We are on our 40th episode today! I’m flying solo to share my podcasting journey and life lessons from the previous episodes.

  • It’s impossible to have figured out everything before you start something.
  • Find your why on those days that are more difficult and you will feel like you can finish what you have started.
  • It’s the mess and the difficulty that drives us to dependence and reminds us that we can’t control everything.
  • I don’t need to worry about what’s going on with everyone else.
    I need to be worried about staying on the path that God has called me to.

All these valuable life lessons and more that you can apply in your life while you’re finding and fulfilling God’s plan in your life. 

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Transcript of Episode 40

Hope for Anxiety and OCD, episode 40. Now, if you’ve been following along with the podcast, it’s been a little while since I’ve had a solo episode. So here I am. I wanted to talk with you about my podcasting journey, but more so in the sense of the life lessons that I’ve learned, I think these life lessons are going to be very valuable for you to hear and figure out how does that apply to your own life and maybe some of the things that you’re facing today.

So bit of encouragement, because it’s been a big hurdle over the last year or to not only start this podcast but to keep it going. There’s a term in the podcasting community called pod fade. Essentially pod fade is when people get super excited about their podcasts, they have this great idea. They get rolling and then they’re done before they even have 10 episodes released because the work that’s involved becomes overwhelming.

Whenever you’re looking at starting something new, I think there’s two different pits that people fall into like ditches on the side of the road. So one ditch on the side of the road is the people who never get started with anything because they feel like I have no idea how to do that. I don’t know. I don’t know how I’m even… They feel like they have to have everything figured out before they start something. And so if that’s you, I would say that’s impossible. So if you’re looking to start something new in your life, there’s no possible way you’re going to know everything that you’re going to run into when you face that situation or that task.

On the completely, other side of the road, there’s this other ditch that people fall into another extreme, which is more likely what I’m to fall into, which is, oh, I can do that like that it shouldn’t be too hard. I see other people doing that. Why not me? This sounds really good in the beginning. Right?

However, sometimes when you start out with that mindset, you don’t have the problem with starting the new thing. You have a problem with continuing and keeping going on the new thing. When I got into podcasting, I was like, oh, you know, you get a microphone and you turn it on. You start talking. There’s a there’s books on this. I can go read a book. I knew someone who had a podcast. So I was just like kind of approaching it pretty casually like. This shouldn’t be too difficult. I look back on that now this hilarious guys is absolutely hilarious. There’s a lot more that goes into a podcast other than turning on a microphone, talking and reading a book.

There were so many aspects that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The thing that kept me going on the days that were more difficult or the days that I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, or the days that I felt like I couldn’t finish was understanding why I started in the first place. Going back to finding your why. We do all kinds of things in our lives and a lot of times we don’t even step back and take a moment to reflect why am I even doing this? 

One of the beauties of the COVID-19 pandemic was that more people took that time to take this step back and to say, what have I filled my life with? And is that a valuable investment of my time, of my energy, of my money?

Life is short. We only have so many hours and we don’t know how many hours or how many days we have in this life. We want to make sure that we’re filling them with things that we believe God has called us to as Christian. That God has called us to.  In a personal sense of calling. There’s a general calling.

There’s a specific calling for me for a long time. I’ve believed that my calling was to the church. I may have talked about this on one of the beginning episodes, but I really felt like I was going to become a therapist in a church somewhere. I actually have a degree from a seminary, if you can believe that or not, it’s a counseling degree, but it’s from a seminary.

So here I was thinking that that was how my calling was going to look and that’s never happened. I’ve never, actually, I’m not in a paid sense of the word I have. I’m sure counseled some people in church in more of a lay type fashion. However, I’ve felt this burden for a long time, for people with mental health issues who are struggling in the chruch.

And this concept of them being given false information was so troubling to me.  Hearing over and over and over, somebody told me I wasn’t praying enough. Someone told me I wasn’t reading the Bible. I didn’t have faith. I didn’t trust God somehow because they were struggling. They were somehow a less than Christian.

Not only is that concept completely non-biblical because you don’t have to turn the Bible very far to find people who struggled with doubt, with fear, with depression. Elijah by the Brook wanted to die. Job cursed the day of his birth. I mean, There are so many Psalms where David cries out and is wondering where God is in the mess of his circumstances.

If we think we have to have it all together as Christians, we’re completely missing the whole point. The whole point is that in our mess, God enters in and we have communion and a relationship with him. And it’s the mess and the difficulty that drives us to dependence and reminds us that we can’t control everything.

And we need him every single day. I knew people in the church needed messages of encouragement and hope, people who are struggling with anxiety, OCD, or any other mental health concerns for that matter. I also knew there was a void of people speaking into these types of experiences. How did I know there was a void?

Well, because I looked. I looked for bloggers. I looked for people who had written books. I looked for people who are speaking about mental health struggles not just from a personal experience, although I think some of those are helpful, but also from a place of professionalism to say that professional counseling works. We have tools that can help people that are not in opposition to our faith.

I see so many Christians who are terrified of professional counseling because they think they’re going to be steered away to something non-biblical. All that to say, that was my why. And it was so good, even for me as I’m recording right now, just to repeat that out loud and to remember that. To remember the stories that I’ve heard from people who have told me about the messages they’ve heard in the church, I’m so glad that this podcast is part of changing some of those messages. 

When you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, that changes everything. So I want to ask you today, if you’re married, why are you married? It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for two years or 20 years. Ask yourself that question. Why are you married? Why are you getting up and going to work today?

There can be many different answers to this question. And believe me, I have answered this question so many different ways in my life. I remember just crying to someone shortly after I graduated because I was in this job that wasn’t a good fit for me at all. Just crying and them telling me, you know, you’re getting good experience right now. You’re getting experience that is going to help you get licensed. So at that point in my life, I was going to work to pay bills and get a counseling license so that I could hopefully do something differently.

I won’t get into that tangent, but one of these days I may do a podcast on life lessons. 

I learned from my many jobs.

I’ve probably had about 30 jobs in my life. That’s not an exaggeration, I’ve done many different things. Some of them were very short-term obviously, but there have been days where I have gone to work because I needed to pay. And there have been days where I’ve gone to work because I wanted to make a difference and everywhere in between.

You can apply the why question to why are you parenting your kids a certain way. Why are you involved in that ministry at church? During the pandemic, I really evaluated my why I had spent much time involved in counselor training and education. While I’m so thankful for that time and don’t have any regrets. I realized that God was directing me back around to ministry, to the church for people who have mental health struggles and getting involved in some type of creation of self-help materials.

Your why can direct you to get started and your Y can keep you going on the hardest of days. 

Now we’re going to shift gears a little bit and talk about struggles with comparison. Comparison is huge in the podcasting community at times, not with everyone, but there are these Facebook groups out there where people will get really obsessed with their download numbers. They will ask questions like how long did it take you to get 1000 downloads? I made the decision early on not to become obsessed with my download numbers. One of the reasons for that was because I was in some ways surprised when anyone listened to this. I had a blog prior to the podcasts and I’m pretty sure that very few people ever went on there and read anything that I had written. If you are on social media at all, it doesn’t even have to be social media, It could be the break room at work. It could be after church on a Sunday morning. It’s just so easy to compare yourself to other people. 

One thing that I try to tell myself that I hope might help you as well is I have to say I’m on my own journey. This is a journey that God has called me to, and I’m accountable to him. I’m accountable to my husband, to myself. I’m accountable to my listeners and my clients that I see every week for counseling. I’m not accountable to some kind of invisible standard or to Susie Q the most amazing podcast or out there. I don’t need to worry about what’s going on with everyone else. I need to be worried about staying on the path that God has called me to. Don’t get me wrong. There have been plenty of times on this journey, whether it’s been through my business journey or whether it’s been through my podcasting journey, there’s plenty of times that I’ve become jealous of other people or of what they’re doing, their success.

Recently, I made a decision to change the way that I approached that jealousy. When it would come up initially, I would just be so disgusted by it like, oh gosh, I’m feeling jealous. And I don’t like being a jealous person and it just feels slimy and gross. There would be like this self-deprecation I guess that came after the conviction and the experience of the jealousy.

Then one day, I thought this is not working as a helpful way to approach this because I’m still getting jealous of people. I decided to do something that we call “act opposite of how you feel” in the psychology and counseling world. And I decided that I was going to pray for that person that I was jealous that.

Not only was I going to pray for that person, but I was going to ask God to bless them more than he’s already blessed them. That has shifted my perspective so much and cut down on a lot of the green-eyed. How does that saying go the green monster of envy, something like that a big life lesson I learned on the podcasting journey was that I can’t do it all myself and I need help. This was so hard to admit and sit with because I am a very independent person. I’m the type of person that says I have to do this in order to make sure that it gets done right. I can’t really let go and trust other people. And if I want to get something done, I have to be driven and find a way to make it happen.

And this concept of recognizing when you can’t do something, yourself is applicable to so many different areas. It’s applicable to mental health for people that are looking at getting counseling or getting on medication. It’s applicable for working mothers, maybe who are trying to keep up with every household responsibilities and are taking on more than they can handle. It may be time for you to start using grocery pickup, hiring a teenager to help with your laundry. Anything that you can reasonably and feasibly get off your plate is going to help you in the long run. It didn’t take me very long to figure it out. That I was not going to be editing these podcast episodes.

Yes, you can watch some YouTube videos on it, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be very good at it. It’s interesting to me how many people will be okay with paying for someone to do their taxes, for example, or fix their computer, maybe mow their lawn, but when it comes to mental health help, people think “I should be able to figure this out myself.”

I know I’ve done that in so many areas of my life and what I’ve had to learn, especially over the last several years of having a business even is that you can’t do all the things. And when you admit that and you sit with it, you can go to the next step, which is finding help.

I struggled for such a long time with a negative belief that I can’t get the help that I need. That one, I’m not even sure where it started or how long it had been lingering around in my mind, but I was convinced that that was the truth. Through this journey of finding an editor. as well as finding a podcast assistant to help me with things like social media, getting in touch with perspective guests, scheduling interviews has been so healing for me because it’s healed this negative belief that I can’t get the help that I need.

Maybe that’s something that you struggle with. And I just want you to know there is help out there for you. You can’t always find it on the first try. Sometimes you have to do a little bit more searching and a little bit more work to get yourself the help that you need, but it is out there. If you are willing to look for it and know also that I would not be able to continue this podcast without support from key people in my life. As you all know, my husband, Steve has been incredibly supportive of my podcasting journey. He’s the one behind the scenes, just speaking life to me, reminding me of my why, reminding me of my calling speaking just truth to me when I need to hear it when days get hard or long, or I just want to throw in the towel.

He’s right there. Also have this incredible family support and, and friends, we need other people in our lives. It’s a huge lie of the enemy that we can do this on our own and that we can’t get close to other people. We can’t trust other people. I know that you’ve been burned and I’ve been burned in my life too.

I’ve had people who were close to me, hurt me very deeply. However, I also know that there’s power in community. There’s power in support of other people being able to say, Hey, I’m here with you and I love you. And I just need you to know that. Just keep going, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

That prayer support is so helpful as well. Steve and I were able to get involved in a small group recently, and that has been such a blessing to us, to be with other believers, to have people speaking truth and praying for us and pouring into our lives. As we seek also to pour into their lives. If you don’t have that type of support network, really evaluate and look and see what can you do to start creating that?

Even if it’s just a small way that you can add interaction, even with other people, we can’t say we want other people in our lives and then go to work, go home crash, get up in the morning, hit, repeat, and do it all over again. We have to be intentional about our relationships. We have to be intentional about reaching out to other people about saying, Hey, I want to spend time with you.

Let’s get coffee, come over to the house. You know, let’s play a game together. Let’s go for a walk in the woods, whatever it is that is going to help you get to know somebody a little bit better and connect with them. See how you can do that today. We need other people, not just surrounding us, but people that are doing what we’re doing.

Sometimes we have good support, but like nobody gets it. If that makes sense. And being a therapist can be isolating at times if you’re in private practice. Being a podcaster can be isolating at times. If you’re just sitting in a closet with a microphone, like I am right now.

 I’m so thankful that I’m going to be going to a podcasting conference for the first time this year, and continue to make connections with other podcasters, whenever I’m able to do that. Just can kind of breathe, a sigh of relief because it’s like, oh, somebody who really gets it, who knows like what the struggle that I’m going through is like. I hope that you’re able to find that in the sense of your community. Finding some people who understand what it’s like to struggle with anxiety, finding some people who understand what it’s like to have obsessions on.

Repeat in your head. I know that sometimes it’s hard to find support groups or other avenues like that. I don’t know. Maybe you need to look at starting one because if you’re sitting here and you need that. I guarantee you that there’s somebody else sitting by themselves thing, man, I really wish I had somebody to talk to about this who really got it, who really understood. I spoke about this on a previous episode, but the podcast has really given me the gift to know that I don’t have to be perfect to help people. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist. I want you to know that this podcast is far from perfect. Sometimes the audio has been less than stellar.

I’ve tripped over my words, repeated the same words over and over the website is not perfect. The social media is not perfect, pretty much. Nothing’s perfect about this podcast because it’s run by imperfect humans. And the beautiful thing about that is it doesn’t have to be because people are being helped.

People are being encouraged. Our downloads are growing every day. We have now over 5,500 downloads at this recording. It’s just incredible to me. I’ve, I’ve really been blown away by all of you listeners and the people that I’ve heard from that have said the podcast has been helpful. I appreciate you so much.

It leads me to believe that something we’re doing here is working and thank you for allowing me to be imperfect and still listening. Anyway, this is the last, the life lesson, but also one of the most important is that it’s okay to be vulnerable. Well, I knew it was okay to be vulnerable. When I started the podcast, I had this barrier of being a therapist.

I was concerned about sharing personal details, putting them out there for the whole world to hear. But most specifically, I was really concerned about my clients, hearing them to understand that you have to understand that when I was going to school. I was taught not to talk about yourself. It has to be about the client and listening to them, your story at that point, doesn’t really matter.

Unless somehow sharing it is going to benefit the client more than it’s going to benefit you. However, I was always taught to err, on the side of caution, in terms of sharing things about myself in therapy, different therapists have different views on this. And some end up talking about themselves, more in therapy maybe than I would, and that’s not necessarily right or wrong.

That’s more dependent on how the client feels about it. I. When I started the podcast, I had this big worry and fear that somehow my clients were going to look at me differently, treat me differently. Some become sidetracked in their own work, because they wanted to ask me about my own personal experiences and that big fear, like so many of our fears did not become a reality.

Actually, the clients who listened to the podcast may have said a sentence or two about how they appreciated me sharing my story or some aspect of my story that they didn’t know about me. And it didn’t derail our ability to work together. And it didn’t derail us on to them. Trying to ask me a bunch of extra questions and sessions about what I had shared.

I would have been very pleasantly surprised that this podcast has helped me overcome this barrier of being vulnerable as a therapist. When we share personal parts about ourselves, it’s an opportunity for us to be able to connect with other people. Who are going through difficult situations or who have experienced similar things.

There’s this sigh of relief. There’s this understanding like, ah, okay. They really get it. And I think that is so important in the therapeutic relationship often overlooked. I still don’t talk a whole lot about myself in my therapy sessions with clients. I still make it about them. The clients who have never heard this podcast, um, probably know very little about me other than I’m married.

And they see that I have cats because stitch likes to pop in every now and then to say hi to people when I’m on my online session. Having the podcast as an opportunity to talk through some of the struggles that I’ve dealt with in the past, as well as things that I’m still processing in my own life has been a gift of allowing God to take all the experiences, the pain, the hardships that have happened to me and turn them into something good.

I really feel like those sufferings are being used in a positive and healthy way versus just going through it, not talking about it at all and moving on so many times, we want to just forget where we’ve come through from, or we don’t want to talk about it because it stirs up these negative emotions that we have.

What I would say to you is everyone has a story. Your story may be very different from mine. And maybe there’s someone in your life that needs to hear it. Maybe there’s someone that needs that spark of encouragement before Steve and I got married, there was a lady in his church that came to me. Asked to meet with me.

And I thought, oh gosh, what is this about? I don’t, I don’t know. You know, when you’re a therapist, um, obviously sometimes people want things from you and it can get a little uncomfortable. I thought maybe she was like trying to get advice for me. And it was completely the opposite. Actually. She wanted to sit down with me and talk with me about her own marriage, some of the struggles that she went through with her husband, how she stayed, married, how she worked through some difficult things.

And she was able to give me a book that had been an encouragement to her. It was just this beautiful thing of how she used difficulties and struggles in her own life. To be able to say, I don’t want to see you go through what I’ve been through. Let me try to help you on the front end so that you don’t have to experience some of the pain and suffering.

That I’ve dealt with. And if you do get to that point in your marriage and you feel like there’s nobody I can talk to you, nobody will really understand what I’m going through. That she gave me her information. Like, please reach out to me. Honestly, that was of all the wedding gifts I got. That was one of the best ones.

Just the gift of someone else’s personal experience. And the time that she took to talk with me about it. So never underestimate your ability to encourage and love on someone else through the use of your own story that God has given you. Usually at the end of every episode, I like to do a story of hope.

So my story of hope today is about this whole thing that we’ve been talking about. It’s about the podcast. I want to share with you my hope for the future, for the podcast. You’ve heard the hope as a result of the things that I’ve learned through this process, initial journey of 40 episodes. And now I want to talk with you about the future.

I know I don’t talk about this enough, but hope for anxiety and OCD exists to reduce shame, increase. And develop healthier connections with God and others. I have a whole host of interviews lined up for people to talk with us about all kinds of different things, everywhere from personal stories of overcoming trauma, working through anxiety, processing that spiritually.

Working through the struggles of why did such and such happened to me in my life. I also have some professionals that are going to come on and talk about the connection between addiction and anxiety, how we can use our breath to tap into the calm down, uh, center of our nervous system. And it’s more than just take a deep.

We’re going to be talking about managing anger and sleep habits. They’re just, the possibilities are endless. And those are just the people that I have booked. I also have other ideas that we’re trying to get people on the podcast to discuss. Of course, you’re always a welcome to be a part of this process.

I had a college students reach out to me on Instagram, wanting to share her story, which is so awesome. If you know of other professionals who might want to be on, or if you have a topic suggestion for us, I’m definitely all ears as more and more of you are finding the podcast. I’m getting more inquiries through my, By the Well Counseling website of people seeking counseling.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to see anyone outside of the state of Tennessee due to my counseling license, being specific for Tennessee. We have hope as therapists that someday those laws may change due to the expansion of talent. There are still so many people in underserved areas in rural communities that don’t have access to adequate mental health treatment, especially for specific things like OCD.

While we are far from having a national counselor license, we are also closer than we’ve ever been. So we’re still holding out hope for that. When I do want to say to those who have reached out, maybe from other states to me, that I’m not able to see is that I am in the process of creating some self-help materials for people who struggle with anxiety and OCD.

Of course, you all will be the first to hear more about that once it’s complete. And once I have things set up and ready to go, I’m recording some audio relaxations as well as teachings that I think are going to be beneficial to many people. The best way to find out when those materials come out is to get on our email at hopeforanxietyandocd.com. I know I have failed miserably at emailing you guys on a regular basis, but I will definitely let you know when these materials come out and also check our social media. If you follow those pages. My hope is that people who don’t have access to counseling services or need something to work on in between sessions.

Maybe that are going to counseling. We’ll have more Christian self-help materials available to them that they feel comfortable, that it’s aligned with their faith and belief system. It’s scary even to put this out on the podcast, right? Because now I really need to follow through with what I’ve said I’m going to do.

And that’s all for today. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you here, listening. I know that there’s a reason that I’m here and there’s a reason that you’re here right now.

Hope for anxiety and OCD is a production of By the Well Counseling in Smyrna, Tennessee. Our original music is by Brandon Maingrum. Until next time, may you be comforted by God’s great love for you.