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 (00:05):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled How Mental Illness Made Our Friendship Stronger, with special guest, Megan.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:26):
Megan Money (00:26):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:28):
Megan is my friend and soon to be Beth's friend. We'll make that.
Beth Demme (00:32):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:33):
Beth Demme (00:34):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:34):
So, I do want to quickly say where we are. We are in the podcast studio with Megan. We are all fully vaccinated, so we are excited to finally have guests back in the studio, which is my house. I made it sound impressive though.
Beth Demme (00:49):
It is. This is an impressive space.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:53):
So, Megan and I go way back. We've been friends since... Was it middle school or high school?
Megan Money (00:59):
We met in middle school, but I don't think we really started becoming friend friends until high school.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:04):
Okay. And you were one of the girl scouts. When I talk about girl scouts, you were one of the girl scouts. Also, one of the 10 ladies.
Megan Money (01:12):
Beth Demme (01:13):
I want to read actually this excerpt from Steph's book, Discovering My Scars, where she talks about you, and then I have some questions about it. I'm just going to read this excerpt. This is from chapter two.
Beth Demme (01:25):
"As high school came to a close, I would see depression in another person for the first time. My girl scout friend, Megan, who just happens to share the same name as one of my college roommates. My Volvo was packed with four suitcases for spring break. A safety whistle dangled around each of my friends necks and my own, gifts from my mom that we all planned to ditch when we arrived in Orlando. This was my first spring break with no parents, hanging out with my girl scout friends for five days at Disney.
Beth Demme (01:51):
"But after we made the four hour drive and spent a day at the parks, I saw Megan change. She became a shell of her former self. She didn't want to talk to us, she didn't want to be around us, and she didn't want anything to do with the fun we were having. I don't mean that she just didn't want to be our friend anymore. It was different. It was not childish and it was not catty. It was the darkness of depression, although I didn't know it at the time.
Beth Demme (02:14):
"We all stayed in a hotel room together, and one night Megan wanted to go to bed at 9:00. The rest of us were not ready for bed, but we let her sleep, and the three of us gathered in the hallway, sat on the floor, and played cards. I was upset with Megan for not enjoying our trip, but as the weeks went on, long after we came back home, I continued to see a deep hurt in her. It scared me, probably because deep down I knew I was depressed too. I just hid mine better.
Beth Demme (02:41):
"I tried to convince Megan to get some therapy, but she wasn't open to it. We stayed friends through the beginning of community college, but then she dropped out. I didn't see her much after that. When I started cutting and feeling the effects of deep depression, Megan's face would come to my mind. I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted to tell her I understood it now. I wanted to talk to her for help, but I was too lost for that."
Beth Demme (03:06):
So, Megan, I'm curious. How did it feel, if you remember, the first time that you read Steph's description of that?
Megan Money (03:13):
I was actually one of the ones that got to read it before it was published. She trusted me enough to read it and give her feedback and stuff. I think when I first read that I was kind of partly sad because I was like, "Oh, I didn't want to be that person." But also not really surprised, because I think looking back, I was the first one that really openly just expressed that around other people in our group. It was mixed feelings of like, "Oh, I'm sad that I'm kind of that person for her," but also just it wasn't really shocking to me.
Beth Demme (03:53):
Were you surprised to learn that Steph was feeling depression at that time too, or had you known back in high school?
Megan Money (03:59):
I did not know. She was really good at hiding it. I've never been that type of person. You can tell I wear my emotions on my sleeves, so to speak. If I'm sad, it's obvious. If I'm happy, it's obvious. If I'm angry, it's obvious. I'm not good at hiding internally. So, no, I never knew until a year later and then I was like, "We were going through the same stuff at the same time? What the heck?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:26):
Yeah. It's kind of like it would've been so simple to just be able to say that. I wasn't in touch enough with my emotions to even comprehend that that's what it was. It's something that you see in humans a lot where they're struggling with something but they try to help other people with those things, and they need to really be helping themselves and they're not. And that was exactly what it was, is I was needing therapy. I was needing medication. I was needing help, and I just was pushing that all on you, which obviously was not a good thing and was my messed up brain that just didn't know how to process all of that.
Beth Demme (05:05):
How did it feel for you when Steph was trying to fix you?
Megan Money (05:09):
I'll take a step back a little bit and give you just a slight background. So for me, I was a kid, I grew up in a pretty good middle-class household. We weren't rich, but we weren't poor. My parents were state workers. They did everything they could do to provide for us and give us what we needed. I wasn't spoiled, so I didn't get video games or anything, but I did grow up on a horse farm. I was a kid that did exactly what I was told all the time, never got in trouble, got good grades, didn't skip school, didn't do anything bad. Just did what I was told. Kind of lived a mundane life other than I rode horses when I wasn't at school or hanging out with my friends.
Megan Money (05:48):
So, I got to a point... For me, it kind of started around age 17 in my head where I was kind of shifting into a... To this day, I cannot even really explain exactly what was going on. I was just very angry and confused inside, and I started shifting slightly into, "I've been doing this and following this direction my whole life and I'm not having any fun. I'm just doing what I'm told and I'm not living my life. I don't know who I am. I'm just doing this because I'm told to go to school, get good grades, go to college, do all this stuff."
Megan Money (06:26):
Also, the topic of mental health wasn't really a subject in my household. So for me, it wasn't a skill I learned how to talk about or communicate with my mom and dad. Not that they're bad people. I'm actually really lucky to have the parents I did compared to a lot of other kids I knew, but it was just not a subject that was ever really brought up. So I, myself, didn't know how to communicate what I was feeling or how to bring up stuff or anything like that.
Megan Money (06:56):
So, I started shifting, and they could probably tell in school, senior year especially, how my wardrobe had changed. I started being more alternative and gothy. I got my first piercing at 18. Stuff like that. It started shifting then. And then when we went on the Disney trip, it just kind of all... Because it was the first time we were away from home. I think when we got down there, everything just kind of hit me like a brick in the face. I didn't know how to express what I was going through at all to you guys. And I was just like...
Megan Money (07:36):
And when we were going to the parks during the day, I did have fun. I did have fun. I really liked what we did and all the activities. But then when we got back to the hotel every night, it would just kind of resurface what I was feeling and would just hit me. It was a very heaviness and I didn't know how to talk about it. And I didn't want you guys not to have fun. I didn't want to be the person dragging everybody down, so I kind of just pushed myself and separated myself away.
Beth Demme (08:04):
It's interesting that you say that you grew up in a household where mental health really wasn't a topic that was discussed, because I think that's pretty typical. Maybe it's less typical now. I don't know, but that was typical when I was growing up. I think it was typical when you guys were growing up. And that was true for you, Steph, even though your dad is a psychologist.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:22):
It was talked about, but like, "Those people." It was other people. And it wasn't put down like, "We don't have those problems." It wasn't said like that, but it was just like understood that mental issues were the people Dad tested. It was those people, and it wasn't something that we as a family had any kind of struggles with. So, it was very much taboo to even think, "Wait. I think I'm struggling with those things." I could never say that. And obviously I was struggling with them, but didn't even... It was too much. Too much to address.
Megan Money (08:55):
I didn't get upset when you were "trying to fix me" or anything, because anybody, anybody that cares about anybody, if they see them going through something, their immediate thing is, "Oh, I don't want them to feel that way. What can I do to fix them? What can I do to help?" So, I don't hold that against you guys at all. I wish I could have expressed how to do that because I just didn't know that. I was like, "I don't know. I don't know what's wrong with me. I just know that I don't feel good." I didn't want to ruin anybody else's fun, so I just kind of was like, "Y'all leave me alone and I'll be okay. Y'all go do your thing."
Megan Money (09:30):
I do remember just wanting to be alone and isolating myself, while they're running up and down the hall and playing elevator games, just being teenagery. I don't know. I felt bad that I was... I didn't want to bring anybody down, but I think it really just kind of all flooded when we got away from Tallahassee for the first time like that. And it wasn't the first time, because we went into the Pensacola Navy stuff-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:59):
Yeah. But there was no parents.
Megan Money (10:01):
But it was the first time for me in my life my mental state was shifting.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:05):
The way I remember it is we got back from the Disney trip and we had a couple months left of school, and we kind of did have an intervention where we were trying to get you help and help get you counseling, which obviously we did a bang up job on because-
Megan Money (10:20):
Like you said, I really don't think I was... One, I'm still confused in myself. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't ready to receive that kind of help.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:32):
You had to be open to it.
Megan Money (10:33):
I was still trying to figure out stuff. I found myself after high school. I got a job at Nicholson Farmhouse Restaurant.
Beth Demme (10:41):
I remember that place. Out in Havana.
Megan Money (10:43):
Yes. So, that was my first official real job. I did the pony rides.
Beth Demme (10:48):
Megan Money (10:50):
And then I became a backup dishwasher person and restocker and stuff like that. So, I had that, and then I met some kids that worked there. That led to meeting some other kids and then kind of falling into 'the wrong crowd'. But in hindsight, it was just a bunch of other teenagers that were going through the same stuff and we were just using bad coping mechanisms. And they came from even more broken households.
Megan Money (11:15):
My household, I don't really consider broken. My mom, she does struggle with alcoholism, but that stems from having a bunch of... Her body is not good. She's always had a bunch of problems with her body and she's had a million surgeries. She's got a bunch of metal in her back. I grew up dealing with that. That was part of, I think, something that I didn't know how to cope with correctly as a teenager, because I remember being 16 and getting so mad that I would dump out her whole bottle of wine and stuff like that. So, there was stuff in my life that I just hadn't positively been able to deal with because I didn't know how, because I wasn't really taught or free to discuss.
Beth Demme (11:59):
It's sort of another example of being able to see it in someone else. Right? We can see that someone else is drinking too much. Okay, that's an unhealthy coping mechanism. But we can't always see our own unhealthy coping mechanisms. Just like Steph could see that you were depressed and she wanted to change that, but she wasn't ready to deal with her own internal struggles at that point. Sometimes it's just easier to see it in someone else.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:21):
And I think at some point we just kind of... I stopped trying because I realized you just don't want to be with us anymore. You don't want to hang out with us. And I was like, "Why am I fighting this? Why am I fighting to help this person that..." Not that you didn't want help, but that there was nothing left I could do, and you didn't want to be around us. You didn't want to do the things that we used to do, and I just kind of had to accept that. And we never had like a, "We are no longer friends." We never had that. We never had a moment where... Because deep down, I don't think neither of us wanted to not be friends. We were just in different places, and there was never a moment where it was like, "We will never speak again."
Megan Money (13:06):
Yeah. I never felt that way either. I felt like our paths just kind of split, and I was hanging out with different people and it might not have been the best decisions, but my life shifted and I shifted. Also, in my perspective, I was like, "I want them to be successful and continue their stuff. I don't want to be the person that is a bad influence in their life due to what I'm going through, so let me just go down this road and I'll let them go down their roads." It was never like I was never going to see her or talk to her again. I knew she was always there in the background, especially with social media and Facebook. Always had a way, if I needed to or wanted to, to reach out.
Megan Money (13:51):
But I just kind of assumed, I guess, that everybody else just kind of went on and had happy lives and I was just dealing with my stuff. And then when we reconnected years later and she was all telling me about what she was going through during that same timeframe, I was like... That's when I learned about the non-suicidal self-injury, that it had a name, because I was doing the same stuff. I also did that. I never was doing it... I think I did have suicidal thoughts frequently, but I never... I always just called myself too scared to actually go through with it. When she told me about it and I learned what that was, I was like, "Oh, that's exactly what I was doing," because I didn't want to kill myself. I just wanted the pain to go to somewhere else. I still have the scars. I still have physical scars from that time. And so, it was just... I'm like, "What? What do you mean you were doing that?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:50):
Like, "No, you were the good kid. What do you mean? What? I didn't talk to you guys because I didn't want to mess you up."
Beth Demme (14:56):
You thought that you were somehow bad or damaged or not okay, and then you looked at Steph and thought, "She's not bad or damaged. She's okay." But then later you realize, "Oh my gosh, we were really emotionally and mentally in a very similar space."
Megan Money (15:10):
Beth Demme (15:11):
So, how did you guys reconnect then?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:13):
Along the way we've always invited you. Since I moved away from Tallahassee, I would come back in town couple times a year and we would have a get together and we would always invite you, typically. You weren't coming, but there was no part of us that was like... Kind of like once you're one of our 10 ladies, you're on our list. Whether you don't like us or not, you're on the list.
Beth Demme (15:36):
It's like the mafia. There's no getting out.
Megan Money (15:38):
I think it was just on my end I was like, "Okay, I think I'm ready. I'm ready to see these guys again. I miss them. Let's just plunge." I just took a leap. I was like, "Hi, I'm back."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:53):
And it was like nothing had changed. Well, everything had changed, but nothing had changed in the sense that we could still-
Megan Money (15:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:00):
Yeah. Our friendship. A lot had happened, but there wasn't any animosity towards anything or how anything kind of faded away because it just was... There was no anger there. For me at least, there was no anger or resentment or anything. I just was happy to have my friend back.
Megan Money (16:16):
Same. That's how I felt.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:18):
And I remember we had many times where you just stayed over and we would just chat for hours at my house, and everyone else would have left and we're just still chatting and we're just talking about stuff that we went through.
Megan Money (16:29):
Yeah. And it was actually very... I don't know if therapeutic is the word, for me. Not that I was glad that you went through that either, but it was just like, "Holy cow. I really wasn't alone the whole time." It was weird. I felt sad that you had to go through what I went through or similar and that we both very much mirrored each other during that same exact timeframe. We were just... She was in Orlando. I was still in Tallahassee. It was weird learning about it.
Beth Demme (17:01):
And neither of you knew that the other was going through it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:03):
I mean, I knew that Megan had dealt with depression and that was pretty much it. That's all I knew. And I knew snippets of what you were up to. I knew you worked at Nicholson, but I didn't know any details, any details of anything. I was so into my own stuff that I could barely see out past what I was dealing with. It was hard for me to keep in touch with anybody.
Beth Demme (17:31):
So when you found out that Megan had been dealing with non-suicidal self-injury, how did you feel learning that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:40):
When I found out I was like, "Wow," because when I was dealing heavily with it I felt so alone. I felt like I couldn't talk to anybody about it. There was no one that would get it. And now realizing there's somebody that would have gotten it, there's someone that... But when you're in it, it's just like you can't rationalize those things and try to figure that out and reach out to those people. I wasn't able to. But I just felt like there's a reason that we have always been in each other's lives without even being in each other's lives and there's a reason we reconnected. It just felt like, "Okay, this girl is always going to be my life. She can't get out. Sorry."
Beth Demme (18:19):
So when the two of you reconnected and you realized that you had both been going through this very similar mental health challenge, did it draw you closer together? Was it another thing that you bonded over?
Megan Money (18:31):
Yeah. I think so. It definitely made me realize the person I assumed her to be was not, and that it was somebody that I could connect with even more. Even if it was a dark subject for us, it was somebody that I could be like, "Okay, I can relate to her. We can talk about things. We're actually mature enough now we can discuss these things. We've been through enough stuff in our life." I didn't ever go through therapy officially, but I've learned over time healthier coping mechanisms. I've learned how to communicate way better. Communication is a giant skill that is totally underrated.
Beth Demme (19:15):
And can totally be learned.
Megan Money (19:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:16):
Megan Money (19:17):
I've learned how to be more mindful and be an active listener. Just be more supportive. And it was nice to have somebody that could relate to my situation in a way that I wasn't going to feel judged for talking about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:37):
Well, that's interesting that you mention that because what was your perception of me in high school?
Megan Money (19:44):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:45):
Megan Money (19:46):
You came from this perfect happy family and you were like... As much as I didn't get in trouble and I was a good kid, you were even better. You were just a very... You seemed very driven and had structure, and I don't know, you just seemed like a perfect, ideal person.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:09):
So, based on that, that perception... I'm not going to say whether it's right or wrong. The perception. Okay.
Beth Demme (20:16):
It was wrong. I'll say it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:18):
It was wrong. But it doesn't matter. Perception is reality. That was your reality of who I was, and I definitely have changed into a different person now, so I know that there was certain things about me back then that I wasn't approachable in a lot of ways and I was very judgmental. So I'm curious, when we got back from that Disney trip and we tried to get you help, do you think you weren't comfortable with that, with us pushing to help you, because you saw me in that way? And then once you found out later, that's when we were able to actually have a deeper connection? You saw my faults, finally.
Megan Money (20:56):
Yeah. Well, I guess partly I just didn't... Well, mostly it was because I didn't know how to help myself. I wasn't receptive. I didn't know what I needed. I didn't know what was a solution because I was so confused in my own head. And then I also, I thought out of everybody that you would be the one to judge the most actually, so I wasn't very open to expressing what I was going through with you due to my perception of you, I guess. And then years later, when we reconnected and we had started having these actual deep, honest conversations, I wish I had known kind of what you were going through more and maybe we could have talked about it. But I don't know even in that time in our lives it would have helped that much, because we both didn't know what to do.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:49):
Yeah. We weren't experts in it.
Megan Money (21:52):
Yeah. We were still just troubled kids basically.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:55):
Was it after I started to share my stuff later on that you kind of changed that perception that, "Oh, she is kind of broken. She's kind of like me. Wait. She gets this."?
Megan Money (22:08):
Well, I want to say that I've never thought of you as broken.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:11):
Oh, sorry. That was my words. I am broken. Sorry guys.
Megan Money (22:15):
But the judgment factor went away. I didn't feel like that you were going to judge me for anything I did or currently going through or did go through. I was able to tell you more stuff that happened to me that we had never talked about, and stuff even from going into school and stuff.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:35):
What made you think that I was judgmental back in the day? Was I judgmental towards you back in the day, or was I judgmental towards other people? Or you just figured.
Megan Money (22:45):
No. I think assumption is a big thing that gets people a lot. You kind of had a goody two shoes kind of... You were not a rule breaker at all. You were very strict and structured. If anybody was going to step off to any type of off the center direction of what you thought you were just like, "No." You were just very whiplashy. I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:16):
Beth Demme (23:18):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:18):
Megan Money (23:20):
I never felt like I could discuss certain topics because I always felt like you were just rooted in your opinion of it and you were going to-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:31):
And my opinion goes, kind of thing.
Megan Money (23:33):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:33):
Like my way is the right way.
Megan Money (23:36):
Yeah. And I didn't want to lose you as a friend. I didn't want to push you away. I didn't want to become... I didn't want to make you not like me because of what I was going through, so I think I hid a lot of stuff because I was like, "Well, if I tell her all this or if I mention anything, she's just going to be like, 'You're a bad person. I don't want to be around you. That's not the person in my life I want to be around,'" type of thing.
Beth Demme (24:02):
You could probably see her making some intentional choices about who was kind of in her circle and in her life and who wasn't in that circle. I would think that would be an influential observation. So, now you're married.
Megan Money (24:16):
Beth Demme (24:17):
How long have you been married?
Megan Money (24:19):
We've been married since 2015, so going on six years this November, but I've been with him for 15 years. I actually met my husband.... So, the year after high school, I basically call it my year of crazy, I had a year and a half of crazy where I just went off the rails and did a whole bunch of stuff and made bad decisions and learned about myself. It ended with me getting arrested in Colquitt, Georgia. Very small. Smaller than Havana. I don't know if you're familiar with Havana, but it's... My parents didn't know what to do with me, so I was sent there to my aunt's house because I was getting in too much trouble down here. So, they sent me. They said, "Well, maybe if we send her to where there's nothing around and it's just her aunt and she's isolated she won't get in trouble." But they sent me with another troubled teen who had been kicked out of his house and didn't have any relationship with his parents.
Megan Money (25:21):
So, they sent both of us together, and then we went on a cigarette run and ended up parking behind a church and just rolling a joint. And then the cops did a routine check on the town because that's how small it is, and they busted us basically. The crazy year kind of ended for me after I got arrested and I came back home. I got off very lucky. I think my privilege kind of got... Being a white female, my privilege definitely showed through. I had connections. I was basically sent home with a slap on the wrist saying, "Don't come to our town again."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:58):
Wow. I wouldn't go.
Megan Money (25:59):
I had three months of what they call unsupervised probation, which means I didn't have a probation officer. They just said literally, "Don't get in trouble for three months and you're fine, and pay this fine."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:09):
Also don't get in trouble ever, but okay. Three months is good. I can do it.
Megan Money (26:12):
So anyway, that point was the shift in myself of, "Okay, this is enough. I've had enough of whatever this is. I've been doing it for the last year and a half. I need to get my-"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:25):
Your sh*t together.
Megan Money (26:26):
My sh*t together. Sorry.
Beth Demme (26:27):
Yourself together. You hit rock bottom.
Megan Money (26:30):
Yes. And I was like, "Okay, I need to pick myself back up and just do something else. This isn't working anymore. The direction I'm going in, that I've been going in, it's just going to get worse if I don't something." So, I kind of picked myself up by the bootstraps and got another job. Moved back in with my parents. And in that year and a half, I scared the crap out of my parents. My parents didn't know what to do. They were lost. They were confused. They didn't know how to help me either.
Beth Demme (26:59):
They were scared.
Megan Money (27:00):
Yeah. They were scared. And it took me a long time to regain their trust and stuff, but they let me move back in with them. And then I got another job working at a... The farm, it's actually called The Farm Off Meridian Road, where they have Red Hills Horse Trials. I started working there, and then soon after that is when I met my husband. I was 19. And then I quit the horse farm job and started working for the state. I was 19 years old, working for the state of Florida as a part-time glassware washer in a chemistry lab.
Beth Demme (27:37):
Megan Money (27:37):
So, that's where I started to my life shifting back up, of climbing up the hill to success, as they say.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:44):
And today, you still work for the state and you are the first...
Megan Money (27:48):
I'm the first female metrologist. I'm a metrologist.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:51):
Woo hoo. Obviously, Beth's going to need to know what that is.
Beth Demme (27:56):
I don't know what a metrologist... I know what a meteorologist is, but I don't know what a metrologist is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:58):
Megan Money (27:59):
Yeah. We're like a hidden function of society. So, metrology is the science of weights and measures. I work specifically in a state calibration lab that calibrates mass and volume standards that are used out in the field to check anything that is weighed or measured commercially that we as a consumer purchase.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:21):
Beth Demme (28:21):
So, when I see those stickers that say, "This has been calibrated," or whatever-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:29):
Beth Demme (28:31):
... a metrologist has been involved in that.
Megan Money (28:32):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:32):
Megan Money (28:34):
Well, I'm the background person in that process. You have inspectors that go out and inspect the gas pumps and pump five gallons into a test measure to make sure that that five gallons is five gallons. I'm the person that calibrates the equipment they use, like grocery store scales. Anything that is weighed, like truck stop scales, cattle scales, jewelry scales, and then gas stations, airport terminals, anything that's used for fuel. I calibrate weights for Lockheed Martin and stuff like that that are used in the space stuff.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:09):
Beth Demme (29:10):
So, do you have access to special materials that are like...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:13):
She can't confirm or deny any of this, Beth. She's the first female and she's amazing. She makes sure that we as consumers don't get ripped off.
Megan Money (29:23):
Yeah. That's my job.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:23):
That's what her job is. How cool is that? For Florida.
Beth Demme (29:27):
That is really cool. Nobody's putting their thumb on the scale because you know what the scale should say.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:31):
Yeah. And nobody's heard of us because there's only a couple of metrologists per state and there's only just over a hundred in the entire country.
Beth Demme (29:39):
Megan Money (29:41):
It's a very niche job, I guess. I did have to get certified. I had to go to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, up in Maryland and go through certification training. Instead of a college degree, I'm certified in this area. So, that's where I am now. I have two daughters. I have a six-year-old and an almost two-year-old.
Beth Demme (30:05):
Which one of them is named after Steph? The six-year-old or the two-year-old? [laughter]
Beth Demme (30:10):
So, we titled this episode How Mental Illness Made Our Friendship Stronger, and hearing from both of you today I really get the sense that that has been true for you. Has it made your friendship stronger?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:20):
I mean, I kind of did feel that. I felt like when we reconnected after so long and we had actually talked about deep stuff, I was kind of like, "Wow." The fact that we've had self-injury and all these things in our past has kind of brought us stronger, and we were able to understand each other without even having to explain anything. Because you sharing your story, I'm like, "I can relate very clearly to that." So, I would say it made us stronger. How about you?
Megan Money (30:49):
I would agree. I think it's definitely improved our communication in general. I think that I'm not afraid of what I used to think, like of her judging me back when I assumed her personality in high school a little bit. I'm not afraid to... I know that there's not going to be judgment. We have both evolved into being able to have an honest conversation, and I think that it has definitely made us closer in that way.
Megan Money (31:16):
I don't feel like I have to hide anything. I can be my full self and she'll tell me what she thinks fully, but that I'm comfortable. It's a comfortable friendship. I feel safe. I'm glad that I still have her in my life. I'm glad I still have all of you in my life from then. It's very rare to keep even just one friend from that time in your life, in high school and stuff over the years, so I count myself lucky to still have a group of my closest friends from high school that we still constantly talk and communicate and keep up with each other's lives.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:03):
Well, Megan, thank you so much for chatting with me. We do chat off of the podcast as well. I don't want people to think that we just chat... And I also want people to know obviously I was judgmental back in high school. I can see that now because I've heard... Megan is not the first person I've heard those descriptions of me from. And all I can say is I strive to be nonjudgmental now and a different person than I was in high school. I think that's the goal of being a human, is to learn and grow and get better every day, and that's what I strive for.
Beth Demme (32:37):
I think if anybody out there is like, "I'm still the same person I was when I was 18 and graduated high school," it's like, "Let's chat, because really you should be a grown up now." It was delightful for me to get to meet you because I read the book and I've heard so many stories about you. And like Steph said from the very beginning when we were talking about the podcast, she was like... Well, she said two things. She was like, "I really want to have my friend Megan on, because I really tried to fix her and that wasn't okay. I really think we can have an interesting conversation. And also, she's got this job that I don't really understand."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:08):
I understand it now.
Beth Demme (33:10):
Yeah, but I just mean from the beginning. That was one of the things. So I'm really glad that I got to meet you today and have this time with you.
Megan Money (33:16):
I'm glad I got to meet you too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:16):
And understand her job.
Beth Demme (33:17):
Yes. You have a really cool job.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:19):
I know. I said that.
Beth Demme (33:20):
You did. She totally did. She totally did.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:22):
To clarify, I did say, "It's cool. I don't know what it is, but it's cool." So, Megan, we like to ask our guests one final question. Megan, what book, TV show, or podcast are you excited about right now?
Megan Money (33:33):
I'll talk about a book I'm actually in, another book I'm in. There is a friend of mine who goes by David Storm, and his latest book is called A Cacophony of Crows. It's a fan, where if you were a fan you could help with the writing and stuff, and so I'm in a story. I haven't read it yet. It just came out earlier this year. My face is in the book, and I'm also part of a... There's one of the stories that I'm supposed to be loosely based off of.
Beth Demme (34:09):
Very cool. So, it's called A Cacophony of Crows and it's by...
Megan Money (34:13):
Beth Demme (34:14):
David Storm. We'll have to put a link to that in the show notes. That's really cool.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:16):
Your face, it was makeup that you did, right?
Megan Money (34:19):
Yeah. I'm not like an expert or anything. I wouldn't even consider myself Instagram good or whatever, but I dabble in alternative makeup as one of my hobbies. I do a lot of warriors type of goth stuff and pagan stuff when I do my makeup, and so I have one of those pictures is in there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:41):
Yeah. That's exciting.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:46):
At the end of each episode we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that we will read and leave a little pause between, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me A Coffee page.
Beth Demme (34:55):
Number one, have you ever had a friend who tried to fix you? What did that feel like? Number two, what are some of the reasons you've had friendships end in the past? Number three, can you think of a friend you'd like to reconnect with? What's stopping you? And number four, have you ever journeyed with a friend as they experienced depression or had someone journey with you as you experienced depression?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:21):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us.