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. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:09):
And I'm Beth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:10):
I've been in recovery for 14 years and am the author of Discovering My Scars, my memoir about my mental health struggles, experiences and faith.
Beth Demme (00:17):
I'm a lawyer, turned pastor, who's all about self-awareness and emotional health, because I know what it's like to have neither of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:23):
Beth and I have been friends for years, have gone through recovery program together, and when I wanted to start a podcast, she was the only name that came to mind as cohost.
Beth Demme (00:30):
I didn't hesitate to say yes because I've learned a lot from honest conversations with Steph over the years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:35):
We value honest conversations, and we hope you do, too.
Beth Demme (00:39):
We do. That's why we do this and why we want you to be part of what we were discussing today. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, Why Can't You See My Scars?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:49):
Then, we'll invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life with Questions for Reflection.
Beth Demme (00:54):
And the show will close with Slice of Life. And if you wonder what that is, stay tuned until the end. So, what do you think, Steph? Why can't you see my scars?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:03):
Well, maybe you're really good at hiding them.
Beth Demme (01:05):
Oh, maybe I am. Maybe I'm all about putting on a happy face, huh?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:09):
Maybe you're mysterious. Maybe your smile is hiding something. Hmm.
Beth Demme (01:16):
Do you think you have any invisible scars?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:19):
No, I think I'm pretty good. No. Scars? I never heard of it.
Beth Demme (01:26):
Well, your memoir is called, Discovering My Scars. And that is a reference to a physical scar an external scar.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:36):
Yes. When I went to title my book... by the way, if you ever title a book, it's harder than you think, guys. I just got to tell you. Yeah. So, Discovering My Scars is actually, on the surface, is about my physical scars. So, we've talked about this on the podcast before. I have scars on my left arm from one incident in my dorm room over a decade ago. That was the initial idea for the title, was the physical scar. But really, the title goes deeper into internal scars, scars that you can't physically see.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:10):
If you looked at me, you'd have no idea that I've dealt with depression, non-suicidal self-injury, PTSD, dyslexia, abuse. Those are things that I consider emotional scars, scars you can't see. And because people can't see my emotional scars, the things on the inside, the only way for someone to really know about them is to have a conversation and to bring them up. For me personally, I don't have a problem talking about any of my stuff. And I think it's really important, the more I talk about my stuff, the more it gets out of me and doesn't have control over me anymore.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:45):
So, I think it's a really important thing, but it can be tough. It can be tough to start have conversations about emotional stuff, because there's not an easy in. If you were in a wheelchair or you had a cast and you're like, "Oh, what happened there?" That's an easy conversation starter. But I think with the things that go deeper and mental illness things that are not something you can physically see, I think those are the harder scars to talk about than something that we can physically see on the surface.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:17):
But my invisible scars, the things that you can't see, have an impact on my life on a daily basis. I was abused when I was a child and by different men. When I meet a new man, I have a little bit of distrust of that man just on the surface based on my history. And I don't just instantly become best friends with them. Although, with women, I don't have that same distrust or fear, or hesitation like I do when I'm meeting a new man for the first time. So, all of those things that those scars in my heart really impact me on a daily basis and something I continue to work on and talk about.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:59):
And that's the whole point of why we wanted to have this podcast because I feel that it is vital to human beings that we talk about our stuff, and we get it out there, and we're honest about it.
Beth Demme (04:11):
I do think there's a lot of effort put into... I mean, I could just speak for myself, right? That I have had seasons of life where I put a lot of effort into not letting there be any clues about my emotional scars, right? Everything is just going to present as if it's A-okay. I'm A-okay. My story is A-okay. My perception of myself is A-okay. I just didn't want to give off any clues that something might be off. And I don't think I'm the only one who does that, right? I think that we experience people in that way quite often.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:42):
For example, how do you cover up those scars that people can't see?
Beth Demme (04:48):
Well, for me, I've recognized in myself that I have a need to be very busy. And what I've realized is that I like to be busy because I want people to need me. I want to be productive not just so that people look at me and go, "Oh wow, she really has produced a lot or accomplished a lot." But because I have to be valuable in order to be loved. And so, that manifests itself in this need to always be in new projects or in new organizations, or doing something new. I'm always trying to be busy and to create in a way that means other people need me.
Beth Demme (05:32):
I need to achieve for the same reasons. I measure myself by what I can accomplish.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:39):
It almost sounds like codependency a little bit that you have a need to fill. Are you constantly trying to receive love from people and by doing anything they need, and almost anticipating their needs?
Beth Demme (05:53):
I don't think I would describe it quite that way. I think it's more like I like to take on roles that have responsibility with them because those are valued people, because they're necessary. So, this is just an example, but this is the example that really helped me see it—my son played high school lacrosse. And I was one of the handful of moms that was really active in the lacrosse booster organization. And I would take on projects and not let anybody help me with them, because I wanted to be valuable. I wanted them to need me.
Beth Demme (06:35):
Because if they need me, then I mean something. That's a manifestation of an invisible scar or of an emotional scar.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:44):
Where do you think that comes from?
Beth Demme (06:46):
I think that it comes in part from being the youngest of four children but being... my role, everybody in their family has a role. Every person in the family has a role that they fill. And my role was to be the one who could achieve things. So, there was a lot of pride in my family about me getting good grades or me going to college, or me getting a scholarship. All of those things brought a lot of joy and pride into my family. So, I think it probably traces back to that.
Beth Demme (07:18):
But I was thinking about what you said about how you're able to release your... I don't think you called it junk. Maybe you did, but you're able to release your stuff when you-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:26):
Junk, stuff. All good words.
Beth Demme (07:29):
Yeah. You're able to release that when you talk about it, when you shared it, and how that demystifies it for other people. Because we can see that we're really all in this together, this is not uncommon. It's not a defect that's particular to me. This is a shared experience. But it reminded me, have you been watching the Netflix show, The Politician? Have you ever heard of it?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:49):
Yeah, I watched the whole thing.
Beth Demme (07:50):
So, there's this episode in the first season of The Politician where, Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays the mom, she's talking to her son, Payton. And Payton is realizing that he compartmentalizes all of his emotions to the point that he doesn't feel anything, and he's worried about himself. He's worried about what that means about his character, like his character as a human being. And so, he says to her like, "I can't feel anything." And she says something to the effect of, "It's your generation.
Beth Demme (08:22):
All of your generation, you just put everything out there on Instagram." And it's like, "You just have to feel everything. You're just vomiting all over each other with all of your feelings."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:36):
All the feels.
Beth Demme (08:37):
All the feels.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:40):
Do you think sharing all of the feels is a good, bad thing of my generation? Are we saying-
Beth Demme (08:48):
I'm saying that I don't think everyone sees that it's a healthy thing. I think that everyone understands that by sharing emotions, that that does demystify it, and that it does make it more of a shared experience, which can feel healthier rather than being like, "Oh no. I'm a freak because I have these feelings," right? It's much more open-minded and open-hearted I think when people are sharing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:10):
Well, I would agree. I do think it's more complicated than that though. I think a lot of times, like #allthefeels, I think it gets interpreted wrong. Sometimes, I think people use feelings to get an emotional reaction from someone, but it's not authentic and it's not real. Social media is such a tough place to be real and honest. And a lot of times, people aren't being that. They are maybe saying something to get an emotional response, but it might not even be true within their life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:41):
So, I think it's good that people share. I think people overshare. And I think people share in the wrong way a lot of the times. For me, the best time to really connect with someone is an actual human being, is to look at somebody in the face and have a real conversation with the person. And I think that still is true. I mean, I think that's the way to really connect with someone. Social media is a great place to connect. But I don't know that you can truly, truly connect with somebody until you're looking at them in the face or Zooming or FaceTiming as we are doing right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:15):
And I think it's really important to share. And one thing I'm hesitating on right now is I follow a lot of YouTubers and watch a lot of different YouTube videos, because I'm a YouTuber. And so, I need to know what's going on. And I see a lot of YouTubers that are just vloggers, vlogging their daily life. I see a lot of them sharing their struggles and things like that, which is great. But they're not following that up with therapy and actual results. They're just spilling their guts on their YouTube channel with just unnamed millions of people watching them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:48):
And I did recently see a YouTuber that's been doing this for years. She finally said she was going to therapy. And I was like, "Yay, good job," to deal with some of her stuff, which is great that we're finally seeing that next step. But that's one of the things that I hesitate with people sharing so much on social media, is they're not actually taking the next healthy step of seeing a therapist or getting medication, or taking that action that will really result in results, instead of just spewing it on social media.
Beth Demme (11:22):
Yeah, or sharing it on social media, and then expecting someone on social media to have a solution or to offer you a coping mechanism, or to somehow walk through that with you when that's not their role.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:34):
Beth Demme (11:34):
I see this a lot with the teenagers in my life that they will come to me and say, "I just can't believe what I just read about what my friend is going through. I have to fix this for them." "No, you don't." Your responsibility is let an adult know, right? Let a grown-up know so that someone else can take the action that that person needs. And the extent of your advice to that person should be, "you should really talk to somebody about that."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:00):
Beth Demme (12:00):
Right? Because I, as another teenager, don't have the life experience or the emotional capacity to really nurture you through this.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:09):
Yeah. And I think that's interesting, is that human reaction is to fix something. And I think that's just very much human nature, is if someone tells you something, you want to fix it. And I think that's really hard because when someone tells us something, we want to fix it. But then, when we're telling someone something, at least this is my experience, when I'm telling someone something, I don't want them to fix it unless I say, "How should I fix this?" Unless I asked for your opinion or to be fixed, I don't really want it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:35):
And I see that more with... I feel like men do a really bad job at that, in my experience.
Beth Demme (12:41):
They like to fix things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:41):
They want to fix it, and I'm just telling you to share. And that's literally all I'm doing. And a lot of men in my life, I've had to tell them, "I'm telling you this to share. I don't need any feedback on this," like making that expectation clear, which I think is fine. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think it's important to set your expectations so they know. But it is hard for them to not respond sometimes, I have found. But it's hard even-
Beth Demme (13:08):
I'm sorry. It reminds me what we talked about in Episode 41 about how having voice assistants has taught us how to ask for what we want, that I have had that same experience. I've had what you just described where I have to say, especially with my husband. We've developed this with each other where I'll say, "This isn't something you need to fix. I just need to vent about this. I just need to talk about this." And I've gotten to a point where I know what I want. I know that I don't want it to be fixed. And so, I can then express that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:33):
Yeah, which is super important to know. And I think men probably respond to that well, like they, "Oh, okay. Well then, I know where I'm going when I'm hearing this, like just listen. Okay, I can do that. That's not what I naturally do, but I think I could do that."
Beth Demme (13:50):
Right. It is something they are capable of doing, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:53):
It's just changing their brain a little bit. I know when I was really depressed and dealing with NSSI heavily, I hid it. I didn't want people to know, but there was always... and it was easy to hide it. Because it was all internal things. My NSSI, physically see a scar at times. It would fade really quickly. But the pain of where that came from was all internal, was all something you couldn't see. And I didn't even understand that at the time. But I hid that pain.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:23):
I hid that dark, scary, sad, depressed little girl inside. But even so, even though I was terrified for anyone to see it, I also wanted someone to see it and to pull me out and say, "We're going to fix this." Because I wasn't strong enough at that time to say, "I need help." I think that's something that's interesting. There would be times where I was just mad. I was like, "Why can't you see my scars? Why can't you see I'm hurting? Why can't you see that I'm a hot mess?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:53):
And if someone falls down and breaks their leg, you can see. You can see it. You help them instantly. You know instantly what they need. But when someone is sitting in darkness inside but smiling, you can't see it. And there are times when I've talked to my mom about when I was depressed and she's like, "I mean, I didn't even know. I didn't see it. I mean, how was I to know?" And there's parts of me that's like, "It was so obvious." I mean, it's just like, "It's so obvious."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:23):
But it obviously wasn't because I'm not seeing me, which is interesting. It's like we don't really physically see ourselves. So, my mom actually sees me way more than I see me from on the outside. So, internally, my picture of me is that I look... when I'm depressed, I just look depressed. But obviously, I don't. Because I'll look in the mirror, sometimes I'll be like, "Oh, who's that? Oh, that's weird. That's not what I thought I look like." Because I just look totally normal. And I'm like, "But I feel like I'm dying inside."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:55):
And I think that's part of the struggle of emotional scars, is people only know when we are strong enough to tell them and to ask for help and support, and it takes a lot of strength to get to that point.
Beth Demme (16:10):
Yeah. I think sometimes, those emotional scars do manifest themselves in ways that others can see. But then, it's like our emotional scars are bumping into each other. So, we aren't human mood rings, right? It's not as if, "Oh, I'm walking around and I'm blue today, and you can see that I'm blue." Even if I'm really feeling blue, right? Or I'm angry so I'm red. Although, I'm naturally very pink. I'm not angry. I just happened to be very pinky flesh. But sometimes, you can see the pain boiling up.
Beth Demme (16:43):
So then, it becomes a question of, how do you react? So, if I'm in a store and another... Do you remember the store? Do you remember we used to be able to go into them? It was like-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:56):
Beth Demme (16:57):
It was a long time ago and you could go in and there'd be other humans there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:00):
A decade ago, yeah. I remember that.
Beth Demme (17:02):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:03):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Beth Demme (17:04):
It didn't feel like you were risking your life. Do you remember those times?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:09):
And you could just hug people you saw. I mean, I wouldn't but-
Beth Demme (17:11):
I miss hugging.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:13):
You can hug in 10 years, it'll be fine. It'll be fine. You can hug again. I'll get you a stuffed animal. It'll be safe. I'll sanitize it first.
Beth Demme (17:20):
I don't want to hug a stuffed animal. I want to hug my friends. You might remember going to stores, and you might remember that sometimes someone would have a bad customer service experience. Or actually, you know what? You don't even have to remember because we are seeing it right now on social media all the time where someone goes in, and a store tells them they have to wear a mask, and they flip out. I'm thinking in particular about, and maybe we can find and put a link to this in the show notes, I don't know.
Beth Demme (17:47):
I don't know if we should, but a woman who I'm pretty sure she was in a Trader Joe's.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:52):
Oh, yeah. I saw that.
Beth Demme (17:52):
And she was yelling at the top of her lungs that she has a lung problem that prevents her from being able to wear—you just know. You just know when you see that. It has so little to do with the mask. It has so little to do with what she's actually being asked to do in that moment, that that is a manifestation of something bigger, deeper. And I know that because I have been that person, right? I have been the person in the store having this overblown reaction to whatever service I wasn't receiving.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:30):
Yeah. Oh yeah. It happens all the time. And I've actually noticed that recently with driving. I have seen more people go through red lights. And literally, it's been red for minutes, and they go, because there's not-
Beth Demme (18:46):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:46):
It's crazy scary, and it's been more noticeable during the COVID-19 time period. It honestly has been. And I think people are angry, and they're mad, and they're hurt. And they're just like, "I don't care about anything anymore." And so, yeah. I think people are lashing out, and you can see their hurt through the wrong channels. And you can see that they're not dealing with it in a good healthy way. I mean, I saw it all the time when I worked at Apple. People will just get up in arms about all these things that doesn't matter.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:19):
And we have to address that. But I knew, you could tell. I don't know. For me, I can see. I guess it's a question, can you see emotional stuff? Can you see it? Do you want to see it? I don't know. I feel like I can see hurting people. Even when they try to cover it up, I can see it. Whether I address it with them or not is another story. We're talking about, why can't you see my scars? But maybe we can see them. And we just choose not to address them because it's the hard thing to do.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:52):
And it's the unknown like, "If I bring this up, is the person going to lash out at me and take something out on me that is not going to be healthy or helpful? Should I just act like everything's fine? Maybe they want me to act like everything's fine."
Beth Demme (20:09):
You mentioned when someone has a broken leg and they're in a cast, and you can see that, you know how to react to that. You know that you shouldn't walk up and kick them in the shin. You should never do that to anyone. You know what I mean? You know there's a problem there. You can see it. But you also know that it's being fixed because it's been casted. A doctor has seen it. There's some treatment there. I think that's why these invisible emotional scars are harder to engage because is it something the person is addressing?
Beth Demme (20:41):
Is it something that is going to get better? I mean, I'd like to think that if we could understand each other's emotional scars, that we would learn something, and we would make progress instead of continuing to be divided. Even in terms of politics, right? We live in such a divisive time. Maybe if I could better understand what folks on the other side of the political issue from me are thinking or what emotional scars that's tapping into for them, maybe that would lead to some progress.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:11):
But it takes time and it takes energy. And it takes work. We're dealing with our own stuff. It's a lot to take on someone else's stuff. I know I've given myself many times for not engaging someone that I feel like is hurting. It's interesting, because there's so many books about how to be happy or make your life happy, and find the joy in everything. And even when you're not happy, be happy, and you will be happy. That's a good book title.
Beth Demme (21:38):
Sure. The power of positive thinking.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:40):
That's a good book title, even when you're not happy, be happy. We'll work on that one together.
Beth Demme (21:45):
It was what we're calling our book?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:48):
That's our book. Yeah. And I just think that's interesting that we focus so much on happy, happy, happy. I guess I ask is, what is happy? Is there a definition of happy? Is there a definition of happy that everyone can achieve? To me, my goal in life is not to be happy all the time. I think if I'm happy all the time, I'm not really experiencing life because life isn't always happy. Life has ups and downs. And life is learning through hardship and getting better, and stronger through that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:21):
If I'm just happy all the time, it's just one note, and am I even really living? So, I don't know. That's probably just me. But I have a problem with the gurus that are like, how to find happiness and the joy, and all those things. It just feels very superficial to me. And those aren't the things that I'm seeking. I seek to be mentally healthy. And if happy is a byproduct of that, that's awesome. I don't pick up the happy book. I pick up the how to deal with my junk book.
Beth Demme (22:56):
And ultimately, you're experiencing something that's maybe deeper than happiness, right? I think joy is deeper than happiness. I think that's a deeper emotion. I think happy can be superficial. I think that we see this a lot in faith. I don't think this is unique to the Christian faith. I think that this happens and maybe it happens in every faith. But the idea that once you've connected to God, once you've connected to your higher power, for me, once I've connected to Jesus, then everything's going to be okay.
Beth Demme (23:23):
And I'm only going to experience happiness because God wants good things for me. Well, part of the human experience includes unhappy things, but God is with us in those moments. That's what brings me peace and what brings me joy. And hopefully, because I have dealt and am dealing with my own stuff, when I do bump up against someone else whose emotional scars are manifesting, I can be more gracious, hopefully. That is something that I truly work on. So, with driving, I have basically trained myself that when someone does something that is crazy, I don't dismiss them.
Beth Demme (24:02):
My first thought is, I wonder where they're going. Are they going to a doctor's appointment they're nervous about? Are they going to visit a loved one in the hospital? Is it a woman who's in labor? I think-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:16):
That's always, it's always a woman in labor. Maybe the husband's driving. She's giving birth in the backseat.
Beth Demme (24:23):
Yeah, like what's the thing that could make someone really drive crazy? But that takes a lot of reprogramming because that's not my natural tendency. My natural tendency would be to be like, "Oh, this is my road. Why are you doing this on my road?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:38):
Yeah. It was like driving is such a hot topic for people. I realize, like to really know somebody, you have to be in a car with them. Because there's friends I have that are great people. And I get in a car with them, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, they are monsters. What is happening right now? Why are they driving like this?" But I do find people get so emotional when they drive. And I find people, like when someone just makes one error or something, the quick reaction is, "Oh, they're an idiot. Oh, they're such an idiot. They're so stupid."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:09):
It's like, well, maybe they are. There are idiots in the world, possibly. But my first reaction is, "Oh, they must have just made a mistake. Oh. Oh well. No harm, no foul. We're okay." Because I know when I make a mistake driving, I'm not perfect, I'm sorry. I hope someone gives me the benefit of the doubt that that was an accident, that I didn't mean to cut you off and be an idiot. That was not my intention, was to do the wrong thing, but it happens. So, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:40):
I feel like a lot of times, our initial reactions with somebody that has a different opinion than us or... especially, I mean, you brought up the mask thing. I know, this has been beaten over the head. But when people are so against a mask, I just hear people call them idiots, and I probably called them that too. But if we step back for a second, why? Why are they so drawn to this mask thing? Why was toilet paper such a thing? And when you really examine it, people are grasping at straws.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:15):
The toilet paper, people, when everything is a mess and no one knows what's going on, we try to hold on to things that we know we need. And that's where that toilet paper thing came from. And the mask thing, I still don't truly understand it. I do know there's just a lot of misinformation out there about it. And maybe it's easier to fight against masks than to truly accept our new reality, and the fact that there's an illness out there that's unknown how it can affect us or if we might die from it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:47):
There's so many unknowns that I think people just are grasping at whatever they can to try to fight something that they can't fight. There's no fighting COVID right now. It just is. We literally just have to sit and wait. And so, idle hands, what do we do? Well, we fight masks. I'm trying not to call someone an idiot just on the surface because I think it's name calling. I don't think that's nice. I just try to think, "What has happened in their life that brought them to this place?"
Beth Demme (27:18):
You just touched on something that I had never considered that I think is really important because we feel, on some level, we all are powerless to defeat the virus. That instead of trying to fight the virus, which the ways that I'm fighting the virus are to always wear a mask when I go out in public, to wash my hands for 20 seconds, to remain socially distant, to not go into restaurants, to limit my interaction with people outside my family as much as I can. It's why we're remote podcasting right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:47):
Is that why we're about remote podcasting right now, Beth?
Beth Demme (27:49):
Well, because someone in my family is sick.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:51):
Beth Demme (27:52):
Not with COVID. And I don't want to expose you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:53):
That we know of. Probably not.
Beth Demme (27:56):
Well, it's not a respiratory thing. It's a stomach thing. So, hopefully, it's not COVID. Probably will get tested today, but hopefully it's not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:02):
Beth Demme (28:03):
So, I'm trying to limit the way that germs are spread from my family out into the world. Those are the ways that I'm trying to fight the virus. But maybe for other folks, their way of fighting the virus is to fight the protections against the virus. So, to fight against masks or to fight against things being restricted or closed. I just hadn't thought of it that way until you said it. That's helpful to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:24):
And it's irrational. I mean, they're fighting things that literally are meant to protect us. It's irrational thinking. But have you ever had irrational thinking, Beth? I know I have.
Beth Demme (28:35):
I think it would be irrational to say I've never had irrational thoughts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:39):
Yeah, I mean, basically, that's what therapy is all about, is retraining the irrational thoughts that lead to bad things in my life. And that's what irrational thoughts lead me into darker depression. When I'm not feeling good or something's not great happening in my life, I tend to overthink and just process all of those things. And then, our sponsorship with Home Depot ended. Oh my gosh, we're never going to get a sponsorship with them again.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:09):
No one will ever want to sponsor us again. No one's going to follow us on YouTube ever again, and our career has ended. Those are irrational thoughts that are not helpful. And by the way, we're sponsored by Home Depot again. So, we're fine. So, those are those irrational thoughts that just spiral you into ridiculousness. And I think that's what people are... that's what's happening with the masks, is this is a virus that is affecting everything in my life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:36):
And everyone keeps talking about this mask. So, I'm going to fight against the mask because it doesn't make any sense. And I think that's why we get so worked up about people that are fighting against it because it makes no sense to us, because it does make no sense. It's irrational. And I mean, I don't have the answers to how to help those people that are fighting the wrong fight. But I can see where they're coming from. It doesn't make it right and it doesn't mean it's going to fix anything.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:05):
But it does give me a way to understand their thought process.
Beth Demme (30:09):
Well, this conversation has helped me just now because I had been upset all week with something that someone posted to Facebook, someone who I consider to be bright and caring, and thoughtful, but who posted something I really disagreed with about masks and about the reopening of schools. And this person's position was, no masks and reopen school, which I found to be very incongruous, right?
Beth Demme (30:37):
I would think you'd be all about masks if you want schools to reopen. But if I think about it from her perspective as a mom, maybe she's just really desiring some form of normalcy for her kids. And she's not in Florida and I am, so the numbers are rising where I live. And I don't know if they are where she lives. So, maybe the way she's weighing out risks are different. So, anyway, just trying to think about it more from her perspective instead of just dismissing her.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:11):
Well, it almost sounds like she's trying to be a good mom for her kid. She thinks that being a good mom for her kid is bringing back the regular experience for her kid because she's like, "This isn't fair what my kid is being put through." And not thinking about others and ultimately how it could make her kids sick. Like not thinking about the bigger picture because that's hard. It's hard to think about the bigger picture.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:38):
And so, I think that's where irrational thoughts just gets us to, "I just want back to what I normally was. I want my kids to have what they are supposed to have, open schools and without masks. It's clear." That's the thought process. It brings you to that place. And then you stop, and you don't go further into the... but if we open schools without masks, for sure, someone's going to come to school that already has COVID. What if my kid could get sick?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:05):
My kid could give me the virus. I could die. And then, my kids won't have me anymore. That's too complicated. And that then-
Beth Demme (32:14):
I mean, that could be another form of an irrational spiral.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:18):
Yes. Yes. Oh yeah.
Beth Demme (32:19):
Right. So, it could go either way. It would be like, "Well, my kids need to have a normal school year. Because if they don't have a normal school year, they won't learn. If they don't learn, then they won't go to college. If they don't go to college, they won't get a job where they can support themselves. If they can't support themselves, they're probably going to become drug addicts. And if they become drug addicts, they're probably going to go to jail. So, we have to open schools. Because otherwise, my kid's going to go to jail."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:40):
Beth Demme (32:41):
Okay. Well, that's like a spiral. And then, maybe the spiral on the other side is, "If my kid goes to school, my kid's going to get sick. My kid's going to get 10 other people sick. We're going to be known as the Typhoid Marys of the neighborhood. We're going to be outcasts. We're going to have to move. When we move, we're going to have to change jobs. We're not going to get jobs that are as good as what we have." You can see different ways that that could spiral out.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:02):
Oh, for sure. Yeah. Which is why it's so complicated, is there's no easy answers and why I'm glad I don't have kids in the school system. Because it's true. It's like you have to follow those bunny trails and then figure out, what can we put in place that is realistic that stops those bunny trails? And that's always why we keep coming back to the mask thing, is the mask is the clear winner of, if we don't have a vaccine, a mask is a way to stop the spread. I mean, it's very clear. But it's more complicated than go to school, wear a mask.
Beth Demme (33:39):
Yeah. And that's just one example for us really of the way that irrational thoughts can take over. And so, irrational thoughts can, in our experience I think, at least in my experience, can be the result of these invisible emotional scars, they're signals of things that I haven't dealt with. Okay. Well, why do I have so much fear around that? Let me unpack my fear. Why do I have so much insecurity around that? I need to unpack my insecurity. I need to care enough about myself to do that work.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:11):
Yeah. Well, and also, that yeah. Like you said, those little things, the little things that bother us, if we don't address them, then they just continue to fester and sit there. And they will come out at some point if and when we don't deal with them. I mean, we did an episode about anxiety is stupid because it is stupid. But I was sharing a story where I almost had a panic or I did have a panic attack. But I just was overthinking my dog was sick, and I had had the scar of her being sick before.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:47):
And every time she's sick, the pain I feel, and I hadn't fully dealt with what that is and really processed when she's sick, there's nothing I can do. This is what happens. She's sick. She won't die. It'll be fine, but I hadn't really processed all that. I just go to, she's sick. She's going to die. But COVID is happening right now. If I have to take her to the vet, I could... I went to all of those places that was not healthy because I hadn't fully processed each of the steps and got to scary panic attack mode.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:21):
FYI, just so you know, the thing that she was sick with, she got a negative result on that just yesterday. So, I'm very excited.
Beth Demme (35:28):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:29):
She needs two more negatives to know that she's hookworm-free, which is a big thing in greyhounds out of Florida. So, Beth, are there idiots in this world or just misunderstood people? Or are idiots people that aren't willing to work on their junk?
Beth Demme (35:44):
I think that the people who I have tended to dismiss as idiots are people who just are not resilient enough to do the work they need to do on themselves. They either lack resilience or they lack capacity, or willingness. I don't know what it is exactly, but there's some unresolved something there that's keeping them from not being an idiot.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:07):
I think it goes back to our episode about love. If you're unwilling to work on yourself, Is it because you don't love yourself and you don't think you're worthy of dealing with your stuff?
Beth Demme (36:18):
Right. And when you don't love yourself, you can't love others.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:25):
Now, it's time for questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's episode that you can answer for yourself in your head or you can find a PDF on our website.
Beth Demme (36:34):
Number one, what are your emotional scars? Number two, do you ever have irrational thoughts? How long does it take you to recognize them as irrational? And what do you do then? Number three, when you discover a friend's emotional scars, how do you react? And number four, when someone has an opinion that is, to you, obviously wrong, what is your initial reaction to that person internally or externally?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:09):
Slice of Life. That's really [crosstalk 00:37:11].
Beth Demme (37:12):
Let's lighten this up because emotional scars can be heavy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:14):
They are heavy. I hope this was a good episode. This was a heavy one. I feel like our recent episodes haven't been too heavy. And now, it's like, "Oh, heavy." I mean, that's the whole point of why we did this podcast, is we wanted to have honest conversations about things that make us different. What a great tagline.
Beth Demme (37:32):
That's right. That's brilliant. Let's keep up with that. That's amazing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:35):
We spent months coming up with that. When we started, man, it was probably a paragraph long of what... this was we're like, "We got this chop that down." I want to give... oh, what were you going to say?
Beth Demme (37:45):
Well, I was going to say, speaking of recent episodes, a little while back, we did an episode all about periods, not the punctuation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:54):
Oh, and you loved it. You loved it.
Beth Demme (37:56):
And you were talking about getting some period panties. Did you ever get them? How's it going? Have you used them?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:03):
Thank you for asking, Beth. Yes. I think the brand is called Thinx, with an X at the end. I don't know. Just Google period panties. But I bought them and they were too small. So, I will tell you, they run small. So, buy a bigger size than you think you need if you get them. But the cool thing was, is I went to return them, and they just give you an instant credit for how much it was, and you just keep them because that's gross. They don't want them back.
Beth Demme (38:28):
That's a relief to know that when you get your order, you won't be getting something that's been returned by someone else.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:34):
Yeah. So, they just tell you to keep them, and they give you an instant credit for... or they'll actually refund you or give you an instant credit to buy a new one. So, I bought a bigger size, and I got them. And actually, I really liked them. It doesn't feel like you're wearing a diaper or anything. I wouldn't wear them for my whole cycle. But they're great for at night and for lighter days. So yeah, I just had my cycle last week. So, they were great. I think it's good and it wasn't super gross.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:02):
I know, it's like, "Well, that seems gross because you have to wash them and stuff." I have a pretty light cycle. So, it wasn't a huge thing. But I recommend them. And it's natural and it's good for the environment I guess. Or does that cancel itself out because you're washing them?
Beth Demme (39:15):
Oh, I think it's probably better to wash stuff than to send stuff to the landfill.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:18):
Yeah. That's true.
Beth Demme (39:19):
I mean, I don't know. But that's my gut feeling on it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:22):
Yeah. I do want to mention that we are in July. We're almost in August. And last night, I had a dream about COVID. That's why I wanted to bring that up. Because I-
Beth Demme (39:32):
I like that you want to timestamp it because it suggests there will be a time when we are no longer in COVID.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:36):
Beth Demme (39:37):
And that feels helpful. It's helpful to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:37):
I know. That's what I'm saying. People in two years will listen to me like, "What are they talking about?" Actually, no. That would have to be a baby that would still wouldn't remember it. But I had a COVID dream last night. It was so weird. Not that I had COVID, but I went to the mall. I don't know why. I went to a mall. Who goes to malls? But-
Beth Demme (39:58):
It's a nightmare?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:59):
Yeah, it was is a nightmare. And I didn't have a mask with me. And I was like, "Oh no. I'm walking into a store and I don't have a mask." And then, I remembered I had this little medical one in my purse but it was folded up and not great. And I put it on and it kept falling under my nose, and I had to keep pulling it up. And then, I realized, "Wait, I should wear it when I'm walking around the mall, not just in the stores." Okay. So, I'll keep it on my face. And then, I'm walking around.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:24):
And then, I touched my face and it's not there anymore. And I'm like, "Oh no, it didn't break? I only brought one. I don't know what to do. Oh my gosh. This is bad." And then, I go into stores and no one's wearing a mask. And I'm like, "This is not safe." And then, I woke up. So, Beth, you are a podcast host.
Beth Demme (40:43):
I'm a podcast cohost actually.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:44):
Cohost, yes. Yeah, you're a podcast cohost. You're also a pastor. So, you do sermons and stuff like that. You work on Sundays, right?
Beth Demme (40:53):
I work every Sunday, every Sunday that I want to.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:56):
That's awesome. I'm just kidding, folks. She works all the time. Anyways. I'm getting to the point of, but you also every week, send out a newsletter with a blog post, correct?
Beth Demme (41:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:10):
And how can people get that?
Beth Demme (41:11):
If you go to BethDemme.com, B-E-T-H-D-E-M-M-M-E.com, you can sign up right on the top bar of my website. But you do a newsletter too. You have a newsletter for Mother Daughter Projects, and you do a newsletter for Stephanie Kostopoulos.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:26):
I do. Because-
Beth Demme (41:29):
I know, because I get them both.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:30):
Yeah, because social media just doesn't cut it. I personally like getting emails for updates on people that I like to follow. So, I thought maybe people like to do that too. So, we send out a newsletter for Mother Projects, our DIY projects. You can sign up for that on motherdaughterprojects.com. Also, if you want, my weekly newsletter that I do from Stephanie Kostopoulos is the links to the podcasts. So, if you want to get that, you can sign up for that at StephanieKostopoulos.com.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:00):
I'll also remind you that my book is fully available on print, e-book, or audiobook.
Beth Demme (42:06):
Discovering My Scars, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:07):
However you want to discover it. It's on all the platforms. My favorite platform is Apple.
Beth Demme (42:13):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:14):
Beth Demme (42:15):
Oh. You can tell that's not my favorite platform because I'm like, "Oh, I think I've heard of that." But my favorite platform is Audible because I like to listen to books.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:25):
All right. Well, thank you for joining us. This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Great episode! Love hearing your thoughts!!! I specifically love the conversation around happiness and joy. In my experience and research, "happiness" and "joy" are very different things. It is possible to experience joy while suffering or while in sorrow - so you can live whole heartedly by walking through emotions and situations. As a believer in Jesus, I know that "he walks with me through the valley of the shadow of death". Life is really about holding two polarities in tension most of the time... as a Jesus believer it is that - " Life is tragic AND God is Good".... both are true at the same time and it is hard to hold on to them.
8/10/2020 05:16:29 am
Great insight! Thanks for sharing.
Leave a Reply.
Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.
I'm a mom who laughs a lot, mainly at myself. #UMC Pastor, recent Seminary grad, public speaker, blogger, and sometimes lawyer. Learning to #LiveLoved.