S1E4:  Acknowledging and respecting where you are in this journey now (A Deep Reflection)

Season 1 Episode 4


Join in for a deep reflection. The first step to creating meaningful change is to acknowledge where we stand in our path at this very moment. This episode is split into four categories that are separate but interlinked: Considerations of the mind, body, spirit, self-sustainment, and the body.

Here are the printables mentioned in the podcast episode (bonus section included in the Reflection Guide):

If you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or RAINN’s hotline 1-800-656-4673. There are also numerous resources on the website that include online chat hotlines. You are not alone.

I am not a trained therapist or counselor. This is a free resource using literature and nonprofit resources available online, dedicated to a community of survivors. If you are able, finding therapy or counseling can be a valuable component to healing from sexual assault/abuse.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 01:14 Introduction
  • 01:15 – 02:03 Overview of The Survivor’s Toolbox
  • 02:05 – 09:31 How often to reflect, the importance of taking stock, considerations to take before proceeding
  • 09:32 – 10:38 Considerations of the Mind
  • 10:38 – 23:00 Considerations of the Spirit
  • 23:00 – 27:49 Considerations of Self-Sustainment
  • 27:50 – 39:53 Considerations of the Body
  • 39:53 – 41:40 Final words
    • 41:40 – 42:39 Assignment
  • 42:39 – 45:06 Outro

Homework:

  1. Write it Down:  Write a love letter to yourself using the following words (thank you @dandelionroots_ from instagram!)…the eight words we all need to hear
    1. Love
    2. Notice
    3. Enjoy
    4. Proud
    5. Cherish
    6. Hope
    7. Believe
    8. Promise
  2. Write it Down:  Which questions brought out the strongest emotions or sensations for you? (see above for Emotions Reference Sheet for some guidance) Where do you think those emotions come from? Do the messages your body or spirit are telling you that may help you prioritize which challenges to focus on first?

Announcements

  • I am officially a woman of leisure working on content like nobody’s business, but also doing my best to balance my wellbeing as well…so thank you for your patience and support as I too, work this at my own pace ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Best way to contact The Relentless Project is through the Instagram @relentlessjoanna
  • I have been thinking about making a survivor workbook…what do you think? Would love your thoughts.

Anything that I’ve missed? Make this the best for you, and leave a comment through the instagram post for this episode @relentlessjoanna, or as a private message through that same account :).

Until next time…Stay Relentless.

Survivor Conversation 001:  Maranda’s Story

Interview 001


Trigger Warning: Content includes experiences of child sexual abuse

Join us with Maranda as she shares her journey as a child sexual abuse survivor for the first time with the Relentless Project. She shares about how she’s grown up in an unpredictable home, and how she’s been able to finally break free from a trying history of recurrent abuse at the age of 8.

If you feel like you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or RAINN’s hotline 1-800-656-4673. I have also listed numerous resources on my website that include online chat hotlines. You do not have to go through this alone.

Please note that I am not a licensed or trained therapist or counselor. This podcast is a free resource using existing literature and nonprofit resources available online, dedicated to a community of sexual assault survivors. If you are able, finding therapy or counseling is a valuable component to healing from sexual assault/abuse.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 04:57  Introduction
  • 04:57 – 0:39  How child sexual abuse has affected Maranda growing up
    • 10:20 – 11:44 Shame & Misplaced Fault
  • 11:44 – 29:09  The recurrent sexual abuse
    • Revisiting your story & patience with self
  • 29:10 – 43:08  The discovery of the abuse & the aftermath
  • 43:09 – 48:32  Struggling with depression, therapy, lack of a support system
  • 48:33 – 1:19:34  Retrospective thoughts
    • 48:33 – 50:09  Question: What would you tell your 9-year old self?
      • 50:10 – 51:29  Having patience and showing compassion with your younger self
    • 51:30 – 53:58  Question: Things that you’ve learned about yourself, now that you’re uncovering your own history?
    • 53:58 – 57:29  Question: Who taught you the most about love?
    • 57:30 – 1:04:59  Maranda’s mom
    • 1:05:00 – 1:17:36  Healing later in life, Letting go of her mom
    • 1:17:37 – 1:19:34  Question: What advise would you give to someone who has been through similar circumstances?
  • 1:19:52 – 1:22:22  Outro & Relentless Project Updates

Announcements

  • I’m still here! I have been releasing episodes at a slower frequency (yay grad school), but this winter break has given me plenty of opportunity to create more content
  • If you want to leave a comment on this episode, leave one on the episode post through our Instagram account @relentlessjoanna
  • If you too would like to share your story on the Relentless Project just like Maranda, send me a private message through our Instagram account @relentlessjoanna

Lastly, Is there anything that I’ve missed? If you have the time, I would appreciate it if you helped me make this the best for you, and leave an honest comment :).

Until next time…Stay Relentless.

 

 Rambles Series: Crisis Mode

Rambles Season 1 Episode 6 (R1E6)


An episode dedicated to how to manage a mental crises in your healing path after sexual trauma. 6 Actionable steps to help you regather yourself when something seems to have tipped your life completely off balance. 

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 02:15   Introduction 
  • 02:16 – 03:07   Definition of “Crisis Mode” for the episode
  • 03:42 – 04:20  Overview
  • 04:21 – 05:49  1) Re-evaluate
    • 05:49 – 08:50  Personal Example
  • 08:55 – 13:34  2) Re-prioritize
    • 10:19 – 12:44  Personal Example
  • 13:35 – 16:  3) Simplify
    • 15:01 – 16:36  The ability to do everything isn’t a measuring stick for success in your healing journey
    • 16:35 – 17:56  The importance of communication
    • 17:56 – 20:32  Personal Example
  • 20:33 – 30:34  4) Make a Few Goals
    • 21:24 – 22:39  Personal Example
  • 22:39 – 24:50  5) Reflect
    • 22:36 – 24:50  Personal Example
  • 24:50 – 26:41  6) Replenish
  • 26:41 – 28:50  Outro, updates

Other Notes:

Thank you for your patience. I love this project, and hope that it brings you something that you can shape into your own. A healing journey is so unique between each person, and must be respected. 

 Rambles Series: Sharing Your Story

Rambles Season 1 Episode 5 (R1E5)


When you are ready, you may find you want to share your story. Whether you seek to understand your own story or share your story to someone whom you trust, this may be helpful for you.

I recorded this episode before Mr. George Floyd murder has circulated the internet like a storm. I, like many other Americans and American minorities are distraught. 

As a CSA survivor, it has been difficult not to feel pain, anger, and frustration toward indifference at the face of obvious injustice and systematic oppression and racism.

It was after this recording that I had witnessed brave Black colleagues in my hospital share their personal everyday encounters with racism and oppression. Their experiences were a string of traumas and protective behaviors from frequent exposure to hate and ignorance.

In solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters, survivors or not—I will be introducing a new set of resources dedicated to different intersectionalities. 

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 01:17   Introduction
  • 01:17 – 01:56   Overview
  • 01:56 – 02:29   The different types of sharing (Therapist, Support Group, New Lover, Friend, Public)
    • 03:34 – 05:49  How you may feel when you tell your story
  • 05:50 – 07:19  Taking care of yourself throughout the process
    • Find a dedicated safe space and time
    • Gather materials (emergency contacts, pens, journal, art supplies)
    • Deep breathe, meditate, guided meditations
    • Understand how to know when it’s time to stop or pause before continuing next time
      • Extreme anxiety
      • Hyperstimulated or triggered
      • Overwhelmed
      • Dissociated
      • Feeling Numb
      • Heart Racing, Sweating
    • Consider therapy
      • RAINN.org 
  • 12:41 – 14:00  Putting your story together
  • 14:01 – 17:54  Choosing whom to tell and how
  • 17:55 – 28:21  How to support a survivor telling their story
  • 28:22 – 30:34  When you don’t get the support that you need
  • 30:35 – 34:31  Conclusion

Other Notes:

I have been hesitate to pause, but my partner, my dog, and I are going through a tremendous life change. As I transition out of the military, we are racing the clock to move out of our house before ultimately moving out of the state. For the sake of my own mental health, I have decided to concentrate my efforts on this transition, and to continue my work through illustrations and my website.

With events and policies affecting the lives of those in the Black and LBGTQ+ communities, I hope to share resources to those of us who may experience those intersectionalities. 

Additionally, I hope to share resources for those who are interested in conversations about prevention. While The Relentless Project is ultimately geared toward the survivor, I hope to share other resources for those who are interested in taking action. Advocating for prevention is the answer for the generations of the future.

I hope that you have a wonderful rest of your day/evening. May you find peace, may you find healing.

S1E3:  Finding and Making a Safe Space – Part 1 (Tool #2 of the Survivor’s Toolbox)

Season 1 Episode 3 – Part 1


Lets explore the concept of Finding and Making a Safe Space!

If you feel like you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or RAINN’s hotline 1-800-656-4673. I have also listed numerous resources on my website that include online chat hotlines. You do not have to go through this alone.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 2:50  Introduction
  • 00:14 – 0:39  Overview of The Survivor’s Toolbox
  • 00:54 – 01:56  Opening Questions
    • Where do you go when you encounter something that is triggering for your trauma?
    • Do you have a safe space, or multiple safe spaces, that you call your “personal spaces?”
    • Do you have a safe space in the place you call your “personal spaces?” (I guess this is sort of the same question as the previous…lol)
  • 01:56 – 03:07  Hypervigilance, hyperawareness, and the concept of a safe space; It’s importance
  • 03:07 – 04:14  What is a safe space and what does it provide? The focus of this episode
  • 04:14 – 05:28  How to make a safe space at home
  • 05:28 – 07:32  My example of a safe space within the home
  • 07:33 – 10:02  Establishing external safe spaces
  • 10:02 – 10:41  Sneak peak for Part 2 of S1E3 

Homework:

  1. Write it Down:  Write 2-3 specific instances where and when you felt safe. Be very specific.
  2. Write it Down:  Write 2-3 specific instances where and when you felt unsafe. Be as specific as you can.
  3. Write it Down:  Write a list of 10 specific personal “red flags” and signals that tell you that you are about to enter into “stress mode (forgot that last part in the recording!). If any of these come up this week, observe the best time to break away from where you are…to go to a different, and safe environment. Some examples:
    1. The feeling like you would rather be anywhere else in the world, BUT the place you are in
    2. The feeling like you want to scream/yell at someone
    3. The feeling of helplessness
    4. The feeling of losing control over how you act
    5. The feeling of difficulty of thinking clearly
    6. The feeling of having more voices in your head than you usually do
    7. Felling “knots” in your stomach
    8. Feeling like you want to hurt yourself or hurt someone else
    9. Your mind going blank
    10. Feeling like you are starting to dissociate
    11. Having visual/emotional flashbacks
  4. Write it Down:  Write a list of 10 specific personal boundaries. Let this list grow, as you continue to notice when and where you are the most comfortable/uncomfortable

Announcements

  • Thank you for those who have given feedback—both positive and directional. Your voices are incredibly valuable to me
  • Recent suggestions:
    • Spacing out thoughts/concepts with sound bits/effects (thank you Hoang)
    • Consistent recording volume/conditions (thank you Angel)
    • Inconsistent volume levels (thank you Angel…and thank you Jonathan for mixing/mastering my episodes)

Lastly, Is there anything that I’ve missed? If you have the time, I would appreciate it if you helped me make this the best for you, and leave an honest comment :).

Until next time…Stay Relentless.

Rambles Series: Dealing with Uncertainty

Rambles Season 1 Episode 4 (R1E4)


How to deal with uncertainty in a systematic way.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 00:46   Introduction
  • 00:47 – 01:06   Overview
  • 01:07 – 02:35   Elements of a healthy friendship
  • 02:36 – 03: 40  Where are the “pain points” in your life, the things you absolutely want to change
  • 03:41 – 03:52  Separating each “pain point” into two categories: 1) Things I can change now, 2) Things I will change later
  • 03:53 – 04:25  Creating time-based tangible goals under the category “Things I can change now”
    • Create a overarching “long term” goals
    • Create smaller, “short term” goals under the long term goals
  • 04:26 – 06:03  Reaching those goals, and falling short from them; Taking each goal one small bite at a time
  • 06:04 – 07:28  Takeaways (Overview)
    1. Find what the “Pain Points” are in your life
    2. Separate them into (2) categories:
      • 1) Things you can change now
      • 2) Things you will change later
    3. Create tangible goals
      • Long Term
        • Sub-Goals for Long Term Goals
      • Short Term
        • Sub-Goals for Short Term Goals
    4. Repeat this cycle every season (every three months)
  • 07:29 – 08:50  Application to today’s pandemic

Other Notes:

Is there anything else you’d want to hear about? Help me make this the best for you, and leave an honest comment.

I’ve recently discovered, and have been informed by a trusted friend that the sound levels are inconsistent from one mode of listening to another. Rest assured, I have asked for assistance in this department (the quarantine office partner without the fur, haha). 

I am dedicated to responding to feedback and giving you the best product I possibly can, and it has so far been a great learning journey.

S1E2:  Taking a Moment to Honor Yourself (Tool #1 of the Survivor’s Toolbox)

Season 1 Episode 2



Ladies and Gentlemen, the second episode of the series, where we’ll explore the different ways we may have coped as a result of the trauma. Some of these will be more relatable to you than others.

While today we are just acknowledging what we needed to do to survive, I understand that some of us may not be ready to hear all of this at once.

If you feel like you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or RAINN’s hotline 1-800-656-4673. I have also listed numerous resources that also include online chat hotlines. You do not have to go through this alone.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 2:50  Introduction
  • 00:18 – 0:43  Overview of The Survivor’s Toolbox
  • 04:15 – 05:20  The resources I’ll be using
  • 05:24 – 08:26  Jeanette’s Introduction
  • 08:26 – 32:42  Immediate and Latent (Late) effects of CSA according to Courage to Heal
    • 08:48 – 12:48  Coping Mechanisms
      • 08:48 – 09:21  Denial
      • 09:22 – 09:40  Minimizing
      • 09:42 – 10:11  Forgetting
      • 10:12 – 10:46  Presenting a facade to the world
      • 10:47 – 11:44  Humor (Correction, sometimes…humor can be used in a harmful way toward the survivor, and toward others)
      • 11:45 – 12:22  Dissociation
      • 12:23 – 12:48  Spacing Out
    • 12:49 – 13:29  Coping Mechanisms over the years (personal experience)
    • 13:30 – Latent Effects of CSA / How CSA Can Affect Us Later
      • 13:30 – 15:59  Self-Protection Strategies
        • 13:30 – 14:35  Avoidance of People
        • 14:36 – 15:38  Avoidance of Intimacy
        • 15:39 – 15:59  Avoidance of Sex
      • 16:00 – 24:06  Maintenance of Control
        • 17:05 – 18:08  Hyper-vigilance or Hyperawareness
        • 18:09 – 21:23  The Regaining of Power Disempowering Others
        • 21:53 – 22:44  Safety at Any Price
        • 22:45 – 24:06  Seeking Safety in Religion
      • 24:07 – 26:07  Escape by Any Means
        • 25:23 – 26:07  Distraction Versus Avoidance
      • 26:08 – 32:42  Addictions, Compulsions, Self-Destructive Behavior (with Jeanette)
        • Addictions
        • Sexual Addition
        • Anorexia and Bulimia
        • Compulsive Eating
        • Excessive Business or Workaholism
        • Stealing
        • Self-Harm
  • Immediate and Latent (Late) effects of CSA according to RAACE.org (not all covered in the episode)
    • 32:43 – 38:41  Revictimization (with Jeanette)
    • Flashbacks
    • Low Esteem or Self-Hatred
    • Depression
    • Self-Directed Guilt, Shame, or Blame
    • Sleep Disturbances or Disorders
    • Lack of Trust
  • 38:41 – 39:40  What to do with all this information
  • 39:40 – 45:48  Finding Therapy
  • 45:49 – 53:10  When a therapist isn’t working out for you
  • 53:09 – 54:30  Take Care of Yourself
  • 54:30 – 1:09:13  Self-Regulation versus Self-Care
  • 1:09:14 – 1:13:53  Mindfulness

Homework:

  1. Find a Place to Write it Down:  Find a place where you can safely write about this healing process. While this can be a blog, I suggest a private journal. Find one you especially like.
  2. Write It Down:  Acknowledge and take account of the things you’ve had to do to survive up until now. When have you used these coping mechanisms?
  3. Write a Letter of Gratitude to Yourself:  You have done everything you could in the circumstances you had to SURVIVE. You didn’t know any other way. I challenge you to sit down, and write a letter to yourself, thanking your previous self for bringing you here today. Damaged or still hurting, you are still here, breathing, alive…and that’s all because you did everything you could to survive.
  4. Nourish Yourself: Do a handful of things that feed your soul (no limit here)
    • Have your favorite meal
    • Have a warm relaxing bath
    • Reach out to a friend
    • Have a relaxing long drive to somewhere beautiful

Lastly, Is there anything that I’ve missed? If you have the time, I would appreciate it if you helped me make this the best for you, and leave an honest comment :).

Until next time…Stay Relentless.

Rambles Series: 8 Elements of a Healthy Friendship

Rambles Season 1 Episode 3 (R1E3)


Having “healthy friendships” can be difficult after CSA, specifically from having our boundaries disrupted earlier in life. Some pointers from my perspective. 

Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts? Join me in the conversation!

And if you haven’t already…be sure to Rate, Comment, and Subscribe. Your support means increasing the chances of the next victim or survivor to stumble upon resources like this (not just my project, but the many others geared toward ending the silence). 

I have committed to releasing episodes every Wednesday. Ya’ll—if you don’t know me, I’ve got the laser focus and the commitment of a patient and hardworking ant. 

This project means the world to me, and I hope that I can give at least one survivor a voice that they’ve been needing to hear.

There’s hope in healing, and reclaiming your life. We are relentless.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 00:52   Introduction
  • 00:53 – 01:42   Overview
  • 01:41 – 18:20   Elements of a healthy friendship
    • 01:41 – 03:51  The joy, peace, and support in our lives
    • 03:52 – 05:06  Someone that we can trust
    • 05:07 – 08:43  Respect
    • 08:44 – 10:58  Honesty
    • 10:59 – 12:10  Active Listening (Mutual)
    • 12:11 – 14:33  Being willing to accept and forgive the shortcomings of others (not to be confused with keeping toxic friendships…that will be a conversation for later), or “Not expecting everyone to be perfect”
    • 14:34 – 15:23  Recap and Overview Take I…how this relates to the CSA survivor
    • 15:24 – 17:00  Bonus Element! — Being able to initiate as much as the other
    • 17:00 – 18:20  Bonus Element! — Not assuming
  • 18:20 – 19:38  Outro Take II

Other Notes:

Is there anything else you’d want to hear about? Help me make this the best for you, and leave an honest comment.

I know I’ve promised a second episode of the main series! Please have patience while I finish the edits for that one (my first interview material!).

I’m trying to navigate how to make sure that the volume sounds the same from one episode to another. Please leave your thoughts about this! Still trying to figure it out.

 Rambles Series: Staying Grounded

Rambles Season 1 Episode 2 (R1E2)


Hear about my personal journey (and my beloved dog deep-sniffing the grass) to figuring out what it meant to stay grounded. At around 4:57 I begin talking about what “Staying Grounded” means to me, and some pointers.

Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – 00:18   Introduction
  • 00:18 – 04:57   A Little Bit About Me
  • 04:57 – 12:38   What “Staying Grounded” means for me
    • 05:01 – 05:20  “Re-centering” Myself
    • 05:20 – 07:05  Artist’s Pages & Artist Dates
    • 0735 – 08:05  Bullet Journaling, Creative Bullet Journaling
    • 08:05 – 09:09  Setting meaningful goals every season and month (I refer to Cultivate Your Life by Lara Casey, her name completely slipped my mind!)
    • 09:10 – 09:54  Caring for houseplants
    • 09:55 – 10:17  Keeping the space clean
    • 10:17 – 10:38  Making my own food
    • 10:38 – 11:06  Going the extra mile for my personal enjoyment

Other Notes:

Is there anything else you’d want to hear about? Help me make this the best for you, and leave an honest comment.

Standby this week for the second episode of the main series, where we’ll dive into the first tool of the Survivor’s Toolbox.