Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
(Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:09):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:14):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:18):
And I'm Beth. So today we are going to have a conversation that I think is really important, but I'm not sure that it's a conversation you fully want to have, Steph.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:31):
Interesting. You don't think I want to have a conversation, or are you projecting and you don't want to have the conversation?
Beth Demme (00:37):
No. I want to have the conversation because I think that it's really important and informative, and I think it fits within our ideas about things that people have questions about, but don't talk about, don't have honest conversations about.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:49):
But why do you think I don't want to talk about it?
Beth Demme (00:51):
Well, today I want to ask you about non-suicidal self-injury.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:54):
Beth Demme (00:55):
And I'm not sure that that is—although, you have written a book where you have been very brave and public about it—I don't know that it's something you want to sit and have a face-to-face conversation about. Do you?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:07):
I do, Beth. I'm the one that added it to the podcasts list. So I'm fully here and ready.
Beth Demme (01:14):
Yes, but you have to admit that you added it with some reluctance.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:20):
Did I? I am very like ...
Beth Demme (01:23):
You seemed reluctant to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:24):
Beth Demme (01:25):
And we keep bumping this one. We were going to talk about it a while back and then we bumped it and it's bounced around on our calendar. And now today is the day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:34):
Okay. See, I feel like you're should-ing on me and saying that you should do this episode, but I know you don't want to.
Beth Demme (01:41):
Let the record reflect. I've never said the word should.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:44):
But you were really thinking I could see it in your eyes.
Beth Demme (01:46):
No, I'm just worried because I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but I do want to have this conversation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:51):
I am not uncomfortable at all, so.
Beth Demme (01:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:53):
I'm feeling good. I'm feeling great. I actually want to have this conversation because I actually brought this idea up because I was having a conversation with my mom. She was talking with some of her friends and they just didn't really understand where self-injury came from. And how that was something that my brain came up with and what that was and how that came about. And so I really wanted to do an episode dedicated to self-injury, which is actually officially called non-suicidal self-injury, NSSI. And really try to dig into where it came from and the feelings associated with it as best I could, because I think a lot of people still wrongly look at it as when people do it in a society that they are trying to kill themselves, and it's a suicidal thing, or it's for attention. And that was never the case for me. And so I really wanted to have a chance to dig into what it is. We've talked on it before we've mentioned it, but I don't think we've ever really talked about, specifically, about NSSI, which is what we're talking about today, and I'm excited about it.
Beth Demme (03:04):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:04):
Whether you think I am or not, I am. I want to talk about it.
Beth Demme (03:08):
Excellent. Well, why don't you read for us the part of your book where you explain this brain and heart disconnect, because it was one of the aha moments when I was reading the manuscript. I thought, oh, that's what's happening. I think it shows a lot of insight and self-awareness. So why don't you read it for us, and then you and I can talk about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:31):
Sure. So this is a part when I was writing my book I really wanted to try to help people understand what goes through my head when I deal with NSSI. And so this is what I came up with. I still remember writing it and reading it and figuring ... does this make any sense? And read it to a couple people and they're like, this makes total sense. So I was happy I could include it in the book. So this is in the chapter titled 74 Hours in Discovering My Scars.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:03):
My brain knows I need to feel something, so it sends it down to my heart, but my heart is not there. My organs are not there. My body is an empty shell. So the event just bounces around desperate to get resolved. After a while, my brain realizes it hasn't heard from my heart about what emotion to feel. Then my brain goes into overdrive, trying to figure out on its own what to do about the event, but my brain doesn't know how to determine the emotion on its own. What my brain does know is this: When I see a cut on my body, I instantly feel pain in that area. So my brain, knowing it needs to tell me how to feel about the event, tells me to cut my arm to feel emotion. So I cut and I feel pain in that one area. My lost brain, without its hear,t is semi-satisfied. This goes on like a ritual for good and bad events. This is the process every time my brain needs me to feel. After my brain shut down my heart years ago, it never went back.
Beth Demme (05:04):
"My lost brain without its heart is semi-satisfied. This goes on like a ritual." So you came to that understanding after a lot of work and reflection, and working with your psychologist, right? It wasn't that the first time you cut, you thought, oh, this is what's happening.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:20):
No, yes, correct, not at all. So I really was dealing with self-injury from 18. For two years, I was in community college, and for those two years, I was not telling anyone about it, and I was dealing with it. And then I got help with Dr. Jill. Started doing therapy and then moved to Orlando, had a big incident happen, went to the mental hospital. I think we've talked about some of this in previous episodes, but it wasn't until fairly recently that, well, it wasn't until I wrote the book that I actually put those words together, the brain, the heart, and the disconnect.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:58):
And really when we talk about the brain and heart disconnect and the disconnect that we're talking about there, I go into it more in the book, but that's something that's very classic with people that have been abused as children, is this disconnect happens because the abuse is too much for a child to, I mean, really anyone, to really comprehend fully what was happening. And so that's where that disconnect happened is because I was abused as a child, my brain and heart, just that connection got shut down because it was too much for it to take. And that's where the self-injury came in was I had those unexplainable emotions inside me and I wasn't fully connected, wasn't a full-functioning person. And that's when I started coping with self-injury. And I like to use the word coping because it's a coping mechanism. Yes, it's unhealthy. A lot of coping mechanisms are unhealthy. Well, I think by definition, isn't a coping mechanism unhealthy?
Beth Demme (07:00):
I think it's possible to have healthy coping mechanisms.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:03):
Yeah. I call them healthy tools when I deal with something now. When I deal with emotions and things like that, I have healthy tools that I use. So I don't necessarily call them coping mechanisms. So that's interesting. I don't know. Yeah. I guess you can have healthy. I don't know. Anyways, I call it coping mechanism because that's exactly what it was. It was how I coped with those unexplainable emotions, but alcohol is a coping mechanism. A lot of people struggle with alcohol and use that to deal with emotions and things that they are afraid to face.
Beth Demme (07:38):
Food. Food could be a coping mechanism for sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:40):
Food is a huge one, eating disorders, things like that. Drugs, and other things. So there's so many ways that people cope with things in their life and emotions that are too hard to handle instead of-
Beth Demme (07:52):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:52):
Beth Demme (07:53):
I mean, I assume that that's why people run is that it's just going to be a coping mechanism.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:57):
Beth Demme (07:58):
I'm just kidding. I mean, I'm only sort of kidding. I know that there are plenty of people who run for really healthy reasons, but I do think I have met some runners who are.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:06):
Running away from--
Beth Demme (08:07):
Yeah, running away from feelings.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:08):
Yeah. Well, and I think healthy coping mechanisms like running and exercising, things like that, I think sometimes that there's a fine line between this is healthy and this is trying to escape things that I don't want to face head-on. And for me it was both. It was unhealthy because I was hurting myself and could have caused really bad damage. And I wasn't fully exploring why I was dealing with self-injury. I was too afraid to face that head-on. And I thought my problem was self-injury. For the longest time I thought, oh, that's my problem. I just need to stop engaging in self-injury, but really it was just a coping mechanism. And my problem wasn't that. My problem was that I had been abused as a child and had never fully dealt with those issues.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:59):
And there can be silly things like people that have obsessive-compulsive disorder that have to do things over and over and over there's probably something behind that. That's probably not their issue is OCD. There's something there. There's some reason why they're coping with it. So I think there's a lot of things that we think is our issue. And then we realize there's many layers behind it that actually we need to deal with before we can address the thing that we came to get help with in the first place.
Beth Demme (09:35):
So tell us about NSSI. Walk us through the feelings. What did it feel like before you would get the scissors out? What did it feel like in the moment? What did it feel like after? Walk us through those feelings?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:49):
Well, I'm going to start by telling you the very first time I engaged in NSSI. I was 18. I was on my way to a job and I was in the car. I just felt emotions fill my body. Every inch of my body was just full of unrest and emotions I couldn't put a name on. And it just was too much. I had a nail file that was pointed in my car. And that's what I used the very first time. Right before I went into work, I engaged in NSSI for the first time in the car. And then I went in, did my job. And that became my new way of dealing with life. So I was able to do my job, do it well. No one knew anything happened. I was able to be play happy human in society because I was able to release those emotions. And so for me, when I would cut my arm, it would show me there is where the pain is and all the emotions inside would subside for moments, hours, it varied. And I could say that's where the pain is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:00):
And the scratches themselves were more like cat scratches is how I describe them. It wasn't bloody or gory in any respect. And that was always in the back of my head. If anyone ever asked, I would say it was a cat scratch because I had a cat at home. So I was like, that's my cover, but no one ever saw them. No one ever said anything. It was something that it wasn't for other people to know. It was the way that I was able to cope with the unexplainable things inside me and to be like I said, happy human in society and function in society, and get through the things I needed to do in life.
Beth Demme (11:34):
So before you would engage in NSSI, the feeling was an overwhelming amount of emotion and not even one specific emotion, it sounds like, not necessarily fear, or anger, or anxiety it was just--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:54):
It was everything, and it was good and bad emotions. So it would be anger. It would be frustration. It would be sadness. It would be happy. It would be joy. It would be frustration. It would be a combination of all those emotions at one time in every inch of my body just bouncing back and forth with just all of that and not knowing what to do. I mean, just think about that. If you have every emotion just running through what do you do? How do you feel? How do you feel satisfied? How do you calm yourself from that? And that's basically what I was able to do with NSSI. And what I could assume people would do with alcohol is it calms those feelings and that unrest, and that kind of thing.
Beth Demme (12:42):
I don't think I realized that it included what I would generally describe as positive emotions, too. I think I assumed that we were really just talking about what I would say are negative emotions. I know that's not necessarily fair, but grief, sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, but it wasn't just that it could be an overwhelming happiness too?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:07):
Well, it wouldn't be like I feel an overwhelming happiness right now that's all I feel. It would be in a combination with multiple things. And at the time, it was just confusion. That's really the picture I'm trying to paint is imagine all of these emotions are inside you and your brain is trying to process every single one of them at the same time. How does that work? It doesn't, and it's overwhelming. That was constant. That was a constant thing in my life is I had all these emotions and I didn't know where to place them. I didn't know how to understand them. I didn't know what to do with them. And that's when I finally took it upon myself to figure out a release.
Beth Demme (13:50):
The first time that you did it with a nail file how many scratches did you make?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:55):
I don't know. Yeah, I don't remember. Probably just a couple. And it was always it's literally always been on my left arm, the inside of my arm way lower down than my wrist more like the mid-arm. And it's always been parallel to my wrist direction. And I make that distinction because that was never a conscious thing of me. That's just always how it's been. And I think it's because I'm right-handed, and so that's why it was on my left arm.
Beth Demme (14:27):
Yeah. You'd hold it with your right hand and then, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:29):
But I make that distinction because for the longest time when I realized people thought I was suicidal and that was a suicidal action, my psychologist helped me realize just the clear fact of where you were engaging in self-injury shows that you weren't trying to kill yourself because I could not have hit a blood vessel where I was, and in the direction I was going if I was trying to engage in the typical, whatever it would be near the wrist, and it would be-
Beth Demme (15:02):
Perpendicular to the wrist.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:03):
Beth Demme (15:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:05):
But it was never something where I consciously said, okay, now I'm going to engage in self-injury to deal with my emotions and I'm going to do this action. And you alluded to earlier the very first time was with a nail file, but then after that it was with a pair of scissors. And it was constantly just with a pair of orange-handled scissors that was the go-to. Why? I don't know. Never razor blades. Never burning and things like that. Never anything like that. I've read lots of different ways people have engaged in self-injury and it always just was a pair of scissors [for me]. A razor blade always seemed like, ooh, that's too much. I don't know. Even in my mind now it's like, oh.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:44):
So I can understand where people are like I don't even know where you're coming from. That seems so painful. Why would you even do that? I feel that with razor blade and things like that, I'm like, oh, that feels, ugh. So I get where people are coming from that have never experienced it. I'm glad you have not experienced it. I wouldn't wish that on anyone to go through that, but I do feel there's validity in trying to understand it, especially if there's someone in your life that you know are going through this, trying to comprehend what that is because it's tough. It's a complicated action to understand. And I don't know that you can ever fully understand it if you haven't gone through it, but I think you can work at trying to learn and understand, and at least come from the place that I'll never fully understand, but I'm going to do my best at being there for whoever this person is that may need your support in their life.
Beth Demme (16:45):
You made the point that you didn't sit down and consciously say, okay, I need to deal with these feelings. And so this is what I'm going to do. And really that is a coping mechanism, right? I mean, especially, I think when we give into unhealthy coping mechanisms, we don't even realize that we're doing it. We don't consciously decide to do what is unhealthy, or what is not in our best interest. So I thought that was a really important point. You talked about what it was like before and a little bit about what it was like during. What is the feeling after? Is it immediate relief? You said you could go into work and be a happy human. What is that feeling then?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:23):
Yeah, so instantly when I would engage in self-injury almost instantly the emotions would be like a black hole like zhoop, they would go away. And I would just see the cut on my arm and be able to focus on that. And so all of the emotions would just be sucked away and I could see and feel just a little sting, just a little bit of sting because it wasn't super deep, but I could feel that sting like when you get a cat scratch from a cat. You feel something in that area. A little bit of sting, it's not super bad, but that was the feeling. I was basically creating a cat scratch where I could say, oh, there that's what hurts. And so those other emotions they weren't gone, but that noise that filled my brain, all that emotion was quieted because I could look and see, and I could feel where the pain was.
Beth Demme (18:18):
And when you were doing this you weren't drawing blood?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:23):
No, I never drew blood. It was just literally a cat scratch. So you'd see red sometimes, and sometimes you'd just see a faint line. Typically, there was no scar or anything afterwards. If you saw my arm a couple of days later, you wouldn't even have seen anything.
Beth Demme (18:43):
Did you know anybody else who was using NSSI? I know we didn't call it that at the time, but did you have any friends who were cutting, or anything like that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:55):
I knew one girl from middle school and a little bit in high school that had engaged. I don't want to stereotype at all, but in my high school we had some Goth kids. There was a look and a feel to them. And there were certain things that they would engage in. It was just a stereotype, and she was very much that stereotype. She would wear black clothing. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being Goth, or identifying that way. I had good friends that that was their persona and that's cool, but she would engage in self-injury, but in a very public way. She would actually engage in it in school. I would see her do it, and people knew that this was a thing.
Beth Demme (19:48):
How did she do it? What was she doing?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:51):
She would cut her ankle, inside of her ankle.
Beth Demme (19:55):
With scissors, or something?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:57):
I don't remember what it was. Yeah, I don't remember what. I think it might have been a razor blade, actually. I think it might have been a razor blade, but it was very much like I don't feel our self-injury was necessarily the exact same thing. I felt hers was a little bit more for attention seeking, not attention seeking in a bad way. It was just more like I need help. This is what I'm doing. You can see I'm doing this, but I'm not getting the help I need kind of thing. I don't know. This was before I engaged in self-injury. So this was when I was in middle school, high school. I was 18 when I engaged in it. I'm not saying 18 because I was legal. It just happened to be when it was.
Beth Demme (20:45):
That's just the reality of when it happened.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:48):
I actually didn't like knowing this stuff about her. I was willing to talk to her about it and we did have deep conversations about things and stuff that was going around in her life, but I don't feel knowing her and seeing that led to my self-injury. It could have. I don't feel like it did. I felt like my self-injury was almost opposite of how she engaged in it because it was always my arm. It was never a blade, things like that. I would not say her doing that triggered me doing this. I think even if I had never known anybody, I think this still would have been something that I gravitated towards. Self-injury is a very widely used coping mechanism for abuse victims, which is something I had looked up and had seen and had never wanted to face in my life and never wanted to go there until I finally did years later and realized that that was actually why I was engaging in it as well.
Beth Demme (21:55):
Do you remember the second time? You told us about the first time. Do you remember the second time?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:01):
I don't remember each time. I will tell you, Beth, I actually do have some pictures of what my arm would look like when I engaged in self-injury. It seems strange that I would take pictures, but I remember at the time thinking, I need to remember this and I need to see what it looked like. And not like, oh, I'm going to look at my injured pictures. It was something where I knew that one day I needed to reflect back on this. For what reason? I didn't necessarily know at the time, but I wanted to have, and I always kept it in a very safe file. No one ever saw it. I'm very big on security on my computer. It was a very safe file.
Beth Demme (22:45):
What else do you have hidden in your computer?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:47):
Nothing, that's it.
Beth Demme (22:48):
This is confession time. What else do you have hidden away?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:51):
I'm pretty boring, but I do have it, yeah. And so I don't look at them often. I looked back at them when I was writing my book, but I'm really glad I have them because it does help me remember and see because there's a lot of things I just don't remember about that time. The second time, the third time, I have no idea. How many times I've engaged in it, I have no idea. I can't tell you one bit, but I can tell you the process that became was there was a lot of anger.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:20):
I was angry at myself a lot for engaging in this, but I had to. And so I would hit a punching bag in my bedroom for a little bit of time before I would engage in self-injury. So that anger and frustration would get out with the punching bag and then I would not hurt myself too much when I engaged in self-injury secretly for two years. Then I definitely engaged in it in college at UCF. Even after I was in the mental hospital for four days, for the very deep cuts that I made, I was still engaged in it. I still engaged in it. And I can't tell you the last time I engaged in it, but I want to say it's been probably at least five years if not more. I don't really have that exact date. I never kept a calendar, or anything like this is those days, but it's been at least five years, for sure.
Beth Demme (24:21):
At some point you stopped taking pictures, or the pictures were just sort of random? It wasn't always--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:25):
It wasn't always.
Beth Demme (24:25):
It was all part of the process.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:25):
Yes, it wasn't always. Yeah, I don't know if I have any pictures of the last times, actually. That's interesting.
Beth Demme (24:33):
So it's been about five years, at least five years?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:36):
Five or six, something like that. Yeah.
Beth Demme (24:39):
You know you're really important to me as a friend. So how do I know that you're not going to do this again? How do you know? Do you know that you're not going to do it again? Can you reassure us in some way that your coping mechanisms are healthier now?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:55):
Well, let me get out my crystal ball and show you look at me in 10 years. I have not engaged in it.
Beth Demme (25:01):
That would be interesting.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:01):
Wouldn't that be great?
Beth Demme (25:03):
What does life look like in 10 years?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:05):
Well, we'll be recording this podcast.
Beth Demme (25:07):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:08):
We'll be 10 years older.
Beth Demme (25:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:12):
I'll be in my 40s. Oh, no.
Beth Demme (25:14):
I would not be in my 40s.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:17):
So, no, I cannot reassure. I cannot say it's never going to happen. I think relapse is definitely a possibility with anything. I don't live in fear that it's going to happen again though. I think we've talked about it here before. I still have post-traumatic stress disorder from being in the mental hospital, and I still have flashbacks, but I don't live in fear of those flashbacks. And I don't let them control my life. When they happen I deal with them. I live through them. I process them and I move on.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:51):
So for me, though, what's different now than in the past is I'm very aware of my mental health and the importance of it. And I'm very much taking care of my mental health on a daily basis. When something happens that I need to deal with I don't just let it sit there. I don't let it fester, and I don't just push it down. I deal with it head-on. I might not deal with it right in that moment. I need time to process, but I will process that. I will take the time to process it. And I don't just let the emotions sit inside me and fester and grow and become a cancer. I deal with them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:28):
And so I would say that's what's different than before. Whether or not I engage in self-injury ever again, I can't say, but I can say I have really healthy tools now. When I am feeling depressed, when I am feeling just really lost, I have a list of things that I turned to to deal with those feelings. And I regularly see my psychologist. I regularly see my recovery sponsor. I have really good people in my life, you being one of them. So I hear you on being afraid that that might happen, but I also know if something bad happened that I could call you and you'd be there in an instant. And I have those kind of people in my life. And so that's what's different.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:18):
And I also knew writing this book I knew I would be on a public stage then. My mental health would be on a public stage in the sense that there are probably people waiting to see me fall. Waiting to see, look, she said all this happened. Look, it happened again. Of course, it happened again because she has these problems. So I knew that there would be more of a microscope when I put all this out there. And so when I released the book, I made that conscious decision to, okay, mental health is something that is the forefront of my life and is something that I'm going to work on every day and make sure that I'm mentally well so that I can go and be truthful when I'm sharing my story and helping other people discover their stories as well.
Beth Demme (28:03):
It's interesting that you say that about knowing that people will be watching you to see if you fall again, or if you fall back into your old habits. There is this part of us that it's hard for us to believe that people can change. It's hard for us to believe that people can really improve. And I don't know if sometimes we use that as an excuse to not do our own work like, well, this is who I am, can't change, or if there's just some other weird pleasure that we get from seeing people make mistakes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:42):
Well, I think it's why is there always traffic when there's an accident on the highway? Because people slow down to look. I think sometimes when you see people mess up, or something like that happen it makes you feel better about yourself, about your mistakes or, oh, okay, I'm not as bad as that, so it can give us excuses. I mean, I've done that too. So that's definitely, I think a human condition, but as much as there's those naysayers they'd be like, look, she did it again what happened? I also know there's just as much, if not more people on the other side saying, I'm going to help you get you back up. You fell, but here's a hand. So that's the kind of community that I'm hoping to create and I feel I have in my life. I want everyone to have. I want everyone to have those people in their life that aren't waiting for them to fall, but ready to give a hand when and if they do.
Beth Demme (29:37):
The value of having people in your life you can have honest conversations with.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:40):
Beth Demme (29:40):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:40):
Exactly. All right, Beth, what do you think?
Beth Demme (29:50):
What do I think about what?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:52):
Did it seem like I didn't want to talk about that?
Beth Demme (29:54):
No, actually, I think that you were ready to talk about it. Maybe I was projecting, maybe I was. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:02):
Okay. Well, thank you for admitting that.
Beth Demme (30:03):
Well, because it does scare me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:06):
Me scares you?
Beth Demme (30:07):
No, not that you're a scary person, but that I understand it was a coping mechanism. And it has helped me be more honest with myself about my own coping mechanisms. And I think that's really valuable. I just want you to be okay. I don't want you to get back into a place where your emotions are so overwhelming, and your head is so crowded that your brain and your heart are disconnected.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:31):
I'm trying to remember, did you ever know me before you knew all of this about me?
Beth Demme (30:34):
Not really. I mean, we had met, but we really became friends in the step study, so.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:40):
Beth Demme (30:40):
Yeah. We put all our junk out there, so.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:43):
I was just curious if you had known me without knowing all this for a significant amount of time, if after you learned all of this about me, if you're more fearful of those things than you would have been before? All those things were still true, you just weren't aware of them. So is being more aware, fully aware of all of my struggles made you more nervous than if you hadn't known about them? Even though they were still there, and I probably not knowing about them would have probably made them worse because I wasn't talking about them.
Beth Demme (31:12):
Yeah. I wasn't sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:13):
It was like ignorance is bliss.
Beth Demme (31:15):
Right. Yeah. So the people who've known you longest, your 10 ladies.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:20):
My 10 ladies.
Beth Demme (31:21):
I wonder if they would worry about it the same way that I worry about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:25):
That's a good question. Yeah. I don't know. I'd have to ask them.
Beth Demme (31:28):
So speaking of 10 ladies.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:30):
Beth Demme (31:30):
We created a new document.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:32):
Beth Demme (31:33):
Called the Words We Use. And we have it available on our website, which is dospod (Discovering Our Scars podcast), which we abbreviate dospod for lots of really fun reasons, dospod.us. So we have a section on there that's just called Words We Use, and we're going to be adding to that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:55):
Yes. So if you wonder what niblings are, or 10 ladies.
Beth Demme (31:58):
Or why "should" is such a trigger word.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:02):
So there'll be a link in the podcast description where you can click and see those. Somebody asked me the other day, what's a nibbling? And I was like, oh, because we define it in an episode, but everyone doesn't listen to every episode. I mean, first of all.
Beth Demme (32:16):
You might not listen to every single minute or every single second of every single episode.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:20):
So we're going to try to put those in there if you're like, what are they talking about? Maybe that will answer it. If it doesn't, there's a form on there that you can ask us what words mean and we'll define it for you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:34):
At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions we wrote based on today's show and Beth is going to read them with a little pause between that you can pause the podcast. We also have a PDF available on our website.
Beth Demme (32:47):
Number one, how has your understanding of self-injury changed? Number two, have you ever engaged in an unhealthy coping mechanism? Describe it. Number three, make a list of five or more healthy coping mechanisms you can engage in when you need them. And number four, how can you prepare yourself for mentally difficult times in your life?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:12):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.