If you have been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know that I focus the majority of my writing from the perspective of a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, narcissistic abuse, and bullying. With that being said, it’s important to remember that trauma recovery takes on many forms, with all types of people, coming from all walks of life, and from all types of circumstances.
As survivors, of any type of abuse, quite often the trauma came at the hands of a parent, family member or someone who we loved and trusted. That being the case; a lack of fond, loving, joyful memories of parents or caregivers is not uncommon. The memories of times when things were supposed to be carefree, fun, and innocent are replaced with fear, shame, and emotional and physical scars.
Since we know that trauma recovery takes on many forms, we need to also keep in mind that many survivors do indeed have joyous memories of their early years and adult years. Including great times with the parents who supported and encouraged them to reach for the stars; empowering them with the knowledge that they could do anything they set their mind too.
With that in mind, how do we work through the grieving process when we lose a parent or loved one? What type of impact does this have on our overall mental health; especially for those who live with mental health challenges in daily life already?
My friend Rebecca Lombardo wanted to join me on the podcast to talk about this very topic; specifically in her case, the recent loss of her father.
In working through that loss, her life has been turned upside down with emotions. As you’ll hear, it’s a very open, honest, and vulnerable time of sharing where she tells us that in the process of grieving the loss of her father, she began to grieve the loss of her mother as well. With all of those emotions, she realized that even when we try to be as prepared as possible for the eventual passing of a loved one, it’s still a challenge to work through the emotions that will come and what way they will surface.
She openly talks about her own personal struggles and her grieving process, which included the realization that she needed to reach out for additional help. Her husband Joe, who is her biggest supporter, has been amazing during this tough time, as thankfully she’s also received encouragement from her friends and fellow advocates online.
However even with all of that, she has the self-awareness to understand that there are things that still need to be worked though with the help of a professional grief counselor. As you’ll see, there is never any shame in asking for help. In fact, it’s an act of self-compassion and self-advocacy to do so.
She also shares about how this affected her mental health, including her Bipolar Disorder and Depression. Grief has a way of bringing all types of emotions to the forefront, even ones that we may have thought we had a handle on. And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that, and nothing with us, it’s just part of the healing process.
After an amazing time of sharing, we transition into her role as an author, podcaster, blogger, and advocate for mental health.
We discuss her podcast and the message that she and Joe want to send out to all who listen. On, Voices for Change 2.0, they team up to interview celebrities, musicians, bloggers, advocates, and anyone who has a story of inspiration and overcoming great odds to inspire others. Their positive mindset of advocacy and reaching out to share the message of hope, in all forms, is something that I am a fan of and definitely recommend. You can find more information about their podcast on http://www.rebeccalombardo.com/our-podcast.
We wrap up the show by discussing her book, It’s Not Your Journey. Listening to Beka share in such a heartfelt way, what this book means to her, will surely inspire you. Follow Rebecca as she details two years of her twenty-five-year battle with mental illness and what brought her to attempt to take her life in 2013. As she recovered from that attempt, she continued to write in the hopes that she would help purge some of the pain in her life. What she never expected was that she could help others as well. This book quite simply began as a blog and became a book; where she opens up about her real and raw emotions during those two years. She recently released a revised edition, which you can find on Amazon.
Thank you again Rebecca for sharing so openly and being an inspiration and a light to all who live with mental health challenges. I’m honored to call you a friend and to continue supporting and encouraging both you and Joe in your journeys of advocacy.
Image of Rebecca Lombardo and Book Cover of It’s Not Your Journey – used with her permission. Feature and social media images courtesy of Pixabay and Canva.