In this episode of the You Here Now podcast, Amy Adams gets personal and shares her story of love, struggle and transformation when her world is upended one early Thursday morning.
In this episode of You Here Now, Amy Adams shares her story of love, struggle, PTSD and transformation when her world is upended one early Thursday morning. That morning an event occurred that changed her and her husband's lives radically with long-lasting repercussions. Leaving her to answer the question - Are some promises meant to be broken?
In this episode, Amy welcomes the new co-host - Whitney Walker. Whitney helped to facilitate the storytelling portion of this month's episode and discusses healing trauma, alternative healing modalities, therapy and more with Amy. Have a listen.
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A Mindful Soul Center Podcast
Welcome to you here. Now, a mindful soul center podcast. We share real stories that remind us that change happens and we’re not alone. Today’s episode broken promises,
I’m Amy Adams
And I’m Whitney Walker.
It’s perfect that you’re here because as her listeners may know if you’re just joining us now welcome, or if you’ve listened before, this is not a trauma-based podcast, but it does a little bit, a little bit. It does include people’s stories that have been transformative. And unfortunately, I guess maybe sometimes trauma is the thing that
Transforms us, whether we like it or not. Whitney, I would love you to introduce yourself to the audience since you are now going to be
Joining us on a regular basis here. So why don’t you let people know a little bit about your
Job? Well, I’m very excited to be joining you on a regular basis. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, so I have my own private practice in Woodside, California. I specialize in addiction, eating disorders and trauma. So a real focus on helping people heal and people who are moving into a place of more alignment and greater peace, further development of that was creating my website, which is women weekend, which is the broader idea and concept of allowing more of a divine feminine presence in our world so that there is less struggle and suffering and things such as addiction and illness and more peace and harmony and balance. That’s also the theme of my podcast, the women waken podcast, which interviews, women who are doing the healing work, that’s based more around spirituality and some more esoteric concepts in today’s episode.
It is going to be my story,
Which is a little bit different because that really wasn’t the intention. When I started the podcast was to tell my story, but I think there’s a lot of value in it. And it has to do with my former husband and an event that changed my life and his life radically in literally seconds. Whitney helped me to tell this story. So if you’re new to the podcast, the way that it works is that in the very beginning, we have a personal story that is facilitated by one of the co-hosts. And then after we have a little bit about resources or some commentary,
I think it’s a really beautiful story and really powerful. And I think it’s going to be really helpful to a lot of people to hear this story because it does mix something that’s, it happens a lot, but people don’t always talk about, which is the the the crossover of trauma and relationship. When something happens between two people, I mean, relationships are challenging enough as it is for two people to build a life together, to make sure a relationship can thrive amongst work and personal and everything else that life comes with, but throw in a significant traumatic event. And that really shakes everything up in a different way. Right?
We’ll just go to the story. Now,
I always wanted to just have a person who was interested in the same kinds of things that I was, and that treated me like a person instead of an object. He did think I had a nice. So he did objectify me in some ways, but we got along really well. And we had a lot of common interests and the things we like to do the same things. So we got married and then we did the regular things. We adopted a couple of kittens, we got a dog, we saved money. We got out of debt because that was another, you know, being on your own young person thing. We were both kind of in debt when we got married. So we saved money. We bought a house and he loved to renovate homes. And the house was over a hundred years old and needed a lot of work.
So it was perfect. We had a yard and we had a dog and we named her Chelsea Adams, Chaz Mar because I kept my last name and he had his last name, which is so, and we sounded like a law firm. So Adams and Jasmine, so he had his own business. And that was really challenging in the beginning. I continued to work at ABC. And then at some point I left ABC after working there for nine years and went back to school full time. So I could finish my degree and not take another 20 to get it done. I got a job in the textile industry, which was amazing because we had, it was shitty pay, but we had half-day Fridays during the summer, we engineered the textiles and then they would go to the loom to be woven. And I worked the later shift.
So I had to be at work from the late afternoon till around midnight. And he worked during the daytime and then on the weekend we got together. So I thought that was really ideal for marriage because one, I could get all kinds of things done and do some of my own hobbies and things. But then on the weekend we just spent quality time together. You know, it was really like more like, almost like you’re kind of going back to like that dating kind of thing, except for you’re living with the person. So it was ideal. Really things were really going well and we were really starting to progress. And then we had this year of really kind of coming together. And that was just about, I guess, we’re going into like the ninth year of being married, everything was kind of falling into place. And then one day I woke up to a loud bang and my car got totalled.
It was just parked in front of my house. And then the week after exactly, I woke up because the alarm went off and he came back to bed and that’s something that he never ever did. I was kind of annoyed because I love my sleep. I’m not a morning person. Actually. I could be kind of angry if I don’t get enough sleep, he ended up starting to not be able to breathe. Like he went into respiratory failure, but I didn’t really know what that was at the time. I almost kind of thought he was joking. And not that he would joke about something like that, but who thinks that when you’re in your early thirties, that your husband is going to go into respiratory failure, he stopped breathing completely. And he was blue. His lips were blue. I called 9 1, 1 did CPR. And I actually lifted him off of the bed and put him on the floor, ripped off his t-shirt and the whole thing. And I kind of, I mean, it was like, I remember all of it so clearly, but I don’t even know how I did that because he was not a small person. I mean, he wasn’t like huge, but he was six feet and weighed like 180 pounds. I don’t even really that’s one part. It’s not really clear to me how I did that, but I know I did.
He was clinically dead for several minutes because, you know, when you die, you expel waste from your body. And not only from like, if you can release urine and I don’t even know what you’d call poop feces, I guess. When you die, it’s normal. When I was doing the CPR, he kind of like threw up, not, not, but it was kind of hard to explain, but it’s not even like the throat. It wasn’t like throat. It was just like a little bit like a little release. And it was terrible. The house that we lived in was elevated off of the street. So when the ambulance even came, they had to walk up a flight of stairs from the street cross in front of the property and then woke up more stairs. And then I had to unlock the door and they had to come up even more stairs.
So it was like, and you know, they arrived pretty quickly. Then they came and they gave him a shot of adrenaline and they had, which was kind of a new thing at the time too. They had a mini defibrillator kind of kit, which at that time was in 1995, you know, it was a volunteer ambulance corps. It wasn’t like a big fancy you know, huge city kind of thing. I lived in the suburbs of Manhattan. That was actually something that was pretty new. And at the time when he left the house on the stretcher, he was in a coma anyway, it was kind of crazy. I mean, it was like six o’clock in the morning. He woke up early when he was a teenager, he had stage four cancer, he beat cancer. And I mean, stage four is, you know, that’s bad.
So it’s not. And at the time, I mean, when he had it, that was in the 1970s. So at that time, the kind of technology, he was lucky because he went to Sloan Kettering and his doctors where he was actively involved in his own healing. And so he did have chemo and radiation and all of that. He also was taught meditation by his doctors and he really focused on healing himself and went to like the emotional roots of that. He was in the ER and then he was put into intensive care and then he was in a coma for three days. I was kind of at the point where it was time for me to make a decision about what to do because he had a brain injury, he was on a respirator and could not breathe on his own. His brain was swollen because of the lack of oxygen and everything.
And so they had no idea, like really any kind of impact that his lack of oxygen would have in the long term. And they didn’t even really know what the reason was, why it happened threshold. I was sleeping at my mom’s house. She was feeding me. So I could just go to the hospital and then come back and eat and get a place to sleep. And I didn’t have to worry about going back to the house because even in the house, we don’t really think about it. But when I did go back before I went back there were a couple of people that went there and cleaned up all the medical waste that was there. So I didn’t have to deal with that, which was really nice, you know, something I wouldn’t have thought about. So, but my mom had been a nurse in the past, so she sent people to clean up so I could go back there eventually without dealing with it. So I did have an experience though with him, which was kind of crazy and maybe can even seem weird and unbelievable and Woolworths, and maybe people are like, sure, you did.
Aye. We woke up maybe around like four o’clock in the morning. And I, I mean, I was awake, but it was like I don’t know if it was a lucid dream or exactly what it was, but I did have this experience where I met him in the kind of typical tunnel. I mean, it sounds kind of crazy, but he was actually like this kind of shadowy figure and there was light behind him. And it wasn’t like a crazy bright light cause I wasn’t in the tunnel. So I didn’t get that experience of a crazy bright white light, but it, there was a light and he was this kind of silhouetted kind of figure there. And I had a conversation with him about whether or not he wanted to stay on the earth and if he wanted to, if he thought he was going to be okay and what, whatever he wanted to do, but that if he needed to go, you know, it was his decision.
And I knew then though, just a few minutes later where I kind of came even more into like my regular consciousness I was, I jumped up and called the hospital to see if he was still in a coma because I felt like he wasn’t. And they, you know, I was holding on and they went to check on him and they came back and they said, there’s no change. Like he’s still in the same state. And I just, I kind of really couldn’t even believe that I quickly like put on clothes, hopped in my car and I got there and he was out of the coma
It was pretty amazing. Like I went there and then, and they even like the nurses and stuff and they were like, oh, that’s interesting. You know, I don’t even really remember what he said to me. I only know what I said to him and I kind of left it to him. Yeah. It wasn’t really like him responding to me necessarily, but it was more like a psychic kind of thing. I mean, it’s kind of interesting because I don’t know if this, a sign of an unhealthy relationship or a healthy one, but even a few years before this happened, he was in a car accident and I was at work and w and I knew something was wrong. Like I just had had that kind of feeling because we were really connected. I remember calling him and then finding out he was, luckily he was fine, you know, but his car was totalled, but it was really interesting to me that we had these kinds of experiences of that unspoken or telepathic or something, state positive learnings after everything happened.
He had a brain injury and it was super challenging and there were so many great things about it in a way, in retrospect, I can say it made me a strong person. It made me able to stand up for myself. I remember, the minister that married us, you know, he came to the hospital and I was talking to him and I said, you know, I was like, I’m not the diplomat in the family. Like, what am I supposed to do with all these people? What am I suppose, like, I don’t know how to do this. And he was like, yeah, you can do it. I mean, that’s all he needed to say to me. He was like, yeah, you can do it. Right. But I was able to do it. And I was able to do a ton of stuff.
I was able to, you know, fight insurance companies and do this and that, and move us to my mom’s for six months and then move us back home. And, you know, all this kind of crazy stuff. I’m more..then they moved him to the intensive care unit. Like if he, he would be fed when he came out of the coma, but he would make like a motion, like with his arm, because it was like a natural reflex. So like, as like, if his dad was there or I was there and he was, you know, putting the spoon into his mouth, he would automatically do like this kind of thing. He could speak, but he was in another time zone. Didn’t even remember my sister and my brother-in-law were married. He thought he was in another time period. But at the same time, I would show him pictures of our dog and he’d be like
He knew who she was. So that was pretty fascinating. Then he had to learn how to walk again. He had to learn how to write again. He had gone to school for architecture, right. So he could, he was very good at calculus and structural engineering and things like this as kind of like high-level thinking of problem-solving. He could do that, but he couldn’t remember something that you said two minutes ago, the short-term memory thing, there was kind of like a period of time from like, his intelligence was not lost. He was in the hospital for a month and he had a couple of procedures for his heart. He had a defibrillator implanted and all this kind of stuff. When the first hospital, I go to his room in the morning, cause I had to go to work later in the day.
And I would just go spend my time with him. And I’m like laying in bed with him, talking to him, whatever he had music in his room. Like, I mean, I was really like, oh, like, you know, listening to music is really good to heal the brain. So, you know, we’re like, okay, you got to listen to music, let’s do all this stuff. And he.. I would leave because at the time I was smoking and I’d go have a cigarette and I’d come back and he’d be like, Hey, how come you didn’t come to visit me? And I was like, mark, I was just here like five minutes ago.
And he had a couple of good friends that came, like, it was kind of hysterical because his friend Frank from childhood came and had him for his like therapy. He had like a binder, you know, cause he had to like somebody would come and do some lessons with him and stuff. And so Frank would have him draw pictures of naked girls. And I was like, and so like, they’re just like they were children. So it was very funny, but leaving, I was still in love with him. I loved him. I wanted, I was glad he was alive. I was super happy about it. I thought that he was going to get better. Even though some doctors were very negative and saying things about the brain about, you know, how he may never, he might become a psychotic and he might this and he might that.
And I think and that really wasn’t where any of the signs were pointing to. And I’m one of those people who believe in like not like mir…, it’s not even like miracles. I believed, I knew that he was going to recover like his I knew that it was not going to be a permanent thing. And somebody might say that’s denial because sometimes people have a brain injury and they don’t. But I was also really proactive with him and about how that was going to happen. And even in the second hospital, when he hit like the three-week mark in the hospital, one day he called me now I had been to visit him during the day and then you know, went to work and his dad was in from California and, you know, staying with him as much as possible there now because he learned how to walk again and everything.
They let him wear his regular clothes. So he didn’t have to wear hospital gear. And, you know, he had like to wear his like heart monitor thing. It was like in a bag on him that he just had like a necklace thing. And so he like calls me at work and I’m like, mark. He’s like, yeah. He goes, yeah. The number just came to me like, and so he’s, and he’s like, ah, why am I in the hospital? And I was like, now this is already like, I’ve had many conversations with over the several weeks. And I said, mark, you, you know, I tell them what happened. And that was like the first time that he knew what happened to him. Cause he was like, yeah, my dad’s here is like stew, is there something wrong with Stu? Like what’s going on with him?
Like he thought maybe he was visiting because he was wearing regular clothes. So it was really confusing to him where he had like all of a sudden like something went off in his brain and yeah. So he had like streams of consciousness, things happen where he would wake up, he’d get like downloads of information of memories, flooding back to him and stuff. But it happened over a period of years. Like it wasn’t just he couldn’t remember what he ate, whether he just washed his hair in the beginning. Like he would literally, I was in the hospital bathroom with him, helping him wash his hair and then he’d be like, give me the shampoo. I was like, mark, you just watched your hair. And he’s like, no, I didn’t. I’m like, yes you did. So he did drive me a bit crazy.
He was very calm, but he was depressed. He got depressed for a long time because he used to think that he could just remember everything, which he could remember a lot of things. But then at the same time, I was like, Mark, just use a notebook, write it down. And that was actually a big problem because ultimately he wouldn’t do it and then he would not, but it took him about like three years to really recover and to be able to work again. So, and even work was fine. But during those three years, he, I actually, after he went to like because where I lived, I lived right outside of Manhattan. We had some of the best doctors in the world, you know, in the area. So he went to you know, a lot of like the Giants football players, he went to the doc, the brain the neurologist and the re – rehabilitation people that took care of people who had head injury, like, you know, sports. Yeah.
I actually sent him back to college. He never finished. So I was like, all right, well you’re not staying home while I’m going to work. It’s like, you’re going to school. So, so I enrolled him in classes that I knew he would get A’s in because it’s stuff that he had like from, cause his past memories were still there. Like his PA you know, like a certain level of knowledge that he had. It was still, he started with like three classes. I enrolled him in three classes and I picked things that he could, you know, use towards his graduation, but also to reinforce that he was a smart person, that he could, you know, be a functional person in the world. He graduated and got his degree. He got that out of it.
Anyway, I think the big thing is, is that the caretakers it’s really hard on the people around them, the people who have these kinds of brain injuries and a lot of people really do recover. And it’s really hopeful, even though doctors are often not hopeful and they don’t know a lot of the brain is just such a big mystery. Right. I was an advocate for him. I even had to go back to an old job that I had that I didn’t really want because I needed to make more money to support both of us. I had to take on the purpose of getting him better. And so to kind of the extreme of not anything for myself, but one of the bad things that happened was we became kind of codependent. And so when he got to a certain point, I didn’t need to do that anymore.
And then I didn’t know how, I didn’t even know what my purpose or what my stuff was anymore, which was kind of hard. And then I didn’t have the same level of support and stuff too. I don’t know. It’s just, it’s very challenging. It’s, it’s a really challenging thing. And I think it can, some people, you know, they get married and I kinda got married and I thought my, my life was just going to be with mark forever. You know, I did. I genuinely thought that, but at the time going through all the stuff, I had to fight the government for social security disability. I mean, it was just insane. Like I was constantly fighting insurance companies, all of these like different bureaucratic things. And in the end, it all like worked out to be yay, happy. Right? He’s all better. But he was still depressed.
You know, most people would never know that if they saw him because he didn’t, he didn’t like, you know, mobile round or wear it on his sleeve that he was sad, but he didn’t really participate in life. Like he used to be. And that, that was the depression. It wasn’t because he had a brain injury because after five years he was pretty good to go being human. I did talk to a friend of mine once at some point, a really close friend of mine. And we used to lunch a lot together. We work together in my past life. And then when I returned to that job,, I worked with him again. We were talking about it and he asked me something. I said, yeah, this sounds really kind of these are the things that people don’t say out loud. It would have been easier for me in the long run if he would have died then. Because I was still kind of, you know, 32 at the time.
And, and I don’t, I’m not saying that I wanted him to die. I’m just saying that the reality is it would have been, it wouldn’t have been this long journey, this long, hard road of fighting, fighting, fighting. I knew I could tell my friend that my friend, Peter, I could tell him that because he wasn’t going to judge me and think that I was a bad person for saying that because I was tired. I was so exhausted. The first year after Mark was in the hospital, I had two jobs. I moved us out of our house for six months to live with my mom. And then we moved back after six months, driving him to rehabilitation, going to work here, going to work there, like it was exhausting and people don’t, there’s like when it first happened, everybody wants to know what’s happening because it’s almost like a kind of like curiosity.
There are the curiosity seekers. And then there were like people that completely surprised me that really stepped up and helped me in ways that I can’t even, I still, when I think about it, I like seriously could just cry right now because like my, I was on the equestrian team in college and my teammates, they were there for me, you know, we weren’t in college anymore. We weren’t on a team anymore together. And you know, they sent me food to the hospital. They came to my house and helped me move my stuff. So I could rent out my apartment because we have a two-family house. So I could rent out my place for six months, you know, they just like did all this like stuff and never wanting anything just seriously. I just, I, I was so, so, so lucky to have them as friends.
And then you had other people that, I mean, not that you expected much from them, but there would be even some relatives you would think might even then nothing. You know? So, and then we stopped getting invited to certain, even relative parties because, you know, Mark had a brain injury and they didn’t know what to do with that. And it’s like, there is nothing different about him, except for he forgets like what he ate five, two minutes ago. I’ve just got nothing to do with it. It did affect the connection, ultimately, because we still loved each other. I mean, even in the end, when we got divorced, I would tell you that I never stopped loving mark. That wasn’t even a thing. It was had nothing to do with love. It had to deal with like, can I manage any,
Just to be still, just to be still sometimes I’ll do it. If I’ll ever be free, these things that are heavy on me, keep me from do and go on. No sun comes up.
I was so tired. I got insomnia for like nine years. And I remember a big, big snowstorm came and I couldn’t get home. We had a blizzard and my friend lived like a ways away, but I could walk to her place. So I walked to her place and I slept there. And it was like one of the first nights in all those years that I actually slept like a baby. And I had such, and I was like, oh my God, this is what it’s like to sleep. You know? Like, so it was so good, so, so good.
And be still
Two years ago, my dog got sick and she would have breathing difficulties. And then blood was like pouring out of her nose. And I was having like, re-living marks stuff. Like I, and I didn’t even realize at the time, like why, and then anytime she would have any kind of like mini, like, like thing. I was like having trauma with that. But I had, I think probably because, you know, we went to sleep that night and then we woke up and that’s what happened. So it was during the sleep thing too. So it, you know, had like a direct impact on me. It’s kind of funny because after it all happened and all, all of the, you know, I was going, doing all my stuff, working and, you know, living life, right. You’re still going on your life goes on and you don’t stop living.
But I was so tired. And then we ended up getting a separation because we went to therapy together because he wasn’t kind of, he was better. I mean, stuff changed. Like he could do stuff again and he wasn’t doing it. So intimacy was never a problem. Kind of interesting. This is actually something that people might be interested in knowing you know, like this whole thing about him having to relearn how to walk and all that. He literally went through puberty again, he got more hair on his chest. I’m not exaggerating. It was totally nuts. And his sex drive was returned to like teenage boy drive.
He was 37. Yeah. Was that fun? It
Was fun. It was good because, you know, honestly, cause even when I would come home and I would be tired, it didn’t matter because you know, it was a good way to express ourselves. So it, it was good. We did, we never had any kind of, even to the bitter end, we never had any kind of problem with that. That was never a thing. Actions speak louder than words. And he wasn’t really, I mean, it wasn’t even about cleaning the house or anything like that. Like that stuff got done. That was you know, but it wasn’t, there were things like being depressed, like constantly perpetuate like underlying state of depression and feeling frustrated and then forget like forgetting things and not using the tools that he knew that he could use to make his life better. But it was like like he wouldn’t write down because of his pride.
And because of that, then he would not pay bills. Like I asked him to do like one or two tasks. That was it. Cause I just couldn’t do everything. And I asked him to do that. And then we’d like get a late fee on our mortgage because he wouldn’t write the bills. And he had tons of time and because he would forget, and it was like, well, write it down. You know? Like, and I mean, it was just, he wasn’t incapable. He had ways to remember how to do things. He had tools and he wouldn’t use them because of his pride. You would even talk about like, we went to therapy about it. And then I remember him telling the therapist at one point too, I even separated from him. A friend of mine was going to Portugal for a month. And so I went and stayed in her apartment to give him like a kind of shocking wake up call.
I came back after that and he seemed a little bit better, but then still, he wasn’t just pulling his weight. Like he wouldn’t do some basic stuff. And then I remember, and as soon as I, I don’t know, maybe see like I’m always giving us like the precursor thing. Maybe I want to sound shell or superficial, but like my 40th birthday, nothing, not a cake, not a fun thing. And I was like, no plans to go to dinner. Forty’s a big deal. I think maybe I got a card. Like I left my job and I wanted to start my own business and he wouldn’t get a job that had health insurance, like, you know, he would just like, not do things to support us as like to contribute to our thing. So, I saved money and I started my own business. And then I was paying like $500 a month for health insurance, actually more than that.
But and that was back in the nineties, in the nineties, you know, I just felt like he could just do some like little things like, and I felt like there wasn’t any kind of feeling for any of my needs. I mean, sexually fine, you know, but like as far as like daily living, I was so tired and I, I had to make sure everything was happening. And I think this is the part that became a problem where he knew I would take care of things. So he wouldn’t do it. And it’s not like he did it maybe on purpose. And, but I also, then couldn’t stop being the caretaker and, you know, you become more like a mom even to your husband and that’s not good. It was really bad for our relationship. And we went to therapy, we tried, I went to therapy on my own. We went to therapy together. I remember him sitting in the therapy office though. And his therapist said to him something and he said, yeah, Amy said she was gonna leave me if I didn’t take care of X, Y, and Z or whatever, which I didn’t really like to be threatening about it, but I was kind of feeling like I had to. And I remember the therapist asked him something and he was like, yeah. And I just didn’t believe it.
And I was like, wow, okay. Believe it. Cause I’m not kidding. It was hurtful. And it was like the thing about the birthday. And that was just kind of like, to me, like the, one of the last things that just boof really pushed me over the edge. I asked him to let, if we could rent out the house and we could quit our jobs and travel cross country together just to get out of the environment of, you know, this whole kind of like way of being and you know, he didn’t want to do it. And then when, right before the divorce got final, we were separated. He sends, he writes me a letter, oh, we should go travel cross country. And I’m like, that’s 18 months too late.
Can love somebody enough to really not be with them too, because it wasn’t serving him for me to stay. And it wasn’t serving me. And in when I did end up to get getting a place and like I didn’t date anybody for like a year. I was like, no, no people, no, I just wanted to be on my own. And I was heartbroken for a long time. I was really, I mean, it wasn’t an easy, I mean, I did distract myself. I didn’t want to get into any kind of serious relationship. I didn’t even want to start dating, but then friends of mine were like, you should start going out. Cause online dating at the time too was in there, like it was like 2004 or whatever, you know, it was very popular at the time. So I’m sure it Tinder didn’t exist.
It was different literally online dating, not app phone app dating. Yeah. Yeah, it was so, so anyway, but I mean, and then I also dated some other people that I would meet or whatever, but not just online, like in real life, but it was very interesting and fun, you know, it was like fun, but a lot of people that saw me around that time, I started sleeping. This was the big thing is that, that whole period of time, my health improved radically, like I was running, I like eight K every day I was kickboxing. I was swimming. I was doing all this stuff because I just, and I was sleeping. I mean like the beauty of sleep, like sleep is so important. That high level of stress just kind of, I was able to let go and let him care for himself. So
That must’ve been hard though, because that’s a lot of circumstantial yet. Where did you feel that you were still in love with each other?
Yes. Yes. I was the bad guy too though. I mean, because I mean my mom and every, they all my whole family, I’m the bad person. Cause I left the brain injured person.
[Inaudible] Cannot speak, can, cannot speak. [inaudible],
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And that’s why your story is so fascinating and unique. Amy is because most people can’t understand. They don’t know. Nobody knows what they would do in that situation. And no one can know until you’ve been through it. Yeah, no. How you felt or what that was like, except for you.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think also like it’s just such a weird thing. It’s like when people die, people don’t necessarily talk to you. They avoid you. Like, if some, you know what I mean sometimes, or they don’t want it. It’s, it’s kind of the same thing in a way, like, like I said about like the family parties, every year we went to this party and then we stopped going because we didn’t get an invitation anymore because people are like, oh, it could happen to me. Yeah.
What has life been like since then? And what is life like now? Do you feel that there’s something that has healed up or does it feel, is there still love there or is there still a connection with, with mark that you have?
Oh, we don’t speak, we haven’t spoken in years or we did have like one communication on LinkedIn or something. And then that was the last thing that was it. And yeah, we don’t speak and it was hard because I feel like not just for, and one thing was interesting is that my brother and sister who I’m not very close with, I mean, we don’t know, none of us lived near each other for a long time, but they were really close. My sister especially was really close with mark and she’s, as far as I know, she’s not in touch with him anymore. And to me I felt sad that the people that, you know, he helped her through so many things and they were like siblings. And then just to have that kind of, I don’t know, being cut off or whatever, it was weird.
It’s weird. I mean, it happens in divorces I guess, but it’s kind of. I think some people should still stay in touch with people just because somebody else got divorced. Like, you know, that’s dumb. She, and my story, I don’t even think I used the words, but I did end up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and not even realizing that I had it until years, years later. I think what I’d like to do is just mentioned briefly some things that I did, which I would highly recommend to anyone who is a caretaker or going through, I mean, ideally any person should do some of these things on a regular basis, but especially when you are kind of in the throws or the thick of it, it’s really important to do self care and heal yourself too. And even when your financial resources are limited because of, of these kinds of things.
So like, I mean, I would even say for instance mark and I, once all, he was a out of the hospital and he was able to function basically. We would go out to dinner once a week to a cheap spaghetti night. Like we found this restaurant, it was very inexpensive. It was the regular, like pizza joint where we lived. And every Monday night we would meet up with a couple of our friends and we would have dinner there and it was very economical. So we didn’t deprive ourselves entirely, even though money was super tight. Like you still need to take care of yourself and do some things you can’t just isolate. But then on a more kind of healing focus, I went to acupuncture sessions. I had some sound healing sessions, shiatsu massage, Reiki, healing, and yoga therapy through breath work and really focusing on the body and through yoga nidra, which is really like a guided kind of relaxation. And then even to do like an anti-stress yoga practice, which was like pretty intense to release a lot of energy and stuff. And so I also even had someone come to my home and do a kind of ceremonial space.
All of that stuff is fantastic. Breathwork is amazing. Sematic therapy is wonder, cause you’re thinking you’re allowing yourself to notice what you feel in your body at these times, because so often we’re so disconnected from our bodies and especially with post-trauma, we don’t, we go into a situation and we, we just allow ourselves to endure this great discomfort or anxiety. And we, we don’t look into, wow, what am I actually feeling? We don’t slow down long enough to say, why do I feel so heavy or so antsy in my body. When I go into these situations, we just keep pushing, pushing, pushing ourselves forward. And unfortunately that’s what most people end up in therapy is when they’ve pushed themselves so far that they break down like a car part, that’s going to break down if you don’t get it tuned up and checked in. So I think that that any sort of body awareness work is so valuable in the therapeutic setting, you can think of a trauma is on all levels, your inflicted body, mind, and your soul, or you could say emotionally, so mentally you have trauma after an event, emotionally of trauma and physically your body, a beautiful book is how the body keeps score, which talks about that, how your, the memory is literally kept at a cellular level in your body.
So the point is that because of that, you got to think of it as, as like a, you know, sort of a wound that anything that helps to S to heal it, to Quicken the healing process, to create it is effective. And whether that is sound healing or talk therapy or inner child work or hypnosis, whatever it is, they’re all just different sort of mint, if you will, that help to generate the healing process because that’s what needs to happen when you, when you incurred a trauma. The most important thing is that it’s seen it’s acknowledged the most damaging thing is when we try to sort of hide and push down our trauma, and then it festers just like a wound will faster if we don’t treat it right. So I think that every single viable option is wonderful for trauma because all of it really is just about shedding light on it and offering really some love, generating love towards that really sort of terrifying event that caused so much distress. And that we have so much fear around. If we have a lot of fear around something, we have to offer its opposite in order to transform it. Right.
[Inaudible] and you know, this is actually something that I feel like I’m pretty self-aware, but it took me a long time to even realize this too, is that I was feeling so happy in my life with mark right before everything happened. And then when it all happened it seemed like everything, we kind of arrived at this place where we’re really getting somewhere now. I mean, not like achieving goal crap but we, not that we arrived somewhere, but, you know, things were kind of in flow. And then I noticed for myself later that when things start to go really well, I’m just waiting for it to all come crashing. And some of it subconsciously I’m more aware of it over the years, but that was something too that I didn’t even realize that there’s so much fear that kind of came into my whole being this around that where I didn’t really have that before.
Yeah. Yeah. So it can bring you into an awareness of a lot of things, right.
That like, in some of your conversations with people of having this kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop kind of thing mentality
After, after a trauma occurs. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s, that’s the, one of the biggest parts of PTSD is it’s this. And again, it goes back to being a both a mental and a physical level and emotional is that we’re preparing ourselves for the worst. Once we’ve experienced something so shocking, that felt like the worst. We’re always a little bit on the lookout, scanning the horizon for something else to occur, shock us. That’s going to upset us again. We’re
Already on the defensive anyway, I’m kind of from our primal kind of stuff too. The first therapist that I went to after mark was a unwell. It was a person that I went to, who I just went there just to go and vomit out all of my feelings. My purpose was to really just let it out so that I wasn’t burdening my friends or family with that in other cases later on, I ended up going to therapy just to deal with kind of the fact that I had this life-changing event, but, and then of course, mark and I went together in that context. Do you think that it’s a worthwhile just to have somebody to go to, to talk to so that you’re not burdening other people or, you know, so that you can have social time with your friends and family? That’s not just all about like your issues or do you think that people should approach it more with really trying to heal themselves or something? I’m, I’m not really. I mean, for me, I, I,
I think it’s always both, but you know, you go to a therapist when you recognize there’s something within you that you’re not quite sure what to do about, whether it’s something that feels unresolved, something that keeps coming up, something that’s causing you distressed and impairing your quality of life. And so when you go into therapy, it’s multifaceted it’s terms of what you’re, you’re seeking. Definitely one of them is I think there’s just a huge benefit in talking to a third party. You know, we talked to our friends and family, it can be wonderful, can be great to vent, and it can be nice to have people who know your context, right? They know these people you’re talking about. They understand yet there’s really powerful and something it’s a different experience when you talk to someone who doesn’t know. And so they’re just hearing your actual experience without any subjective thoughts.
So rather than them being, you know, they, they’re going to have emotional ties when they know the person that you’re talking about. And also they’re invested in not offending you too much and not most people want to sort of you know, really validates their friends and their exact feelings, but a therapist can offer sort of a, a greater overview of, well, let me tell you what I’m seeing. Let me, let me tell you the patterns that I’m hearing. Let me ask you these questions that you might not notice. And that was one of the things that I love so much when I first became a therapist is you kind of feel like a detective a little bit because people come to you and they say, I keep doing this. And they name out all the factors and things that happen. And you say, well, have you thought about this?
And the fact that this happened and people will say, oh my gosh, I never thought about that. I’d never really put it together. That ever since this happened, I started doing this. So I think it’s, it’s a powerful thing to sort of cause that the space is sacred because it’s truly your time. It’s your time to share your truth and then allow someone else to hear your truth, which is also very healing and validating. I think, especially when it comes to trauma you know, trauma needs to be seen. It needs to be heard in order to begin to heal. And that when we speak to that to a therapist in a professional setting, they are there 100% to hear you and to hold that sacred space for you. Whereas sometimes when we share our stories with friends and family, they might not mean to, but in ways we might not feel validated because maybe they don’t, they’re not professional. They don’t, they don’t always know how to respond. And the things they say might actually be a bit hurtful or harmful again, not by their intention. So I think that it’s, you know, again, when we talk to a therapist, it’s, it’s just the fact that it’s our moment and it’s our space where we can bring something forward that we may not have been able to with others or in a way that it can be seen in a different light.
Like in the case where I like, for instance, my story, I went to a therapist alone and then mark and I went together, but should people have separate therapists? Like, should you have a separate marriage therapist versus like a personal therapist? Or can you combine the two?
Yes. I want to say yes to this question, but I want to break that out into, because are you asking ships if a couple is, is if two people are being seen as a couple, I absolutely believe that they should also each have their own individual therapist. Definitely. If you’re asking if the same therapist could do individual and couples that’s that could be a personal preference. A lot of therapists will not do that. They feel it’s an ethical, it’s ethically, ethically questionable to see the same senior couple and see them individually. So they’ll usually refer out, but it’s, it’s different preferences. Some people will still see their clients individually and separately because they understand the context so well the situation and then they can work with on the specific things. So I think that that can be valuable, but absolutely I think it’s, it’s, you know, a lot of therapists also will work, require that in order to do couples, both people, both individuals are in their own therapy because the couples therapy is only one part.
If you think of, I always use this model. But if you think of, you know, with when people enter to enter in a relationship, there’s three different entities here. There’s one person, the other person, and the relationship is its own separate entity. And that’s where things get confusing is when people muddle those lines and they try to, you know, work with each other’s issues and then try to address the relationship. But really those two people are only really working on the relationship. They can’t try to fix the other person or vice versa, right? That’s the work that you do individually, you go into couples therapy to identify what’s not working what’s needed. And then you go, you got to go back and do your own work individually in order to really contribute to change in that relationship.
So I think sometimes it all gets intermeshed and it’s hard. I mean, even in like these kinds of traumatic situations, too, things get kind of just become like immeshed with one another,
Because again, what do you do when one part of the relationship is really, and, you know, dealing with some really heavy stuff that the other person can never completely understand, right? Yeah. And you want to be supportive and you want to be there to walk by their side. Yet we need to talk about the fact that there is such thing as, you know, fatigue for the caregiver. And also the matter of kind of feeling like you’re becoming a caregiver to the person that is supposed to be your partner. Not, you’re not, you know, that changes the dynamic. So I just love that you shared this Amy because complexities like this happen in life and in relationships and the more that people are able to have resources like this to turn to. I think it’s wonderful
Anyway. Well, I guess that concludes our podcast today.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. Well,
Thank you for joining me and this new venture of you here now. And I’m looking forward to sharing many people’s stories here and our perspective together, how is an offering people, resources that they might be able to use in some cases. So be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and leave a review.
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