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When I started this podcast earlier this year, it was really as a bit of a passion project. I love storytelling and love learning other people’s stories, and I  wanted an avenue to share some of the amazing stories I’ve come across through my network of friends and family over the year. Every day we make judgements about people - how they behave and why they behave the way they do. But what I’ve come to learn is that every single person has a story. And those stories are the experiences that have shaped and changed them. When we start to ask about who they are and their lives, we start to uncover so much more about each individual. I really believe it’s by investing in the time to understand people - and sharing their stories - that we start to connect to each other more deeply, and show more empathy and understanding for those around us.I’ve been incredibly privileged and humbled that so many people have agreed to share their stories with me - and with you - this year.  I can’t thank you all enough for being so open and generous with your stories, and also helping me to bring my passion project to life.But when one of my besties suggested I should do a podcast episode about me, I didn’t exactly jump at the idea! Firstly, I just don’t think I’m that interesting! But also, I feel really uncomfortable talking about myself. But when I reflected on it, I realised I ask a lot of my podcast guests, so the least I could do is put myself out of my comfort zone and do the same thing. So here it is - a little bit about me!Content warning - in this episode, I do mention experiences of domestic and family violence. If this content impacts you in any way and you need support, please consider contacting:1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.Thank you to my wonderful friend Ashleigh for agreeing to be my interviewer for this episode. She did an incredible job of trying to keep me on track!This is the final episode in this season of the podcast - I have more stories in progress ready for the next season, which will be launched in early 2022. If you have a story to share, or you know someone who does, please get in touch. You can find me on LinkedIn, on instagram at @heymel.comms, or via my website - heymelcomms.training.
Imagine if one morning you woke up believing you were a dragon … and then two days later, you were you. And then perhaps a couple of weeks later, you were back to being a dragon, or perhaps you are now a big strong tradie.This is the reality of life for those who have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which used to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder. So what causes DID, and what is life like for people living with the disorder?In this episode, I interviewed psychologist Johanna Knyn whose special area of interest is working with patients  with  DID. She provides insights into the real experiences of people living with the disorder, and dispels a few of the harmful myths surrounding the disorder.It’s a fascinating insight into how some people can develop altered senses of identity, how we can all be more understanding of people in that position, and what treatment can look like to support people in their healing journey.Joh is a qualified psychologist who owns her own psychology practice, Guided Healing Psychology, based in Brisbane. She provides psychological support specifically for those who experience Dissociative Identity Disorder and Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder. As part of treatment, Joh aims to guide each client on their path to personal healing, helping create harmonious relationships with the self and others (including parts of self), using evidence-based interventions.You can find out more about Joh and her practice by visiting https://www.guidedhealingpsychology.com or you can find her on Instagram at @guidedhealingpsychology Please note this episode does mention traumas that can cause DID that might be triggering for some listeners. If you need support, please consider making an appointment with your GP or Psychologist, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
As a young boy growing up with his multi-cultural family in a small country town in Queensland, Rudi Landmann always felt a bit out of place. A self-described nerdy kid who loved reading, science and technology, but shied away from sport, Rudi found it difficult to relate to other country kids, so jumped at the opportunity to move back to the big city for his university studies in space engineering.When his engineering opportunities didn’t eventuate, he turned to the arts, which would take him on a career path that ended up spanning stints as a speech and drama teacher, a ghost writer, and an office manager before re-entering the world of digital and tech, marrying the love of his life and raising two beautiful boys.While navigating his career, Rudi also led a very sedentary lifestyle so he eventually decided to do something about his health and fitness, and discovered a love of exercise, to the point where he would eventually own his own pilates studio. But when he’d lost the weight and built the muscle, he realised he still wasn’t happy in himself and who he portrayed himself to be. And this started an ever-evolving quest of discovering his gender identity, and getting himself to a place where he was truly happy in himself.Rudi is an incredible human and I feel absolutely privileged that he chose to share his story on this podcast. If you’d like to connect with Rudi, you can find him on Instagram at @rudilandmann or Facebook and LinkedIn.
In the last two episodes of this podcast,  we spoke to Jess and Lachlan, and explored how many of us struggle to form a sense of self in our adolescent and young adult years. We also looked into how their career choices both reflected and shaped their identities.In today’s episode, I sat down with psychologist Nicole Wright to unpack some of the key themes from these two stories.Nicole is the owner of Rise Therapies, a practice with two clinics in Brisbane. An educational and developmental psychologist, Nicole has a specific interest in supporting women, athletes, performers and young people. Nicole also brings to her practice her own experiences of bullying as a child, and that’s just one of the many themes we touch on in this conversation. We explore the impacts of bullying on a person’s sense of self, difficulties in navigating and exploring identity as an adolescent or young adult, and how career choices can be both the result of and help shape our identities further.If you want to find out more about Nicole and her practice, head to www.risetherapies.com.au, or you can find her on Instagram at @nicolewrightpsychologist. 
This week’s episode is the second where we look at how our career choices help to reflect and also shape who we are as people.In today’s episode, I talk with Lachlan Palmer, a qualified mechanic and the founder of start-up online  mechanic business Kashy’s.Lachy’s passion for pulling apart motor vehicles started as a very young child, but it’s also from that time that he began to suffer with a mental illness, which would later be diagnosed as depression. His struggle with his mental health and his idea of what he ‘should’ do as a career path led to a near-fatal turn of events late in high school.Thankfully, Lachy has come back from that low point to follow the career path that makes him happy, surrounded by great friends and his beautiful fiancé. And he’s also the biggest advocate for getting the right support for your mental health.In this episode we follow Lachy’s journey from the little kid who was bullied in high school, to the ambitious business owner he is today.If you want to connect with Lachy, you can find him on LinkedIn or check out the Kashy’s website, Facebook page, and Insta profile.Please note - today’s episode does talk about suicide and mental health struggles. If these topics impact you in any way, please consider seeking support. For support with mental health concerns, please consider calling Lifelife Australia on 13 11 14.
I was delighted to talk to  my guest Jess Ndenda for this episode. Jess is the founder and owner of two businesses - Olive Louise Social, a digital marketing agency, and The Belle Evolution, a platform to bring together women entrepreneurs and provide networking opportunities, support and resources as they navigate growing their businesses.While Jess now revels in her life as a busy businesswoman, it hasn’t always been this way. Growing up her sense of self-worth was challenged by an unsupportive family environment, which carried over into her teenage and adult years. As a 19 year old, she fell pregnant for the first time and thought her role in life was to be a mother and wife, and she threw herself into this new phase. But, as Jess candidly puts it, she realised that while she loved her children and her husband, she hated her identity being solely based around motherhood and being a wife. Over the years, Jess has been on a voyage of self-discovery as she’s built her business, her family, and her sense of self worth. Her story is one I’m sure many can relate to.As a side note, in the podcast Jess mentions she’s pregnant with baby number five! At this point, the baby is still cooking but we’re looking forward to meeting the newest addition to the Ndenda family in a couple of weeks.To find out more about Jess and her work, follow her on all the socials, but a great starting place is Instagram:  @thebelleevolution, @olivelouisesocial, or @mrsjessndenda 
So many of the stories on this podcast show us how humans have the ability to take terrible experiences and turn them into something good for the world, and today’s podcast is a shining example of this in action.I had the pleasure of talking to Sally Douglas and Imogen Carn, the co-hosts of The Good Mourning podcast. Sal and Im first met a couple of years ago at a grief support group after they both lost their mums suddenly, and an instant connection was formed. Finding it hard to find grief support resources that spoke to them, the two came up with the idea to start a podcast about grief, and the Good Mourning podcast was formed - along with a beautiful friendship!Now with over 27,000 followers on Instagram, the podcast is not only helping others, but it’s also helped Im and Sal to process their grief and create a supportive community.In this interview, we delve back into Im and Sal’s personal stories about growing up, finding their paths in life, and how their experiences and grief have shaped who they are today. Please note - today’s episode does talk about suicide and the passing of loved ones. If any of these topics impact you in any way, please consider seeking support. You can reach out to these support groups:For support with mental health concerns, consider calling Lifelife Australia on 13 11 14For bereavement support, please consider contacting GriefLine on 1300 845 745
Every few weeks on this podcast I chat to a psychologist to help us unpack some of the key themes from the stories we’ve heard in the previous weeks.This week, I was lucky to chat to the wonderful Leilanie Pakoa, a psychologist based in Brisbane who specialises in child psychology and sport and exercise psychology.We talked through some of the key themes that came from the stories of Casey and Caroline, who featured on the podcast over the past fortnight.Leilanie was able to bring to our discussion not only her perspective as a psychologist, but also her experiences with identity and culture. Leilanie’s mum is from Scotland and her dad from Vanuatu, and she grew up in Australia, so she’s enjoyed a rich, diverse cultural upbringing.In this week’s episode, we chat about the role culture plays in our developing sense of identity, how we can draw from culture in those defining moments in our lives, and what we can learn from these stories.I really enjoyed this chat on all things culture, identity, and growing up, and I hope you do to!If you’d like to learn more about Leilanie’s practice, you can find her on Instagram at @surge.pw or visit her website, https://www.surgepw.com/
Caroline Perry is a proud Maori woman, who grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, in home with her sister, and multiple foster siblings her parents cared for over the years.But at the age of 14, her family moved to Australia and she found herself isolated from her friends, her culture, and her sister who had decided to stay in New Zealand. While struggling in high school, she also found ways to keep a strong sense of culture alive, and it’s this culture that has played a significant role in her developing sense of identity as she’s grown older.Just a few years ago, Caroline and her family experienced an extremely sad loss, but through this time again Caroline was able to draw on her culture to find a sense of comfort and strength.Today, the resilience she’s built and her sense of culture help her support countless young Maori and Indigenous Australians through her work in youth justice. Her incredible story demonstrates how an identity that draws on a strong sense of culture can be someone’s most powerful strength.Please note that this episode does describe instances of domestic violence and suicide. If you need support, please reach out to these support groups:For support with experiences of domestic and family violence, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website.For support with mental health concerns, consider calling Lifelife Australia on 13 11 14
As a teenager living in the suburbs of Brisbane, Casey McMurtrie enjoyed a fairly normal, happy upbringing living with her parents, her two younger brothers, and her grandmother being a constant presence. She had plenty of friends, did well at school, and had plans to study, work and travel.While of Aboriginal descent, Casey’s family never talked much about her ancestry and culture, and she never inquired too much about where they came from.Until one day, as a 19 year old, a family member let slip a secret that would cause Casey to re-think her whole sense of identity. This moment would send her on a journey of many years as she pieced together her heritage, her culture, her connection to country, and developed a strong, proud Aboriginal identity that is core to the incredible work she does today with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Imagine you’re a young woman in your late twenties, planning your wedding with your fiancé, and enjoying life with your friends and family. You’ve grown up in a traditional Italian family, with strong values around marriage and family, and you’re excited about the prospect of being married and eventually being a mum.Then imagine that just five months into your marriage, your husband reveals a secret that blows everything apart, and before you know it, you’re on the path to divorce.How would you react? How would that make you feel about everything you thought you were, and everything you thought you wanted?Well today’s guest, Lisa-Marie Vecchio, shares an incredible story that shows that divorce can be the catalyst for not only questioning your thought processes and values, but importantly it can make your sense of self clearer, and more focused on who you are and what you really want in life. 
Imagine you’re a four year old little boy, living in suburbia with your mum and two brothers. With your dad out of the picture, your mum eventually remarries. But happiness is very short-lived - your new stepfather is physically and verbally abusive, and as your family is in a fundamentalist Christian Church, there is no help, and nobody you can turn to.To make matters worse, when you’re a teenager you realise you’re gay - something that is expressly forbidden in your Church. For years you keep this secret to yourself, convinced you are less than worthy, and consumed with shame.Well for today’s guest, Josh Nixon, this was his experience. Growing up in the Jehova’s Witness church, he was socially isolated, living every day in fear of his stepfather, and in fear of what the Church would do if they found out he was gay.Josh eventually had the courage to leave the church and accept and embrace who he was as a person, but not without a great deal of struggle and strength. In today’s episode, Josh provides insight into what life was like growing up in the Church, how the abuse was tolerated, and how he eventually was able to leave the church and come out to his family and friends.Please note, this episode does discuss family violence, and thoughts of suicide. If you need support, please reach out to these support groups:For support with experiences of domestic and family violence, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit their website.For support with mental health concerns, consider calling Lifelife Australia on 13 11 14
For the last two weeks we’ve been hearing stories from some incredible humans. And while we will continue to tell these stories, I want to  make sure we look deeper into how experiences like these impact us as humans, and our sense of self. So in today’s episode, I talk with Psychologist Amy Kate Isaacs, as we unpack some of the key themes from these stories. Amy Kate and her team will be back every few weeks to help explain the psychology behind these experiences, and what happens in our brains and our behaviours when we’re processing the world around us.This isn’t about a diagnosis of any of our podcast guests! I want to make that clear. What it is about is using these stories as examples of what so many of us go through, and using a professional view to help us understand these themes and what that looks like for us humans. As the owner of The Mindful Collective, Amy Kate practices as a Developmental Psychologist from The Mindful Collective Studio in Paddington, inspiring mindful and compassionate change alongside the TMC team and women’s-health focused businesses. In her not-so-spare time Amy Kate also supervises budding psychologists from the University of Queensland as an Adjunct Lecturer, is a Board Director for ALLKND (also known as GRLKND) and is the Co-Founder of Brain Pilot with Milly Bannister. As a curious human, Amy Kate is also studying her second Masters, this time in the Science of Medicine (Sexual and Reproductive Health) to become a Sexologist. She invites people to join her collective in whatever capacity nourishes your soul – whether that be through your socials, events, workshops or one-on-one therapy. You can find out more about them at themindfulcollective.co and you can find them on Instagram at @themindfulcollective. In today’s episode, we talk about we process grief, and the best way to support people in a really meaningful way who are experiencing grief. We also look at the different types of grief and what we know about how our brains work during a grief experience.During the episode, Amy Kate references understanding how values play a part in processing grief, and supporting those who are grieving. She’s kindly shared her values finder, which you can access here.Please note - this episode does mention not only grief, but an experience of sexual assault. If any of these discussions impact you in any way, please consider seeking support. You can contact 1800 RESPECT for support for sexual assault, or contact Griefline to talk to someone about your experience of grief.
If you were 18 years old and just found out, purely by accident, that you had an older sibling that you’d never met, how would you react?Well today’s guest, Tammy Siddons, lived that experience, which kicked off many years of exploring her place in her family, and how to build a relationship with the sister she never knew she had.But Tammy’s story doesn’t end there… in her adult years, she made an incredible sacrifice to save the life of a child. But the ramifications of that decision had long-last impacts, and the end result of that choice was a tragedy no-one expected.Through Tammy’s story you’ll hear about the heartache she’s endured, but it’s a testament to the strength of her spirit, and how her sense of self has evolved over time. If this episode raised any concerns with you about dealing with grief, please consider contacting GriefLine.For more information about kidney disease and organ donation:Kidney Health AustraliaDonate Life
Imagine you’ve sent your child off on the adventure of a lifetime - living and working in London, travelling Europe, meeting new friends and exploring new places.Then you receive news that changes everything. The unimaginable has happened, your child is missing, potentially murdered in a terrorist attack.That nightmare became a reality for Queensland couple Julie and Mark Wallace when their daughter, Sara, was tragically killed in the London terror attacks in 2017Understandably, this event changed everything for the couple. But before this tragedy struck, Julie had already been on a life-long journey of personal discovery. From a dysfunctional, violent home life as a young girl, to an intrepid traveller, and an ill-fated marriage to a drug dealer, multiple business ventures, and everything in between, Julie’s resilience and incredible work ethic were already in motion.In today’s episode, we follow Julie’s life from her childhood in Dandenong, Victoria, to where she is today, with her husband Mark building an incredible support service for those who have suffered trauma, in memory of their daughter.If you'd like to learn more about their work, visit https://sarzsanctuary.com/ and you can also find Sarz Sanctuary on Instagram and Facebook.And if this episode has raised concerns for you about your own grief, please consider contacting GriefLine. Additionally, this podcast also involves discussion of domestic violence. If this impacts you in any way, please consider contacting 1800Respect.
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