Laura Messner grew up in a typical home until her parents divorced when she was eight years old. After she became aware of how little she got to see her father, she began chasing after perfection in every way she could think of to “earn” his attention… until she developed an eating disorder and eventually attempted suicide. She came to learn self-love and to take responsibility for her own pain and healing journey. As a teenager, she resisted help because she was unwilling to admit that everything inside was not perfect. It wasn’t until her late twenties that she came to understand that her struggles stemmed from the pain she felt from seeing herself as a victim of her father’s abandonment.
Tammy Ozolins is an extraordinary teacher. She returns to tell us of how teachers face an uphill battle in the field, boots on the ground, in the daunting challenge of helping teens who suffer with mental illness. She chooses to highlight the importance of being a friend to a student rather than a disciplinarian. In one instance, this technique resulted in a 6th grade student confiding to her years later, that her support drove him to not only graduate, but to join the marine corps with pride in who he was and what he became.
Dr. Aviva Weisbord, PhD, was a gift to humanity. Her untimely passing this past week brought forth stories of an incredible individual, who harnessed her innate talent to help others challenged with struggles, mental health issues, personal problems and become a life long devotee to public health organizations, all with extreme humility. Her focus was not myopic. Her vision was broad. She undertook personal responsibility to helping those with no one to help them, providing a listening ear, word of comfort, sage advice, albeit peppered with deep, profound and sensitive wisdom.
As 2020 comes to a close, we continue discussing our ability to harness the power of resilience that can be accomplished when focusing with gratitude. It is crucial to learn how to shield ourselves and create boundaries from things that are harmful to us and to become aware of our triggers. We learn to say “no” things that will hurt us and give ourselves permission to ask, “Is what I’m going to do going to help me in my recovery, or is it going to set me back”.
Paul Cummings had a stroke three years ago and lost his speech, the ability to understand others, the ability to read and write and difficulty moving his muscles. Doctors told him he would never be able to write or speak again.
After having seven episodes of psychosis and Bipolar I over the course of five years, Zahava List finally got through five years without a single episode. During those five years, she started an organization called Chazkeinu, which offers a support group to Jewish women and their families who are dealing with mental illness.
In this episode, we meet Brian Reynolds, a world record-holding runner, who also happens to be a double, below-the-knee, amputee. He shares his lifelong experiences growing up and overcoming. Sadly, Brian was born with a condition that made him very susceptible to illness. At just four years old he came down with meningitis, an infection that’s taken many lives. As a result of his illness, he woke up in the hospital without his legs. However, Brian isn’t the type of person to dwell on that and the sadness that could rightfully overtake and debilitate a person. To the contrary, he assures and inspires us how he is lucky that this is all he lost.
As the end of 2020 nears, Matana reflects back on the changes, growth and hurdles that we’ve seen and learned from. Inspired from the positive moments, we focus on the power of resilience and our commitment to keeping this attribute a constant thread in the fabric that weaves us.
In continuation of Part 1 of this episode, we are joined again with Miri Grunhaus & Fally Klein, who share with us their wisdom, insight and experience in the journey of mental health, and healing with gold. In this stunning interview with personal friends and collaborators Fally Klein, a women’s empowerment facilitator, and Miri Grunhaus, a fashion designer with purpose, we gain a newfound understanding of healing. Both women have experienced tremendous pain in their lives, but it is what they learned from their pain that gave them purpose, and ultimately brought them together. If we learn to sit with our pain rather than shy away from it, they share, we can catapult ourselves into lives of deeper joy and meaning than we ever thought possible.
As we enter the holiday season, Matana rediscovers her year, recounting the blessing of having experienced a year devoted to gratitude. She highlights how she chose to be in the moments that are phenomenal, chose to highlight the gratitude moments and chose to live with an open, grateful heart.