Share the Podcast!
Mental Health Podcast Episode 1: Transcript Below
Hello everybody, and welcome to the very first episode of the Allison In Wonderland podcast.…
This is really just an introduction to me, your host, Allison Frye, and what this podcast is really meant to do and how it’s meant to serve everybody. So, hello, I am Allison Frye, host of the Allison in Wonderland podcast and, if you excuse all of the cheesy Alice in Wonderland references, the actual point of this is to kind of walk with me through my journey, through the looking glass into mental health.
And it’s really great that finally see people talking about mental health more and workplace culture and depression and anxiety. But we’re not really talking about everything that has to do with mental health. So this podcast is meant to talk about everything that has to do with mental health.
Now, obviously, I am not going to know about all of the things that people have issues with. I’m not aware of some mental health things. I’ve already talked with some guests that have completely opened my eyes to areas of mental health that I had never even thought about. And I’ve been on this 15-year journey of becoming a mental health advocate.
It’s a learning experience for me, and I think for everyone, all of the things that go into it. We talk a lot about stress and anxiety and depression, postpartum depression; you hear a lot about bipolar disorder; You hear a lot about the suicide of celebrities and cyberbullying.
And it’s great that people are talking about these things, but there’s more than just that to it.
So we will talk about all of those things, and we will also talk about anything else related to mental health. So I have got some really great guests lined up for January and February already. I’m hoping to post a new episode every week, which means if I don’t get more guests, you’re just going to hear a lot of me talking about my personal journey.
So please, reach out on AllisonInWonderland.com to be a guest. To be a guest on this show, you really just have to be an advocate for mental health. So I have some guests that are Mental health professionals, like therapists and psychiatrists, and, some that are mental health advocates like I am.
People that are authors of amazing books that have to do with mental health and then also people that struggle with mental health or have gone through things in their life as a result of issues of mental health. So really, it’s about any of those things, and I think everyone has had some kind of struggle that has to do with mental health, either with themselves or with their family.
That means anybody can be a guest. So if you would like to be a guest on the Allison in Wonderland Mental Health podcast, go to AllisonInWonderland.com and fill up the form and set up a time to talk to me. I would love to talk to you. I have learned that there’s a lot of stuff that I have not even thought of in regards to mental health, and so having as many people on here talking about their stories or their focus and their expertise, their experiences, THAT is what’s going to really get us outside of the box that are these just very limited things about mental health that we talk about?
I feel like I just said mental health a lot in one sentence. So in case y’all didn’t realize, this is a mental health podcast. So who am I, and what gives me the right to even be sitting here talking about these things? Or any place of authority with it?
Well, anybody has the right to talk about mental health. Hopefully, they talk about it in a helpful and productive way. I mean, we do have freedom of speech, but, I’m a mental health advocate, which really means that I just try to do my best to give a voice to people about mental health issues, to people about suicide prevention, which is what led me down this path.
And I will talk about that in a minute.
So being an advocate for mental health to me really just means I talk about mental health all of the time, which, hey, that’s why I’m here. Maybe I’ll talk to a broader group of people than when I just talk to people that I happen to cross paths with.
I have three adult children. The youngest is 19, and when he graduated high school in May of 2020, we decided to stop living outside of Atlanta and moved to the beautiful mountains of Kentucky.
I’m originally from the Birmingham, Alabama, area, so, southern-grown and definitely will have that little accent pop out every now and then. It gets really bad if I’m talking to someone else that has a southern accent and then it just kind of comes out. So, I’ve been in the south my whole life, and Kentucky’s as far north as I have gotten.
And buying a farm in Kentucky was never part of the plan, but it is beautiful. It looks like Shire. So outside of my office window, it’s just absolutely gorgeous, and it really gives me this nice feeling of peace when I look outside compared to when I was in little HOA neighborhoods where they would measure the grass.
So that’s me. I’ve been married my entire adult life, and I have three wonderful children. They’re all grown, and then five cats, which is a lot… And they’re not all my fault. So, I do consider myself a crazy cat lady, but the guys in my life had a lot to do with those cats being here, even though they might blame it all on me.
So that is just a little bit about me, the Allison, who is today. I am one of eight children. I come from what someone once coined a “casserole family.” So you’ve got ingredients from over here and ingredients from over here, which means, my parents were divorced and remarried. My mother remarried a couple of times, so I have half siblings and stepsiblings, and a foster sibling and, just a lot of brothers and sisters.
And, what started me on this journey through mental health was the loss of my brother Kevin as a result of mental illness and suicide in 2007. I’m not saying that any of my siblings are more or less than any of the other ones, but Kevin was my one full-blooded sibling.
I say that because it’s important to know that that means that Kevin and I really were a “set” when we were kids. So we would be at our mom’s house together, and we would be at our dad’s house together, and it would always be, “are Kevin and Allison going to be there”? So it’s not that Kevin is any more my brother in my heart than my other siblings.
I really just emphasize that. So you understand that I went through my adolescence being very tied to Kevin as my big brother. He’s also the only sibling that’s older than me. He was two years older than me and a grade above me. So we hung out in the same social groups. I mean, I was more of a tag-along geek that no one wanted to hang out with.
But, we still hung out with the same people, whether they wanted me there or not, and I was really tied to being “Kevin Rumore’s little sister” when I was growing up. So losing Kevin as a result of suicide had a very profound impact on me. If you follow my blog or my social media, you have probably heard me use this example before, but,
People ask about “getting better” when you have grief, and there’s no “getting better.” I’m not saying this is as a mental health professional. I’m saying this is someone that grieves. Someone that grieves for my brother, that grieves for my mother, who died in 2010, three years after my brother, also as a result of mental illness and suicide.
So when you get broken. And I’ve had people tell me not to say that “I’m one of the broken toys,” but I say it anyways because I think it says how strong I really am that I get up even though I’m a little broken and I function every day. So when you break into a million pieces, you can’t just “fix it.”
If there was a building that crumbled to the ground, you could not go in and repair it. You have to build it back up from scratch, and that’s where I was in 2007 when I lost Kevin. I really was just inconsolable. I had two very little children, and it was really, really hard. I remember times when I would be at work, and I would just sit in the bathroom stall, holding my breath so that people couldn’t hear me sitting there just sobbing uncontrollably.
And then I would just cry uncontrollably at my desk. And finally, I just quit. I couldn’t keep going. I was messing up at work, and I just told them that I needed to take time off, be with my kids, and be at home. And I mean, maybe that kept me from being at work and possibly just ruining some proposals and things, but I spent a lot of days just in bed. I would get the kids to daycare and school, and then I would go back home, and I would get in bed. I would live off eating peanut butter because, apparently, I’m a stress eater. Did not know that before. And it took some time for me to get to where I could even go through a day without crying.
And that’s okay, people grieve, and people cry, and I hate crying because it gives me headaches, but there was just no controlling it. When I lost Kevin, I did not really understand what had happened. I went through the “what-ifs.” When you lose someone as a result of suicide, you go through the “what-ifs.”
“What if I had done this”? “What if I had done that”? And I asked so many people questions. It was almost as if I was interrogating everyone connected to Kevin, and I was getting little pieces of this big map where it’s like if I had known all these pieces… if this person had told me this… and if this person had told me this, then maybe Kevin would be okay.
But the what-ifs will drive you crazy, and I finally had to stop. I had to stop blaming other people because there were people that I blamed for not having Kevin’s back. I had to stop blaming myself for not seeing that he was hurting and that he needed help. So when I stopped trying to dig into Kevin’s life and figure out what happened to him as far as the people that he was interacting with and the systems that failed him and all of the things that went into it.
I just started researching mental health in general. I wanted to understand suicide. I wanted to understand bipolar disorder. I wanted to understand what went wrong. That wasn’t something that I could blame on a specific person. That is the science behind what happened, and that led me to college.
So since I got married when I was 18. I did not go to college. I was home with my kids, and I started taking classes online and received a degree in psychology. I did not have an interest in going and being a therapist. I really just wanted to understand. I had always wanted to go to college anyways. I was an “accidental high school dropout.”
I can explain that in a whole other session. But, I had never intended on dropping out of high school, and college was something that I always felt like I needed to do to prove to myself that I was not like a “high school dropout” or whatever, which, you know, everybody’s path leads them in different ways but I had this whole stigma in my head of what it was like, that why I was a high school dropout, so I wanted to go to college anyways.
I did not know what I wanted to study. So after the loss of Kevin, I signed up for an online college and studied psychology, and throughout this process, after I got my first degree, I lost my mother as a result of suicide. Then the process and the grieving were completely different. With that one.
I had researched suicide so much. and I had gone through the grieving process for Kevin. I had been just completely broken when he died, but I built myself up on a stronger foundation than I ever had before Kevin died. So that building me, the building that is me, maybe got some cracks in it, but the foundation was strong.
And I thought that meant that I was really able to get through it without falling apart. And my mother was on life support. I lived in Georgia. My little sister lived in Birmingham. My mom lived in Tennessee, and my little brother lived in California. And the three of us were the ones that. Had to be there to make the decision of whether to take her off of life support or not.
So I was in the hospital for a little while before my brother and sister got there. In some states, the fact that I am the oldest would have given me the right to make the decision on my own and not have to put them through it. Tennessee is not one of those states, and I don’t know that I would’ve made it on my own anyways. But I was able to handle “all of the things.”
I am usually an organizer. I am usually the one that takes care of everything, even as a child, you know? My mom was not there all the time. Now I understand it was because of her bipolar disorder. I very much took on the role of the caretaker growing up, and so since I did not fall apart when my mother was in the hospital the way that I did with Kevin, I was able to step up and handle everything so that my little brother and sister did not have to.
So I handled working with the organ donation advocates where they have a patient advocate, and you go through just a lot of time of very uncomfortable questions about my mom’s, sex life and drugs and things that one, really I didn’t know most of the answers, and two didn’t really want to answer most of it.
So they kept her on life support for a little bit longer than we had wanted. Because she was a nurse, she’d made it very clear that she did not wanna be on life support, ever. But we did so that we could try to get through the organ donation process. So I did that. I called just about every funeral home in Tennessee.
I had $1,000, and I had to find a way to get her cremated for $1,000, and that’s half of what it cost anywhere. So I basically sat there on the phone going through the phone book because, yeah, in 2010, we still used phone books. I sat there and went through the yellow pages and just kept calling places, and finally, someone was like, okay, I’ll do it for a thousand dollars.
And, then I went back home to Georgia, and I started planning a memorial for her in Alabama. And I did all of those things thinking that I was okay and that I wasn’t grieving the same way. Because I was stronger. I was so much stronger after Kevin. I’d received a degree in psychology. I understood mental health.
But really, what happened was after I stopped taking care of everybody else, then I fell apart. Not the same as when I fell apart about Kevin, but still stress eating and gaining weight and all of these things. And it just continued as a process where I had to really understand my own mental health and, you know, trying to find the right therapist for me, which we will have a whole other episode about trying to find the right therapist for you.
Sometime after that, I went and got another degree. I got an advanced degree in forensic psychology and thought maybe I’d go be a profiler for the F B I or something like that. Because TV makes that seem so cool. But I still am a digital marketer. I enjoy digital marketing by trade.
I know that I want to do something with mental health, and I think I was assuming it needed to be a career when really, this can be it. I can be an advocate and tell my story and let other people tell their stories and really get to the “why.”
I know that what I spoke about a lot today was the loss of my brother and my mother as a result of bipolar disorder, P T S D and, suicide ultimately. And I do so because this is an introduction, and if you want an introduction that tells you where my journey “through the looking glass” of mental health started, it started in 2007 when I lost my brother.
Over the years, I have actually learned about my own mental health issues that stem back from very early childhood, and even though I can see, yes, I had issues with mental health growing up, and I grew up in a home with mental illness. I really mark the loss of my brother, Kevin, as the beginning of my journey to discovering mental health.
My journey “down the rabbit hole” and “through the looking glass.” We’ll get all those little Allison in Wonderland things in there…and that really is the time that really was when I started to become aware of mental health.
And so we will talk about things from before that in my life. And we will talk about things that have happened since we will talk about things that, happened to other people, so really, this is just the introduction, and the introduction has to let you know what led me on this path.
I know there’s like a little thing at the end that’s like tells you, “I’m not a doctor.” Please don’t take anything I say as medical advice.
That is true. I am not a doctor. I did talk about degrees in psychology. That does not mean that I am a mental health professional of any kind.
I am purely someone that wants to give a voice to mental health issues. So, there WILL be episodes where I really don’t know, about the issue that we’re talking about because it’s not something that I’ve encountered, but I’m reaching out to professionals, to advocates, to people about their own life experiences, so that we can talk about all of it.
Because of my limited experience, when you say mental health, I’m going to immediately start thinking of bipolar disorder, suicide prevention, reducing stigma, and mental health awareness. I probably will not jump right to the implications of other aspects of people’s mental health that I just have not experienced, because, once again, I’m not a mental health professional.
I am an advocate who has studied mental health and studied psychology because I’m interested in it, but, no one knows all of it. And I’ve met some really great people already in the process of getting this podcast set up.
And I have no idea how to run a podcast, so I’m sorry if this is just me rambling on, but I am completely unscripted, and this is just going to be me, being me, and, also bringing in some really amazing people to, also talk with, anyone that wants to listen about other areas of mental health.
I’ve talked to quite a few people already. A couple of authors coming up. The first one is, the episode that’s going to air on January 11th is Dr. Anita Johnston. She is an “eating psychology pioneer,” is what it says on her website, which is really cool. So the stress eating I talked about led me to her book, “Eating in the Light of the Moon,” about six years ago and, over the last year during the move and a whole lot of other things that I’m sure I can talk about in a whole other episode, I gained about 30 pounds. So I went back to her book that’s about self-image and, body image issues and things. And then I reached out to her, and It’s been a really amazing experience just after talking to her. So I’m really excited about her being the first guest on the show.
And, once again, if anybody wants to join the show or has a recommendation for someone that I should reach out to or a book recommendation or anything, please go to AllisonInWonderland.com.
I know that this is going to be on a variety of platforms. It’s on YouTube. If you wanna sit here and watch me stare into the camera, talking to myself. It will also be on a variety of Podcast platforms. So please like it, share it, subscribe, go to my website, and subscribe to my newsletter. I will not sell your information.
I will just send you updates about episodes and blogs, and it will also give you an opportunity to recommend people or sign up to be a guest. So, I’m really excited about this journey that I am going on, and I am really glad for anybody that finds it helpful.
So, once again, not a doctor, if you are in crisis, please call 9 1 1 or go to your nearest emergency room. The National Suicide Lifeline recently changed their number to 9 8 8 so that you can text or dial it at any time to receive help. That’s 9 8 8. So, please, reach out.
And welcome to this journey, as we go down the rabbit hole!