(25) Overcoming Trauma Through Creativity with Amy Oestreicher

TRIGGER WARNING: Sensitive topics discussed in this episode.

Listen to the episode HERE.

INTRO: Hello, deep thinkers, this is your host Agrita, and welcome to Mind Full of Everything, the podcast that questions the deeper and bigger things in life, from intersectional, environmentalism to self-development and everything else in between. 

Today’s episode explores the creative side to trauma therapy with Amy Oestreicher. Amy has done all things possible when it comes to creative arts, from running her own one-woman theatre shows to writing books and giving three Ted talks on her experiences and the ways in which she overcame her trauma. Through talking to Amy, I was able to learn how traumatic experiences can be transformed into creative masterpieces that speak for themselves when words fall short and hope becomes shattered. The first step to overcoming trauma lies in the acceptance of pain and realising that experiences don’t defy a person. It’s the way in which the pain is allowed to change a person for the good that truly matters. 

Agrita: Thank you so much Amy for coming on the show today! I’ve been so excited for this talk with you. I really want to talk to you about so many different things, everything you’ve done is just so inspiring. So, to start off, I think it’ll be really good if you could tell the audience your backstory and how that inspired you to reach to your current profession today.

Amy: Well, thank you for having me. My story really starts as a teenager, when I thought my life was very planned out, I think as every selfish teenager believes. My dream is musical theatre, I always wanted to do musical theatre and that was what I was determined to do. So, I took it very seriously and I studied with a voice teacher in New York who really became a mentor in my life from the age of 15. Then when I was 17, he took advantage of that and I was sexually abused by him for a period of months, and that was obviously such a shock to me that I froze and suddenly I just didn’t feel like myself and just didn’t know what was going on.

Agrita: Yeah.

Amy: And I just kept that secret inside for months until I finally told my mother in April of my senior year, because just something just felt like it was eating me up inside. And then two weeks later I just had very bad stomach pains and I was rushed to the ER because of a blood clot, and my domain literally exploded because there is so much internal pressure. And so, I was in a coma for months and I woke up months later and doctors told me that I couldn’t eat or drink anymore, and they didn’t know if that would be possible ever again. And so I, you know, in my head, I just got my college acceptance letters.

Agrita: I can imagine how hard they would have been for you.

Amy: Right. Well, for me, I always still like feeling like my inside, like my rambunctious self, and it was such a surprise to me when in my head I had just been in dance class. And then all of a sudden, you know, my muscle and attorney gel, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t even sit up. You know, this was just a foreign world to me. And then hearing that “oh, you can’t leave the ICU, you’re kind of stuck here” you know, I was angry like, wait, I’m in jail now? I didn’t understand that the rules of hospital. 

Agrita: Yeah.

Amy: And so now I was finally discharged from the hospital months later, and the tricky part was that I was feeling more stable and people are relieved about that, but I didn’t have a digestive system. So long story short, I had to go from day to day with no answers of when I would ever be able to eat or drink again. And really just telling myself only next week, maybe next week. And all in all, it took over six years and 27 surgeries before surgeons could really, um, you know, hookup, but really create a plan where I could have my own makeshift digestive system. And then of course, once I could eat and I was connected physically, that was the only way I could really not become numb anymore and really start feeling emotionally. And that’s when I started having to process all the sexual abuse, which I thought the coma kind of pushed away, 

Agrita: Yeah, kind of wiped away. 

Amy: Right. That’s when I realised the connection between physical health and mental health, and I was really tossed back and forth trying to figure out, okay, how do I create my own custom plan to recover my full self, not just my physical body, but my mind, myself. And so my journey has really been recovering my full self together, collecting all these bits and pieces from before my coma, after my coma and figuring out, you know, I can’t be who I was before my abuse before my stomach exploded in body or mind, but how can I still be who I know I am inside right here and right now, so that’s the cliff notes (laughs).

Agrita: I genuinely can’t imagine how much pain you would have felt, even till this date. Really, it’s amazing to hear how much you’ve grown from those experiences and how you continue on growing really, it’s truly inspiring. 

Amy:  And how much for when you don’t know what’s ahead. It’s amazing what you can be pushed to discover when you’re determined to find other resources, you know, cause it’s truth is, I had no idea what was coming and I really wanted a timeline or an answer or some kind of certainty. And all I could tell myself was okay, I only have to get to the next day and the next day, and now looking back, I feel like if someone had woken me up from a coma and said, “yeah, it’s going to be almost 30 surgeries” and all of that, I would have looked at the big picture and become so overwhelmed. I’m just throwing the towel right there. But yeah, there’s a mentality that, okay, just one more step, one more step. And I, I honestly think that’s what gets most of us this pandemic, you know, I don’t think any of us anticipated that it would go on so long, but you know, I always say that, you know, hope is a lie that we tell ourselves and that’s a good thing. You know, it’s how we tell ourselves that it’s just ahead, just ahead and being pushed just one inch at a time without thinking in a big picture, you know. It’s also a way that we can really be present in each moment, because I think that’s the only way we keep our sanity and find joy by just being in one moment at a time.

Agrita: That is truly inspiring, to even think about how hope is kind of like a lie that we tell ourselves because we of course don’t know the future. We don’t know what the future holds, what sort of path our life will take, but just telling ourselves to keep this hope within us and to keep on going forward and to see what life holds in the future. I think that’s just a really positive way to look at it.

Amy: Right? And sometimes when I say it’s a lie, some people, they sometimes go, “don’t call hope that, it’s not a lie”. 

Agrita: (laughs)

Amy: But the truth is, if you read like any fiction book or a fairy tale, it’s a lie that you tell yourself, to escape into that world. You call it willing suspension of disbelief. So, you know, call it that. But calling it a lie means to that hope takes work. It’s not this like “ladidah” thing that just washes over us. You know, it’s something we have to actively create, uh, so it appears for us. And that’s, that’s the fuel that gets us from one step to the next definitely. Or at least for me.

Agrita: I’m a Ted Talk fanatic, and when you told me you have three Ted talks, I went crazy. 

Amy: Aww.

Agrita: Seriously, I was like, “oh my God, she just approached me, she’s a Ted Talk speaker and she’s done so many different things.

Amy: (laughs)

Agrita: I was really, really excited! In one of your Ted Talks, you gave this flower analogy in terms of how you pinpoint down your detours and the outcomes for them and how you go about in kind of getting around them. So, if you could give us a little bit more of a description of that flower analogy and the detours.

Amy: Yeah, well, first of all, I’m an actress. I gotta have my props on

Agrita: (laughs) 

Amy: And also, I’m an artist, and I think we’re all artists and creativity is a mindset, but I see things visually. I call all of this my beautiful detour, but as I was going through it, you know, I didn’t look at it as a beautiful detour. I didn’t look at it even as a detour. I just like it is my life got screwed up. But then when I travelled far enough along it, there was a while where I told myself “oh, if this didn’t happen, I would have gone right to studying musical theatre and being on Broadway and winning a Tony and my life would be dusted at that”. Finally, so many things had happened and I changed so much that I looked back and thought, wow, if I didn’t go this way, I would have never met this person. I would’ve never tried this. I would’ve never learned this about myself. 

Agrita: Very true. 

Amy: I couldn’t even compare the two lives because that’s the meat of life at this point. This has made me who I am. And that’s when I really saw this: me starting a chocolate business, cause I was so hungry.

Agrita: (laughs) 

Amy: All I wanted to do is buy candy or like learning how to paint because I was, you know, aired back to the hospital when my wound exploded. Those were all flowers on my detour that I never would have found, had I not been pushed, you know. When we’re not pushed in a certain way, we just tend to do what we usually do. And so, my Ted talk was about how I feel like I become a detourist through this, by now searching for the flowers on that unexpected path. And I think we can all and should all be detourists because a detourist travels on detours and they just keep looking for those unexpected flowers. And by the end, and by the end of my talk, I, I collected six flowers, which really made me who I am. Um, and from there I started a little hashtag #lovemydetour. Um, and I just, it was like a call to action for anyone, if they had anything unexpected in their lives. Just write about it and see where that you know, through that writing a lot of people discover because of that, you know, “oh, I would have never learned this about myself or met this person”. Um, so my talk was also about how so many different forms of creativity, whether it’s writing or art or theatre, or just the ability to imagine, you to see things differently. Those are ways we discover really, the gifts of being taken on a different path. 

Agrita: Definitely. 

Amy: So, my talk was, you know, follow your road and find your flowers. Esven if we don’t want it to be our road, you know, we follow it and we make it ours by the flowers that we choose to find.

Agrita: I think using the flower as a symbol is also really powerful because you kind of flourish and bloom in a different way, when you have these different experiences happening to you, especially you. You know, you wouldn’t really expect yourself to blossom in that way, but as life goes on, you find these different flowers, and like you said, become a detourist, which is a really, really good way to put it.

Amy: And how many times have we heard “stop and smell the roses”? Well, this puts it in a totally new context. You know, if you want those, yeah, if you just want those flowers, you just pass and get out of the way and you see them as weeds, you know, then all they’ll be are weeds that trip you up and literally keep you stuck. But you never know what that unexpected flower may bring.

Agrita: Totally. You also released a book called My Beautiful Detour last year, I think it was? 

Amy: Yes.

Agrita: How was it like pinning down and writing all of your thoughts into one single book? How was it like?

Amy: I like writing and I have had a very interesting relationship because, you know, I talked about in the book at first when I couldn’t eat or drink, I just locked myself in my room and just, I would literally just type and type hundreds of pages every day. Just to keep my fingers going. But you know, it wasn’t even for motion, I just, I needed to use my hands to get my mind off of being hungry. So really the writing, started as like a coping skill, and then as I was always writing just to move, it’s funny how getting into that flow, suddenly all these memoriesthat I thought I had done such a good job of blocking out, those were just like flowing onto my computer. And suddenly I was remembering things from the hospital that I didn’t even think about, and then that was leading to little, like hints of the abuse and then suddenly I was really vividly capturing things. And then, then journaling really became so important because I felt like, oh my God, like if I don’t document this, like, no one could believe this insanity. And so, there were like thousands and thousands of pages in my journal and in my drawer and even now, I look back on this stuff as I was coping and waiting for answers and starving and thirsty. I, I look back on that like, how the heck did I do that? And still stand up straight by the end of the day? So, I had all this going and then my writing really evolves as I started reflecting more on what had happened and then learning about PTSD and, and really being able to give us some context. And then it grew into more poetry and expressive things. So, so there was really a lot to dig from. And then I discovered on this laptop that my brother, one of my brothers, I have three. 

Agrita: Oh wow! (laughs) 

Amy: Who stayed in the ICU with me, and for the first 72 days, he kept a journal on his laptop of everything that was happening. And it’s a long document and very vivid and powerful, raw account from the very first night where the first entry is, you know, “they took your stomach out, you’re in a coma” and you know, it was hard to read and shocking, but what was so touching was as the journals go on, you see how an entire family kind of creates a new normal and that he was even able to find joy and gratitude. As I started to take my first movements, started to show signs of life and then even humour, as my crazy family called the ICU their new home.

Agrita: Awww (laughs)

Amy: and like super ready to kick us out because we had got so comfortable there. Um, so anyway, so I ended up incorporating excerpts of that in the very beginning was just really powerful, I believe. And then, you know, I have three brothers and two great parents, so I have excerpts from all of them, even some excerpts from the surgeons who saved my lives, who are now really good friends. And so anyway, there was so much to share and so many ins and outs in my story that the book, you know, took like two years to put togetherbecayse there was so much. So it took a good five years to edit down.

Agrita: Oh wow!

Amy: Because the thing with detour is, you know, they kept happening, you know, a big part of my beautiful detour was, you know, not only recovering my physical self and my mental health and really feeling stability, but then learning about love and romance completely unexpectedly having my first relationship fresh out of my 2017 surgery, getting married right away, which I never thought. And then just as I’m getting ready to publish the book, getting divorced and realising, oh boy, this detour is taking a difference, and so may things kept happening. So it was definitely a labour of love trying to fit this all into one book. So the very whittled down version is now 546 pages, but I got his say it’s a gripping read. And, um, what most people don’t expect is it’s joyful because I think that was really how I was able to get through, and that’s the message I hope to leave with people. 

Agrita: Totally, and to actually keep on telling yourself that these are the things have happened to me, and to finally accept your pain, that’s a massive step that so many people just don’t take. So many times we think, okay, we’ve had a bad memory and let’s not think about it, but the fact that you’ve put down your entire experience into a single book and literally just vocalised it and publicised it to everyone. I think that’s such a big and powerful, really strong step that you took.

Amy: Well, you have to acknowledge your pain first, but then you have to really own it and love it and embrace it in order to move through it because otherwise you’ll just become your story. And that’s one thing I did not want to do. You know, I didn’t want to stay in victim. I didn’t want to be known as just the girl whose stomach exploded. You know, the five stages of grief, I really had to grieve what happened in order to get beyond it. And I think a lot of people don’t give grief credit, it deserves that, you know what, we deserve to feel sad. We deserve to feel angry and pissed and frustrated, and we have to do that just enough to get past it. Otherwise we’re always going to become the victim and that’s just, you know, I didn’t want to live like that.

Agrita: That’s something that I always say to everyone, that if you bottle up your negative thoughts or thoughts that you don’t really want to – 

Amy: Yeah because you think you shouldn’t have that. 

Agrita: Exactly. Everybody focuses on, for example, if you have guides on being more positive or sustaining positivity in your life, everyone says to you to focus on the good parts and to kind of forget about the bad parts. But if you don’t focus on your negative emotions, on your negative experiences, you won’t learn from them, you won’t grow from them. And like you said, you have every right to be angry, upset, annoyed, it’s human, actually, to feel like that

Amy: Exactly, you know, a big feedback I get is, “wow, you’re such a positive person”. Truth is I’m not a positive person. I’m really not. I say that very explicitly. What I am is I’m a present person. And I think that’s where it strikes people that like, “wow, she’s so in what she’s saying”. I’m very passionate about what I’m saying, because like, if I feel sad, like I want to really dig into that sadness enough where it’s not a pity party, but I feel it enough to express it through art or through whatever, you know, me and something me so I can move through it. And I think people see this and see it as positivity, but it’s really what I am, once I move out of the feeling that I deserve to feel. And so I think when we’re going through a hard time, if someone tries to help us by trying to fix it or tell us to, you know, think of the positive or, you know, put on a happy face, it’s just gonna really have us, you know, feel ashamed of what we’re feeling or bottle it up. And, you know, that is just going to come up bubbling up in some other form.

Agrita: Yeah. How did you think about using creativity to transform your trauma? I think that’s one thing about you that I found so amazing really, and it’s quite unique to think about how you can transform your trauma in a creative way. So how did you think about creating your experiences into this beautiful kind of art.

Amy: First you know, I’ve always been like artsy, but I say right away that creativity is not just for artists. You know, it’s a mindset, it’s a way to see the world differently. Everything we’re feeling is just energy and creativity is just the ability to take that energy and transform it into something else. Think out of the box, the easiest way is to just like, look at a paper cup and see it as like, “oh, what can I use a paper cup for”? What are other ways that I wouldn’t conventionally you use it for? Is it a hat? Is it, you know?

Agrita: Thinking out the box.

Amy: Yeah! So like whatever energy we feel that you, whether it’s, you know, cooking up a recipe or singing along to the radio or just moving, walking. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s kind any way we can really feel what we’re feeling as energy and, and turn it into something else. Listen, you know, I always wanted to do musical theatre, but the truth is I had a tracheotomy, I couldn’t talk.

Agrita: Yeah. 

Amy: I had severe neuropathy, I couldn’t walk. I was forced to take that energy I always felt in my heart and in my body and for awhile, I had to find other ways to use it. That was really hard, I discovered a lot of initial flowers on my detour.

Agrita: I’ve heard from so many different people that if you ever feel so down and you don’t really know where you’re going, to do something creative is like losing yourself in whatever you’re doing and kind of letting go of everything that you’re focusing on. Whether that’s good or whether it’s bad, kind of to get that escapism, to get away from your current life, your current experiences, and to basically just like love living, in a sense.

Amy: Yeah. You know, it’s escapism in a sense, but it actually just takes us neatly into it, but in a safe way that doesn’t overwhelm us or, you know, it’s a way that, you know, when I like drawing a tear on a canvas, you know, it’s kind of a way to escape it in a way it’s not overwhelming, but I’m approaching it. Like I’m facing it in a really safe way or a way that feels safe to me because I have control over my paint brush and I can move it from that tear into whatever I want. That’s why my first art show was called Journey into Daylight because art was really one of the first ways that I could access and kind of dance in that darkness. And then with a paintbrush and no training I would just moving around my paintbrush. I could somehow move it into something that meant something to me.

Agrita: You really believe in the importance of stories, and art is a way that you can get your story across as well as escape from your pain, which I think is amazing. So how do you encourage other people to tell their stories of trauma and how do you encourage people to accept what they’ve experienced and turn it into something amazing?

Amy: Yeah. I always say you’re especially is that survivor of assault, now that I’m talking about it so much, it took me 10 years before I could talk about it publicly and a bunch of years before I can even write it or speak it out loud. That was a process. And thank goodness I was not in social media or anything like that because I wasn’t ready to share it with the world. And that’s completely okay. I get asked a lot about, you know, with the barriers to reporting are, especially since the MeToo movement. And what I worry is that people feel pressured now that they should be talking about it, they should, but, you know, I’m so thankful that I was isolated because of radical circumstances primarily, but it gave me time to really sit with all of that. And through fear, my own eventual writing through dance even, through throwing a pillow, you know, I needed to figure out these emotions and what they were trying to tell me first. And then, eventually slowly the words came, but as a person has to go at their own pace, no one can force them or quicken in that. That’s something I feel very strongly about that, it’s a very personal process and that we all have a story that needs to be shared. We all deserve to share our story and that will come, but there’s no set time and there’s no set form, you know, we can write it, we can speak it, but there are other ways to hear stories, you know, through dance, through some kind of expression, through, you know, sending a note, through cooking something we love, and then eventually speaking the words. But the important thing is we all have a story that deserves to be realised and shared, and it’s up to us, uh, when, and, and how we choose to do that.

Agrita: Really true. I also wanted to pick up on the part that you just said about how everyone’s experiences are valid, and no one’s experience is less or greater than the other, because they’re all so unique to us in a sense. So how do you get people to actually accept that? Because there are so many people that would, for example, tell me that, you know, I don’t have a right to be feeling this way because I’m in a first world country, I’m in a developed country. Um, so to kind of not compare yourself to others, how do you think we could kind of tell these people to believe the fact that their story is their story and it’s important regardless of how big or small it is?

Amy: Yeah. Well, I even get that after people hear my story, people are like, “oh, well, you know, my stomach didn’t explode, so like my story can’t even compare to yours”. And I think that’s why my first talk, you know, use the idea of detour is like, I love the idea of a detour, cause it’s a very innocuous kind of metaphor that we can take as anything. You know, at the time, I didn’t know anything about any clinical terms of mental health or I didn’t know what PTSD was. All in my head was that it was this dark place, and somehow it turned it into light and, you know, detour is something we can all relate to. It could be a break up, a broken nail-

Agrita: (laughs) 

Amy: or just, we literally took a different route that we didn’t expect. And so, I think when we use that, then we all have detours in our lives and starting from there, who knows what that will open us up to, and if it reminds us of other things we may have experienced. So, I think it’s a great starting point.

Agrita: You have so many different workshops that people can attend, we can listen to you. You had a talk recently as well, unfortunately, that I couldn’t go to to listen. You also have a book coming up, I think this November, on exercises for overcoming [trauma with] creativity.

Amy: Yeah I do!

Agrita: Yeah, so what can we find in that for people that perhaps aren’t in America, that can’t see you in person or can’t access your workshops? What do we have to explore in this book?

Amy: Who knew that, you know, this would be a really, a time where people are really looking for ways to kind of process everything that’s going on –

Agrita: Definitely.

Amy: and tools for getting through, you know, one day this time. But you know, now all of my workshops are at least for the time being, the good part is anyone can take them because everything’s online.

Agrita: Yeah!

Amy: I talked about sharing stories through detours, so I call them detourist workshops where, you know, they’re interactive kind of, we use all kinds of creativity, um, whether it’s like stories or simple doodling things or ways to really get those stories started for all of us. I also do now Zoom or virtual book club discussions, so if you’re interested in my book, get your friends together, I will come into the comfort of your own home –

Agrita: (laughs)

Amy: and do the session. This workbook that’s on pre-order now, it’s called Creativity and Gratitude. It’s um, 52 weeks of prompts that take you through what I call my four hardcore skills to resilience, and it’s just always creativity that you can really, um, find ways to really get through one day to the next, hopefully with joy and I’m learning that you are artist. So, I’m really excited for that because I think it’s just very good timing right now.

Agrita: Yes definitely! Especially the Black Lives Matter movement that’s happening now.

Amy: Right. 

Agrita: And pandemic is still going on. Everyone is feeling just so kind of let down in a sense, people don’t know how to get over it.

Amy: I think people are feeling let down, but I also feel like people are looking for, okay, so like what can I do about this.

Agrita: Yep definitely.

Amy: So, I’m hoping this [book] gives people a proactive kind of call to action, even if the intent is there, but they just don’t know what to do. So, you know, not only is this for self-expression, um, but it’s also a way that, okay, you know, not only how is my story worth sharing, but how can I honour the stories around me and speak up for what I believe in. That’s what my workshops are addressing, my own memoir even addresses how my own story turned into really realising I wanted to become a social justice and health advocate. So, hope my memoir also, um, it gives lot of calls to action and tools on that helped me, that I think will help others here.

Agrita: Did you ever imagine yourself being an activist?

Amy: No, no, no! That’s the funny part and really what I think, wow, this really was a detour in the greatest sense. I think, you know, as a teenager, we never expect that the world is that much bigger than ourselves. 

Agrita: Very true.

Amy: In no way did I, you know, I really thought like my biggest dream was as big as the Broadway stage and I had no idea, first of all, that I would eventually come back to doing what I love in a one woman musical Ghost and Grateful, but who knew I would tour that musical all over the country, not just in theatres, but as in mental health and sexual assault prevention program. Um, I ended up working with military veterans, with immigrant populations, with disability populations, sexual assault groups. This musical and then leading workshops, I never knew that through musical theatre, I could relate in so many ways, you know? 

Agrita: Yeah. I didn’t really know that you were able to connect to so many different groups and also talk about different types of traumas, for example, your one is quite different to that of a veteran. So, I think that’s just great how you can connect so many different people just based on your experiences and the underlying kind of feeling of pain and overcoming that.

Amy: Well, I’m very passionate about educating the community on what PTSD is. I don’t think that we all have the best understanding of how it can affect us, and that community is so important for our healing process. You know, healing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I could do as much journaling as I wanted, but healing happens in community. It happens with empathy and understanding, and it’s important for us to understand as survivors, how it affects us, but you know, the other half has to come and they [allies] really have to understand how it affects us in order for, you know, you talked a lot about your veterans, how do we, how do they integrate, you know, back into society as civilians, and they have to do some self-work, but also the community has to understand what that process is like for them. So, a big part of my musical, you know, I always do a Q&A about how PTSD really, um, affects people, um, and the impact it has on communities too. And I love how it’s great starting point for a conversation. And now even, I’m even during the musical virtually, 

Agrita: Oh wow okay!

Amy: on Zoom, who knew? (laughs)

Agrita: Send us a link for that, that’d be so amazing to see!

Amy: Yeah, well, I don’t know when this [episode] is airing, but my other one musical Passageways, which really explores the internal and external landscape of PTSD. I’ll be doing that only because of pandemic, could I live stream it!

Agrita: (laughs) 

Amy: I did theatre across the country in San Diego, so that’s my next thing.

Agrita: That’s great!

Amy: But I take requests from anyone. So, if you have an organization that’s looking for something uplifting and starts a conversation, um, send me a note.

Agrita: Definitely. I also wanted to talk about male trauma stories. Um, I think men’s mental health is a stigma that still exists across countries, whether it’s in the US whether it’s in an Asian country, for example. So how do you have any, um, experiences of men coming up to you and telling you about their trauma or perhaps they aren’t able to tell you about their trauma and how can they overcome that, perhaps through creativity or through another form?

Amy: Yeah, especially for, you know, sexual assault, you know, male survivors, that’s a big community that many of them feel scared to speak up. There’s only one in six that specifically deals with that statistic. You know, I would say, you know, creativity is, you know, accessible for anyone. You know, there are ways to really, you know, all of those emotions, you know, men deserve to feel those just as much as women do. You know, the important part is that anger and the fear answered, and then we just, we need to feel it, but we need to feel it and express it in healthy weight. And I think that’s why creativity is a great container for that. You know, I know a lot of men that have taken to poetry, visual art, and it’s been an amazing way. I have a male friend, veteran, who really has taken to photography as a way to really express what he’s been through and his feelings and sharing, because sometimes words are not easy and that’s okay.

Agrita: Definitely. Yeah, and as you mentioned before, I think the community and people in general have a big role to play in this to actually give trauma survivors that space, regardless of what gender they identify as. 

Amy: Right. 

Agrita: To give them that space and to understand, and in their own time, come forward and tell what they’ve experienced and perhaps inspire so many other people that have had similar experiences. 

Amy: Exactly. And we all deserve to ask for help too, if we don’t know, there are places that we can ask for help. So that’s important.

Agrita: Yes, definitely. So, as an ending note, what is that one thing that you really want to tell society, perhaps encourage people when it comes to overcoming trauma and to accepting your pain and transforming it into hope.

Amy: Don’t be overwhelmed. You know, don’t think of the big picture. I mean, for me, I, you know, like I said, I told myself my only job is to be right here in this moment and get from one moment to the next. And if that moment has a bunch of negative feelings or feelings that like appear negative to us, we just feel those so find healthy ways to really express that because otherwise that’s how we get maladaptive coping mechanismsbecause your energy can’t be created or destroyed. All energy has to go somewhere. Acknowledge that energy and find a healthy way to, uh, to really embody it so we can move through it and ask for help is if we don’t know how, there are ways.

Agrita: Exactly. Thank you so much, Amy, for spending time with me and coming on the show, it’s really been such a pleasure and really, really inspiring to hear how you can overcome the experiences that you’ve had and turn them into something amazing. Inspire so many people to go on a similar journey as you, and to accept what you’ve experienced and not to kind of label these experiences as just yourself, but to kind of say that this is a part of me, and this is what it has made me get to where I am today.

Amy: Thank you. I really appreciate it, and thanks for having me!

Agrita: Definitely, thank you so much!

OUTRO: Such a great talk with Amy. I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Do check out her book, My Beautiful Detour, as well as her Ted Talks, all linked on my website, mindfullofeverything.home.blog. That’s it for today, remember to subscribe to the podcast on your favourite apps, follow my socials and subscribe to the newsletter to get instant blog updates. Until the next episode, happy listening.