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Speak LOUD

Author: Tiffany Barnes

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Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Tiffany has made it her mission create real change, one person at a time; this was the premise for her podcast, ‘Speak Loud’. The objective of ‘Speak Loud’ was to create a platform that supports anyone that is currently suffering abuse in their life. The podcast consists of stories told by previous victims of abuse, that will showcase their triumph and provide hope and encouragement through the stories shared.The host, Tiffany, has experienced a lot during her life. With experiences like being emancipated at age 15 – the second case in the state of Utah for a child of age 15 to become legally emancipated from their parents, due to abuse – to working 3 jobs to support herself and her education, and being torch bearer of the 2020 Olympics, among many more achievements, Tiffany recounts her stories and experiences to help victims of abuse.Tiffany also founded S.H.A.R.E; an advocacy group for students by students who have experienced abuse. Tiffany and the S.H.A.R.E team were able to grow the advocacy group into a 501c3 non-profit – a huge accomplishment.‘Speak Loud’ has already grown rapidly and created a close-knit community. Being so early in its creation, the accomplishments already achieved by ‘Speak Loud’ shows a positive future for the podcast.Tiffany is also in the process of releasing her first book and autobiography, ‘The Throw Away Girl’, which is expected to release soon.Her motto is “It’s the START that STOPS you” – a line that sums up ‘Speak Loud’ and Tiffany’s mission to help victims of abuse.
141 Episodes
Today I’m talking with Eric Daddario, who travels to high schools to show students how they can immediately change the course of their own lives and the lives of others. His experience lies in watching his brother die of a drug overdose, which is when he realizes the importance of making positive choices. Eric’s program shows youth how their decisions can impact long-term consequences in their lives.Speak Up When You Need HelpEric’s message is to speak up when you or someone you know is in trouble from alcohol or drug abuse, sexual abuse, or they are suffering from mental illness. His brother struggled when they were teens, and even though they were in the same peer group, Eric didn’t go down the path of addiction while his brother did. Eric believes his brother made that choice because of his low self-esteem.Struggling Through Social Anxiety on His OwnEric’s brother struggled with social anxiety due to a physical appearance issue which his brother believed others were judging him for. Although he had plastic surgery to change his physical appearance, his brother still believed others were looking at him. Instead of reaching out to their parents for help, his brother turned to drink, believing it would calm his nerves. Next, he tried escaping with oxycontin, other prescription drugs, then cannabis and heroin. Eric decided to align his decisions with the success of becoming a professional hockey player. So although they were both exposed to drugs, Eric decided not to do drugs or abuse alcohol because it didn’t align with his goal to be a pro athlete. Of their group of 14 friends, only two of them stayed clean and sober into adulthood - many of them are dead or are still hooked on drugs and alcohol.Your Inner VoiceHe talks about your inner voice and how some people brush off the warning they are given by their intuition that their actions are negatively affecting their life. Eric knew that addiction ran through his family on both sides of his family, so he decided early on that he didn’t want to go down that path. In addition, training for his sports gave him the drive and focus to lead a healthy lifestyle to achieve his goals.Podcast Episode Resources to Learn MoreJoin me at Speak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Eric Daddario at Impact TruthSpread the message of the Speak Loudly Podcast andshare this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Jarie Bolander, an author and entrepreneur whose experience runs from semiconductors to life sciences to nonprofits. He runs his own podcast, “Entrepreneur Ethos,” named after his latest book of the same title. Jarie  works to help clients convert concepts to strategies, but for today’s episode, he’s here to speak loud about what he calls “manly grief” and the process of grief for men in our society. Caring for a Terminal SpouseJarie first encountered an issue with grieving as a man when his then wife, Jane, died of leukemia in 2017. He recounts the two of them trying to prepare in case of her death but that it’s impossible to prepare for something like that. After her death, Jarie felt afraid and confused, and turned to substances to try and fill the void. While grieving, Jarie felt alone and like there weren’t many people who were able to support him the way he needed—even he didn’t know what he needed. He joined support groups for widows and widowers but found that the majority were women and that their experiences didn’t always overlap. Trying to deal with grief as a man in this society made Jarie realize that there was a gap for support for widowers and grieving men. Grieving the ‘Manly Way’Jarie found that expressing his grief and sorrow was liberating, and began to think about how to help others, especially men who went through similar experiences. The idea of “manly grief” came from his wondering of how to deal with grief in a ‘manly way.’ He wrote a memoir about his story with Jane, mainly of caring for a terminal spouse and how to help other men who are grieving. Jarie saw a lack of resources from a male perspective and decided  to fill the gap himself. As an entrepreneur, Jarie has to see himself in what he wants to be—which is how his book came along. He thought that Jane would want him to write a book so others didn’t feel so alone if or when they went through something similar. The book includes personal accounts of what helped him during his grieving process and focuses on the caregiving spouse. Normalizing Stories of GriefJarie realized that the more he talks about his grief, the less scary it became. His challenge for listeners is to share their story, too: “I think we need to have these conversations and be thoughtful and compassionate with each other.” Cliche as it is, he says that whatever story you have, it’s important and needs to be told. Somewhere out there will be someone who needs it, too. By talking about your experiences and difficulties, Jarie believes that it normalizes and lessens the shame and sorrow around trauma. Listen in to learn more about what modalities Jarie has used in his healing process, what was the most helpful for him when he was grieving, and Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Jarie on his websiteSpread the message of Speak Loud Podcast and share this episode with a friend!
Today I’m talking with Becca Ferguson, a licensed professional counselor in trauma recovery and an online course creator who brings her love for storytelling and teaching everywhere she goes. Her advice comes from years of both personal and professional experience and her main goal in her work is to make sure people know that they aren’t alone. Today, she’s here to speak loud for people who don’t know what they need—or are afraid to ask for themselves. Seizing Your AutonomyBecca shares that something she’s learned both as a therapist and a client is that after experiencing trauma, there’s a struggle in knowing how much to tell. One of the reasons why she became a therapist was because of her upbringing. She grew up in a conservative Christian home, where she didn’t have a lot of autonomy, and experienced abuse and the guilt and shame that came with it. It wasn’t until last year when Becca was seeing her own therapist that she realized that she had PTSD. She was abused in the church, had over-controlling parents and grew up with little to no autonomy. Since then, a lot of her story has come from accepting diagnosis and learning how to grow through it.Getting Real with ClientsBecca’s own experiences influence how she approaches her career and her clients. While other therapists don’t believe in the power of self-disclosure, she prefers to be real and vulnerable by providing examples of what she’s talking to her clients about. She feels that this lets her clients connect with her as they can see that she knows what she’s talking about, and also aids in her own healing, as she’s able to process her own traumas in a validating way. “Mental health doesn’t make sense,” Becca says, which is why she takes a unique approach to every client she has. She works primarily with young adult females, who are often in similar experiences to what she went through. Becca loves relating to her clients, and being a therapist has been a healing experience for herself, as well. Values-Based HealingAlong with therapy, Becca is embarking on a virtual coaching adventure, and is launching her first virtual coaching group in June. Her goal is to focus on a different topic in each course and over five weeks connect with and educate women on that topic in small groups. The coaching groups will also use a workbook, another passion of Becca’s that she’s discovered, so that clients will have tangible tools to take back to their own therapists. In all her work, Becca wants to create a place where women feel empowered to discover and go after what they need to live their best lives. She works to make her own services as accessible as possible, keeping costs low and classes small. “It’s less about the experience that we went through,” Becca says, “and it’s more about why we’re healing from it.” Her values-based approach is what sets her apart as both a therapist and a speaker. Listen in to learn more about how Becca brings light and humor to her experiences, what modalities she uses for healing in her own life, and to receive a discount for her online courses only for podcast listeners.Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webFind Becca’s resources on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loud Podcast and share this episode with a friend!
Today I’m talking with Rebecca Heidt, an artist and author of “Acceptance: The Beginning” and “Acceptance: The Reality”, the first two in her fantasy-fiction series. She’s won awards both for contemporary fantasy fiction and woman fantasy fiction as well as an LGBTQ+ fantasy fiction award. Rebecca believes in empowering others in not giving up on the life they want and claiming your own voice. Using Fantasy Fiction to Process TraumaOn her first appearance on the Speak Loud Podcast, Rebecca spoke about her own journey with trauma and acceptance, life experiences that influenced her to write her books. She’s currently working on the third book in the “Acceptance” series with plans for at least one more after that, along with an audiobook by December 2023.Through her book series, Rebecca’s been able to heal from the major traumas of her life, a process that she describes as happening over and over. The fictional setting offers a playground to experiment with different narratives and parts of her life in a way that’s both healing and entertaining. She’s currently nominated for other awards, though the LGBTQ+ fantasy fiction award remains the most esteemed, in her opinion. Canvas Art and Writing as TherapyRebecca recounts that she turned to writing and art at the same time. After losing a family member in early 2020, she was struggling and found art as an escape.What she likes about canvas art as opposed to writing is that it provides a visual for what she’s feeling. She values being able to shut her brain off and let her heart take over. Along with art and writing, Rebecca enjoys meditation as a form of healing, which often translates into her art, as well. Over the course of her father’s illness, she’hs taken a new perspective on material things, and has found more peace and joy in prioritizing experiences over possessions. Learning to Be BoldSince her last appearance on SLP, Rebecca has been learning to be more assertive, growing into speaking on her boundaries more vocally, something that can be especially hard for women. “I bring a lot to the table,” she says, “and if you can’t sit at this table and handle me, then you can go.” This sentiment is reflected in her writing and art, too, which are unapologetically vibrant and bold. Rebecca asks listeners to reflect on why they’re scared to say something, and to remember that the most important thing is to just say it. Opinions only affect the people who have them, so don’t worry about what others think. There is so much power in believing in yourself.Listen in to learn more about Rebecca’s book series, what makes her feel empowered, and spiritual awakenings happening across cultures today. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webFind Rebecca on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Hildegard Koenig, proud mother of 2 who has dedicated her career to helping others. She’s a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse who has a burning passion to give her voice for victims of crime and cancer warriors. Hilde is the co-founder and president of the Ink Against Cancer foundation, a unique 501c3 that connects local artists to provide financial aid for cancer warriors. The Consequences of Domestic AbuseHilde shares that her first experience with sexual assault came when she was a child in Venezuela, and influenced her adulthood when she met her abuser and eventual ex-husband. She stayed in the marriage until nearly losing her life, and left with nothing but her two children—15 months and 2 months old, respectively—and was scared of what would happen. Hilde says she wishes she had known of more of the resources available for victims of domestic and sexual abuse. After sharing her story and getting a protective order against her abuser, Hilde started from the bottom once again. She endured many medical issues, both physical and mental, from the abuse, and still does today. However, despite her doubts and fears as a single mother, she stayed away from her abuser and eventually remarried to someone who adopted her children as his own. Starting a Non-ProfitHilde’s passion for helping people overcome cancer led to her nonprofit, “Ink Against Cancer Foundation.” Not only had her mother-in-law passed away from cancer, but Hilde’s close-friend shared his frustrations with her about the lack of resources he had to even pay bills or make rent while out of work. Hilde organized an event where many of the artists who tattooed her friend, Wolf, came together and raised funds to support her friend. Wolf, before passing, asked Hilde to continue in his memory. “Ink Against Cancer” is now preparing for its 7th annual event, with over 90 applications from cancer warriors. Hilde and her husband, along with four other board members, work in their offtime to support in whatever way they can, whether it’s helping pay for gas, meals, or buying Christmas presents. Uniting Artists Against CancerThe 501c3 provides last wishes for adults as well as children whose wishes weren’t able to be fulfilled during COVID-19. “Cancer does not discriminate,” Hildegard says, which is why the foundation works for cancer warriors no matter the age or cancer type. After the fundraiser, artists get to meet the families they’re helping and see where their donations go to. Hildegard says that while they only ask artists for 50% of what they make, the majority donate 100%. Hilde and her partners want to make a difference, big or small, in someone’s life. She hopes that listeners know that we all have our own story. “And it’s your story. No one can take that away from you.” Listen in to learn more about the effects of abuse on families, Hilde’s five-year-plan, and how to get involved with “Ink Against Cancer.” Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webLearn more about Ink Against CancerSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Lynn Crook, author of “False Memories: The Deception that Silenced Millions.” After suffering sexual abuse as a child, she sued her parents for damages and won, which led her down the investigation path that inspired her book. Today, she’s here to speak loud about encouraging survivors to speak publicly about their experiences, and combating shame with compassion. Uncovering Repressed MemoriesLynn was the oldest of six children who were all molested. Her father forced her to repress the memory after punishing her for talking about it, and over her young lifetime, she eventually forgot about it completely. It wasn’t until 40 years later when Lynn was working in a sexual abuse response center that the memories started to resurface in panic attacks and flashbacks. It took Lynn months to speak about and accept what had happened to her, but when she did, she decided to sue her parents for damages due to sexual abuse. She had the means to go to court and wanted to make the world safer, eventually winning her case. However, her interest turned to the concept of ‘false memories,’ which her parents tried to use in their defense—attempting to claim that Lynn’s memories were made up.Disproving False MemoriesAfter the trial, Lynn’s excitement from winning died down as she heard more and more people talk about ‘false memories.’ People didn’t believe her or sided with her parents, showing her firsthand the impact of the false memory campaign. Over the next decade, Lynn dedicated herself to investigating false memory claims, and deducted that it was a complete scam. Lynn told the story of how the false memory campaign began and decided to put it in her book, believing that if people were able to read it, then they would learn more about how child molesters try to silence their victims. “You believed that?” Lynn will say now. “Really?” Her passion project has now evolved into her published book, after she spent 3 years compiling all the information she had learned over the decade. Living with Confidence Lynn shares that her panic attacks have now stopped, but the childhood trauma will be there for the rest of her life. She says that it’s up to the individual to find the tools that work for them in order to live a life that’s not impacted by shame or fear. For her, that’s seeing her therapist regularly and making sense of things through journaling. Lynn wants readers of her book to gain confidence in coming out about what happened to them—even if someone chooses not to believe them. With that confidence, she hopes people will be able to share their story, awful as it was, and start to stop it. Listen to learn more about where the false memories movement started, the role of women and spouses with child molesters, and what makes Lynn feel empowered today.Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Lynn on her websitePurchase “False Memories” on AmazonSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Steve Simpson, an award-winning author, businessman, and volunteer. Steve started writing as a child to escape a traumatic home life, and through his experiences with foster care, therapy, and self-help groups, was able to create a new start for himself. Today, he is here to speak loud about his own experience with abuse and to assure other people that they aren’t alone. Living a False NarrativeIn early childhood, Steve describes himself as the opposite of an ‘A student’: a ‘Z student.’ He was always cracking jokes and interrupting and consistently failed classes because of the physical and verbal abuse he was receiving at home from his father. He recalls being jealous of the ‘smart kids’ whose home lives he believed to be perfect. Steve developed the narrative that he was stupid and that it didn’t matter how much effort he put in—he would never succeed.Steve says that he started cutting class as early as 3rd grade, and would go to the library and ask for a pen and paper, where he would write poems and short stories. He was always looking for a way to escape. At 11, he attempted suicide, telling people who didn’t understand: “I don’t want to die—I just don’t want to live.” The Power of Self-HelpA turning point came in Steve’s life when he entered the foster care system. He stayed in two homes, both of which he recounts as good experiences, but the real trigger for healing was the mandated self-help group he attended. He states that it was the best thing to happen to him. Suddenly, he felt welcomed, and discovered that the so-called ‘smart kids’ in his group were fighting many of the battles he was at home. The self-help group supported him not just in his personal life but in school. Steve learned how to study and found himself doing better in school, going from barely passing to achieving high honors. In his teen years, he finally realized that it wasn’t his fault, but his circumstances that were creating the negative narrative.  Writing The Survival HandbookAs an adult, Steve has written four fiction novels that he directs towards teens and young adults who are experiencing abuse or considering suicide. The books are works of fiction with abuse victim handbooks hidden inside. Steve wrote the books as a way for the right tools to get into the hands of kids who otherwise wouldn’t seek out help or who didn’t feel safe. Steve says that he wrote the kinds of books that would have helped him. He wanted the reader to leave feeling better about themselves and encouraged to find help. “If you are an adult,” Steve says, “you are involved.” He believes that it’s the adults’ responsibility to call out abuse and support victims, especially if they’re children. Listen in to learn more about the impact of verbal abuse, the dangers of misdiagnosis in abuse victims, and Steve’s five-year-plan. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webFind Steve’s books on his websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Jennifer Morris, a mother and author who decided to share her story of love and loss in order to bring comfort to those who have experienced death in their lives. Her book, titled ‘I Will Be With You Alway’ released last June in 2022, and provides children with a story on how to understand and cope with loss. Another Side to TraumaJennifer’s mother died when she was 5, and still too young to understand what death was. She recalls sitting at the dinner table and asking her family, “So, after the funeral, is that when Mom is coming home?” Eventually, Jennifer learned that her mom had committed suicide, and as a young girl told herself the story that her mother had left her deliberately because she was not enough. Her father’s struggle with alcoholism led to another narrative of Jennifer’s: “I’m alone with no one to take care of me.” She spent her life searching for someone to take care of her, willing to be whatever role they needed in order to feel loved. She felt like a ship in the middle of the ocean, with no control over what life brought. Jennifer recounts that it took 20 years for anyone in her family to talk about her mother’s death. Deepening Relationships with OthersMuch of Jennifer’s healing came in the form of her relationships with her loved ones. She had lived a life where she felt like she wasn’t enough to keep her mother alive. She recalls a defining moment of bringing her first daughter home for the first time. She was struck with the realization that her own mother must have been so unwell to do what she had, because Jennifer couldn’t imagine leaving her child. It hadn’t been her fault. Jennifer always wanted to be closer with her husband and friends, and it took many intense therapy sessions for that to become a reality. Now, however, she feels love and deep joy daily by letting her loved ones know how loved they are, and by ‘going deep’ with everyone she meets.Finding Love Where It IsJennifer wanted her book to be relatable for anyone who has had someone pass.Over years of therapy, self-healing and self-love, she’s learned that she will always still be connected to her mom. She imparts this journey in her book, ‘I Will Always Be With You.’“Instead of looking for where they were,” Jennifer says, “find them where they are.” She thanks her mother—and father—daily for the magical moments in her life, and feels their presence always. Jennifer hopes that listeners know that whatever trauma they experience is not forever. There is hope. Listen in to hear the lessons Jennifer’s learned from writing her book, how her family dealt with trauma and shame, and what advice she has for listeners.Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Jennifer on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Jason Hallberg, a friend of many years. He is a new podcaster, from the podcast ‘Rapping Life,’ which is currently in its early stages. Today, he is here to talk about childhood emotional neglect and the discoveries he has made through his soul journey. Emotionally Absent ChildhoodJason Hallberg grew up dealing with emotional neglect throughout his childhood. His father was absent from his life and his mother raised him in the same manner she was raised. His mother’s boyfriend created an environment of verbal and emotional abuse as well as excessive drug and alcohol use. Jason was quick to lash out and fight in elementary school, and after being expelled in 4th grade and seeing the impact it had on his mother, became closed off and hyper-independent.Jason recalls meeting his best friend in junior high whom he described as changing his life. His friend lived an entirely different lifestyle, with a functioning family and more money than Jason, who felt he didn’t bring anything to the table. Growing up poor, he recounts that everything seemed to connect back to money. However, that friend was the beginning of him changing his mindset and accepting that he could be loved and have value as a person, regardless of social status.Noticing and Breaking PatternsJason’s soul-searching began about a year ago. He was unhappy at his job, and after he left and went through a breakup at the same time, began to notice patterns in the relationships in his life. He learned about attachment styles, which led to childhood trauma, and from there had a series of epiphanies about his own life and how his early years still affect him in the present day. Most of Jason’s healing has been done without a therapist, which he credits to just being honest with himself. He would take early morning walks, starting with affirmations and then later finding meditation. Ideas began to come to him about what he wanted, eventually leading to his podcast. Freeing Yourself From Your ThoughtsToday, Jason is applying the wisdom he’s learned to his own life. He accepted that something in his life set him down a different path than the people around him, and from there has made an effort to move forward. “Keep doing something that’s uncomfortable,” he says, “until it feels comfortable.” For him, that’s been being emotionally vulnerable with his mother and having more open conversations about his childhood. Jason tries to practice honesty with himself and with the people around him. He is aware of how our thoughts shape our reality and what other people tell themselves. In his day-to-day life, he tries to be more uplifting and honest with those around him. If he were able to talk to his younger self, Jason would remind himself that people do care about him and that he is not alone. To listeners, he hopes they know the value of open and honest communication not just with your loved ones but with yourself, as well. Listen in to hear more about childhood neglect, reconnecting with estranged family members, and setting boundaries with the people you love. 
Today I’m talking with Clayne Edward Wayman. He’s a sought-after mortgage professional, as well as a speaker, mentor, and founder of the Vasper platform where he shares spiritual insight and mentorship. He’s a recent author and a husband and father of four. Today, he’s here to share his story and talk about the importance of trust.Growing Up in a Polygamist SectClayne grew up in a Mormon fundamentalist polygamist community. His mother was a first wife of 12, and Clayne was the first of 45 children who were primarily homeschooled. He married his first wife when he was 21, and then remarried after their divorce. Both were members of the same fundamentalist community, based in Arizona. Clayne explains that multiple Mormon fundamentalist groups still practice polygamy. These sects view polygamy as a cornerstone of the religion. Growing up, Clayne thought his lifestyle was completely normal— ‘monogamist’ was the worst insult that he knew. However, in 2008 and 2009, he started questioning the environment he was raised in, and by 2017, had left the community entirely. Life Outside ReligionClayne slowly came to realize that his life’s direction did not lie with the church. He began testing his doubts when the president of the community read from scripture that God would tell him if one of them sinned. Clayne found this as an opportunity to test it and began experimenting with women outside of his marriage. Not only did the religious leaders not immediately know, but they also called him to say that they wanted to arrange for him what they claimed to be a God-ordained marriage. This was his checkmate. Clayne fully left the community in 2017—with his second wife. He had shared all of his doubts with her before they married and later when he was contemplating leaving. Both times, the trust paid off. His wife left with him, and the two of them were able to step into a deeper and more trusting relationship. Clayne continues to stand, as he says, ‘on the rock of integrity.’ Spirituality and Self-DiscoveryWhen telling his president that he was leaving, Clayne recalls the president telling him that he had never found a better way of life. He endeavors now to show people that there is a much better way. Clayne has had several spiritual awakenings and practices the shamanic ancient wisdom. He’s used ayahuasca, Psilocybin, and other plant medicines, and has learned to see the signs of divine love and wisdom in everyday life. Clayne’s book, “Echoes of Resounding Love,” shares his story as well as techniques for readers to learn more about themselves. He delves into psychology and how to trust your own unique process of discovery. “There are things the heart knows that the head may not even be able to fully wrap around,” he says. Clayne hopes that his readers, as well as the listeners of this podcast, learn to trust in the process—and trust that the universe has better things in store for you. Listen in to hear more about Mormon fundamentalists and polygamy, ayahuasca and plant medicine for trauma survivors, and generational trauma. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Clayne on the Vasper websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Charles Smith, an author, advocate, and lifelong survivor who uses his story as proof that you can overcome the worst that life has to offer. He has been an orphan, homeless veteran, and suicide survivor, and uses his pain as a building block to support others. Today, he’s here to speak loud about bringing awareness to complex PTSD. Compounding TraumasCharles’ mother passed away when was 6, followed later by his father at age 11. As a child, he moved often, and from the PTSD found it difficult to create close relationships. His sister recalls that he didn’t speak for 6 months after they moved in with their aunt and uncle following his father’s death. Charles says that he was in shock and depressed, and afraid of getting close to people only to lose them again. As a young adult, Charles joined the army infantry, serving in Cuba and in the reserves. However, after his uncle and grandfather passed away, Charles found himself a homeless veteran. The depression led him to self-harm and an eventual suicide attempt. He was taken to a mental health facility and later bounced between veteran shelters for 5 years. This crucible, he explains, was actually what helped turn his life around. He no longer felt alone, seeing others in similar circumstances, and changed his views. Understanding Complex PTSD When Charles first experienced PTSD, it was known as battle fatigue and thought to only affect veterans. By the time he grew up, it was concluded that anyone who went through trauma could have PTSD. Standard PTSD forms from one specific trauma. Complex or compound PTSD, however, Charles describes as a layered cake. You can’t have multiple instances of PTSD, but you can have multiple traumas that manifest in the same illness. After being diagnosed, Charles wanted to learn as much about PTSD as possible and help other veterans receive the support they needed. He offered help to veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as created programs for various organizations to use what he had learned about PTSD. He’s written 7 books on a range of subjects, including PTSD, addiction recovery, and financial well-being. Giving and Receiving HelpPresently, Charles is working with Aware Recovery Care, an addiction treatment organization that specializes in in-home treatment. He works with clients for 52 weeks as they battle addiction. This way, he’s able to support people in their homes for a longer period.Charles’ advice to listeners is to never give up. When he talks about his suicide attempt, he tells people that it was ten years ago and that his son is now ten years old. Without him, his son wouldn’t be here, either, along with many other great things he’s received since then. Charles says that he would “rather see someone get help than go to another wake.” He hopes that listeners will feel empowered by his story. Listen in for tools on managing PTSD symptoms, accepting the loss of loved ones, and Charles’ upcoming book and other projects. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webFind Charles’ books on his websiteContact Aware Recovery CareSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Papa Ray Hurst, a husband, father, and personal coach. After surviving two major depressions, he’s now leading people to freedom through his work as a speaker, author, pastor, and business owner. Today, he is here to speak loud about absent and abusive fathers and the social struggles that can be traced back to these roots. Returning to Core BeliefsPapa Ray’s greatest desire “is to be for the world what the world was not for me when I needed them the most.” His father left when he was 4, and he grew up in a Mennonite community that wasn’t equipped to handle the separation. He recounts that his relatives didn’t know what to do for him and no one stepped up to fill the space of father-figure, which led to his depressions later in life. Ray talks about the importance of identifying your dominant thoughts and returning to the core imprint of the subconscious, or the core beliefs. Narratives created in childhood—almost always before 10, Papa Ray says—are difficult to shake but necessary to change. A simple step to this hard process is asking yourself through writing, ‘Why am I thinking this?’ and digging deeper until you find the root cause. Freeing the MindFrom his own experience and others’, Papa Ray says abuse and trauma are never the victim’s fault, but holding onto resentment towards the abuser will block healing. He shares that his father was “looking for what he couldn’t find” when he left, but that wasn’t Ray’s fault. By shaming and blaming the other person, you’ll never be free. Ray believes that we can overcome any and every trauma we encounter. But forgiveness is key. He leads his own students to freedom by changing their beliefs of worthlessness and being unlovable. The abuser was broken and empty, and while they should still endure consequences, it’s unfair to the victim to continue punishing themselves mentally after the trauma has already ended. No one can live a healthy life until they let go of that resentment and blame. Healing Parental WoundsAs a personal development coach, Papa Ray shares his five simple steps to freedom with his clients, as well as his own father’s blessing. He shares that more than 90% of his clients were not loved by their fathers and all benefited greatly from his father’s blessing, which he shares in this episode. Papa Ray’s book, “Daddy Why Don't You Love Me? A Father's Blessing to a Daughter, Healing the Wounds of the Absent and Abusive Father,” also details his own story, apologies, and blessings. No matter how good a parent’s relationship with their child is, he says that there are no perfect parents out there, and everyone can benefit from learning how to identify and heal parental wounds. He hopes that listeners realize that they are valuable and loved, just as he did, and that everything is “one thing, one step. We don’t jump up mountains.” Listen in to learn more about Papa Ray’s 5 simple steps to freedom, his plans for the next five years, and a sample of his father’s blessing.Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Papa Ray on his websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Dr. Nghi Dang, a family medical physician of over ten years. He’s provided care to all ages for both mental and physical health, giving him a deeper view of the importance of mental health. He’s the author and illustrator of the “The Adventures of Max and Friends” children’s series and father of 2. Today, Nghi is here to speak loud about responding to mental health proactively rather than reactively and encouraging preventative action. Understanding Trauma and Mental IllnessNghi was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when he was 6. The culture shock turned his world upside down and he felt alone and outcasted in his new home. Despite his initial struggles with school, Nghi went on to follow his siblings’ examples in medicine and pursue a career as a doctor. Nghi explains that mental illness is often diagnosed when patients come in to treat symptoms that seem unexplained. Trauma and stress can affect the body in more ways than we might know, as Nghi explains, and there is a strong connection between trauma and the somatic system—which is a web of chronic symptoms one might feel in the body. Through his profession, he’s come to understand the stigma around talking about mental illness. Practicing Mental WellnessNghi believes that love will always triumph over hate and that taking care of yourself is a crucial part of your health and wellbeing. He shares inexpensive healing modalities, other than medication, such as cognitive behavior therapy for those with anxiety. Treatment requires effort and time on both sides of the patient, Nghi says. Yoga, meditation, and other practices that allow you to sort through emotions such as journaling and therapy are also helpful. Nghi also recommends mindfulness meditation which is derived from Buddhist wisdom. It’s easily accessible online and for free and, unlike other meditations, encourages the meditator to focus on the moment at hand. Mindfulness meditations are often guided, which Nghi believes is beneficial for those with trauma, guiding thoughts away from triggering subjects and back into the body. Proactively Addressing Mental HealthNghi believes in treating mental health proactively rather than reactively. Often, he feels that we fall behind and are often playing catch-up when it comes to our mental wellbeing. For this reason, he wrote his children’s book series, “The Adventures of Max and Friends” to open up a dialogue between parents and children around mental health. Nghi has written 8 books, all on different mental health topics that he gears towards middle ages. One book centers on bullying, for example, and another follows learning disabilities. Through writing and also his medical practice, he hopes to give resources and the avenues needed for parents to talk with their kids about mental health, and address mental illness before it becomes debilitating. Listen in to learn more about starting the conversation about mental health, stigmas around mental illness, and Nghi’s beliefs on how grit and failure can lead to success. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webFind Dr. Nghi Dang’s books onlineSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Neil McKinlay, a meditation teacher and mentor who seeks to share his lifelong interest and reflection in the practice of meditation. Through his online communities, he offers a range of resources to encourage and empower meditation practitioners to access their inner wisdom and bring it into the world. Healing the Relationship with SelfNeil has been meditating since he was a teenager and has practiced in 2 separate Buddhist communities. However, the community was being driven by the spiritual leader’s self-centered impulses, rather than healing and meditation. The manipulation and disrespect that Neil suffered from his teacher caused him to make the difficult decision to leave the community he had been a part of for twenty years.Neil left the community with a distorted relationship with himself and his intuition. He no longer works with a spiritual leader but is still reflecting on those twenty years and sifting through for the golden nuggets and silver linings of things he’s learned and taken with him. Finding Places to GatherIn Neil’s path to recovery and healing, he continued to turn towards his familiar practices of Buddhism and meditation. He has also gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of community, especially in light of COVID-19. Seeing how others were engaging in their lives with brilliance and creativity was a reminder to Neil of the same resilience and wisdom that lived inside himself. Meditation can offer something to heal trauma, Neil believes, but he also agrees that sitting in silence can be overwhelming for trauma survivors. His advice is to respect that experience of overwhelm as a message that meditation isn’t the right tool at that moment. While meditation works for some people, other practices may feel safer and more effective, depending on the time. Neil says that this was part of his own experience, even with his deep connection to meditation. Inspiring Others With MeditationFor someone who’s never meditated before, Neil suggests perusing the local library, YouTube, or podcasts for resources until something resonates with you, “like grocery shopping: just check things out based on what speaks to you.” There are many different languages and traditions of meditation, so he encourages listeners to explore what works for them.Neil offers resources of his own through his online communities. The Living Meditation Network is a free community that offers many of the meditation resources he mentions, such as writings, guided meditations, questions, and discussion boards. This and his subscription-based community are meant to be opportunities for people to gather, learn, and give and receive encouragement and inspiration weekly. Listen in to learn more about what happens when we meditate, online meditation communities, and Neil’s future book and online curriculum. 
Today I’m talking with Kimberly Bell, inspirational speaker, minister, and mentor. She’s the author of “Epitome of Kimberly: A Memoir of Finding Hope & Resilience.” She has 2 degrees, in Human Development and Psychology and in Theology. Through her books and talks, she inspires others to never give up hope and inspire others to solve societal issues. Today, she is here to speak loud about having the courage to be yourself and embrace your life. Learning to Choose HerselfKimberly describes her background of abandonment and abuse. She experienced abandonment from her parents and all forms of abuse. The ‘broken foundation’ started for her when her parents, who were in a physically abusive relationship, left her to be raised by her aunt without explanation. As an adult, she had to accept that it happened but she was not responsible for things adults did to her. She explains how the abandonment and abuse she went through influenced her experience with relationships in adulthood. She always put other people first and focused on what she could offer others, not vice-versa. Eventually, she learned, “I had to choose me and I had to choose my healing.” From there, she began to break the cycle. Breaking Generational CyclesKimberly says that the process of learning love was hard and tiring. As an African American woman, she wasn’t encouraged to embrace therapy for her mental health. She had a moment when, in a library, she asked God what direction to go, and looked up and saw a sign for a therapist. She called the number and broke the generational taboo in order to start her healing process. Several years later, Kimberly is single and the mother of 4 daughters and a grandmother. She uses the life lessons she’s learned to live in the moment and choose herself. By being true to herself and continuing to push through challenges, she was able to teach her children a better way and is proud to see that they have all had an easier journey. Courageous Enough to Choose YouKimberly shares that whenever she told others her life story, she was always met with the response, “That sounds like a book.” She was receiving the signs to share her story but had to build the courage to go all the way back into her trauma to record it. She soon took the initiative, and states, “You don’t have to accept or be defined by your past.” Why wouldn't she share her story and try to help someone else? Kimberly’s memoir lays out the foundations of her life and the genuine truth of the lessons she’s learned. She hopes that readers will see how she found her voice and be able to do the same. “Through God, nothing’s impossible, but we have to go through the process." Kimberly hopes listeners feel empowered and courageous enough to put themselves first and begin their healing.Listen in to learn about Kimberly’s journey with forgiveness, how she helps her community, and how to find resources and mentoring on her website. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Kimberly on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Donna Wayles, a wife, mother, and abuse survivor who shares her story of escaping domestic abuse with God’s love and grace. She’s the author of “I'll Pray for You: A Christian Woman's Guide to Surviving Domestic Violence” and a self-described domestic violence subject expert. Today, she is here to speak loud about being a thriver after domestic abuse and finding life and hope after abuse.Donna met her abuser through a church picnic when she was in her early 20s. She describes that the pressure from the church encouraged her to get married early and young, within 7 months of meeting her then-husband. Though she had been sensitive to the physical abuse he began to demonstrate, she interpreted his controlling behaviors as ‘protectiveness’ and being a sign of how much he loved her. As the abuse escalated, however, Donna began reaching out to different avenues for support. Another wife from church dismissed her concerns about her husband’s possessiveness and talking with her pastor only put her in more danger after the pastor talked with Donna’s husband privately. One night after a conference, Donna was calling a friend for help when her abuser physically threw her out of the house with her 16-month-old daughter and the clothes on her back. Donna, at the time, struggled to understand what she had done wrong, having followed the teachings of her family and her faith. The first line in her book, “How did my life get to be like this?” reflected this. However, she had to eventually learn—through counseling and other modalities—that the abuse she had undergone was not a reflection of herself but of her abuser. Realizing this was the beginning of her healing journey. One night, while pondering what to make for dinner, Donna realized that she could eat whatever she wanted. She could wear and do whatever she wanted as an individual without worrying about what he wanted. She felt like a second life had just dawned on her and she was determined to live that life. She is now remarried and her daughter, 18, is thriving in school studying graphic art. Donna’s book, “I’ll Pray For You,” was inspired by her domestic violence victim advocate who told her, “The best revenge to your abuser is living well.” Donna published her own story as a way to be her best self and also do for others what wasn’t done for her. She describes her process with forgiveness as not a one-time decision, but a journey. She’s learned that bitterness won’t serve her and has found peace in using her experience to help others. “Resilience is stubbornness, persistence, tenacity,” Donna says. Being determined to live her own life helped pull her out of those dark times. As someone raised to help others, she wishes she could have told her past self to be patient and to put herself first before trying to give herself away to others. She hopes readers of her book and listeners know that leaving an abusive situation is not the end and, in fact, there is something much better on the other side. Listen in to learn more about what modalities Donna used in her healing journey, what makes her feel empowered, and her experience with self-esteem and abuse. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Donna on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Debbie Terry, an author, speaker, and survivor of domestic abuse. She’s the host and owner of the Restoration Warrior Women’s Conference where she gathers women from all walks of life to share their stories and faith and help others overcome their obstacles. Today, she’s here to speak loud about her new book and offer support for other survivors who have yet to step out from their situations. Speaking Up After TraumaDebbie explains that she wasn’t aware of the extent of her own abuse because of the love she had for her husband at the time. After a nasty divorce and the separation from her children, her journey in healing began. She explains that factors such as pride and shame encouraged her to stay in her situation but ultimately had to accept that the other individual wasn’t going to change. Debbie is now remarried to the love of her life, but she describes that she at first pushed him away because she wasn’t used to the level of love and treatment he was giving her. The scars and layers from her abuse ran deep and she had to go back, with God’s help, and heal them one at a time. As her husband says, she had to “let it go like water off a duck’s back.” She did this by listening to that small inner voice and respecting it as well as her own judgment. How to Choose ForgivenessDebbie says that her true healing began when she realized that she couldn’t control what others did. Their actions were not a reflection of her but of themselves. Forgiveness is the biggest piece of healing, in her opinion. When you’re able to forgive a person that hurt you, you’re giving yourself freedom. A friend told Debbie, “You can either be bitter or you can be better,” and she knew that she wanted the latter, so she chose forgiveness for her abuser rather than holding resentment. She instructs listeners to forgive and then stop revisiting and move forward. Like pruning a rose, letting go of those wilted pieces make room for new growth. Sharing Her StoryDebbie’s latest book is called “When Love Wasn’t Enough: Because I Loved Him.” Her book was published in March, but she has been working on it (with God’s guidance, she says) for several years. She says that God encouraged her to write the story, and though she initially ignored the call, writing it was a healing process for her. Debbie prioritizes helping and connecting with others and hopes that the readers of her book feel seen and know they aren’t alone. She started her women’s conference for similar reasons, which is going on its 5th year and shares the details on her website. Debbie hopes listeners feel encouraged to pray and discover what their next steps are in starting a new journey after trauma and abuse. Listen in to hear more about the effects of alienation in divorce and families, finding the right person, and what future plans Debbie has for the next five years. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Debbie on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast andshare this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Amy Stein, an herbalist, energy medicine educator, and trauma-informed breathwork facilitator. Her mission is to educate and empower the highly empathetic so that they can live in harmony with their body and their environment by working with Mother Nature’s intelligence rather than against it. Today she’s here to speak loud about choosing what is best for our bodies and the intersections of the body’s intelligence and empathy. Treating the Root CauseAmy shares that throughout her life she often felt misunderstood and not honored when it came to her body. Symptoms such as migraines and blackouts were dismissed or she was told, “Your body is broken, take this pill.” These wounds and limiting beliefs followed her into adulthood as the ailments only increased. Her journey began while teaching geriatric patients coping skills such as meditation as an alternative to medication. However, Amy didn’t fully understand the concepts she was teaching and decided to educate and empower herself. The body isn’t a car; you can’t just treat the symptoms, but must tackle the root cause. It’s a life-long journey, Amy explains, but she says that you won’t be led astray if you trust your intuition. The Wisdom of Plant MedicineAmy’s intuition guided her to plant medicine and she began learning about the different affinities plants have to support her body. She regularly forages and utilizes the innate intelligence of Mother Nature. The earth is resilient and adapting, and Amy has found power in communing with nature and taking advantage of that symbiotic relationship. The hardest part about plant medicine, Amy says, is learning what works best for you. However, it’s very easy to get started. She cautions listeners to be mindful of what and where they’re picking but even plants in your city or backyard can be beneficial. Herbs such as thyme, lemon balm, and lavender also have great healing properties and can be easily grown indoors.Getting into the Body with BreathworkAmy explains that breathwork is a great and easy way to reconnect with the body. Some people find it more accessible than meditation because it invites thoughts and feelings to be processed and released. You don’t need to go into breathwork with an agenda; the body has its own agenda while the mind is quiet. Amy offers breathwork for others through coaching and weekly group sessions. She believes that breathwork can be transformative and easy and it’s the modality that has helped her the most in her healing journey. Through her services, she teaches others to show up for themselves and hopes that listeners know that they have the answers within. They are not broken and are encouraged to choose what’s best for them and their bodies. Listen in to learn about spiritual energy and intuition, homeopathy, and how to start foraging in your own backyard. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Amy on her websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast and share this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Greg Wieting, a healer and entrepreneur who helps others heal from anxiety, depression, trauma, and chronic pain with his unique blend of trauma neuroscience, energy medicine, and somatic and mindfulness practice. He developed this framework, Prisma, during his own healing journey and is here to speak loud about working with pain in a significant way. Rising Above Chronic PainWhat Greg shares with clients is what he’s learned from his own 25 years of healing. He has dealt with muscular-skeletor difficulties his entire life but didn’t seek healing until finding reiki work after college. That moment was something he never realized he had been looking for and it sent him on a journey to discover more healing modalities for himself and others. Greg says that his early experiences taught him, “I’m not my pain.” Our lives are often organized around pain or trauma, but he realized that this didn’t have to be the case. After 8 months in India, he studied bodytalk, yoga, and ayurveda, which led him to teaching trauma-informed healing at a friend’s school. Somatic Healing PracticesGreg explains that ‘working somatically’ is getting in touch with the body’s experience and making contact with the subconscious that’s stored in the body. Harboring pain and trauma can stop the ability to feel ourselves and in turn lose presence and agency. Developing a somatic relationship with our body helps us know who we are. Greg describes the process of tuning back in with the body as metabolizing trauma as you gradually digest feelings that were at one point too much to touch. Reiki is one of the practices that broadens the window of tolerance in the body, he explains, giving us the capacity to thaw out and process. Accessing Deeper HealingPart of learning how to heal the nervous system is learning how to develop psychological safety, Greg says. His advice for starting is to locate a safety resource to act as a foundational baseline, such as a comforting memory. Accessing a safe memory and replaying it through all five senses allows the brain to develop a new baseline. Neuroplasticity is an important part of Greg’s teachings. By freeing up space in the brain by setting a new, safer baseline, clients and students are able to imagine new possibilities. “Imagination creates the structure of our brain.” He adds that healing is a continuous journey and that he hopes listeners don’t do it alone, as he believes that deeper healing happens relationally. Listen in to learn Greg’s tips for individual healing, meditation, and his online course and community. Resources MentionedJoin Me on Speak Loud PlatformSpeak Loud Podcast on the webConnect with Greg on his websiteSpread the message of Speak Loudly Podcast andshare this episode with a friend!Please review our podcast disclaimer on our website
Today I’m talking with Jimmy Clare, a motivational speaker, autism advocate, and author. He’s the founder of ‘Crazy Fitness Guy’ and became a speaker after overcoming his own personal struggles in life. He had been told he wouldn’t be able to walk without braces, bullied, and undergone 9 surgeries, including 3 in one day. Today, he is here to speak loud about proving naysayers wrong.Growing Up With AutismHaving autism affected Jimmy in many aspects of life. He didn’t reach many milestones as a kid, though he doesn’t like the idea of ‘milestones’ as they imply that he was behind in some way. When he was a child, a friend of his mother’s told her, “Don’t worry about Jimmy not talking at the moment because later in life he’ll never shut up.” In a way he was right, as Jimmy is now a professional speaker. Many of Jimmy’s struggles stemmed from school. Bullying was rampant and there was less understanding and acceptance for autism at the time. He recalls not being supported or understood by the school district, which often exacerbated situations. He’s thankful that there is more awareness and resources for autism now than there was then because of the shortcomings of his school and community in supporting him. Finding His Path in LifeAs a child, Jimmy didn’t understand why he was being bullied. He recounts the instances of bullying starting out small and escalating. He would be asked questions that other kids knew he wouldn’t be able to answer, as someone in special education, and the humiliation and rejection continued. Students even risked paralyzing him when they would hit him on the back of the neck because of his spinal stenosis. Jimmy’s physical condition also brought its own challenges, though many of which he’s been able to adapt to. Despite what doctors thought, he never needed braces or crutches. He’s able to drive and is pursuing his associate’s degree in college. Despite his unique challenges, Jimmy has been adamant in proving others wrong. Spreading His StoryJimmy started producing content through his ‘Crazy Fitness Guy’ website, and later created a podcast in order to produce something new. The podcast has been up for 2 years. He has also dabbled in Zoom and is now live-streaming. He loves to speak and has appeared on more than 130 podcast episodes. When faced with challenges in business, Jimmy has learned not to throw things out the window, but to continue trying something new in order to find the right balance. On his podcast, Jimmy talks about fitness, nutrition, self-help and more, specifically for autistic people. He’s had amazing guests such as authors, motivational speakers, and nutritionists. The joy of hearing that his content has helped other people has kept him going, and he’s reached many goals of his own, such as being featured in a magazine. Jimmy hopes that listeners know that autism is not a disease and it does not have to be cured—and that labels do not define who you are. He recommends resources such as the Autism Society, which provides reliable education and information. Listen in to learn more about Jimmy’s experience with technology and media studies, how he balances multiple forms of content creation, and his future plans.
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