can make the change the perspective or change the generational errors that we’ve done. Yeah, that can be done. But if I’m saying, this is one of the biggest issues that I’ve had, and I know I’m kind of going off, left a little bit here with the George Floyd situation, that height is everything. One of the things that that I was saying and I and I know a lot of people are saying is that that diversity needs to be seen needs to be filled. One of the biggest things that I’m I’m I work for them, I wouldn’t say a fortune 500 company but I work for one of the top five banks in the country. When we talk about diversity and inclusion. We don’t want to just be included with every type of thing that’s diverse, okay? We’re say diversity and inclusion or we want to be included in these things won’t be recognized as black people. Just as equal as white people. It doesn’t mean that you have to include us with okay, that’s Cujo with the homosexuals, let’s include Jolyn. With Asians, let’s include y’all with all of these minorities now. Because each and every one of those minority individuals want their own individualized respect. When you look on the board of directors for so many of these companies. I can eat it Target Facebook, and look at Facebook in and of itself, they say that they are a diverse company, but they don’t have a black person that like me sitting on their board, they may have an Asian or Indian or someone like that, and that, that makes them diverse, but they don’t have a black person like me sitting on their board, giving them a, you know, giving them advice or advising on these things for me, and I’m not saying that you have to be be in general, but you know, somebody that is well qualified to sit in that role. You know, it’s and that is not just singling out Facebook, but singling out a lot of these companies, because it’s, it’s like that across the board. There are companies that are making progress towards that. But one of the issues that I had with with a lot of companies is that they reacted in a way of wanting to fix instead of just listening, because the biggest error that I know the company does behind Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s rice and all that stuff. The biggest issue is we didn’t watch all the change all those different things. Like we just want it to be heard. That’s all nobody wanted. Nobody wanted to be taken off to the pancake box. Like we like to have demand. Right? If it was an issue with Aunt Jemima was whatever and she was a slave of it. Change her shirt change something like you know, make her look like somebody’s not like somebody know that each pancakes. Right? If that was the case, we do that you’ll make it later. But that’s not what we wanted. We didn’t want you to just do away with hmm, and now you have Pearl mining company. What is pro mining company? We don’t know. We don’t even know what it was like I don’t even Amy Watson 36:51 that’s literally the first time I’ve heard the Rename. TJ McKnight 36:54 Uh huh. Yeah. And it’s like, you see all of this and you’re like, that’s, that’s not the response that we wanted. That’s not the response that we were talking about. If you’re talking about police brutality, you talking about racial discrimination, you talking about racial inequity, you’re talking about all of these different race things, the solution is to is it to immediately fix these things like this? No, the issue, the solution is to get to the root of this cause and fix the root of the issue. Because if you fix the root, everything else from that is just like with a tree, if you fix the root of a tree, and that tree is cut off, it will spring back up, it’ll be beautiful and full back and like it should be. And so if we get to the root of what the issues are, if you have somebody that is sitting in a seat of judgment on a home mortgage, and they determine whether or not you apply approved for this mortgage or not, based on your credit score, or based on the factors of both of that, let that be the case, don’t let it be because I’m black, right? Don’t let it be because I’m this I’m that like No. If I if I’m, if I have the capital, and I had the credit, and I have all these different things based off of that, just like you would do your white counterpart in these situations. And so I know that it’s kind of like all over the place. But Amy Watson 38:17 it’s actually not all biggest thing. Yeah, no, it’s it’s not all over the place. And I you taught you taught me something because I’m a fixer. And I think the nine minute knee on George Floyd’s jugular vein did it to all of us, right. But we, as human beings immediately want to go into fix it mode. And I did that in some clubhouse rooms, like I, you know, I got on, you know, and really got educated, for lack of a better way to explain it, of how to interact with a group of people who, historically and you talk about the root, here’s the root of the problem. And here and anybody that listened to my podcast is not going to be surprised to hear this come on my mouth. The here’s the root of the problem. We, as a society, for hundreds of years, have not valued black and brown people for the image bearers that they are, we sometimes forget that and one of the original draft of the Constitution that a black person was considered, it was either two fists or three fifths of a human being. And so for you to say to me, we didn’t want angioma to go out we you know, and there’s lots of things that that happened to they took the at Disney, they took Splash Mountain out, I didn’t even know I didn’t that was so old that I didn’t even know that that had anything to do with racism. And so for you to tell me, we need you guys to stop fixing it thinking that that’s going to make you feel better. And that’s going to placate you for representing a group of people that has has ostracized us and not valued us for for hundreds and hundreds of years. If Amy was Soon as a white person can look at TJ McKnight as a black person, and know that you are the precious Son of the Most High God that you’re the Genesis 126, image bearer, then the best thing that we can do for somebody is give them our time. And we give them our time, when we listen. And so listeners out there we are, we all want to fix this. But we are not going to fix in even a decade or two decades, hundreds of years of racial trauma, I think that the gift of presence is so important. Having conversations like this is important, listening, trying to really feel in my body, what it must feel like to be pulled out of a car. And you didn’t say this happened to you. But it does happen to black males who get pulled out of the car with handcuffs on, I want to hear you and listen to what you’re not saying when you when you say I have two boys that you’re having to have the same conversations with. And so I think it comes down to a value issue. And it comes down to human beings needing to understand that we are all made in the image of God. And that, that the ultimate diversity and inclusivity happened when when God created man, He created us all in his own image. And so it comes down to a value issue. And so those of us that wants to help the answer to that question is those of us that want to help, guys, let’s just listen. Because I know that when when we are listened to we feel loved when we feel loved, we feel less insecure, when we feel less than secure, we can navigate through some of these unfair feelings. And so I had a podcast guest that came on that said, if you want to know why the fruit looks like it looks look at the fruit. So if we’ve got a bunch of African American males running around this country, creating crimes, black on black crime, all the things that are true, look at the roots. And we can fix the roots. By nourishing them by reminding them we need to value those roots, we need to love those roots, we need to hear those roots, we need to see those roots. And we need to just remember that these are human beings that we’re talking to. And so the gift, the gift of time, and the gift of listening is incredible. And so we have we have three seasons, we kind of as we kind of end here we have three season our podcast. And I would just love for you to tell us how they play a role in your life. And more particularly for listeners out there, how they can play a role in US navigating generational trauma. The first one is church. Now let me tell you something, I will pick a black church every day of the week over a white church because you’re way cooler than us. You take care of your own. I’ve learned things by listening from my black friends on clubhouse about how churches have had church mothers things that our churches don’t have. But tell us in your opinion, how the church kept you really on the straight and narrow, even though you’d like to race and all of that. But given that you are that you dealt with racial trauma, that you have an adverse childhood experience score that significantly high? How did the church play into and invest in your life so that what I’m looking across on the screen right now is an amazing human being with a wife and three kids. TJ McKnight 43:39 The church played a huge, significant role in my life. Because, you know, that’s where I can say that I found my identity, not just in Christ and who I am, you know, not only did I find my identity, but I found my community. I found that I was valued and I was worth something. You know, I found out that I was gifted, I had gifts, you know, I found that I could be somebody or you know, the smallest achievements in my life, you know, we’re celebrating, you know, it’s those type of things that made me who I am, you know, it shaped me. You know, when my mom was sick with cancer. I mean, it 98 the first time, you know, the church responded, you know, when we went through a lot, you know, financial issues or whatever, you know, the church responded. There are times in my life when I can, you know, point to how the church helped mold and shape me, you know, but we’ll be here all day. Amy Watson 44:48 Yeah, talking. Yeah. You brought in that other C community which is so important. And so for listeners, it really is the community, the church, I have these three C’s big as they are a huge part of my healing, right, and my trauma just looks different. It’s just it just looks different. But, but the church and community are two vital components, in my opinion to healing. I love that you said that the church gave you your identity, not only in Christ as first, as we see in first Peter two, nine, where the Bible says that we are chosen people are royal royal priesthood, and God has called us out of the darkness into this marvelous light. That verse doesn’t say, hey, all white people, you are a chosen royal priesthood. And by the way, you know, our faith was founded in the Middle East where nobody looked like either one of us. And so that’s just that that was free. The last C is the last C is counseling. And I want to do a little call to action here before I ask you this question, because this is a passion of mine. And as a reason that I am sitting here, proclaiming Christ in Christ alone because of church because of community, but because of counseling, and I was really fortunate to be able to afford to go to counseling, I realized that not everybody can afford to go to counseling particularly, and marginalized communities. And so the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast at the end of last year raised money, and the first X amount of money went towards the production of the podcast, because I’m not Joe Rogan, I don’t have advertisers, I’m not getting rich on this podcast. And you know, and so I had people that came in and completely funded the podcast for 2022 for production costs, and then all the money that is donated after that goes to scholarships for pro bono counseling. And I have already established two of those, one of them was in the name of Cheryl Rice, who was a really good friend of mine who took me to the psych ward when I attempted to take my life. And the second one to Simone Lashay, who is of a sound mind, she is a black female living with bipolar disorder. And so counseling is a big deal to me. And this podcast, the reason why I do it, besides the fact that I like to hear myself talk is to raise money for pro bono counseling. And so that is a call to action guys, if you’re interested in that mission, and to help us fund pro bono counseling. And the show notes. If you hit contact Amy, there are two ways you can do that. One is called buy me a cup of coffee, which is lame, but it’s it gives you the opportunity to do a one time gift. And then the second is Patreon, which are for those of you who are interested in maybe a monthly support, I’ve got a $5 option there. All of that money goes to Joel 225 Ministries, which is my newly soon to be newly formed 501 C three that will fund pro bono counseling. Now I stuck that call to action in the middle of the questions so that people would listen to it. Talk to me about counseling, has counseling been part of your story, as we talk about some of these things? You’ve mentioned your mom BNL several times, that’s that’s a big deal, particularly when she was so instrumental and who you are today, has counseling been part of your story, whether it’s racial trauma or not, has counseling been part of your story? TJ McKnight 47:59 Yes. It’s funny, because, you know, I’ve been eager to get back to California because I was like, I need to talk to somebody about a lot of the stuff that but I remember vividly back from when 911 happened, you know, I dealt with a serious bout of depression. And I was 11 years old. So my birthday is September 8. And 911 occurred three days later. And so being in I had just turned to live and so you know, seeing that really unfold and just seeing people jumping out of the windows of the the Twin Towers you know as 11 year old kid, you know, in my mind and growing up in church, you know, you hear all the time you know, about heaven and hell and death and stuff. So, you know, all of that was weighing heavy on my mind. And I just remember talking to my mom was like, and she was she was constantly prayed over me and I know I probably drove her crazy during that time because I’ve tried I would drive myself crazy. Because I was just it was certain songs I couldn’t listen to is this one song called be encouraged. I believe it’s about William Becton. And in the end of the song, he was saying, even to the end of the world, you know, basically saying he got guys that Jesus said he will be with me up to the end of the world. You know, they used to scare me because I’m like, I don’t want to think about the end of the world. You know, I didn’t want to go home and play with my toys. Amy Watson 49:27 Yeah, exactly. TJ McKnight 49:29 I want my mom and my bed. Like, you know, as a kid, you know, that kind of you know, it traumatizes you. But, you know, when I was when I was in school, one of the counselors noticed that, you know, my behavior was a little bit different. My mom was telling her what was going on, and she pulled me aside. So Brandon was listening and was wondering why I was missing some days. In middle school, definitely. That’s why she pulled me aside and, you know, we sat down, we talked about what was going on, and she helped me I navigate through some of those feelings that I was going through and navigate through what I was dealing with. And she worked with me for about a month. And it was a good month and some change, I believe. And I remember, you know, my school, shout out to catch your eyes, and this children who was there, and it was helping me, but, you know, my school was very big on making sure that everybody was seen and taken care of. And my school was a very small charter schools. So you know, everybody knew everybody. And so, you know, for them to really take that notice. And, and, and offer me those counseling sessions with a guidance counselor, not with a counselor within our school, it was helpful, because it helped me to overcome, you know, what I was thinking, you know, overcome my fears. And, you know, when I came out of that depression, I stood up in church and gave a testimony to say how the Lord, you know, delivered me from it, you know, is, is very serious, you know, it’s very, there’s something that I feel is not utilized. And then I say that because, you know, I want Kalfas counseling for something, and I haven’t done it. But I know that, you know, a lot of a lot of the issues, a lot of the problems in life, or a lot of the, I would say the big incidences that took place, even recently, you know, with the school shooting, a lot of that probably could have been avoided. Those individuals sought real counseling, and good counseling. And I remember talking to a friend of mine, he was telling me about how he had bad counseling, and how that almost drove him over the edge. And I just think about, you know, it’s important to get good, holistic counseling, I know this is Christian based, I will even put the plug in good Christian counseling, if you’re a Christian, or you feel that, you know, maybe you like somebody that’s out that’s not Christian, you know, it’s not Christian, you know, this get good counseling. Because it’s very needed in this day and age. Mental health is so, so serious, and I hate that the church kind of downplays it so much. It hurts my heart. But it’s something that is very real. And it’s very prevalent in this day and age, it seems that so many people are dealing with mental health issues, this day and age that they’re scared to say anything about it, because of the fear of being looked at as crazy or something like that. But you know, it’s not crazy. If you’re getting help, right. And it was not crazy if this saving your life, Amy Watson 52:56 and it does save lives, right. And so for those of you listening, particularly for those of you listening for the racial trauma portion of it, it’s important to to attack that early. So if your children saw the George Floyd thing, or their you cannot turn on the news and not hear it, counseling is biblical. It you know, the Bible says in the multitude of counselors, there is great wisdom. And and so, so, go get counseling. I do, though, understand in the context of a conversation of racial trauma. Again, this was an assumption I made in a clubhouse room that got me in a lot of trouble. So I don’t want to make the assumption. But I do know that across the board, but because we’re talking about racial trauma, that resources aren’t often there for counsel for people to get counseling. And so I was telling somebody in a podcast interview today, I turned 50 in December, and on my 50th birthday, I told the Lord, I want to raise $1 million for pro bono counseling. And that might seem crazy, but you better believe I’m going to do it because that’s how important I believe counseling is. Well, TJ, you have been remarkable here today. I think the big takeaway for me as I hear you talk about basically living as a black man and then obviously raising two black sons is that the best thing that people who are not Black can do is listen and not just jump into action and take Andrew mime off the bottle and we did a bunch of you know a bunch of other things which I don’t really have an opinion on because I’m white, but but I don’t think that many black people across the country feel more valuable because we took her off the bottle or because we took the the zippity doo da song ala Disney or because, you know, Lady Antebellum changed the lady a I don’t think any black people felt better with those actions. However, I do think that when when we are able to do what you said and just listen and not want to defend and not want to cry front of you. Because that yes, I’m sad. But but but the pain is yours. And to be able to sit in that and practice, that gift of presence, I think is the best advice that I’ve gotten on this series so far. So I want to thank you for that. Well, as we close, as I mentioned, you are a fellow podcaster, I would love for you to take two to three minutes here and tell people about your podcast about your mission and where they can find you. TJ McKnight 55:27 Yeah, so my podcast is called one faith, you can find it on social media. Everywhere at we are one base, you can find us on all of your podcast, streaming platforms, same thing, we are one faith, you know, and the podcast is solely about creating or promoting unity in the body of Christ. Growing up, I grew up black church all my life. And so I had an experience where I went to a multicultural church. And that really kind of changed the game for me. And I just knew, like, you know, hey, you know, all God’s people need to be worshiping together. And that’s really where the birth of one faith kind of came from. Because one thing I recognize is that we are all, you know, unique in our own ways, you know, whether you’re black, white, you know, whatever your, you know, ethnicity is, you know, it is God’s intent in design for all of his people to be together. Because when we get to heaven, you know, there’s not just gonna be a black heaven, that would be a white heaven. It’s not going to be an Asian, Hispanic, Amy Watson 56:32 it’s just going to be heaven. It’s gonna be an image bearer heaven. Right? Exactly. Yeah. It’s gonna be an image. We’re TJ McKnight 56:38 a joint presence of God. And so that’s what one faith is all about. You know, I’m not just talking about that. Amy Watson 56:45 Oh, right, right. No, but I did it. Listen, guys, his podcast is amazing. I will put it in the show notes. Get ready to put your thinking cap on, though, because this is a podcast that is well thought out. And it is Biblically sound. And I think that, you know, by how amazing TJ has been on this interview, that he is also an amazing podcast host. But the thing I love about him the most, just by listening to just a few of your podcasts is that jealousy that you have for the for the souls of Jesus. And so my final question to you, and is so captain obvious, but I call Jesus the star of my story. TJ McKnight. Is Jesus, the star of your story? trauma? And TJ McKnight 57:28 if I said no, you know, no, there’ll be perceived as a joke. But yes, you know, he is the star of my story. And, you know, he is the center of everything that I do. You know, with the podcast with the now we’re transitioning to a young adult ministry, and with everything that we’re doing, you know, my intention is to please God and everything that I do, whether that’s being a husband, being a father, being a brother, being a son, being a friend, whatever, you know, all of those titles mean nothing if, you know if I’m not representing God in those titles. And so that’s yes, he’s the star of my short story. He is the star of my life, he is the star of everything that I do. And I love God with my whole heart. And I just pray that you know, anyone who is listening, that, you know, hey, if you want to know more about Jesus, if you want to know about know more about God in any in any way, you know, feel free to contact me, you know, you can reach out to me via email at admin at We are one faith.com If you want to connect with what we’re doing, you know, hey, just go follow us or connect with us on Instagram, that we are one faith. Because, you know, I my hope, and my prayer is that I can help you make Jesus the star of your show. Amy Watson 58:51 Amen. Amen. Oh, I love that. And I’ll do you one better. I always say to listeners, when especially when I have a guest like you, we would love to introduce you to the star of the story. So one of the very first things that you will see in the show notes is contact me contact TJ. And you can do that through DMS, you can send a bird you can send a plane but I can promise you that we would love to introduce you to the star of the story. Well, TJ, one of the things I want to say to you I never leave a microphone, but today it feels especially more powerful to say these words over you because of what you’ve said to us today. And how people who are not marginalized who have not experienced racial trauma can be part of the solution by just listening and here’s why we need to listen to you and TJ I speak this over you and I speak this over my listeners. Everyone knows I don’t leave with microphone without saying it but right now, I am saying it to you to your wife to your children and your children’s children that you are seen. You are known. You are heard you are loved and most of all, you are valued. And we will keep listening. We will keep listening. Thank you for being here today. TJ. TJ McKnight 1:00:12 Thank you. Thank you. I love it. I love it. That’s amazing. Amy Watson 1:00:18 Well, guys, thank you so much for listening to that incredible conversation that I had with my friend TJ McKnight. I do hope that you glean something from it. I know that I certainly did. As we as Christians navigate a world that is often so not kind to everybody, but particularly in marginalized communities. I think that TJ gave us one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever heard, and they just want us to listen and when we listen, we tell them that they are valuable because they are because they too are made in the image of guys. We’ll be back here next week with another episode on racial trauma as we are continuing through the month of June. We hope that you will join us until then you know what I’m going to say just like I just said to TJ you are seen you are known you’re heard you are loved. And you are so so valued. See you guys next week.
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Amy Watson 0:01
Before we start today’s interview, I wanted to do a little bit of a caveat as we are now entering the back half of this season. This has been a long planned series on racial trauma. Most of not all of these episodes were recorded before the recent, racially motivated mass shooting traumas that occurred on both Buffalo and an Orange County, California. And in many other places that maybe we don’t even hear on the news. I would highly encourage you guys to tune in to these episodes. Listen to these people that who may look different than us. Because praying and thoughts are awesome, and God can change this. But he uses his people to do it. And so we must be the change. And so before you are tempted to peace out well, these next interviews as the month of June, as we are covering racial trauma, please know that these episodes were recorded before said mass shootings. But the mission is even more important now. So this is the beginning of our series on racial trauma. Change. It is a complete sentence, and one that when one of our guests today brought to my attention, we have heard all the variations of Be the change. But what if, what if we just changed? Hey, everyone, and welcome back to the donor supported Wednesdays with Watson podcast. This project has a mission. And that is to help provide hope for people navigating the roads of loss and trauma, and all of its friends. We do that by dropping these episodes every two weeks. So if you’re not subscribed, first of all, welcome to the podcast. And I would love it if right there. When you’re on your app, you would subscribe and follow the podcast. Ratings and Reviews also help get the word out if you’re so inclined. But this is the real fire in my heart guys. We have a mission to fund pro bono counseling for for trauma survivors who needs support. If you would like to join our mission, simply click on that contact me button in the show notes. Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s step in to the healing zone. Do not skip the rest of the intro. It’s important change. It is a complete sentence. And one that when one of our guests today brought to my attention. We have heard all the variations of Be the change. But what if, what if we just changed I am excited to bring two of the smartest people I know to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts I met and I’m air quoting that because we’ve never actually met in real life, Tiffany and Melika on clubhouse. And we can often be found in those clubhouse streets, as Tiffany says, pontificating on any number of issues from Jesus to not one day I was on a stage with several people who did not look like me. And none of the people in the audience look like me. It’s common when I’m in rooms with these two, and I’m okay with that. Because you see, these two were blessed with way more melanin in their skin than I do with my family healing from Germany and France. But I said something in that room and it triggered everyone and it all was well at the end of the day. But I felt horrible. I knew, even though I did not say that, to trigger the room, I knew something I knew that I had that I had to change. We are in season three one that I have called trauma spaces, places and aces. For the back half of the season we are focusing on trauma and the home and in particular trauma and childhood. I knew that Tiffany and Melika could bring value to the podcast. And I’ve really struggled with this episode in so many ways with what they’ll do today, because you see what they’re doing today is the polar opposite of bleeding on those that did not cut them. I wanted to know what unique trauma occurs particularly in the black community, though we will be talking about black, Indigenous and People of Color all throughout this episode. Also not wanting to make them my professor. I was hesitant to ask either one of them to do this today. But true to who they are and true to who I know them to be world changers. These girls are world changers. They both agreed to come on to the podcast and help those of us who did not grow up in the black community. They’re going to help us gain a little insights about what their realities were like, and maybe are still true today. Although if I No, both of these powerful women, they are actively changing the narrative in their sphere of influence. And they both have it and we’re going to highlight it at the end. And I have a surprise for both of them at the end. So, let’s drop into this conversation with my friends, Malika and Tiffany. Welcome to the homie countrymen and Melika Courtney to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. I am so so happy you’re here. Tiffany Countryman 5:25 Yo, what’s up, Amy? What’s up bases? Not much, though, sis, and Amy, Amy Watson 5:30 and want to be here with the latest? Well, Melika, welcome. Tiffany has been on the podcast before. And so those of you who are listening, you can back up and she came on and talked to us about spiritual abuse. But I love you both. And I can’t wait for this announcement at the end of this. And so I’m super excited. So let’s dig in. So I explained to the listeners. And I want to and I hope that y’all know how grateful I am that the two of you would come on this and talk about traumas that are unique in your community, particularly what we call adverse childhood experiences. And my my listeners know what that is, because we’ve already talked about that. And I asked both of you if I could run the 10 common adverse childhood experiences by you and all you’re going to say is yes or no to me. And then we’ll continue the conversation. And so we will start with Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, this start with my likea Okay, so, so Melika Courtney 6:34 I have a story about that to just remind me about Eeny, Meeny Miny Moe, go ahead, Amy Watson 6:38 okay, I’m sure you do. You got all kinds of stories. I can’t wait for people to go to your platforms and all that stuff. So adverse childhood experiences, these are recognized by all the major psychological books and all things. These are the 10 most and so all I want you to do Malika here when I asked you is just yes or no for me. Okay. So this would have been before your 18th birthday in your home. Did you experience physical abuse? Yes. Did you experience sexual abuse? Yes. Verbal abuse? Yes. I have a hard time getting through these with my friends. physical neglect. Yes. emotional neglect. I’m going to answer yes. for you on that one. A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with other mental illness? Yes. A family member who is addicted to alcohol or another substance? Cigarettes it that counts? A family member who was incarcerated? No. Okay. So, remember, remember this this number? I’m holding it up to you. I don’t want the listeners. Okay. All right. If your turn ready. Physical abuse. Yes. I love your sexual abuse. No, in this is inside the home. As a child. Oh, yes. Verbal abuse. Yes. physical neglect. Yes, food insecurity will be one of those emotional neglect. Yes. A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with mental illness? Yes. A family member who is addicted to alcohol or another substance? Yes. A family member who was incarcerated. From time to time, yes. Okay. So both of you have what we call an ACE score of seven. And after three, it is assigned toxic stress to you as a human being and your brain remembers these things. I did a solo episode at the beginning of the season explaining the adverse childhood experiences. Experts agree that a score larger than three can and often does and create toxic stress. And then just put whatever you want in there. But I want to validate for both of you your experiences is not just bad days, but about a traumatic childhood that you both endured. I have an a score very similar to yours. And I have complex post traumatic stress disorder. So let’s get started with the racial trauma portion of the conversation. as of the recording of this podcast, we are in February of 2022. And we didn’t get our stuff together because I really wanted to drop this and black history month but it’s going to be closer to June teen. We were all this morning when I guess it was actually yesterday afternoon. I was so pleased with the federal verdict of Amid Aubrey those dudes are going to spend two life sentences in prison. And so many ways, though, the string of Roche racially motivated violence open the eyes of many of us. I’m not proud of that. But I also don’t plan to waste what I’m learning. And I say that because I will always be learning not just about race relations, but about life and death. General. That being said, I would like to remind everyone what trauma is trauma is anytime our brains are pushed outside their window of tolerance. We talked about the window of tolerance in the solo episode as well, as well as with Jeremy Fox, who is an EMDR consultant. So those are past episodes. But essentially guys, trauma is anything when our safety is compromised, or our felt safety is compromised. And any event that causes us to live outside of our brains happy placed, lots of sciency things I can say here, but that has been covered. And those direct links are in the show notes. With that said, Melika, you had an a score of seven, would you would you be willing to share any portion of childhood trauma that is unique to the black community for our listeners? Melika Courtney 10:50 So, and I love the question. There were so many things that flashed in my mind, Amy with that question, but I think a great place to start. And especially because I haven’t talked this coming up about this. We’re having a conversation on hair troughs. Something so simple. The majority of us run around with hair, right. And haircare always comes into question. When it comes to black community. I remember growing up and being told, Oh, you have good hair, or this person has bad here, right. And even with my good hair, I still had to sit through one of the most strangest practices on top limit is fun. The girls do it and we enjoy it. However, when I was a kid, I was not a fan. I was not a fan of perms for one, they burned to sit in what I consider physical effing torture, you’re putting his creamy crack on your head, and has to sit there for a certain amount of time to process to the politeness that is preferred. And while you are enduring this, like literally the damage and half of everything, and I remember walking away with scattering skills and things like that. Oh, yeah. So it’s, it’s Amy Watson 12:08 listeners can’t see what I just did. I was just horrified. Melika Courtney 12:12 These are just the simplest of things. And I choose that starting point because it’s such a broad stroke when it comes to black girls, and the industry, society school placed looking a certain way, the white way, I need to have more white, I’m gonna do my hair is frickin curly. And now because I’m lucky, however, thank you. And those were some of the things that I recognized as a child to the point where it verbalized to my mother. So let’s push it a step further from the perms. My mom was educated beauty, the whole amount of this and so she understood the extensions. That was her thing. You know, my hair was already shoulder length. She wanted it a little bit longer. So she would throw these things in her ponytail. So a blind mind. Yeah, look gorgeous. And I was happy. I was like, Okay, I look good. I look the part unacceptable. But it all right. There came a time where we changed areas that we moved to what I call Hell, politely. And while we were living over in hell, I have course attendance neighboring school. And in that school was a hodgepodge of humans. A lot of them whose parents did not engage in those beauty practices, who did not engage in mama that was insistent on us speaking English, a lot less line, right? Didn’t have a gate. So I was out. And to fast forward it and I take all day because there’s other questions to get to. There came a point where I was attacked by over 60 kids. And it was she thinks she’s white. She thinks she’s too. I wouldn’t say yes to being a girlfriend of this right? rattastic little boy, it was disgusting, and stupid. We say like finally just either how, as a result of that, he enlisted a couple of the boys or girls to it. It ended that way. And I mean 60 hands on experience and there was hundreds of people around. So I had not only my weave pulled out and paraded and waved and hit with it, but my hair pulled out. So there are things that my Caucasian brothers and sisters will never understood. Amy Watson 14:32 No, and I think first of all, I just want to say I’m I’m so sorry. Because again, the point of this podcast it because when you’re a child and this series we are talking about childhood trauma. When you’re a child, not only did you experience physical pain, and shame and embarrassment and all of the things girls, your your hair, your looks It is kind of your thing. And so then you begin to, and I’m not, I’m not placing this on your Melika. Yeah, I’m wondering, did you at any time become bitter, or wish that you were white, or wish that you had hair that didn’t need that, because I, what makes me sad as a child experiencing that trauma is, so much of our identity is in our hair, and in our looks, and all of that. And so, then it becomes like this, highlight this really, really important thing. And then it turns into you being physically assaulted and shamed, quite frankly, by your peers. And so I’m wondering did it did that play into later in life? Because we are somewhat addressing this season how childhood trauma affects us later in life, when later in life? Because you and I will? Well, we can we can talk about this before we give the same question to TIFF. So I’m wondering if some of that unique trauma and that’s a great example, and I’m going to pop a question down to Tiffany on this in just a second. But so I guess the question is, is did that experience carry over into adulthood for you? Melika Courtney 16:11 I would say um, so to move through a few questions that you asked. I was a child, there was no point where I even understood that I could have the option of waking up any other other than I was loved and black. So for me, everyone said, Oh, my God, I want to be white. No, it went to, I want to move back the hell out of this grungy as neighborhood and live right. Yeah, those are the thoughts as far as trauma carrying over into adulthood, of course, because I just gave you a coin. If you have 100 coins and that dollar, consider life spanned out it continues. Racism has not stopped the way I am received on sight will always be through this lens. So until the day I expire love and this body, I will always be a black woman. Right? I will always have that immediate judgment from the other side, on how I look how I present how I speak, how I engage in I don’t even know if it’s present mine judgments, my judgments to my judgments on who I engage how they speak, how they move in business, how they move in life. So I do believe that’s a human condition. But as far as racism, and I went over it, that’s what you Amy Watson 17:22 No. And that’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we’re doing this because I want to, I want people to know and so tough before I asked you the same question, you have a little girl, too, who we call Tootie, and she’s six or seven, seven, she said in June, Sophie eight in June. And so how did it feel to you just now when you heard Malik, you say that? Not that clearly. You knew you had that same trauma. I’m looking at both of you with your beautiful hair. And mine. Not so much right now. But there’s. So it talked to me to how did that land on your heart when you think of the context of you now raising a black child and a girl at that. And so here is the thing like, you know, white people, for some reason are obsessed with black people’s hair and want to touch it, which is so offensive. If somebody walked up to me and said, Could I touch your hair? I’d probably slap them. But how did that land on you for Tootie and helping her with something as unique as as Melika shared that is unique to the black community in terms of how you live your life and how God made you and how you made your beautiful hair and to these beautiful hair. How that land on your heart? Well, first, Amy, I want to say thank you for the invitation to join you on your podcast and especially to slap me with my big sister of whom I adore, admire and appreciate for so many reasons. This is this particular point of trauma I have experienced myself personally. So it resonates with me very deeply, which is why I’m locked now and why my daughter is locked and will never receive a relaxer under my care and my dime. I too went through the burning of the scalp. When he rained on your hair, it had a certain smell your hair breaking off just all the different chemicals that upkeep that you had to do even move in to the hot comb that used to warm up on the stove. And your mother your grandmother would take this iron comb that warmed up on the eye of the stove in the kitchen and you will sit in the middle of the kitchen and you bend your head down and they would no pun intended grab those kitchens in the back of your hair. That’s what we call the barley balls or the big beads. In the back of our hair on the sides of our hair is kitchens, you gotta grab those kitchens. If you haven’t grabbed with the hot comb. It was grabbed The brushing grease that was also painful, because it’s snapping your hair from its natural state to bend to yield, to submit to a style that it was not created to do. So it resonates deeply with me. And like I said, I decided to lock up my daughter’s hair at the age of five. She was natural until then, and I decided to lock up her hair because that is our natural state. as natural as we’re able to get it here in America and us being American eyes. Of course, both my daughter and I, we are African American. So we’re mixed a million times over at this point. But as natural as we can get it is in the lock style. She has the free freedom to wear ponytails, bowls, ball balls, barrettes, beads, whatever she can do, her hair is just as versatile if it had been relaxed or pressed out, or if it was still in its original birth natural state. But yeah, it resonates deeply. It resonates deeply. And I and I agree, which is why we’re sisters. And it’s just not something I ever would have thought of ever. And so now Tiff Can you think of another trauma experience in childhood that and you don’t, you didn’t necessarily need to have experienced this we are we are looking to highlight trauma and the black community, particularly childhood trauma. So can you think of any other examples of a trauma that would be specific to your community. Um, for me, it would be boxing in or limiting our creativity. And when I say that, I mean this, my daughter, she’s seven, as we already stated. And when my husband is not home, I allow her to scream if she wants to single whole musical, if she wants to dress up in all her clothes, if she wants to do what she wants to paint, as long as she’s not, you know, painting on the walls or being just you know, out of pocket. I give her that freedom in that space to do so. However, for myself, and I’m sure some others and other generations, we were tamed, we were molded to be still to be quiet, to not be in grown people’s conversations. There are inappropriate conversations for children, but I allow my daughter to hear some of the clubhouse rooms, crypto, all these types of things that I wish I would have known as a child and as children it’s sinks in. So for me it was the taming of our innate, we’re creatives in the we’re just we’re just creative as black people. But I don’t want to say that we’re more creative than any other ethnicity or culture. But we definitely have some salt and pepper on our creativity. But because we have to move through society dumbed down, silence, muted crushed. Our parents felt like it was their duty. It was a necessity to bend us into robots, to make us be quiet to listen to just say yes, ma’am. No, sir. We weren’t allowed. We wasn’t allowed to question. We wasn’t allowed to ask why we couldn’t even say what if our If our parents called our names, I remember the first time I heard a white kid respond to their mother with what I almost passed out. allowed to do that. You got to do that. Yeah, we weren’t allowed to do that. I’ve heard why kids called their parents by their first names. Every adult that we came in contact with, we had to preface it with a miss or mister why? Because they were afraid for our safety for our life. So we had to be molded to operate a certain way. And what I have noticed is that it has it has, it has messed up our creativity as a culture. We’re not we’re not as socially inept as other cultures, we’re we’re very behind the curve on a lot of things because we weren’t able to have the freedom to come into our own life other cultures have. So I think that’s a huge other trauma that myself and many others have experienced simply because of the color of our skin with our parents, they with their good intention to help us to be able to exist in these spaces, but we have this residue that we have to deal with in the air. So it’s kind of well, it’s not kind of it’s one of the worst things that you can do to a human being has take their voice away from them. Right. Absolutely. And that’s and that’s essentially what happened and and that’s sad for me to hear and I’m looking at to announce Melika’s kids are grown, but I’m looking at two people that have probably stopped this and of course you’ve got grandkids she’s sent that beautiful picture yesterday to both of us. But But y’all are stopping this because we need this world needs creatives of all sorts and I would I would go so far as to say that there is a special kind of creativity that comes from your community that no one else has. Listen, I am part of the rhythmless nation, you can give me a beat. I don’t even clap in church because people look at me like me. No, just no. And so y’all got the best music, y’all. You know what I’m saying? And so I think there’s a lot to be said for that. But there’s even more damage when someone takes your voice away. Wouldn’t you agree with that? Melika? Melika Courtney 25:22 Absolutely. It’s, it’s the convenience it feels like, who wants to honestly sit and have negative things highlighted about them? Right? No, buddy, right. And if you consider the positioning if you consider the slashes, and we’ll jump back real quick to the Eenie, meenie miney moe, it used to say, I know what it said, Mo catch the N word, but it’s all right. So and that’s still a part of our culture. And Amy Watson 25:54 listen, this is a great example. I shouldn’t have said it. I heard that isn’t it so Melika Courtney 26:00 subtle in isn’t it so subtle? And that’s what I mean by it is the thread is that kneeling thread is sewn it up into a shield blanket of fabric however you want to call it. These are the little bits in life. And sometimes folks, I don’t even know if it’s really conscious what his heart because the heart is pushing it forward, even if it’s not. forefront consciously intent. Yeah. Amy Watson 26:23 Which and in that case for me, yeah, like, yeah, like you guys know me, right. But I had been brought up. And I fully admit white privilege and for for someone who was abused by a serial killer and beat up for 12 years for the first 35 years of my life with the exception of four in a children’s home, to call myself privileged, that highlights how bad we have treated people of color. When you are hearing a trauma survivor like me, guys, serial killer, seven sexual abusers. 12 years of domestic violence marriage abandoned by my mom and I am still more privileged than your community. Well let that breathe for a second. Okay. So when we were in that clubhouse room, I made an assumption. I can’t remember what we were talking about. But I made an assumption that resources were not available to I think it was a church conversation that perhaps maybe the church, the black church didn’t have the resources that the white church did. And that wasn’t offensive as much to the people in the room as much as something I said after that, which I’m not gonna say again. But talk to me about and your both of your cases, because this is leading into this surprise that I have for both of you. Has counseling ever been part of your healing? Melika Courtney 27:46 If you want to start and then I’ll jump in? Amy Watson 27:47 Sure. Absolutely. Counseling is a major part of my healing, even us sitting and talking. together today, I consider it counseling. Why? Because the Bible says of two or three gather they will be in the midst. Amen. And God is the great counselor, Big C are overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. How can we share our testimony not sharing our testimony to God, we’re sharing our testimony to one another. But if you’re speaking of professional counseling, absolutely, absolutely. And what I have gained the most from professional therapy or mental health help is coping techniques. Because once we understand that trauma is eternal, it is embedded in our brains, in our blood streams, some impression sometimes even leaving your muscles, that’s how the serious trauma is. So I think is this illusion that you can talk about it, cry about it, and you’ll get over and you’re never triggered. Again, you’ll never go through that same situation again, you won’t come into contact with people that exhibit the same behaviors as a previous abuser. So what I’ve learned is coping techniques, how to deal with it, how to process it, how to not own it, how to let it go, how to breathe through it, how to journal about it, how to talk about it, I learned through professional therapy, how to approach conflict, I was always on 100 I’m always in your face does not you ain’t gonna do like this. I’m talking about at work at church in the home, because I just I don’t have the anatomy to be fake to be gas lit. And it just triggers me to no end because of all of our previous trauma. So I had gone to a point to where I was just, I mean, you’ll face you want to apologize, you’re gonna say this, you’re gonna do this. But with counseling and professional therapy, I’ve learned that sometimes it doesn’t always require 100 Sometimes you could sit back and think maybe you miss read something or you misunderstood something. So yeah, I am an advocate for counseling. It has played a major either part of my head in my healing. How about you? Melika? Yeah, Melika Courtney 30:04 I too am an advocate for counseling, I believe in that stuff. Like, I believe it’s gonna rain during spring, because it’s unnecessary. And I will say that speaking from a trauma corner, we were raised, what goes on a house stays in the house, you know, be quiet, you don’t talk about this. From the comes up, we handle it in the home. So, for me to move to a point where I actually chose counseling was colorful, it was a lot, it was a fight in itself to even reach for that help. And then to what I also learned exactly what Tiffany learned to and I also learned, it matters who you’re getting your counseling from. Yeah. And my initial counselor was a Caucasian male, note, say more, Amy Watson 30:58 tell me more, because I want our listeners to tell me a little bit more. Melika Courtney 31:03 He, for person who’s supposed to understand boundaries, he did not keep those boundaries, he was definitely out of his place and out of his mouth. And, sadly, he could not relate. He just he literally could not relate. I’m sharing things with him. But his his toolbox was not equipped for the life that led to that point. He was not able to give me anything more than the standard basics right? And right about it, you know, let’s talk about it. We’re breathing this, these very basic things, he was not prepared. And then even the outlook that he had on life or understanding racism or understanding what it is to be black metal, he could understand him in a position of being in the body but being able to empathize or sympathize or to understand even have a clue. He was among the clueless. So it was my first I was among the clueless as far as picking a counselor, right? So we won’t we’re too close people figured out need to get help them to get Oh, Amy Watson 32:06 thank you highlight something important there. There are resources out there. And I love it. It is actually the American Foundation. Now this is for suicide prevention, but that they deal with all of it. And I’ll put this in the show notes. But this organization is only for black, indigenous and people of color. And they provide resources to those communities as it pertains to trauma and all the other things. When I was leading into the mistake I made on clubhouse when I said that my assumption was your churches did not have the resources to to do whatever it was we were talking about. I don’t want to assume but I do want to ask you guys. And then so we know, obviously and the poverty stricken community, white and black. But we’re talking about the black community right now that that those families cannot afford counseling. How accepted, I guess is that though, for the people that can so upper, lower upper middle class, whatever people that can afford in the black community to go to counseling, is there a stigma like there is in our community when you go to counseling? Melika Courtney 33:16 Yes, like, like I mentioned before, we’re raised with a set of beliefs and behaviors. And I want to say this too. There are so you know, we we cannot take a blanket and throw it over. Everybody can’t do that. So I will say from my experience, and those that have engaged and I will speak on my engagement. My engagements have reached 174 countries. Wow. Okay. So my engagements are vast. So I’m not I can’t say all, but I can say that many, many were conditioned to be silent, to not speak, to deal to cope and not seek out. So that that is the story of so many people sadly. And again, I know it’s heavier and black community, though I am aware that it exists in my community as well. All Amy Watson 34:09 right, all right. You’re so sweet to try to step into my world. This is about yours to tell me let’s say we have 10 you have 10 kids in your youth group, as a result of an a really want to be careful the way I word this as a result of just the lack of opportunity, okay? Because if you take Amy and you take Malika or you take TIFF, and 2022, I don’t have to work as hard for things as you do. I just don’t. That’s the reality of it. Period. We call that white privilege. It’s real, all of that, but tough. And so say because you’re a youth pastor, and this is why I wanted to ask you this, say you have 10 of your kids in your youth group. What percentage of those would you say would struggle to be able to afford to go to counseling? Here’s the thing. Okay, you want a technical answer? For my not necessarily what I’m going or what I, I don’t want to know what you’re looking at, I don’t want to make the assumption that most black homes cannot afford counseling, I don’t want to make that assumption, yes don’t make that assumption because even if it’s not coming from income from a parent, household income, okay, it’s a job child support. Social Security, okay. There is all type of resources for children in lower income households. So there’s a where I live, there’s Medicaid, there’s care source, there’s Buckeye, health insurance, there’s all different types of insurances, that children, all you have to do is apply. And you’re automatically covered health care wise, mental care wise. So for my children, it would be like a case where maybe it’s a foster child, and they’re not properly registered, their paperwork hasn’t kept up with Phil, or a homeless child that doesn’t have any type of registration or anything. I know, we have refugees, sometimes that haven’t registered at the Catholic Church yet, it will be specified. Cases like that. But nine times out of 10, our children in our communities are insured, because that is a resource that the community and schools makes sure that the children take part in. So I would say that our children can afford mental health resources. Okay. Okay, good, good, good. I’m glad to hear that. And I know that’s not true everywhere, right. And both of you, and I’m going to give both of you airtime because you both have platforms. And I want my people to know what you’re doing, what your passions are, and all of that. Before I do that, though, I want to make an announcement to my listeners, and to those of you. Ready, ready, set. All right. So my my heart here today, is broken, in some ways to hear some of the things that and I know that I got like, an iota of what children in the black community experience, whether it’s inside the home or not, I now I only got a little piece of that, and my heart already hurts. And so I I want you both to know, for two people who have never met, I just love you both. And so this is also an announcement to my listeners. As I mentioned at the beginning, this is a donor supported podcast. To do that I needed to create a 501 C three, which I’m in the process doing we’re going to call that Joel 225 ministries. I have a goal guys, I am 50 years old. So this is a very, very, very lofty goal to raise $1 million dollars before I die for pro bono counseling. And today I am awarding two scholarships, the Melika Courtney and the Tiffany Countryman scholarships to both of you to be used when somebody comes in your purview that cannot afford counseling, black, white, yellow unicorn, gay, straight, whatever. You will forever and Joel 225 ministries have the Melika Courtney scholarship and the Tiffany Countryman scholarship. And when you come upon people who cannot afford counseling, all you have to do is send them to me and say, please use my scholarship money. And I want you both to know, I only awarded one scholarship before the two of y’all. And it was to the person that took me to the psych ward that saved my wife. And that’s how much I appreciate what you’ve done here for us today. And so, as I mentioned, I know your books speechless, which is also fun, because I have not seen Melika Courtney 38:35 them. So amazing. Like, I don’t want to talk over you Amy Watson 38:38 because I’m gonna go ahead, go ahead, I’ll let you I’ll let you guys. I’ll let you guys respond to that. But so my my 501 C three will be in place by the second quarter. And you both will be awarded with scholarships, I’ll put some money in it. And then as we get donations, so far, we only have three scholarships. And so that money will be put into those three scholarships, and you just send people to me when they when they need money for counseling, and we will take care of that. This is This is amazing. Thank you. I’m honored. I’m humbled that this is something because when you think of a 501 C three that’s eternal. So to know that my name will be eternal in helping with mental health. That’s, that’s, that’s, yeah, I’m grateful. Thank you. I’ll have more to say later. Melika Courtney 39:27 Awesome. And I, Amy I I am as well just humbled and grateful. I appreciate you so deeply for even having the heart to do that. That’s huge. And what I’d also share is I don’t know if we even talked about this, but I do have a background in mental health, behavioral health modifications, also working in the prison systems and then also handling sanctuary experience. I have a huge heart for mental health and especially through the domestic violence trying to there are so many threads that I haven’t an irons in those fires. This is amazing. And I come into contact with so many folks who who need the help and need the love and something you mentioned earlier Tiffany about this trauma being in the mind and being in the body to the fact we can find it in your muscles. I do over it, thanks for experience, and I won’t go into too heavy right now. We literally walk women through releasing that voice. So in changing their minds agenda in real life. So this is very huge. And I’m grateful that you did this. Amy, this is amazing. Amy Watson 40:38 Unfortunately, you and I share something pretty horrible in common and that is domestic violence. And so one of the reasons why because we’re only awarding five of these scholarships for the first few years and one of the reasons why many many reasons why Melika here I wanted you to have one is because I come across domestic violence survivors all the time, who need help, who just can’t help who just can’t afford it. And I was an I was that I mean, I could afford it. But I didn’t get help and my body kept the score to your point and to TIFs point with it. We hold we hold stress and trauma in our bodies and and I now have four autoimmune diseases. I don’t want that to be the story of people that you come in contact with. And so as we this is a perfect way to segue out of the podcast guys, I want you listeners I want you to pay attention because the three of us along with some people who I’m going to handpick from my community, these guys are going to handpick some people from their community. And probably sometime in the summer, we’re going to do a video series on YouTube on this racial trauma. But I wanted to just lightly touch it today, ever so delicately so that my listeners out there would understand that in the black community and indigenous people and Native Americans, and all people of color have traumas that we never ever, ever could understand. Now with that being said, I want I do want to end the podcast by both of you talking to me about your mission. And so we’ll start with Malika because you just were talking about sanctuary. Tell Tell my listeners a little bit about sanctuary experience and where they can find fast quick information because that’s kind of coming up here in a couple weeks. Yeah, so tell us about close yeah, tell us about it and and I’ll provide lots of stuff in the show links for people to be able to get to you but tell us a little bit about sanctuary Melika Courtney 42:31 awesome and I receive your love and offer you love and light Amy I’m so I’m I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here with you. I love my Tiffany. So it makes it extra special to do this with you two ladies because I love love you law and Sanctuary I created sanctuary experience to serve women globally who experience trauma and don’t have a community to fall back on and be loved who don’t have a community to dig in their heart and do the work and pull that pin out and help them to heal. And April 8 through 10th We’re gonna be doing our third or fourth sanctuary experience where we are taking care of the women and walking them through that and don’t worry men. I am already working on X pm because I was asked to this Thursday, actually seven 7:30pm We’re going to host a digital offering for the men to address your traumas was I had guys that were abused, neglected, abandoned, molested and raped all come to me and go What about us? Yeah, so So it’s my best to serve Amy Watson 43:27 you so so you were you do that all year and you fundraise for it? Where can they find you? By the time this podcast airs. Unfortunately for 2022 it will have occurred already. But that being said, Tell me where people can find you. They can donate to your organization. i This is something really close to my heart last year it was in my area and I was not able to make it. But especially for people that are early in their healing. It is an amazing opportunity for you to do the things like Malika said to work it out of your body like Like Jeff said to work it out of every fiber of your muscle, because the body does keep the score and so where’s the best place for them to find the most like like the fastest most of synched information on sanctuary experience. Melika Courtney 44:11 So that is going to be found at the rebound coach.com forward slash sanctuary, the rebound coach.com forward slash sanctuary, and we do sanctuary so with this particular coach, I host for a year. And if other coaches hear this and they want to provide a sanctuary experience for their community, I’m franchising out teaching the model so that people can be helped globally. The mission is to have a million folks within five years that are a part of the community active and actively loving one another supporting one another showing up. And of course all my social media is our Malika Courtney with the exception of Instagram and that’s it sent us helper as a n t AZ helper, he LPR and find me there, reach out to me Malika Courtney Amy Watson 44:59 and I’ll that link trees for both of you and the show notes. Do you know how long it took me to figure out who’s seen as help? Or was my Instagram? But I can’t say that? Well, Malik Yeah, I will tell you before we jumped to tiff real quick for someone whose voice, like one of your most prominent memories was Be quiet. We don’t say that we don’t do that that is unique in your community. I mean, we were all we all and I’m older than both of you. But we all hurt children are to be seen and not heard. But I grew up, I grew up in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, many of my friends did not look like me. And so I heard exactly what you’re talking about. So for somebody whose voice was taken, here you are on all the stages, you mentioned that you kind of slipped in there really quickly, you also have a book, I’ll put that link in the show notes on on domestic violence, lots of my listeners are domestic violence survivors. And so and then, of course, we will be awarding the Malia Courtney counseling scholarship. And that will happen sometime in April, as soon as I get the 501 C three, Joel 225 Ministries, which is going to be news to my listeners as well. And so, so, so, so excited about that, and excited to hear how it goes in April, with this group of women that you’re going to have been really glad that you’re including men in that because one in seven men report being sexually assaulted, I would come to you and I would challenge that statistic because men just don’t talk about it. And that is true. Yeah. And as a survivor of sexual abuse, I can say this with some authority. I have always said that. I think that when boys, particularly children are abused, or sexually abused. I don’t want to compare how rough that goes are. But there’s a lot of different things that go when men are abused. And so I’m excited to hear and so people will be excited to follow that as you as you create the sanctuary experience for men. Well, that brings us to the homie TIFF, the homie. That’s what we call her on social media. She is also a youth pastor. But tough tell us so you’ve got something really exciting going on right now because you are a playwright. And so talk to us a little bit about what you got going on, again, by the time this airs that this particular thing that I know you’re going to announce will be over, I’ll make sure that I have that on my social media, and I’m sharing it as that gets closer as well. But talk to us about what you got going on. You’ve got a bunch of stuff going on. But tell us where my people can find you and all the things. Tiffany Countryman 47:27 Yeah, well, everybody can find me on at WWW dot Tiffiny countrymen.com. Or if you want to check out my nonprofit, www dot Minister reviews me.com And that’s mi n i s t ry s e.com. That’s where all of my social media, family videos, everything. On those two websites. I do have a stage play coming up in April, April 23, called Roma, the aftermath and it deals with African American couples and the trauma that we endured during the 2020 pandemic to shut down the show in place. So that’s going on in April 23 here in Dayton, Ohio at the date, which I’m so excited. Will you be there? Are you coming to Ohio? Amy Watson 48:19 I am going to I don’t think so. I want to I have friends that live up there. Let me ask you this. Are you streaming it? And if not, if so, no, I know that’s expensive Tiffany Countryman 48:29 going back to traditional theater. Well, and I love Amy Watson 48:33 it. I love it. Well, Tiff TIFF is a playwright she does a lot guys if you are on the clubhouse app. All our user names are just our names. I’m at Amy Watson offer tiff has at TIFF Countryman Emma likea is at Malika, Courtney, all of this will be in the show notes. Guys, thank you, you have brought a perspective to the Wednesdays with Watson podcast and we are going to deeply explore this. And a different because we want to we want it to be interactive. We want to stream it, it’s going to be video. None of us showed up for that today, except for Malika showed up dressed for a 40 minute video. So I love you guys. And I want to proclaim over you what I proclaim over everybody on my podcast at TIFF you get to hear it for a second time. You are seen you are known, you are heard, you are loved. You are valued. I adore you. And today, what you guys have done is like I said the opposite of bleeding on those that cut you. I’m not saying that I cut you or that anybody listening to this cut you but we’re representatives of a society that is doing that actively and what you’ve done here today has helped some people in my community and other communities understand I never in a million years would have thought of something as traumatic as both of you explain as it pertains to hair, something as simple as hair. And so guys as well. Be as Phil Baker SONG PLAYS us out of the podcast I’d like to thank both of you for being on the show either one of you have parting words for our listeners. Melika Courtney 50:10 Thank you so much again, Amy, really appreciate you as far as the listeners. Thank you for taking time to listen and I do hope you reach out and engage. I am having a conversation on March 4. Amy and it is a digital conversation talking about hair trauma it’s going to be done politically because I am a spoken word artist as well. So Amy Watson 50:27 make sure well let me know make sure you let me know when that happens. Because all these things you have coming up to your to your episode, I will promote big toss and like like the like the show I already have. And I will continue to tough but tough Do you have any parting words for for the listeners, Tiffany Countryman 50:44 I just want to tell everybody to be encouraged to hang in there and to not allow your past trauma to define your future situations that you don’t have to become a product of your past environments. But you can exist where God has now allow your mentality to catch up with your blessings. Amy Watson 51:08 Oh my allow your mentality to catch up with your blessings. I love that. And I love both of you. And so listeners. Thank you so much for joining us here today. I hope that you learned something, please make sure that you’re following all three of us as we will be moving into the summer diving deeper into this. If you need to reach me you know how to do that. Just any number of ways just click that contact me button again. We’d love it if you would consider subscribing and following and liking the podcast. We will be back in two weeks and the healing zone. Thank you both for being here with us today and can’t wait for us to continue to do more work together. You teach me to use my love Transcribed by https://otter.ai
READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for our hard of hearing community and for those who prefer to listen inside the blog.
Cymone Lashae 0:00 I know that God was the one who saved me. When I was on the hospital bed after I attempted to take my life He was the one who saved me when I couldn’t save myself when I didn’t want to live. Amy Watson 0:12 Hey, everybody, and welcome back to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. I am so glad you are here. It is May of 2022. And we are observing mental health awareness month here at the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. As many of you know, this is a podcast dedicated to mental health year round. We’ve been doing that for about two and a half years now. And we’ve done that through lots of hope and education stories, therapists, and really, really excited to be able to help people year round, but we are focusing on some other mental health diagnosis is in this podcast in this episode today. This is a podcast that is supported by listeners like you, and we are so grateful. Not only do your contributions really help us continue this podcast, but it helps us with our mission of providing pro bono counseling for those who can’t afford it. If you’re by any chance, are interested in joining that mission, just click that contact me button in the show notes. There are several ways you can contact me or visit our Patreon page. I would also be honored and would love it if you would hit that subscribe button right there in your podcast app so that when we drop a new podcast, it shows up on your device. We are so grateful for all of our listeners all over the world, and hope that many of you are also finding hope and Jesus, the star of the story. Guys Today, I am so excited. This is episode 64 or 65. And this is one of the most exciting interviews that I’ve been looking forward to. Today I have another mental health advocate here with me. But more than that she is a survivor of a lot of things. And she’s going to talk to us about that a little bit today. She is another person who is going to give you hope. And I am so so honored to welcome today. Simone Lashae welcome Cymone to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. Cymone Lashae 2:01 Thank you so much for having me. This has been a long time coming. So I’m excited as well. Amy Watson 2:05 It has been a long time coming and has been so so excited. Well, we’re just gonna jump right in here. This is season three of the Wednesdays with Watson podcasts. And as I sent you in the pre interview notes, this first question I’m going to ask you has been one of the most difficult to answer. And I didn’t really realize that when I crafted it, I crafted it as a question to be an icebreaker. But it turned into this cathartic well thought out answers that I’m getting from people. And so I’m asking everybody this first question. And so my first question to you, Cymone is, what is your favorite thing about how God made you what is what’s your favorite thing of your image bearer status? Cymone Lashae 2:44 Honestly, creativity, I always say creativity that God has given me, I’m able to do so many things, even what I have gone through, I’m able to channel that in so many different ways, and help so many different people, because of the creativity that God has blessed me with. So that I would simply say, is creativity. Without a doubt. Amy Watson 3:05 I got chills a little bit because that is so true. And we are going to provide all the ways for people to find you. But guys, Cymone is another Instagram hero of mine, and so creative and just really trying to find ways to get that message. And you know, Cymone, my doctor says one of my favorite statements is “that shouldn’t be able to happen” and with the with the things that you’re going to possibly share with us today. Creativity is one of the very first things that goes you’re absolutely one of the most creative people that I know. And gorgeous. I might add, you guys need to look at her picture and the promos. Well, Cymone, as you know, I asked you here today for a very specific reason. Besides the fact that I just adore you. We I just want to tell the backstory really quickly. So I guess it was I don’t even know it was it was somewhere after the pandemic started maybe the summer of 2020 when we all discovered this clubhouse app, and there are a bunch of us we call ourselves mental health avengers and began to do these rooms and began to really be advocates on that clubhouse app and burned ourselves out I might add and but but that is that is how I got to know you and how I got to know the beauty that that is you in terms of how you show up in this world and what you bring to the mental health world you are an advocate. I call this episode advocating for sound minds and people will understand that a little bit more as we get through the episode. But you know, I asked you here today because you are a mental health warrior. You’re a survivor, some things that you’re going to share with us. You are a Christian, you live with a few mental health diagnoses. And additionally this season though, we are focusing on childhood trauma, and I want to get into that a little bit with you not only as a survivor But as an advocate, we talked a lot in this season about adverse childhood experiences a term that I know is not unfamiliar to you. We’re doing that to educate parents that are going to listen to this, especially this episode highlighting mental health awareness month, I want parents to understand what adverse childhood experiences are, and if their children are going through them, and they don’t know. Or I want people who have adverse childhood experiences to understand and be validated. And so I’m asking everyone these questions, and you can decline to answer and if so we’ll move on, but that’s okay. But the description is in the name, there are adverse childhood experiences, and there are 10 of them. And if we have experienced three or four of these adverse childhood experiences, there are 10 of them. Experts define that as we are living under toxic stress unless we get help. And so I’m just going to ask you a yes or no questions. First, let me ask you, are you okay with answering the adverse childhood experience questions? Cymone Lashae 5:58 For sure. Amy Watson 5:58 Okay, perfect. I know that there can be some shame in some of these things. And so I always like to ask that, you know, and, and I also know that family members are going to listen and all of that, and so, okay, so just yes and no, because I want my listeners to get an idea of who was on the other side of this microphone. So at any time and your childhood, so let’s say from zero to 18. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in your home, though. We are focusing on childhood trauma in the home, but but your answer doesn’t have to be in your home. I’m just going to ask yes or no questions. The first one is, as a child zero to 18. Did you experience physical abuse? Cymone Lashae 6:34 No. Well, yes. Amy Watson 6:37 Yes. Okay. Sexual abuse? Cymone Lashae 6:40 No. Amy Watson 6:40 Okay. Emotional abuse. Cymone Lashae 6:43 Yes. Amy Watson 6:44 physical neglect. Cymone Lashae 6:47 No. Amy Watson 6:48 How about emotional neglect? Cymone Lashae 6:50 Yes. Amy Watson 6:51 Mental illness in the home? Cymone Lashae 6:53 Yes. Amy Watson 6:54 Divorce in the home? Cymone Lashae 6:55 No. Amy Watson 6:56 Substance abuse? Cymone Lashae 6:58 No. Amy Watson 6:59 Domestic violence? Yes. And this is particularly true against your mother. So any sort of domestic violence verbal? Cymone Lashae 7:12 No. Amy Watson 7:08 Okay, that’s a big one. And then did you have a relative in prison? Okay. So yours is a four, almost a five. Like it depended on how you answered that one question. I Cymone Lashae 7:20 When I did it the first time it was like a border. Yeah. It was like a border line. Yes. I think it was like a four or five. Yeah, so it makes sense. Amy Watson 7:27 Like many people I interview that you lived under a bunch of toxic stress as a child. And so I do that for my guests to to validate. If you were to have a bad day, I was like, You know what all the experts are saying that I have a four I’ll have a 10. It’s 40% of the 10 adverse experiences, and you live under toxic stress. And we’re gonna get to that a little bit more. And I want your opinion on how you think that affected your mental health diagnoses. But as I mentioned, you are an amazing mental health advocate. And towards the end of the show, I’m going to have you tell everyone about your 501 C three organization and its mission. But we just heard your answer to those questions. But can you articulate for me why mental health advocacy is so important to you? Because it really does. I believe that some only Shay works a real job, and then does the rest of her life and mental health advocacy and has to remind yourself to have fun sometimes. Why is mental health? Why is it so important to you? Cymone Lashae 8:26 Um, because I see the need for mental health advocacy. When I first came out about the truth of my story, I got so much feedback about how many people were struggling. And after I had heard that, I said, there, there has to be some work done, I have to keep going, I have to keep sharing my story, I have to keep being open, because it’s helping the next person also feel comfortable with what or more comfortable, it’s not a comfortable feeling, but more comfortable with a diagnosis per se, or taking medication, and things like that it helps the next person. So that’s why I feel like it’s so important to advocate and share my story. There’s still a stigma on mental illness as we know. So working towards breaking that stigma, and all the things to definitely move us forward in the name of mental health. Amy Watson 9:24 Yeah, and we’re gonna get to this a little bit later, but I do want to introduce it here. It was also important to you as a Christian, to be a mental health advocate. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Cymone Lashae 9:34 One of the reasons I will say it was so important in regards to Christianity, and promoting Christianity my organization is faith based, is because I know that God was the one who saved me. When I was on the hospital bed after I attempted to save my life. God was the one who saved me when I couldn’t save myself when I didn’t want to live when I have depressive episodes. Now even now, I know that God is my hope my trust in Christ is my hope I know that God is not going to leave me where I am, I’m not going to die in a depressive state because there’s light at the end of the tunnel, because of the Goddess, Unknown Speaker 10:13 or Amy Watson 10:14 what a beautiful, articulate answer. And there, so there are quite a few years between you and me. And one of the reasons why I’m so excited about what you’re doing, and particularly in the faith space, and obviously, so am I is because when I was even your age, we didn’t talk about this in the church. If you tried to take your life, which both of us tried to do, then we were looked down upon at the church. And some people would even say, it goes so far as to say that that was that that would immediately send us to Hell, if we if we tried to take our lives. Or if we were depressed, or we were anxious, you know, I call it you got a problem. I got a Bible verse. And so I think it’s, you know what I’m saying? I think it’s like, you know, yeah, it’s like I’m having I’m having a panic attack, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, Let Your request be known. Listen, I believe I love the Bible. I love the Word of God. But there’s a time and place for it when somebody’s having a panic attack. That’s not the place to do it. And so one of the things that’s always been so endearing to me about you is that you’ve not been ashamed that you are a Christian. And we’re going to talk about as you mentioned, your your your, your 501 C 3 and your faith based organization. But to me looking at it from the outside, and you and our friend Marlena, who’s going to be on in June, we just kind of all three bonded together, and and it was so endearing to me. Because for us, for those of us who have attempted to take our lives and are living with mental health, diagnosis it is very easy to just forget God and listen to the naysayers in the church and say, Well, you might not be praying for you, you might be sinning. Can you talk to me a little bit about that? Because I know that’s a bit of a soapbox of yours. Cymone Lashae 11:55 For sure. Like you said that one of the first things that I was told by the first visitor that I had received, when I was in the facility was, you know, if you tell yourself that you’re going to hell. And I was like, okay, that’s very welcoming. Thank you appreciate you. Not I wanted to hear, right. That’s not necessarily what I wanted to hear. It was less than comforting is, I feel like, Christians can be so dismissive. Like when they say, Oh, I’ll pray for you. I always that’s something I talked about a lot. And it, it can appear dismissive. I believe that prayer works 1,000%. But just saying that you’re going to pray for somebody is just not necessarily be end, all right. I believe faith without works is dead. The Bible says that. And if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and taking care of yourself, and going to get the help that you need, and things like that, then you might still be suffering, you know, you can have God in your life and still suffer from a mental illness. I know from personal experience. Yeah, I have faith in God. But I see the little comments like on Facebook about just just have a little bit more faith to be stronger, and, and all these things. And that is just I, in my opinion, it just perpetuates the shame associated with mental illness in the church. Amy Watson 13:20 I agree with you. And I think that there’s something that you do really well, and and I hope that I do well, but because you use an example there that I thought was so powerful, when we say to somebody that we’re gonna pray for them, that that’s all well and good, but to them, we’re gonna pray to a god that has harmed them, right. And there’s something so precious about the ministry of your presence, right? Like my DMs are open, if you just need to talk. I have a young lady in England who I jump in a clubhouse room every now and then she is so agnostic, so far from believing in God, but the practice of the presence of somebody who does love God, and has shown her a little bit differently that, hey, mental illnesses, like a broken arm or anything else is definitely as a result of the fall of man, then then the practice of presence, we can pray for them. But I do think and I do want listeners to hear Simone, when she said that when somebody is in crisis, it’s okay to say I’ll pray for you. But it’s also okay to say and I get that that might not mean anything to you right now. But I am going to be here for you I am. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus because that is who I want to do. And I love that that scripture reference faith without works is dead. We have got to walk alongside of these people. And that’s why I asked you that question as why mental health advocacy was so important to you because you are a shining example of that. And so you’ve already talked to us a little bit about your, the attempt to take your own life, and we’re all really struggling with the vernacular of that and I’m really in a place right now. It is it is May of 2022 and the completed, completed loss of life, self inflicted loss of life of Naomi Judd hit me really hard. And I actually got in a conversation on Facebook about what you just talked about. If you if you take your own life, you’re gonna go to hell. And the girl said to me, Well, the Bible says that I said, where? And she said, Well, it’s murder. I said, Well, okay, well, if that’s true, then it’s still covered by the completed work of Jesus on the cross. And so I think that that was really important for us to talk about, for those of you who are out there listening, who and this lady came back at me, and she said, people just always told me it was in the Bible that if you killed yourself, you’re gonna go to hell. And when you asked me where that scripture was, I couldn’t tell you. She said, Maybe I should listen more Cymone Lashae 15:40 than I would think that would change. So much if people would be open to listening, as opposed to just speaking. I believe that so many times people just want to come with advice, or come with some type of quick solution. And it’s not always a quick solution with mental illness. Right? And yeah, for some people, especially when you have like when you’re a preacher, or you’re part of the clergy is tough. Amy Watson 16:06 Yeah. And you know, our friend Marlena and I will link her episode because I interviewed her last season. But our friend Marlena also attempted to to end her life. And she has, she’s, I would, I would say she searching Marlena is. But it was interesting when she was telling me the story after she sent multiple text messages to people saying that she was going to end her life that the one person that came, climb through her window, climbed in bed with her and just held her was her best friend, and the only Christian that she knows. And so the ministry of presence is so important. We want to fix it. We know that Jesus is the answer to everything. That’s the Sunday School answer. But there’s a time in place and doing life with people is so important. And so you and I could talk about that forever. We could do a whole other podcast on Faith and Faith and mental mental illness, but it is Mental Health Awareness Month, and you have some diagnosis C’s that I want my people to learn a little bit about. And so can you briefly tell us as comfortable as you are? What are your your mental health diagnosis, and what are they? i Cymone Lashae 17:12 Well, I was diagnosed 10 years ago, I have to get another I talked to my psychiatrist about getting another like updated one, but I just kind of treat symptoms like with any other illness. I was diagnosed at first, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, alcoholism eating disorder, which is anorexia nervosa. And I think there might be. Amy Watson 17:41 So let’s briefly go through a couple of those ones that a lot of people hear a lot because people get confused, like, I have PTSD. And so talk to me talk to us first about PTSD. That was, well, that’s a given. But Cymone Lashae 17:54 so let’s start, I want to cover a couple of those. Let’s talk about bipolar disorder, briefly. I have a limited understanding of it, my listeners probably have an even more limited understanding of bipolar disorder, what’s it like to live with? So first of all, I want to just kind of explain what bipolar actually is. I know there’s a lot of misconception, especially in the media about bipolar disorder. And it’s somewhat depicted as just emotional instability. And it is mood swings to an extent but it consists of manic episodes, or hypo manic episodes and depressive episodes. So depressive episodes, obviously, that’s more common, we understood is when you feeling like you are depressed, you’re having a you’re in a state of depression. And that’s the typical state of depression, but also with them. manic or hypomanic episodes, depending on if you have Bipolar type one or bipolar type two is it’s like a high it’s a it’s a time period, when you’re having a high, you are feel like for example, speaking, fast or I’m eating a lot, you’re eating changes. Those are some things for me over shopping, high sexual appetites, there is just I tend to have to write everything down. That’s one of the ways I know that I’m having a hypomanic episode, I was diagnosed with bipolar type two, so my I have my I have hypomanic episodes as opposed to manage, they’re a little less severe. But sometimes when you are manic, from what I have read up, you can be in a state of psychosis, like it will take you to a state of psychosis and you just, you lose kind of lose control, I would say, but those are the opposites. that’s those are the highs and the lows that are associated with bipolar disorder. And I think that substance abuse, this is where and I don’t think this is true for you, although you did mention alcoholism, but that bipolar disorder I would imagine that a lot of people self medicate. So if you’re depressed you know you’re you’re you’re you’re trying to get Amy Watson 20:00 Get something for an upper. And if and if you’re manic, you probably don’t know what you’re doing. I do know a little bit more about that manic side than then than I thought I did. But, but but I know that substance abuse comes in bipolar disorder world treated by medication, is that correct? Yes, gotcha. So let’s talk about one I really don’t understand. And I know my listeners don’t, which is borderline personality disorder. Cymone Lashae 20:24 So borderline personality disorder, honestly, I believe was a misdiagnosis. I don’t believe that I believe it’s mostly the bipolar disorder. And a lot of times the borderline personality disorder and the bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed, like between each other because they have a lot of commonalities. with borderline personality, I can’t speak too much on it. But it seems like it’s a little bit more extreme and a aggression. I will say where I believe the diagnosis came in at for me, was a lot of people who have borderline disorder, personality suffer from abandonment issues. So I have like, if some if I feel like somebody’s going to abandon me, my adult a little differently, my behavior might change and things like that. But other than that, like there’s a lot of things with borderline personality disorder that doesn’t fit don’t fit with you. Amy Watson 21:21 Yeah, and a lot of times when they do those tests, if it’s, like, for example, clearly, we both were in psych wards, at one point in our lives, they give you those tests at the worst possible time ever right in your life. And so, you know, I got a bunch of died. When I was in the hospital, I got a bunch of labels attached to me that weren’t true, because they were CMM a very worst. And so the bipolar is the one that I know that you suffer with probably the most that I watch, you thrived through it. And I’m so proud of you for that. I’m proud of you for continuing to go back to the doctor and say, hey, you know what, because it’s not, you know, mental health is the totality of our of our lives, right. And so when we’re making good choices, to surround ourselves with people like you and like me, and like, we’ve talked about Marlena and people that that understand mental health issues and will keep us on our toes, then then we can live with life, and we can get better. And maybe we can change medications. Maybe we can even I don’t know about bipolar, but I know for PTSD, I’ve been able to come in on and off medications, depending on how activated I was. And so bipolar disorder, Darren, Mental Health Awareness Month is really important because there’s a genetic component to that we’re talking a lot in this season about generational trauma, there’s certainly a genetic component to it. Now, I’m going to ask you this question. And this is just going to be an educated opinion on your part. You know, if I were 25 years old, I go back to school and study all of this. But you had trauma as a child. You have bipolar disorder, and many other things that you mentioned, including PTSD, alcoholism, anorexia nervosa, you had childhood trauma. do you what do you think came first, the the trauma or the illnesses? Do you think the trauma called the illnesses? Yeah, yes. 1,000%? Yeah. Yeah, I think I think so too, because I think especially as I am in the episode that dropped before you would with Jeremy Fox, who is an EMDR, consultant, talk to me a little bit about brain chemistry. And even I know that my brain was physically affected by trauma, because the MRI scan showed that. And so I was curious as to whether you felt like, hey, if I would have had a decent or more normal childhood without four or five adverse childhood experiences, would you still be living with bipolar disorder? And that’s only a question that maybe can be answered way down the road. But I do think that it’s something that we should investigate. I really do. And so I was curious about your answer to that. Cymone Lashae 23:50 So yes, I do believe that it’s genetics. It’s a mix, I would say of genetics and trauma. But the trauma, I would say, perpetuates the mental illness. I know, I remember suffering from depression from a really early age. And because nobody understood my behavior, there was trauma on top of trauma, because nobody knew what to do with me. And then, like I said, it just exasperated the mental illness, it just continued to snowball until it was treated because there was nothing being done to treat the mental illness. I don’t think anybody even knew that it was mental illness or what it was they just knew that I was acting out. And from there, you know, it just got worse until it all came to a head and Amy Watson 24:33 I think that’s something really important for parents listeners to hear is and I’m going to drop a blog tomorrow all week this week. I’ve been doing a blog on childhood depression, but if your child is acting out, like crazy acting out, like sounds like maybe you were this has to be investigated. You have to get that child in front of a doctor because trauma is genetic. We’ve talked about it a couple episodes back it generational tree I’m epigenetics. There’s even a graphic that a pregnant mom with a baby girl with eggs and her uterus in utero, that has three generations of people being affected by a traumatic event. It. And so it is really important for parents out there if your child is acting out to investigate whether there is something else going on, because there may not have been any actual trauma, they may not have been abused or any of those adverse childhood experiences that we talked about. But because trauma is embedded in our DNA, it’s there. And just like I have celiac disease, I went through a divorce about 14 years ago, and the stress of that divorce turned on that genetic celiacs gene. And I believe strongly that that happens in mental illness when we have trauma. And so I was, yeah, I was really interested in your answer to that question. Cymone Lashae 25:51 Because it’s something else that we have in common. I remember we used to do the auto immune motor room, and I was diagnosed with lupus 2020. And I truly believe that that was kind of triggered by stress. Analyzing things, yeah, internalizing things instead of taking care of things. And that the graphic that you were talking about, that sounds really powerful. And that’s so true. Because it goes from generation to generation, it’s important for us to start acknowledging the trauma that we have different the different traumas that we have encountered, and taking care of it, because it has to be dealt with in order to stop it from the future generation. But also you spoke to the alcohol, alcoholism, and mania. And I think that is something else that I want to mention before we move on, is that it sounds like a laundry list of diagnosis. But it all kind of falls under the bipolar. Like it all goes hand in hand with a generalized anxiety disorder. I get really anxious when I’m having a manic episode, the depression, the depression, obviously, when I’m having a depressive episode, the alcoholism mania, eating disorder. Yeah, I mean, I guess it can all go hand in hand. But it all just kind of falls, it all kind of falls under the bipolar for sure. So I didn’t want to say that was something else because it sounds like a lot. But it really is just compiled trauma and under the same mental, and just so Amy Watson 27:21 you know, it is a lot even if it were just one diagnosis that it is, it is a lot you need to hear me say that you are a warrior. You really are because I don’t have bipolar or, and I don’t know how I do have, obviously complex post traumatic stress disorder, but I don’t understand major depression. I don’t understand mania. I don’t understand I do have an eating disorder. But yeah, I think that I will include that graphic in the show notes because it is a powerful graphic on on generational trauma. And that’s exactly what happened to Naomi Judd is there’s just trauma after trauma after trauma and that family murder, abuse of all sorts. And absolutely, if we are predisposed to some of these mental illnesses, these things are going to get turned on by trauma. So thank you for clarifying that. Well, this obviously, is a podcast that highlights trauma. And we and as you know, you know me well enough to know that all I want to do is help people. I think some people think sometimes when you have a podcast that you get rich like Joe Rogan, not me. But we really like to help people in several ways, all of my social media and I know yours was way better than mine, but is geared to help people get educated and hope with mental illness. I don’t put all of that there to get people to listen to podcasts. But mainly however, I can get this information that we’re trying to disseminate to people today. Out there I am doing that. We believe that though that that help and hope is accomplished through three we call it the three C’s on this podcast, counseling church, and community. And most of all, who I call the star of the story, the star of my story. And I know the star of many of my listeners stories is Jesus, you have a nonprofit organization called a sound mind. And we’re going to get there in a minute. But can you share with us how? I’ll ask them individually? But first, can you share with us how community plays a role and helping you live with your mental health status and your trauma? Cymone Lashae 29:15 For sure, I’ll say two ways. And specific, I want to say and we’ll talk more about my organization. But one of the first things that I did when I started was pure rousse support groups. And I think it’s so important to have you therapists are super important, vital, but also having people around you that understand you that you can lean on that can relate to because everybody, like you said doesn’t understand bipolar disorder. So I think that was really really important and a game changer. And also I want to say my circle, not just having a circle, but making sure that your circle is what you need. What is wants to keep you healthy is a positive impact on your life. So I would also say that in regards to community, because a lot of times we think just having people around is going to be helpful. But if you don’t have the right people around you, it can actually be detrimental to your mental health. So those are the two things I wanted to say in specific about community. Amy Watson 30:18 Yeah, definitely pick pick your circle, pick your 2am. Friends, pick the people, we’re going to call you higher. Pick all of that. You mentioned this briefly a little bit the church have any positive does church have any positive impact on how you manage your life now? Cymone Lashae 30:33 Definitely, in more ways than one one way I would obviously go into church getting the word and me encouragement as constant encouragement. And it also I would say, in regards to keeping my routine, getting up on Sunday, going to church, having a routine is so important. So being in that positive atmosphere, I believe is also extremely helpful. In regards to my mental health. Amy Watson 30:56 This question is going to be captain obvious, but as Jesus story, your story? Cymone Lashae 31:00 Absolutely, absolutely. I just, again, if he had saved me, I wouldn’t be here right now. If it was up to me, I would probably, again, I lost control. I didn’t want to be here. I owe it all to him. He knew, you know, I was here. I’m here for a purpose. And he created me with the purpose. And he had all of this in mind when he was writing my story. And I definitely definitely give All Glory to him. I couldn’t do nothing. Without him. I could not help the next person. I couldn’t help myself. Nothing. I can do nothing about him. So he’s definitely the star of my story. Amy Watson 31:41 Do you know what verses came to my mind when I think of you? There’s a verse that says, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Where is the power of God into the G force and also to the Greek and you are not ashamed? Cymone Lashae 31:54 Of the power of Christ? salutely Absolutely not. I you have to acknowledge I feel like it’s important to acknowledge your Savior. Amy Watson 32:02 Amen. Yeah, amen. And he knows and what I often quote on this podcast, Hebrews 4:15, we do not serve a high priest who does not understand our suffering, talking about abandonment issues. Jesus got abandoned by the Father on the cross. He said, My God, My God, why have why have you forsaken me? And so I just think I’m so proud of you. Because you those in when going back to community for a second, we were community for each other for a long time. And there’s clubhouse rooms. Now we were we were the advocates. And so we all burned out. And then we were there for each other. Cymone Lashae 32:37 And then we say, Hi. Yeah, I have to say we all disappeared at the same time. Amy Watson 32:41 Yeah. And I haven’t been on there in a minute. Because it is it is a very, it’s an interesting app. And some of my favorite people like you I met there. But but it can be dangerous. But it was a community there for a minute when we were all locked on our houses. And we would have people from all over the world come into those rooms, especially I was you were kind enough to allow me to kind of take the lead on the PTSD room. And all across the world. People were just in dark rooms. And I remember being in a dark room, two o’clock, every every I think it was Tuesday, two o’clock, every Tuesday we had that PTSD room and there was that community. And even there, you and I talked about our faith in Jesus. And so I am so reminded of you when I think of that verse, but but this is Simone. Let’s say I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is the power of God into my salvation. And that is the verse that reminds me of you. Well, now’s the fun part. Now’s the time to talk about your own advocacy work. Tell us about your mission. Your your organization is called have a sound mind. And I have no doubt that that’s a play off of that Bible verse in first or second, Timothy. But I want to give the mic to you. Because I want people out there who support things like ours, my podcast, my podcast is funded for all of 2022. And so I love sending people to 501 C three organizations with similar mindsets and and with similar missions. And so talk to us about the genesis of starting a sound mind what’s coming up for you, I know you got a very, very I’m so excited about a series you have coming up on suicide prevention. And so I just want to give you two or three minutes here to tell people about have a sound mind how they can donate if they want to how they can be involved where they can find you on Instagram, Cymone Lashae 34:23 for sure. So like you said, but the name is of a son mine and it was derived from the Scripture. Second Timothy one seven For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. And it is the mission is to promote mental health awareness but also support people who live with mental health disorders. So like for me, for example, the peer support groups were super helpful support for me. I did I want to shout out Nami, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Yeah, started with them. They’re awesome. And they are a national organization. So definitely if you’re listening look into that they had peer support groups all over the country. But also, I wanted to start more faith based support groups, I didn’t see a lot of faith based mental health support. So that is one of the reasons that I started up a sound mind was to change things up a little bit, start creating some of the things that I hadn’t seen, and also continuing to open doors for like the for like things that aren’t that Nami are doing that people aren’t seeing. So that is something that we do promoting mental health awareness by these different events that I’m doing workshops so that people understand, like you said, suicide prevention is something that’s really near and dear to my heart. The two, three things that I talk about most are suicide prevention, bipolar disorder, and also adolescent depression. So those are that’s, that’s my heart. Those are my passions, but mental health awareness as a whole, I think is so important. And also going beyond the media talking about anxiety and depression and really getting into and getting support for people who live with PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, all these things that aren’t necessarily talked about as much. And they’re talked about, I feel like if there are spoken, it’s more in a negative manner. Like I see that you’re talking about mental illnesses on lifetime, but it’s in a negative, it’s in a negative way. It’s awful. So just promoting awareness so that people are educated. Also, making sure members of the clergy are better educated to deal with mental health crisis’s. But my most recent initiative that I’m working on, is getting together. I want to get together some meal prep people, some chefs and also some cleaning companies so that we can provide services for people who are struggling with depression at a discounted rate. Amy Watson 36:52 Wow, that’s so cool. Cymone Lashae 36:55 Yeah, I’m excited about that, because it’s something that you don’t see. Amy Watson 36:58 Yeah, I never even thought about that, like hire somebody to come clean your house, because we all know that a cluttered house is a cluttered mind and all of the things, Simone that is brilliant. Cymone Lashae 37:09 I’m excited about it. I’m excited to get it. Get it going. I have my first in person event next week. And so after we do that, that’s going to just be my kind of it’s like a launch party, we’re going to have a panel discussion, and all those types of things. But after that, I want to get straight to this Initiative’s I know that you’re doing a pro bono therapy. I that’s something else that I am looking to do. But yeah, those are just some of the things that I’m working on. And I’m missing something you know, I’m always busy. Amy Watson 37:35 Well tell us tell them where they can find you. So I’m gonna put your link tree and the show notes. But is that what’s your website? Cymone Lashae 37:45 My website is www dots of Assam mine inc.org. Amy Watson 37:49 Okay, and it is a 501 C three organization guys, and so you can donate to it. And Simone, I would like to announce to you here live on this podcast that the second scholarship that we will be awarded in 2022 will be and Simone le Shea’s name. And you can either pick the person or the or the organization. And we can talk about that a little bit offline. But I wanted to surprise you with that, because I am so proud of what you are doing. I’m think I’m so grateful that you are here today. And I’m going to tell you something that I tell everybody. And you know what I’m going to say because you’ve heard me behind plenty of microphones, but not only by me, not only by the God of the universe, that you are seen, you are known, you are heard, you are loved, and you are valued. And I want you to go out and find somebody that can use the scholarship that Cymone Lashae, scholarship to 2022. And as soon as you find that person, you shoot me a text message. And that money will be and to have a sound mind so that you can continue your mission. Because I am awarding the scholarships in the name of people who are out there fighting for people who cannot fight for themselves, or for people who fought for me. And you fall into one of those two categories. And so congratulations on the awarding of that Wednesday’s with Watson pro bono counseling scholarship of 2022. And so guys, thank you. Well, you are welcome. You’re welcome. I am so proud of you. I want to thank you for being here today. Guys. We have talked about some pretty heavy topics here today. I do want to provide you with a little bit of information. I will also provide this in the show notes. But if you are somebody you know is struggling with mental illness, particularly suicidal ideations, please reach out for help, please know that you are seen and known and heard and loved and valued. There is a phone number that you can call it is 1-800-273-8255 and then beginning on July 16 2022, if you just simply text 988 Wherever you are in the world, that this is not effective until July 16 2022. But if you just text 988 Wherever you are in the world They will connect you with a suicide organization that will help you through your crisis. And so if you are somebody you know, please, please 1-800-273-8255 Simone mentioned Nami is a great organization, ma n i.org. That is a fantastic organization. As we are highlighting Mental Health Awareness Month, there is also the complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder foundation you can find on Twitter. I am a freelance writer for them, they’re doing some good work. There is lots of help and lots of hope for you guys out there. People like Simone are bringing that to you. So Simone, thank you so much for being here with us today. And I would just want and for having me, oh, it is my pleasure. And I just wanted to give you any parting words, before we let the listeners go, I just want to let everybody know that there is hope there is hope. No matter where you are, God is not going to let you die and depression. So if you still have breath, you still have purpose. There is somebody who loves you, I love you. And keep going, keep going. You’re not meant to die in depression. We are meant to live a life and we’re all meant to live that life more abundantly. Scripture tells us. And so again, thank you for being here today. I love you, I adore you. And I am so proud of you. And as soon as you get that person or that organization in your head, we will award the Cymone Lashae 2022 pro bono scholarship. And that is because of listeners like you out there guys who donated to our fundraiser at the end of last year. This will be the second of four of the scholarships that we are able to award this year. So thank you so much for being here. So thanks again for having me. This was a pleasure. Well, guys, I hope that you glean something from the beautiful, beautiful soul that is Samoa Shea. As we continue our mission here, please do not hesitate to reach out to either one of us and you can do that. Simply by right there on your show notes. I will have someones link tree. I’ll have my link tree right in the show notes. It is my hope that while we are highlighting this mental health awareness month that everybody will realize that every month we need to pay attention not just the month of May. We’ll be back here in two weeks and we are going to focus the entire month of June on racial trauma specifically to black and brown communities. Until then to the rest of my listeners I want you to know you know what I’m going to say? Just like I told someone you’re seeing, you’re known. You’re heard, you are loved and you are valued. See in two weeks guys.
You no longer recognize your child, and it’s terrifying. More than anything, parents want their children to be happy and whole, we want them to embrace childhood as long as possible. Parents describe the instant love for their child as a powerful force they have never experienced, and that love drives parents to cherish their child, and so when something ails them, it can be devastating.
As children grow, as does the propensity for any number of things both good and bad. We are diligent about well child visits, nutrition, and education. But are we paying attention to their mental health? Depression among children, while not understood, is on the rise. Coupled with that, suicide among children has steadily risen over the last few years. We addressed some possibilities for this here, this blog is to help parents recognize possible depression in their child.
What are the symptoms of depression in children and when is it time to seek help? First, these numbers are sobering, and I hope grabs your attention as a parent.
Both depression and anxiety tend to be higher in older children and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17. An estimated 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 13.3% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17. An estimated 31.9% of adolescents have had an anxiety disorder.
Before we begin, let’s define “major depressive disorder” or a “major depressive disorder. This is, perhaps, the most simple definition:
“A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.” 
This oversimplified definition can be tricky when evaluating children and major depression. As adults, impairment to our daily lives is easy to recognize. It is not as easily recognizable in children since hormones and the science of brain growth can often exhibit in a depressed mood, or a loss of interest in activities until hormones are balanced. Children often are excited about baseball, until he finds out about football. Hormones will present as moodiness, anger, and even hostility. So, the evaluation of children is tricky, but o so important.
Watch for unexplained, fundamental changes in your child, especially if undesirable characteristics present themselves. Here are what some experts agree parents can watch, and make decisions accordingly. Remember not all behavior issues are discipline issues, this is usually the first defense. What if we paid attention to the child first? Why are they acting the way they are?
Sudden but persistent behavior issues. This is especially true of angry outbursts. Remember that anger is fear’s bodyguard. Your child is acting out of confusion about what is happening to them, and frustrated they can’t articulate it. It is dark for them, and your observation and proactive approach could lessen your child’s suffering.
Isolation. As children get into teenaged years, it is normal for them to isolate from you like it’s their job! However, if you notice your child isolating more than normal, it may be time for a conversation. It is likely that they don’t have the vernacular to tell you they are feeling depressed, but careful and close attention along with educated questions, can help you ascertain the need for professional help.
Disordered Eating. The most important thing to note here is a fundamental change in eating habits one way or the other. Some children (like adults) find food comforting, others find it revolting in periods of depressed mood. Weight is a good indicator here since it is empirical data and will help you address it with your child in a non judgmental way. Also, keep in mind that some medications to treat depression can cause weight gain. Appetite is a great indicator of mental status.
Physical Issues (new) Our bodies are excellent at giving us warning signs and symptoms when all is not well. GI issues are probably the most common in children, but watch for other complaints, keep a journal, thereby increasing your ability to trend physical manifestations of depression. Migraines are another common issue with depression, but can also be caused by hormones. Hormonal imbalance itself is another causation of depression in children. Careful consideration should be paid to what is a normal imbalance versus a chemical imbalance that causes depression.
These are just a few of the symptoms related to depression in children. The most important thing you can do for your child is to trust your instincts when you feel something is consistently wrong. Do not hesitate to get help.
The worst thing that can happen is your child is just acting like a child. Conversely, you could find that your child needs help. Early intervention is important.
We will be back with part 3, Treating Children With Depression.
Also there are several episodes on our podcast discussing children trauma and treatment.
READERS: This series is meant to coincide with the third season of the Wednesdays With Watson Podcast. This season we are focusing on childhood trauma and mental health in general. Over there you will find stories of Hope, interviews with therapist, and more. It is the mission of the podcast as well as all other mediums is to provide access to help for those who need it.
Depression among children is growing exponentially. The statics over the last five years are staggering. According to a news report published by NBC News. 
“The number of children ages 6-12 who visited children’s hospitals for suicidal thoughts or self-harm has more than doubled since 2016, according to data from 46 such facilities across the country collected for NBC News by the Children’s Hospital Association, a trade organization.
The association documented 5,485 emergency room or inpatient visits for suicidal thoughts and self-harm among 6- to-12-year-olds at these hospitals in 2019, up from 2,555 in 2016. (Full data isn’t yet available for 2020, but in the first three quarters of the year, there were 3,503 such visits.) Visits for teenagers with suicidal thoughts or self-harm at these hospitals also rose from 2016 to 2019, but at a slower rate — by 44 percent, compared to 115 percent for younger children.”
Treatment facilities all over the country are reporting a marked increase in calls to help lines and are seeking inpatient as well as outpatient treatment for their children. Doctors share parental concern and fears that the pandemic will increase these numbers (especially the loss of a parent to Covid). That concern is founded and we are beginning to identify that in research data.
This leaves parents as their child’s advocate. Since the causation of childhood depression requires a lot of research (and still not widely understood), it’s hard to advocate for your child, but you must. Learning a few key points will help, but it is always a good idea to seek professional help for official diagnosis.
After parents have ruled out other conditions that can mimic symptoms of depression (hormones, medications, normal growing up) it becomes imperative that parents seek professional help. This brings its own challenges (and we will discuss in a later blog), as many times, medication is least tested on children and sometimes, the side effects compound symptoms of depression. Some medications increase suicidal ideations, and must be monitored by healthcare professionals as well as parents. One of the most concerning statistics of late is the rise of suicidal ideation in children. The study did not indicate whether these children were medicated, but side effects from medication should be considered then monitored closely for this most unwanted repercussion.
Understanding and observing your child can and will stretch far into their mental well-being. As we spend this week on depression in children, we will cover symptoms and treatment. However, for the purposes of this blog, let’s hypothesize some reasons we are seeing an increase in childhood depression. Subsequent blogs will help parents manage or find someone who can.
Twenty-Four Hour access to digital content. As doctors begin to record stated (explicit or otherwise) reasons for depressive symptoms from a post verbal child, Cyber Bullying, Instagram comparisons, and access to information not appropriate for a developing brain is certainly a consideration. It has been said that the amount of electronic information we consume in a day would crash a computer. The young brain is not nearly developed enough for constant digital consumption. It likely stunts IQ and can give the child a distorted view of the real world. Cyberbullying is a real issue, and many childhood suicides happen as a result. Children compare themselves to the InstaPerfect lives of their friends, and suddenly their life doesn’t feel worth much. Parents can take charge of this and should monitor screen time and consider refraining from screen time early in life, as the child’s brain is developing. When your child is on a digital device, consider a software program to monitor usage as well as any nefarious activity whereby bullying is present. Talk to your child, help them understand real life versus the Instagram and Tik Tok life. Consider waiting until ages 13-15 before handing over a pocket sized computer to your child. The lights, beeps, and vibrations activate your child’s brain and could retard normal development, resulting in depression and its friends. They become addicted to their phones which cause sleep issues, and you guessed it, sleep is integral to mental health. This also has the propensity to begin addictive behavior, which causes a host of issues in life.
Lack of physical exercise and tactile interaction with other children. This is especially true since March of 2020. Some children have yet to experience a normal school year. Young children need interaction with peers and they also have a need for a safe and effective learning atmosphere. Failure to hit academic milestones are a real issue with some children testing a full two years behind academically and socially. As the United States comes to terms with a life with Covid, children are finally back in school, but parents can’t ignore the two years some of them lost. This child could experience symptoms of depression simply based on loneliness and comparing their academic performance with others. Parents should be aware of self esteem issues all leading to depressive symptoms requiring professional help.
Autism Spectrum Disorder. It has been reported that a child on the spectrum is four times more likely to suffer depression. . This is difficult on parents and health professionals alike, as a child with ASD is as different as they are the same. Children on the spectrum’s depression probably makes the most sense of any of these probable reasons for childhood depression. Doctors are better at treating depression in these patients, because they are beginning to understand the brain and ASD.
Lacks Basic Needs.Here is where trauma is introduced as a reason for childhood depression. Trauma stunts some parts of the brain, but also creates a superpower of sorts, keeping the child alive (fight or flight). Unmet needs diminishes purpose and retards parts of the brain from emotional regulation. This results in behaviors ranging from behavior problems to suicide in some children in marginalized communities. There are programs all over the country to help with basic needs, especially food insecurity.
Family Conflict. Doctors also note the affect of family conflict and Adverse Childhood Experiences as a major causation for depression in children. This speaks to basic needs listed above. Children need stability and consistency. When conflict and trauma are present, they experience physical changes to their brains, are convinced they are the problem, and sometimes “fix it” by attempting to take their lives. This is, perhaps, the saddest of all.
One study last year analyzing more than 11,000 9- and 10-year-olds in the United States found that 1.3 percent reported they had tried to kill themselves, while 9.1 percent reported engaging in self-harm. It also concluded that family conflict and financial adversity were significantly associated with suicidal thoughts in these children.
Genetic History Of Depression this is the most understood, and perhaps provides the most straightforward lane to treatment. However, parents must recognize and treat their own depression. While medication can cause the same side effects in adults, those side affects are more straightforward and easy to manage. Communication with your child is very important as parents normalize a medical condition for their child. Teaching them coping skills and encouraging them to reach out for help is paramount.
The sad reality is that our world has changed and it must change the way we view mental health and we must start with our children. We don’t know why some children are more prone to deep depression and others aren’t. We must pay attention, listen to what your child isn’t telling you.
Next up, symptoms for parents to watch, and when to get help. Follow the blog so you get notified when part 2 goes live.
Also, we would love it if you would consider listening to our podcast on trauma. We seek to provide access to help for anyone who may need it there you may find that podcast by clicking here.