Let's Talk About It


One of the many addictive traits that plagued me throughout my life was terrible follow through. Even at an early age I would be excited to be invited somewhere or do something however, when it came time to showing up, I would cancel. Whether it was because of my fear or laziness, I had an “I don’t want to” state of mind when it came time for me to actually participate. This was the case on the morning of June 8, 2015 with plans to meet my friend Kathy Jo for coffee. As I picked up my phone to text a quick apology with some lame excuse to cancel, I had an unfamiliar inspiration to not cancel and go anyway.

Kathy Jo Pollack is a lovely, high-spirited woman who is a life coach as well as a colleague of mine from my former days as a therapist at Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. We hadn’t seen each other for over a year due to our busy schedules. It was so great to see her. One of the first things she asked me was how my book was coming along. “Oh, I’ve stopped working on that.” I told her. “It feels like a bad third grade book report.”

Kathy Jo sat up straight and said, “Absolutely not!” I could feel the goose bumps of fear setting in. “What do you mean?” I said hoping she would just let it go. This manuscript I had been working on for three years with the title “Am I Going To Be Okay”. However, I was sick of trying to find an editor who understood what I wanted to say in this memoir/self help book. Kathy Jo said, “I know of someone you can connect with. Do not give up. I’m going to email my good friend Judi Moreo in Las Vegas. She’s an author, editor among many other specialties. I’ll give you her phone number and the rest is up to you.”

Here is where many of us chose between accepting the possibility of something happening and making the call or doing nothing and hoping it will all go away.

I am very happy and grateful I called Judi. After a brief phone conversation and sending her my first chapter, she called back later that night. “Send me the whole manuscript. I love it.” Here I am with an amazing book that encourages all of us to start talking about the things that were to be kept silent.

Why is it that our fears as children squashed any joy we had? Why is vulnerability met with crippling emotional pain so early on in our lives leaves us powerless over the impact?

Because that’s the way it’s always been since the beginning of man. As children we are impacted by the adults in our lives, for the better or worse. We carry these old messages and fears impacting our own family and adding to the legacy. Unless we begin to talk about it. All of it.

“Why talk about it?”

Because what we saw, what we heard and how we were treated sets the stage for our own worth and value. What we think about ourselves translates to others. Addiction is fueled by anxiety and self-hate.

Mental Illness is fueled by anxiety and depression.

Grief is underneath all of it. How do we know how to handle and cope with the loss of a beloved through death or a relationship? How have we been taught to heal from this unimaginable emotional pain? Stay strong and don’t talk about it.

I don’t agree. We begin to heal from sharing with one another either through speaking with each other, writing in chat rooms or blogs and finally feeling our feelings. It’s the human condition, we are not robots.

Because the legacy of the people we’ve loved and lost deserves to be talked about. Let’s talk about it, all of it. The way through our healing is to be vulnerable….always.

-Debra Whittam


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