Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
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 I'm 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 a recovery program together. And when I wanted to start a podcast, she was the only name that came to mind as co-host.
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 (00:38):
That's why we do this and why we want you to be part of what we're discussing today. And on today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled: What's Wrong With Me?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:47):
Then we'll share a slice of life in the show, closed with questions for reflection, where we will invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:54):
I'm so glad you asked
Beth because I had a list. I actually wrote a list.
Beth Demme (00:58):
You wrote a list?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:59):
What's wrong with you?
Beth Demme (01:01):
Oh, could you please present those alphabetically? The list of things that are wrong with me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:07):
A, a little too smart at times.
Beth Demme (01:14):
Sometimes it's helpful, when we're really struggling with something, it's really helpful when somebody can label it for us. Because it normalizes it and because it can let us know what our next steps are. There can actually be kind of hope in a label, even if it's not something we really wanted to hear.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:35):
I guess what we're really talking about today is labels. I think... And by labels, I mean I've shared, I have Post-traumatic stress disorder, I have depression, I have anxiety. I know there's more, hold on.
Beth Demme (01:51):
Talk about alphabet.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:52):
Dyslexia. I have dyslexia. And those are labels of things that are part of me.
Beth Demme (01:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:59):
I hesitate to say define me, because I don't think they define who I am, but they are a part of me. And I do know, and that's what we're going to talk about, labels can be damaging, for sure. If you're not in the right space, if they're the wrong label. And I think that's happened before too. But I also think it can be very empowering to have those labels and the feeling of now I have the name for what I'm dealing with and I can do something about that. I can Google this, I can find support groups. There is power in those labels.
Beth Demme (02:33):
How did you find out that you had PTSD? Let's talk about that one.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:39):
For five years after I was in the mental hospital, I was really struggling with flashbacks and panic attacks, and not really knowing that that's what they were, just like I was not mentally well during those five years. And I knew I had to do something about it. I knew I had to do something drastic about it. I didn't know what it was and why it was happening. And I was at the end of being able to keep them under control. And I just was not like a full person. And so I decided to take a month off from work and go back to Tallahassee, I was living in Orlando at the time, and start me with my psychologist again, to try to figure out what was going on.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:24):
In my first session with Dr. Jill I told her what was going on, she's like, "Oh, you have PTSD." And I was like... And it was just in that moment, everything clicked because... And it seemed so obvious after she said it. It was like, "Of course." But I mean, for five years I had no concept of that because I was living in it. I didn't know that, that's what it was. And once I had that label, it wasn't all these individual really hard things to deal with anymore, it then became this one thing that I could focus on, and not all the individual things like, "Well, I'm having panic attacks. I have to deal with that. I'm having these flashbacks when I'm doing normal activities." It wasn't these individual things that I needed to address. It was PTSD I needed to address.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:17):
And by addressing that, all of those things would improve. And it was really empowering. I still even... Thinking about it and remembering that moment, it just clicked. It just like everything clicked and it wasn't even like I had to process it. It was like, "Of course that's what it was." But that was good and I could Google it and I could look into kind of... And it was very... The only thing I knew about PTSD was military people dealt with it, and I had no idea how prevalent it was in so many different types of people. Military, of course, but that's kind of where I think it became known. That is where it kind of got its... People understanding what it was, because it was easy to understand like, "Yeah, people have seen these horrible things in military, now have these issues." But yet there are so many people that have PTSD from many different traumas.
Beth Demme (05:10):
And it's not that you were happy to have PTSD.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:13):
No. I had it.
Beth Demme (05:14):
Right. You had it and it was the relief of knowing this is what I'm dealing with.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:21):
And it wasn't by her saying it, then she put something on me, that was already there. By her saying it... And also again, I was labeled with this in a very safe space. In a space where I was ready to receive it also. I was looking for answers. I was asking for help. I was with somebody I could trust. And I think that was important with it too. It wasn't something where... It was like somebody off the street was like, "Oh man, you have PTSD." It was like I was able to-
Beth Demme (05:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:55):
Yeah. I was able to receive it and take action right away. And it wasn't like, "You have this. Bye. Peace out." It was like, "Now, how do we move forward with this?"
Beth Demme (06:06):
That kind of makes sense to me that once you know what you're dealing with, it almost becomes a smaller thing. Because when you don't know what you're dealing with, you don't have a diagnosis, it's this huge thing that you can't address, you can't fight because it's just so big. But knowing what it's called and knowing, "Oh, other people have dealt with this. Oh, look, Dr. Jill has a way to treat this." Even if it's not as easy as a pill, right? There is a treatment mechanism. I can understand why that would be helpful and hopeful.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:42):
And I think with COVID, when it happened over a year ago, I think there was so much fear because it never happened before. This was brand new, this was something we had no research on.
Beth Demme (06:53):
You mean the novel coronavirus? Because I remember we called it the novel coronavirus for however many weeks or months. "Guys, this is brand new," that was really emphasized a lot.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:04):
But knowing something has been around, some other people struggle with it, that can be really empowering. Have you been diagnosed with anything that really was helpful to have the actual diagnosis?
Beth Demme (07:18):
The thing that comes to mind for me, I think I've told this story before on the podcast, but I was seeing a licensed mental health counselor who tried to convince me that I was bipolar when I knew I wasn't. That was not helpful. And-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:33):
That's one of the most, I hear that a lot, overdiagnosed, misdiagnosed personality disorders, I guess, out there. I don't get why that's the go-to for professionals or for, I don't even know if I'd call them professionals, but for counselors to be like, "You're bipolar." Like, "What?"
Beth Demme (07:55):
Right. Well, I can tell you that the assessment that I was given basically broke down to, "Are you sometimes happy and sad in the same day?" "Yes."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:07):
You are, Beth?
Beth Demme (08:07):
I have a whole range of emotion.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:13):
Are you in a safe space because I need to tell you that you are bipolar.
Beth Demme (08:17):
Right. I'm like, "I have a full spectrum of emotions." And I tend to not stay sad, which means if I'm having a blue period, it's probably going to be followed by happiness. That's just how my mind works. But also I knew that this was coming from this particular person, because she had started to share office space with someone who I had run into when I was practicing law full-time and I knew that this person she shared office space with, every time I saw a case that involved them, the diagnosis was bipolar.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:47):
Beth Demme (08:48):
I knew that this was coming. And I said that to her, when she told me she was going to start sharing office space with this person. I was like, "Well, Dr. so-and-so tends to think everybody is bipolar, which I think is a real disservice to people who are bipolar." Because if everyone has it, no one has it. And it's a real disorder. And if you've been diagnosed with it, you should totally be taking it seriously and doing all the things you need to do, including your medication.
Beth Demme (09:15):
That story comes to mind that I was misdiagnosed in that way, but had the presence of mind and knew myself well enough to know that it was a misdiagnosis. But also when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was really helpful to know the specific kind of cancer that I had. Because at first, when my first doctor said, "You have ovarian cancer, you need to go to the oncologist." I was like, "Well, ovarian cancer means, first of all, I'm going to have to do chemotherapy and radiation." That means I'm going to lose my hair. That means that I'm going to be really weak. It means that everything in my life is going to have to change. And then when I went to the oncologist and she was like, "You have a very specific type of ovarian cancer called granulosa cell tumor, GCT."
Beth Demme (10:02):
And then I was like, "I'm going to Facebook." Right? And then I found a Facebook group that's just women who have had GCT, this specific type of cancer. And it was really helpful at that point to understand that, "Oh, I'm dealing with a type of cancer that actually doesn't respond to chemotherapy or radiation so it's really important that it is all physically removed from the body." And then to have that conversation with my oncologist and have her say "Yes, we have physically removed all of it from your body because this type of cancer, when you catch it, the way that you caught it is best case scenario." All of that was really helpful, but I needed the label. I needed the diagnosis to really understand what I was dealing with.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:43):
What I was thinking was, when you were diagnosed with bipolar, which obviously, and obviously you had all the other knowledge that you knew right away that, that was not the correct diagnosis, how do you... How does somebody know that they... That, that is true or not?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:02):
And I think the big part of this is getting a second opinion in not just... And I think that's with anything. I saw the story of someone that was like used to do math, I think, and their teeth were all messed up. And she went to the dentist and they said, "We have to have all your teeth removed." And so they removed all our teeth and she wasn't able to eat and all this horrible stuff. And then she finally... Somebody... Some dentists was able to rebuild her teeth or something. But ultimately she did not need to have all of her teeth removed. The dentist that said it, she didn't have to have them removed. They could have done it in a different way, I guess. And because she went with just that one dentist with that one, "Okay, I guess is what I have to do."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:46):
And you hear that a lot where, it's a professional, this [inaudible 00:11:50] they're telling me this, what I need, maybe this is what I need. But as individuals we can make... We can go to other places and it's tough because it's already tough enough to go to one place for something. And... But I think-
Beth Demme (12:07):
It can be expensive to get a second opinion, which is another big challenge in the way that our healthcare system is set up. I think it's a good idea to get a second opinion. And I think trust your gut, we just talked about that in our last episode, but, trust your gut.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:22):
I totally agree. Well, when I was in the mental hospital, actually, and again there's more of the story in my book, but one of the things they do is they drug you. That's part of their treatment. You can't see my air quotes, but that's my air quote.
Beth Demme (12:38):
I think they could hear them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:41):
They wanted to put me on this medicine called Seroquel. And I was like, "What is that?" And they said, "Well, it's just what we want you on. And that here's a pamphlet about it." And so they gave me a pamphlet and so I went back to my cell, my room and I read about it. And it was in the first line was this is a medication for adults with bipolar. And I remember reading that thinking, "Do they think I have bipolar? Why do they think I have bipolar? Do I have bipolar?" No one had said I had bipolar, but I saw it on the sheet. They wanted me on this drug. What else am I to assume?
Beth Demme (13:16):
Right. Oh, they've decided that I've bipolar, that's why they're giving me this medicine.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:20):
And so I had to take the medicine because that's the only way to get out, is to follow their treatment plan. And ultimately I didn't really feel any kind of effects from it because I was only on it for a day or two.
Beth Demme (13:35):
Which is not how that medicine works.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:36):
Exactly. And it's... But it actually took me a while to really get over that, being labeled bipolar without actually being labeled bipolar. And it was very damaging to just random people that spent no time with me just saying you're bipolar, but not even saying it because it was on a sheet of paper.
Beth Demme (13:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:00):
I did go back to Dr. Jill and told her about this and what I was struggling with. And I was like, "Am I bipolar?" And she just looked at me and she laughed. She's like, "Stephanie, you are not bipolar." And she's like, "This is why and this is why" She went through, when she told me this is why you're not bipolar. They just drug people and put them back on the streets. That was not a place you ever needed to be. And she really helped me see someone that I trust that has known my history that has talked with me has spent... She explained to me that, that was not accurate.
Beth Demme (14:30):
Well, and that's the thing with when she said, PTSD and how that clicked for you. That's another one of those, trust your gut moments, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:39):
Beth Demme (14:39):
You knew on an intuitive level that this was accurate and true, and that it was a way forward for you. That's all really positive. Just being given a pamphlet about a random pill and that's not a way forward.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:55):
No communication about anything just, "Here take this drug."
Beth Demme (15:01):
Labels and diagnoses that can really help us know what help we need and what help we're entitled to. I think that, that's important, but it can also help us to know how to work with other people. I worked with someone who described themselves as extremely ADHD. And once I understood that I was able to approach our work together a little bit differently and I could kind of adjust my expectations and I could see some of the humor and I could see how this person was really trying, but sometimes struggling. And that, that wasn't for lack of effort or heart. It was just the reality that this person's mind worked differently than mine It's helpful to know it's helpful to know what other people are dealing with so that we can respond appropriately.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:54):
When we were doing our Step Study, I remember this specific, I don't even know if you remember it, but when we first started, I said that I'm dyslexic. And if I have to read out loud, it's going to take me a little bit of time, but I'll do it. And I like set that resident at the beginning so that people didn't have to feel uncomfortable. Didn't have to wonder why I was so slow. Didn't-
Beth Demme (16:15):
Didn't think that you were illiterate because that's not the case at all, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:19):
Yeah. And so when I'm in a safe space it's something like that. And I had to do it because there was so much reading in that. Reading all the times, which is my worst nightmare is taking turns, reading out loud, by the way.
Beth Demme (16:36):
I mean, like it's a numbered list and you go around the room, you read number one [inaudible 00:16:41] it's a lot of [inaudible 00:16:42].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:42):
And I also want people to know, if I'm struggling with a word, just tell me what the word is. Let's not play this game of sit here why I'm sounding it out.
Beth Demme (16:51):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:51):
Tell me the word. It's fine. And so I typically do that. I actually haven't really been in a group setting in a long time in that kind of sense. Even before COVID, I wasn't really let's read together, [crosstalk 00:17:06] had to disclose it.
Beth Demme (17:07):
But it was helpful to the rest of the Step Study to know, "Okay. That's what Steph's dealing with. No problem."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:13):
But when I worked at Apple actually, I was the leader of the technicians and the trainers. And one of the people told me that they had Aspergers, which is on the Autism scale. When I found that out, I was like, "Oh my God." And it came up more in a friendship kind of setting. It wasn't... He wasn't... He didn't have to disclose that as a working setting but he told me just as a friend. It was just some... And I'd helped him move and things like that. We were friends and that was super helpful for me to understand him and to know about how to work with him better. And something like Daniel, my bro, he has diabetes. And that was something that he told me. And he... And that was super helpful because as he told us in the diabetes episode, that there'd be times when if his blood sugar is low or high, it affects him in a drastic way and he might not be able to even make sentences and because of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:14):
And because I knew that, I was always very conscious of that. And if he was... If I could see him struggling in some way, I would just, check in with him. And there was a day where he did forget his medicine at home and I had to drive him home because he couldn't physically do that. And it was no big deal in the sense that I was empowered to respond accurately. If I didn't know he had diabetes and he was just acting all weird. I would think he might've been on drugs. I would've thought he might be high right now because that has the same kind of... But there was no question what it was. And I was able to jump into action. He had told me previously kind of what to do. And so I think it's super helpful when we're able to share kind of these labels with other people so that they know how to help us best.
Beth Demme (19:03):
I just now remembered a time that I was in a small Bible study group and we had been meeting together for a few years. I felt like we knew each other pretty well. Anyway, at one point, one of the members came in, it was a gentleman, he came in and he was really off. I don't know if manic is the right word, but his hair was just disheveled. His clothes were disheveled. And he was stuck on one train of thought over and over and over again. And we were all kind of like, "Huh?"
Beth Demme (19:35):
Well, it ended up that he, within 24 hours of us being together for that, he ended up needing to spend some time in a mental hospital for a brief period of time. And his wife actually said, "I really wish somebody had called." Right? I really... Because once it happened, we were all like, "Oh my gosh, he was really off." And she was like, "I really wish." But we didn't know that he had struggled with that. And so we didn't know to be looking for that. And I can understand why. I mean, first of all, everyone is entitled to their privacy. And also in some groups, there is a stigma around needing to take medication for mental health reasons. I understand why people are private about that. But also in hindsight, I was like, oh if we had known, then when we saw how strange his behavior was, we wouldn't have just been like, "Oh, he's having an off day." We would be like, "Okay, he is on the verge of a crisis and he needs our help." But we just didn't know like if you hadn't known about Daniel.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:40):
That's interesting though. Even if... You could all tell, he was physically... Something off about him. Did you ask him? Did anyone think maybe we need to take action on this? Even though you didn't know what it was.
Beth Demme (20:56):
No, we really just thought he's having an off day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:59):
It was an off day.
Beth Demme (21:00):
Or he's struggling today or... Everybody has a bad day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:04):
[inaudible 00:21:04] Odd things.
Beth Demme (21:05):
Well, to be fair, he always said things that were a little bit odd. I mean [crosstalk 00:21:09].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:09):
... Just disheveled than anything is different.
Beth Demme (21:11):
And like stuck on, trying to remember now some of the details, but kind of stuck on a couple of theories that weren't really relevant to what we were talking about, but an exceptionally brilliant man. And so with a lot of education and a lot of real-world experience, and often he would talk above us. I mean, it was just... He just knew things that none of us knew. And so it wasn't-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:38):
So maybe it was just more quirky. You're like, "Oh, this is one of his quirks or something." And didn't realize it was something that needed.
Beth Demme (21:44):
He's been reading so and so again.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:47):
And how would you have known otherwise actually? How would you have known? Because I'm trying to think with Daniel, sometimes he would talk about things that didn't necessarily make sense. And if I didn't know about the diabetes, would I have-
Beth Demme (22:04):
You're going to be like, "Wow, sometimes that guy doesn't make any sense."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:06):
Right. Well, and also in the more when we had our diabetes episode, there's things he said in there that I hadn't even fully known that I was like, "Oh, that's what I just thought was Daniel. He needed some medication." I could easily see why you guys were just like, "Just they're being weird, but okay." Because there's no actual... They didn't pass out on the ground.
Beth Demme (22:31):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:32):
Because the things we know of when someone's needs help is, have they passed out? Have they-
Beth Demme (22:37):
Are they choking?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:38):
Exactly. Those things weren't being presented. You just thought okay, an off day.
Beth Demme (22:46):
This question of what's wrong with me, it can be really helpful to have an answer for that and it can even be helpful to people in our lives to kind of know what we're dealing with so that they can be alert to it or even to just tap into their compassion for it. That was the case with my coworker. Some of the things that he did, might've driven me crazy. If I hadn't been able to go "Oh, right. All right, no," he'll squirrel back around. Give him a second.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:15):
Well, I worked with somebody that had just found out they were ADHD. And I remember thinking that same thing, like, "Oh, they're just having a squirrel moment. They'll be fine." And I'll be like, "Oh yeah they have ADHD." And it was easier to, because they had shared that, to excuse those moments. It was...
Beth Demme (23:35):
To be patient, to be compassionate, to know this is not a big deal. To know this is involuntary. Right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:41):
And I think it's less like, "What's wrong with me?" Like something's wrong with you. We all have something that defines us and is part of us and makes up us.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:50):
And so I think it's a catchy title, but it's less... There's nothing wrong with you. It's more just knowing you and knowing us and teaching other people about who we are and what our needs are. And that's what I was doing by telling people I had dyslexia. It wasn't like poor me. It was, this is what I need. And this is what I need from you. And this is how you can show me love in this situation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:18):
Something, I don't know if we've actually talked on the podcast probably early on, my dad is actually a psychologist. He tests people for different mental illnesses and autism. He tests for autism all the time in children. But it's interesting because a lot of... He tests for ADHD. That's one of the big ones that people have, especially adults that weren't diagnosed when they were younger.
Beth Demme (24:42):
That would be hard, right? To be an adult before you realize that, that's what you've been dealing with [crosstalk 00:24:47].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:47):
But he definitely tests a lot of adults. But it's interesting because I've had a lot of people in my life tell me, "Oh, your dad just tested me and now I know I have ADHD it's so great." And I'm like, "Okay, all right." Many people, and my dad would never confirm it because HIPAA and also it's private. He won't confirm it. When I tell him, "Oh, so-and-so told me that you tested him." He'll kind of roll his eyes. He'd be like, "Well, they can say that if they want." But it's interesting because people, when they tell me that they've been tested and they got diagnosed with acts, it's usually ADHD. They're proud to say it because it's something where they were able to... They have a diagnosis. They have a label to the thing they've been struggling with. People forever have been telling them either "You're dumb. You can't pay attention." Things like this. Horrible things. And now they know they're not dumb. It's not that they can't pay attention. They just need to do different things a little bit differently because they have this label now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:52):
I mean, I feel like the people that have told me that they were tested by him just feel really... It seems like they feel really empowered to know themselves and to know they're not alone. And it's something that is manageable and other people have dealt with and they will be able to deal with it and even move forward with being more empowered in their lives now.
Beth Demme (26:13):
I got diagnosed and now understand myself and now maybe other people can understand me too.
Beth Demme (26:25):
We have so much fun making this podcast. And we've heard from some of you that you're wondering what is the best way to support us. We've decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and buy us a cup of coffee, or for staff a cup of tea, or you can actually become a monthly supporter. And that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflection, as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:49):
The kinds of things that we would put on social media if we had a social media channel, but we actually don't for the podcast because we decided from the beginning that we didn't want to add to more white noise in your life. One of the great things about Buy Me a Coffee is that you'll be able to actually get an email, when we post new content. You can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads or being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions. We plan to post probably once or twice a week and we're excited to get your feedback as members on our, Buy Me a Coffee page, which we are lovingly calling our B-Mac page.
Beth Demme (27:21):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:24):
You'll be able to find a link in our description to find out more and to sign up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:34):
Well, I want to remind you that we have a voicemail number that you can call into. And we... In the past, we have asked questions. And so if you listened to some of our previous episodes, you may have asked a question. You are welcome to answer those questions at any time. You can also call and give us any feedback on episodes or share any hot takes from that episode. And it's also a text number. You can text that number. And
Beth is going to read that number right now.
Beth Demme (28:06):
That number is (850) 270-3308.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:11):
Good job Beth. And also we want to remind you that you can rate our podcast on your podcast app of choice. If you are on the apple podcast app, you can just scroll very much to the bottom and you just click on the star rating and you are good to go.
Beth Demme (28:29):
I don't have any weird news for you today, but I do have a kind of a feel good story that I wanted to share. This happened a little while ago, but I had missed it. And I just think it's just kind of a fun story so I'm going to share it with you. Do you know who Shaquille O'Neal is? The basketball player or retired basketball player.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:48):
I've seen him before.
Beth Demme (28:49):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:50):
I've seen him before in the apple store. Everyone sees him when he's in the apple store.
Beth Demme (28:56):
Probably everyone sees him everywhere he goes, because he's very tall.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:59):
Yes and he goes everywhere in Orlando, pretty much. If you've lived Orlando, you've seen him.
Beth Demme (29:04):
Well, that is a perfect tie into the story because he happened to be in the mall. And that was part of one of my things that I was like, "Shaq just randomly goes to the mall?" That's random, but you're saying he comes all the time, right? He's in the mall. He, I guess, was in a jewelry store, one of the mall jewelry stores but while he was in there, he heard a man ask an employee, "How much do I owe to pay off my ring? He had an engagement ring for his girlfriend and it was... He was paying for it on layaway. He was coming in to make payments. And Shaq was like, "I'm going to pay that ring off." And so he did. And he said... At first the man didn't want to accept. And he was just like, "No I've got this. I have a plan. I come in every month and I pay a little bit on it. And I just kind of wanted to know where I was with it. And Shaq was like, "You know what, tell your girlfriend, I got it."
Beth Demme (29:52):
And he was like, in the article which I'll post in our show notes, shaq is like, "I'm not going to say how much it was, but it was not a lot of money to me." Right? It was like, this is really no big deal to him. It's maybe the equivalent of buying a cup of coffee or something. And it was really just... What a kind thing to do? He didn't need to do it. No one asked him to do it. No one expected him to do it, but he did it. And I think that that kind of kindness is inspiring. Encouraging.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:23):
It's interesting. I mean, it definitely seems like, "Wow, that's so cool." And who wouldn't want that? But then on the other side of it, as I'm thinking about it, I'm like, but that guy had a plan and he was executing his plan and now he doesn't have to work towards his goal. His goal-
Beth Demme (30:42):
He accomplished his goal [inaudible 00:30:44].
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:44):
But he didn't because he didn't pay for it. I don't know. For me, I would definitely accept it with no big deal, but I know there's... There are people that, that is very important to them to pay for these things. Will he feel like he didn't really buy his girlfriend's ring or something?
Beth Demme (30:59):
He might feel like Shaq bought it instead of him, maybe.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:02):
I don't know. I could see where that... On the surface, it sounds like a great story and he may have taken it completely that way, but I also kind of like, that was important to him. And also the amount of money was hard for him to come by. And I don't know. I think it would be more... I think I would have preferred if he went into a grocery store and was like, "Here, I'm going to pay for your groceries." I don't know because that's something that's not tied to... A ring is like that there's a lot tied to that, but I don't know. I mean, good job Shaq. I mean, it's not a bad thing he did.
Beth Demme (31:34):
It's not a bad thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:35):
But I don't know, I could see another side of it too.
Beth Demme (31:39):
And I mean-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:39):
That's a good call in. And do you agree with
Beth that it's the best thing ever or you agree with me where it's questionable? Call and let us know. And why was he in Zales?
Beth Demme (31:48):
I mean, that's one of my questions, but also I mean, just he freed that couple up to be spending their money on something else. I think that, that's kind, and it sounds like at first the man was like, "Oh no. You don't need to be this generous." And... But then ultimately accepted the offer of generosity. And so I think he probably accepted it with the spirit in which it was intended, which is, "Let me help you out. You know what? You've been working hard, working to get this debt paid off, let me help you out."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:19):
At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that
Beth will read and live a little pause between free to answer them. And you can find a PDF version on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (32:31):
Number one, have you ever been given a diagnosis that changed your outlook on life? Number two, have you or someone close to you experienced a misdiagnosis? What was that experience like? Number three, have you ever connected with a person or group of people over a common label? And number four, can you think of a time when knowing someone's label or labels helped you better interact with that person?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:59):
This has been the discovering our scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.