Most people are familiar with PTSD, but may not have heard of C-PTSD — complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Journalist and author Stephanie Foo hadn’t heard of C-PTSD until she was diagnosed with it in 2018. Stephanie chronicles her journey of healing from complex trauma in her book, “What My Bones Know.” Stephanie tells Claire how she found the treatment that finally worked for her, what she learned about intergenerational trauma along the way, and what changes she wants to see in the mental health space to make it more inclusive.
Resources from the show
- Read What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo
Want to connect? Join the New Day Facebook Group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/newdaypod
Click this link for a list of current sponsors and discount codes for this show and all Lemonada shows go to lemonadamedia.com/sponsors.
To follow along with a transcript and/or take notes for friends and family, go to lemonadamedia.com/show/newday/ shortly after the air date.
Follow Claire on IG and FB @clairebidwellsmith or Twitter @clairebidwell and visit her website: www.clairebidwellsmith.com.
Stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.
Joining Lemonada Premium is a great way to support our show and get bonus content. Subscribe today at bit.ly/lemonadapremium.
Stephanie Foo, Claire Bidwell-Smith
Claire Bidwell-Smith 00:09
Hi, I’m Claire Bidwell Smith. Welcome to NEW DAY . You’re likely familiar with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But have you heard of C-PTSD? Or complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? My guest today is Stephanie Foo hadn’t heard of it until she was diagnosed with it. Stephanie explains the difference between PTSD and C-PTSD like this. PTSD is usually associated with a single traumatic event, like a car accident, a sexual assault, a sudden death. While Complex PTSD happens as a result of repeated trauma. In Stephanie’s case, it was years of verbal, physical and mental abuse from her parents. She chronicles her story and what she’s been able to learn about C-PTSD, in her new book, what my bones no A Memoir of healing from complex trauma. I think Stephanie’s story has so many important lessons. But a big one for me is her persistence when it came to treating her Complex PTSD. You’ll hear her talk about all the different things she tried, EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, internal family systems, therapy, psychedelics, breathwork, until she found the right thing that worked for her. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t have tried as many things before giving up and deciding nothing works for them. And I can totally understand that there are so many techniques approaches medications, it can be hard to tell someone that it may take some time before they settle on the right combination for their exact situation. For a lot of people, it can take a long time to even get to the point where they seek out help. So to then learn that the help they want isn’t necessarily going to be a quick fix. Well, you can see why it all just becomes too much for people. But as you’ll hear from Stephanie, that perseverance can make all the difference in the world.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:02
Thank you so much for joining today, Stephanie, I’m really excited to talk to you.
Stephanie Foo 02:06
Thank you so much for having me.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:07
I start every episode of this podcast by asking my guests. How are you doing? But how are you really doing?
Stephanie Foo 02:17
I’m doing good this week? Yeah. Got some good news this week. It’s been only moderately busy, I think, well, there’s been some very, very busy days, which helped keep me on my toes. But there was one day during this week that I got to go work in the park and it’s June. So June berries, or serviceberries are in season. So it’s wonderful to just go out and pick them straight off the trees and they are so delicious.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:48
Hmm, that sounds like a nice nature healthy, grounded pleasure.
Stephanie Foo 02:54
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:55
Well, I’m so excited to talk to you about your memoir, what my bones know about complex PTSD, which is something that I think is just starting to get on people’s radars. Can you tell me about how you describe the book?
Stephanie Foo 03:10
It’s hard, actually, because it’s kind of a memoir. But it’s kind of not. I wrote this book to be like, if you were just first diagnosed with complex PTSD, it could be the first thing that you read. And you could learn all the basics of what Complex PTSD is, what treatments work for it, what kind of the science behind it is all through the lens of my own healing journey. And through the lens of something that’s realistic, but hopeful.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 03:44
I like how you start the book with acknowledging that it can be difficult for other people who have complex PTSD to read stories of complex PTSD, and that you kind of assure the reader that you’re going to be gentle, and that there’s a happy ending without giving any spoilers.
Stephanie Foo 04:01
Yeah, I think that was really important for me, because I read a lot of trauma books that were just sort of like brutal all the way through. And so I wanted to let everyone know, like, hey, the first 50 pages of this are going to be tough, but like it’s going to get more fun and easier and more hopeful. The farther you get in this book,
Claire Bidwell-Smith 04:20
Yeah. Can you tell us a little bit about your personal journey before we get into kind of more of the logistics of complex PTSD and what it is and how you’ve figured out that that was what you had?
Stephanie Foo 04:31
Yeah, I had a pretty tough childhood. I think I was pretty severely, mentally physically verbally abused by my parents, and my mom left when I was 13. And my dad left when I was 16. So I wound up sort of bracing myself for the last couple years in high school, and I really channeled all of my effort and self-worth into journalism and success after that, and that got me pretty far, I got to be a journalist at This American Life at Snap Judgment, I was, I would say, pretty successful. And that all kind of came to a head when I was about 30. Because I started having such bad panic attacks at work all the time that I couldn’t really concentrate a lot. And I finally went to my therapist, I was like, what is going on? And she’s like, I think you have Complex PTSD. That was the first time I’d ever heard of complex PTSD. I didn’t know what it was, I immediately Googled it. And I learned that all the resources on it, first of all, there was not much on it. The information on it was very sparse. There was a couple of books. There weren’t very many articles, and everything was very pathologizing, very clinical, and inaccessible, and there weren’t any personal stories. And I trafficked in personal stories, obviously, like, I was a producer for 10 years for storytelling shows where I told other people’s first person stories, hundreds and 1000s of times, and I knew the humanizing effect that, that could have for communities, I knew the importance of hearing voices like yours on the radio, I knew what it felt like to be seen somewhere else, and to have that struggle acknowledged. And so, seeing that there was a dearth of those kinds of stories surrounding Complex PTSD. I was like, if I heal from this thing, I’m gonna have to write a book about it. Then I just kind of went on my journey, I quit my job, and I tried everything I could afford and get my hands on to try and heal from Complex PTSD.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 06:42
How do you define and describe Complex PTSD?
Stephanie Foo 06:45
So I think we all are kind of familiar with traditional PTSD, you can get traditional PTSD from a single traumatic event, like if you’re hit by a car, what happens when you’re hit by a car is you have all of these stimuli around you that can become triggers that your base your brain is basically learning. Like, okay, if you’re hit by a Hyundai, maybe Hyundai’s are dangerous. And so when you see a Hyundai later, your brain in order to try and keep you safe, might tell you like, you know, this is scary. Complex PTSD is when the trauma happens over and over and over hundreds of times over the course of many years. This can happen in war zones, this can happen through child abuse, like, what happened to me domestic abuse. And what happens essentially, is the number of triggers just swells to the point where the world itself or people themselves become dangerous to your brain.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 07:48
What are some of the defining traits that differentiate Complex PTSD from more traditional PTSD?
Stephanie Foo 07:56
I think the relational aspect is a big part of it. If you’re hurt many, many times over the course of many years, unless you just have just like, incredibly bad luck. Probably people have let you down. And people have hurt you. And so having a lack of trust for other people, and having a lot of self-loathing and fear around yourself and how you can like control whether other people will be kind to you, I think is pretty critical of complex PTSD and makes that pretty different from traditional PTSD.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 08:39
Once you discovered this diagnosis for yourself, what were the routes you took in order to start to try to heal.
Stephanie Foo 08:47
I did a lot of things. I went to meditation classes and yoga classes, I went to EMDR. I tried like CBT, all the things, all the acronyms, IFS. When a couple different therapists, I tried mushrooms, acid. I tried breathwork a lot of like wellness modalities, and eventually wound up seeing my therapist, Dr. […], who practiced some very unconventional therapy with me that wound up being very effective.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 09:26
He’s such an amazing character in the book, and I love the kind of relationship that you fell into with him. I’m a therapist myself, and it was just fun to read about a more unconventional method that I think he brought to it, but then that you guys created together, which I thought was really neat. It was seemed like a very collaborative client therapist, like very individual to who you were and what you needed, and what he was willing to do. Can you describe a little bit of that relationship and what the treatments were that worked?
Stephanie Foo 09:56
Yeah, I think that that’s really important is that with prior therapists, I would be like, what’s going on? Where are we in the therapy? How is this working? Are we on schedule? Are we on track? Like, what are we doing and why? And they would be like, why do you feel like you have to know? Do you think that? Do you think that this might be an aspect of your control? Do you think you have control issues? At the time, I thought that was normal. But now I’m like, why did you need to pathologize like a very legitimate need of mine. Therapy should be a safe space. And it should be a collaborative space, it should be a place where the patient feels safe, asking for things from the therapist, because the therapist is in such a place of power. And being comfortable asking him for things is something that’s really critical for trauma patients to learn. And so what struck me about Dr. […] immediately is that he was very collaborative. I wanted to record all of our sessions. And he was totally down with that, of course, he was like, yeah, let’s do it. Because we thought, eventually, we might even make a podcast out of it. And so after each session, I would go to the cafe, a couple blocks away and transcribe the entire session, then I’d put it into Google Docs. And then I would send him the Google Doc. And we would go through it. And we would comment on every single little thing that was happening in that session. And we’d be like, oh, I think you’re dissociated here. Oh, you’re clearly changing the subject too abruptly here to avoid talking about something you feel uncomfortable with, and I would ask him, What are you doing here? Why did you ask me that question, and he would be totally transparent about it. And I learned doing this Google Docs therapy and just looking at my conversations very intently and closely. How I wasn’t attuned to other people, or how I wasn’t really listening closely, or how I could be like a better friend. And it was really, really one of the most healing experiences of my life.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 12:05
Yeah, I just thought it was one of the coolest client therapists relationships I’ve ever read about. And I think, you know, therapy is definitely still evolving. We’re still learning so much about that therapeutic relationship. But you’re right, there’s this huge power dynamic. And we’re coming from some really old school formations of thought with Freud and things like that, where, you know, the therapist is supposed to remain so anonymous, and so, not disclose anything about themselves. And this was a very different experience for you. And it sounds too like the previous therapists that you’d met with had just kind of stayed by the book, right? And not met you, where you were and what you needed. They kind of kept to the teachings that they had learned. And he just went right out of the box, which was so awesome.
Stephanie Foo 12:57
Yeah, but the book doesn’t serve everyone the book might serve like a specific narrow subset of people.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 13:03
Absolutely. I’ve always been a little bit unconventional myself. I’ve written a lot about my life and my grief, and I’m aggrieved therapists, and I’m much more open in the room. But I’m also really interested in like, what does the client need? Not what does the book tell me that this diagnosis needs, you know, and I think that’s a really important part of it.
Stephanie Foo 13:22
Claire Bidwell-Smith 13:47
What struck me in reading your book was how tenacious you were and persistent you were in in seeking treatment, and finding people to help you finding different modalities to use. And I don’t think that everyone is that persistent. I mean, I’ve given up on different times of trying to find the right kind of care or navigate the healthcare system. And I just kept thinking about all the people out there who are suffering with mental illness and can’t navigate the system can’t find somebody to help them don’t have the energy and the tenacity to keep looking and to find people. And it really, you know, scared me.
Stephanie Foo 14:26
And it’s true that I pushed forward now, but I’ve been giving up since I was a teenager, you know what I mean? I gave up 1000 times before I decided to quit my job, which is huge. And like, go dedicate my life to live for this. And I was so privileged, like, the only way I was able to do this is because I had saved up obsessively for 10 years. That’s why I had a safety net. I built this career that allowed me to freelance sometimes I had like space and time; you know? Yeah. But certainly, most Americans don’t have that privilege. It’s horrifying.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 15:02
Do you think there’s any answer here? Is there any obvious change that can be made?
Stephanie Foo 15:08
There’s a lot of obvious changes that can be made. I think the government really needs to prioritize health care and mental health care. I think one big thing that could happen is forcing insurance companies to increase what they pay to therapists, because the rate that they have for therapists hasn’t risen in 20 years.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 15:36
Right. And most therapists don’t take insurance. So really good therapists often don’t at all.
Stephanie Foo 15:42
So if you’re reimbursing therapists at a rate that is fair, and is akin to what you reimburse other doctors, then more therapists will take insurance. And there you go. Biden also talked about, like, providing more scholarships for a wider range of people to be trained as therapists. And that’s really important. And I think we also need to broaden therapy training to really include trauma.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 16:12
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s one of the notes I have written down is that I feel like we are on some level only beginning to understand trauma in our culture. And I think that’s a really big thing. It’s just been in recent years that we’ve begun to recognize, you know, like the ACES and all the trauma that can occur in ways that we just didn’t recognize trauma before. You know, for a long time, it was like PTSD was reserved for war veterans, on this kind of broad scale. But recently, I think we’ve been able to really see how many people are suffering from trauma and what the broad ranging impact of suffering from trauma is.
Stephanie Foo 16:54
Absolutely. And, you know, I’m doing a story right now about how a woman Dr. Negar Fani scanned the brains of black women who experienced a lot of racial trauma. And their brains had the same structural changes as people with Complex PTSD. So what other forms of trauma, the ACES are really great for childhood trauma? But what other forms of trauma have we not even begun to explore?
Claire Bidwell-Smith 17:23
Yeah, you talk a lot about in your in your book about generational trauma. And that’s something I’d love to dip into with you. Can you tell me what that means to you and what you discovered about your own life, and you did some a lot broader research too.
Stephanie Foo 17:39
I did a bunch of research that showed that trauma is think about it this way, trauma is essentially an adaptation, right? The fact that you have triggers, the fact that you see a Hyundai and you’re like that Hyundai is terrifying. That is your brain adapting to keep itself alive, that is your brain and your whole body getting in touch being like, I’m going to pump more cortisol in you at like, more frequently. So you can run because you live in a dangerous environment. And of course, like adaptations like this, it makes sense that they would be handed down from generation to generation, particularly in our genes. It’s in our epigenome, which is sort of like the spark notes layer on top of our genome that sort of determines what gets coded. And there’s some, I guess, like, the most interesting study that people always talk about is like the cherry blossom, the story about mice where they shocked a bunch of mice, and at the same time, pomp, the smell of cherry blossoms into their cages, and then their descendants, and their descendants after that, all would be afraid of the scent of cherry blossoms, even though they had never been shocked. So they had internalized somehow, genetically, that this was a threat. And it makes complete sense, from an evolutionary standpoint. And we have seen that, you know, the genes of people survived the Holocaust, maybe changed as well. So, I think it was really important to me to go in, after I learned this, try and learn what happened to my ancestors. And I uncovered this whole secret war that my grandparents had survived, where my grandfather was imprisoned for five years. He had all of his teeth knocked out, you know, my grandmother’s spent time in jail. My great grandparents and my grandparents, spent so much time recovering from various occupations, and they fought through starvation and they really hustled and you know what, seeing how my ancestors really hustled to stay alive, I kind of understood where I caught mine. My own little hustle operation from, and also my anxiety and fear from, because they didn’t anticipate that I would live in this totally safe world, because Complex PTSD is only a mental illness in times of peace. So, it’s been really helpful to understand my trauma through this context. Because it allows me to take some of the blame off of myself. And say, like, everything that I do, and all the fuck ups that I have, and all of my fear is because of me and my anxious, shitty brain and say, like, you know, I am a product of literal generations of socio political trauma and famine, and, you know, war and survival.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 20:48
Yeah. Yeah. So, how do we heal generational trauma? I mean, even when the trauma, and the strife itself is no longer at play, we’re carrying these things down. How do we go about healing them? Like when you think about what it would be like to have a child? And what would you be passing down? Is there any way to work on that to prevent it, to prepare for it?
Stephanie Foo 21:19
Like, I’m sure I’m gonna pass all kinds of things down. One thing that I want to do is be more transparent about my trauma than my parents were with me, because I wish that I hadn’t had to wait until I was like 33, to discover all of the some of the factors that made me who I am, like, I’m sure I’m gonna be an anxious mom. And probably make it will be an anxious kid, because they have such an anxious mom. And if they have some empathy, or knowledge or where that comes from, I think that might be helpful. Also, obviously, I’m like working as hard as I can to work on some of that anxiety to learn how to parent more responsibly, more lovingly, to provide my kid with what I did not have. And there’s a lot of different ways that I’m doing that a lot of it is relying on community, I think that’s really important. Yeah, relying on friends and my therapist and my husband’s family to be like, alright, everybody, you’re all going to be watching, okay? You’re all going to be watching and making sure this kid is gonna be safe. Okay?
Claire Bidwell-Smith 22:31
I love that. And that’s not what happened for you.
Stephanie Foo 22:34
Yeah, my parents tried to hide all of the drama that was happening in our house. And I’m just like, I’m opening the doors. You guys, please give me feedback.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 22:43
I love that. And that is that’s it. That’s how we shift generational trauma, right. That’s how we make these changes. I don’t think we can fully erase it, erase what’s coming down through our DNA, in our bloodstream. But I think that we can make these big changes culturally, familiarly. And we have to in order to make those shifts and I think the previous generations really weren’t taught as much as we have been about social emotional intelligence and learning and how to treat ourselves and value mental health. And that’s something that is changing and does give me a lot of hope. But I think it does require the diligence that you’re talking about.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 23:50
What has been the response to putting the book out there?
Stephanie Foo 23:54
It’s been awesome. I mean, like I said, I wrote this book because I wanted there to be something that you could read, get all the information and have hope. Just like primarily see yourself in somebody else’s story and have hope. And it’s done its job. You know, I get messages, I can probably a dozen messages a day, I get a bunch of good read and like good reads every single day of trauma survivors, survivors are my core audience, all saying like, thank you. This helped. I have hope. This inspired me go back to therapy. This inspired me to go back to school. This inspired me to, like have a conversation with sister who I haven’t talked to in 10 years. And it went better than any conversation we’ve ever had. And I had just gotten diagnosed from complex PTSD a week ago, and I picked up this book, and I feel like I’m gonna be okay. You know, like, that’s, yeah, that’s the primary.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 24:56
That’s amazing. What about your family? How’s your family really reacted to it, both your married family and your primary family?
Stephanie Foo 25:05
My married family has been incredibly supportive. They are the best. They’re great. I love them so much. And that’s the opinion that matters to me.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 25:16
Yeah. For someone out there who like you said, like this reader who just got diagnosed last week, where does someone start? If they’re just maybe they’re just wondering if they might have complex PTSD based on something they’ve read or heard about? Or they have just received a diagnosis? What would you recommend to someone like that?
Stephanie Foo 25:37
I would say, look for a trauma therapist, like really trying to make sure that you find that therapist who specializes in trauma, and who recognizes that Complex PTSD is real, because their approach will be different. I will say that the kind of therapy that I practiced with Dr. […] was called rupture repair. And I thought that was really, really helpful. So if that’s something you want to look for, you can ask therapists, if they’re familiar with it, and if they’d be down to try it with you. The first step to healing that was a critical step for me, was getting some grasp on mindfulness. I did that through restorative yoga. There’s a bunch of different ways to do it, like mindfulness classes, whatever. In person classes were really helpful for me, and learning various mindfulness strategies, there’s a million different things you can try in terms of like walking, or eating, or counting colors, or whatever, putting ice in your mouth, putting wasabi in your mouth, try it all, see what works for you. What gets your brain back online? What gets you in the moment? What gives you in your body when you’re having a freakout? So then you can start doing some of the work of figuring out what do I need? Why is this happening? What’s going on? And then just, I guess, understanding that, like, healing from complex PTSD requires a tremendous amount of introspection, and realizing like, oh, this is why I do the things I do. And I would just encourage you to try and approach that with curiosity, instead of judgment. Because you will definitely come across stuff where you’re like, Oh, I’m such a broken person. I’m such a jerk, I do this terrible thing. And I would say, again, it’s not your fault. Your body is trying to keep you alive. And like, approach that with a curiosity and being like, hmm, why is this and how can I change it? Rather than like, I’m the worst person in the world?
Claire Bidwell-Smith 27:42
Don’t you think that curiosity requires some level of self-compassion just to even get to the point where you’re curious rather than judgmental?
Stephanie Foo 27:49
Yes, it does. But I think you can build self-compassion through curiosity. I don’t know what comes first. It was hard for me to know what self-compassion look like for a long time.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 28:03
Yeah, that was something I struggled with for a long time in my life, too. And it did actually work for me a bit to kind of fake it till I made it, you know that phrase where, like, if I could approach something with self-compassion, even if I wasn’t totally feeling it, I was able to do something through the lens of having self-compassion, then I could cultivate the self-compassion later if that made sense.
Stephanie Foo 28:27
Totally. Yeah. Yeah. I did this just the other day, like I was working on another story. And like, going through all my edits on it, and I totally blanked out on this interview, and I blew it. And then, obviously, I did not feel great about myself about it. And I was just like, oh, I’m an idiot. And then I just told myself over and over, even though I didn’t believe it, I was like, you’re not an idiot. And it’s okay to mess up. And it’s okay to mess up. And I was like, I don’t believe that. It’s okay to mess up. I’m just gonna say it over and over until it sinks in. And then it’s okay.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 29:00
Exactly. It does work. It’s like, I think that fake it till you make it kind of thing. And you’re definitely not an idiot. I was. I was happy that you were in a writing hole. That’s good. And also, I got to finish your book. So it all worked out. What are you working on next? What kind of writing Hall were you in?
Stephanie Foo 29:16
I think I was working on a story for The Atlantic. Yeah, it was working on my Atlantic story about Nick Armani and about discovering that racial trauma is very, very real and can affect our brains. And I’m also working on a story for Invisibilia, about culturally responsive therapy. Really, it’s about a Cambodian refugee therapist, treating his own community in San Jose, who broke all the therapy rolls, did all the things he wasn’t supposed to do. And it was the only way that he could heal, like literally hundreds of people in his community.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 29:52
Wow, I can’t wait to read that.
Stephanie Foo 29:54
Yeah, I’m really excited for it.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 29:57
You did some diving into research around on the Asian American culture where you grew up in San Jose, and in the school systems, can you talk a little bit about what you found there?
Stephanie Foo 30:07
Yeah, I had this memory of me very much not being alone and experiencing a lot of abuse in San Jose and knew many people who were being abused. And then as I got older and started to question my sanity more, I was like, was I self-selecting, was I only hanging around the few traumatized kids, whatever what was happening. And then I went back, and I interviewed a bunch of the teachers in San Jose. And they were like, no, there’s no trauma here. You guys are good Asian kids. Like, you guys get perfect grades, and you go on to become radiologists. And I was like, well, that maybe that’s true. I don’t know. And then I started talking to the actual like, guidance counselors, therapists, kids, they were like, no, it’s endemic. And the model minority myth is essentially what prevented anybody from being seen or getting help that they needed.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 31:04
Ah, it’s just heartbreaking. What needs to change with the teachers being able to see this more and be, you went to one school was it in New York that you visited this one school? That just sounded incredible.
Stephanie Foo 31:19
In the Bronx? Yeah. Mott Haven.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 31:23
And like the differences between what was happening in your school system, as opposed to what was happening in the school that you visited in the Bronx? Were really drastic. Can you explain those a little bit?
Stephanie Foo 31:35
Going to Mott Haven, they put happiness in front of academic success. They put teaching people how to love and be loved.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 31:47
And these were foster kids, right?
Stephanie Foo 31:49
I mean, the most of the kids at the school are foster kids. And so I think that’s, that changes how you are treating a population, I think, inherently, these teachers knew that these kids are going through tremendous trauma at home. And each of the kids, all the kids went to therapy. Also, every single kid at that school went to therapy. So it’s like completely de-stigmatized. It’s just a part of the day like, okay, go to therapy now, you know, yeah. At our school, it was all about grades, it was all about getting into Stanford or UC Berkeley.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 32:23
No matter what was going on behind closed doors to get you there.
Stephanie Foo 32:27
The teachers didn’t see it, they didn’t consider they saw like a kid, they might see a kid acting out here and there. Or they might see a kid who was, you know, suicidal, because she couldn’t write a good enough essay. And they just thought, wow, she’s ambitious. If I saw a kid who was suicidal, because she couldn’t write a good enough essay, I would ask what is going on at home? What is she believing about herself about her value? What she’s worth? If she thinks that this essay is the only thing that defines her and gives her value? You know, what has she been taught about her value? And who’s looking out for her? I think a lot of teachers are really afraid to like get involved, because they’re like, oh, I don’t know, this is counselors issue or I don’t want to cause trouble. I don’t want the kids to get mad at me if I report the parents. And to that, I would just say your fundamental role as a teacher is to keep your children safe, above all, and if they’re being abused at home, or if they believe that these things about themselves, even if they’re on their way to Stanford, they’re not safe.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 33:34
Stephanie, I’m so grateful to you for the work that you’re doing. I mean, this is, it’s so profound, I can’t believe that you went on such a harrowing personal journey, and then such a tenacious healing journey.
Stephanie Foo 33:48
It’s not done.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 33:49
I know, it’s not over. It’s not over for any of us. But, you, you know, you’ve really persisted, and you’ve done so in a way that you’re helping so many other people, and you’re changing the landscape around what we know about complex PTSD and what we know about therapy. And as a therapist, and as, you know, my own fucked up self, I’m really grateful to you just for the work that you’re doing. And in putting all of this out there.
Stephanie Foo 34:16
I’m so grateful to therapists, and especially therapists who are sort of more culturally fluid and who want to break rules. Those are my favorite kinds of therapists. And obviously, spreading the gospel about mental health. All of this has helped, is like helps de-stigmatize it enough for people to actually get the help. That’s the first critical step.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 34:37
Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for laying this groundwork. I really appreciate it.
Stephanie Foo 34:43
Awesome. Well, thank you, and thank you for having me.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 34:52
Wow, I really hope Stephanie makes that podcast about her sessions with Dr. […]. I would absolutely love to listen to that. And I will definitely be on the lookout for her Atlantic story on Dr. Negar Fani’s work and her Invisibilia piece on culturally responsive therapy. As she and I talked about, I think too many people in the mental health world are stuck in these old methods of how things were taught to them. And as a result, too many people are left without access to life saving treatment. I’m grateful to Stephanie for shedding extra light on the importance of mental health care for absolutely everyone. Thank you for listening to new day. I hope you’re loving the extended version of the show now available three times a week. If you haven’t yet, make sure you subscribe to NEW DAY on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. Before I go, I want to tell you about OhmConnect. This summer is expected to be hotter than years past and 50% of your home energy cost comes from heating and cooling, which could make it the most expensive summer for electricity ever. In addition, costs for electricity generation are going up because of infrastructure costs passed on to the consumer, as well as higher natural gas prices due to the war in Ukraine. All of that adds up to the potential for electric bills that are twice what you’re used to paying, which could put a real dent in the family budget. So I want to introduce you to a new program that can help lower your electric bill. It’s called OhmConnect. Did you know electricity is more expensive depending on when you use it. electricity rates can more than double from 4pm to 9pm on weekdays compared to earlier in the day or on the weekend. That’s because demand for electricity surges when people get home from work and start using their high energy appliances at exactly the time when renewable resources like solar energy become less available. To keep up, utility companies turn on inefficient power plants that pollute the air, OhmConnect is a way to lower your electric bill while keeping dirty power plants from turning on, OhmConnect will send you a notification when electricity is most expensive. During these energy saving events, you reduce usage so you don’t pay the extra cost. Instead of doing your laundry. When it costs twice as much, you’re better off doing it on the weekend or during the day. During these energy saving events OhmConnect will pay you for the energy you don’t use. That’s because utility companies would rather pay to reduce the demand then fire up those inefficient power plants that cost more money to operate. Not only do you save yourself from paying double for electricity, but you also get paid for the energy you save, good for your wallet and the planet. It’s a win win. You can take your payment as cash via PayPal or as gift cards from brands you love like Starbucks, Amazon, Home Depot and more. You’ll also be able to enter to win fun prizes like a family trip to Disneyland or $5,000 cash. And this summer, OhmConnect is giving away $100 Every single day. use devices like a smart thermostat or smart plugs to save energy automatically. The more devices you link to your account, the more you save and earn, there’s no cost and no risk. Just go to OhmConnect.com, to sign up and connect your utility account. It only takes two minutes. Your information is protected and only use to measure your electricity reductions. You can receive energy saving alerts via email or text message. Make sure your family is on board so you can all save energy together. You don’t have to own a home, it’s available to renters too, OhmConnect users save 10% or more on their electricity usage. Um Kinect has an exclusive offer for listeners of this podcast. They will give you $25 just for signing up and connecting your utility. You’ll also have the chance to get a smart thermostat for free or at a deep discount to help you save energy after you join. This is a limited time offer so act now. Go to ohmconnect.com/podcast. Don’t get hit with high electric bills this summer. Protect your family budget from surprise bills. Use OhmConnect to save energy and money and get your $25 signup bonus for listening to this podcast.
NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Erianna Jiles. Kat Yore is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our VP of weekly content is Steve Nelson. And our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me, Claire Bidwell Smith. NEW DAY is produced in partnership with the Well Being Trust, The Jed Foundation and Education Development Center. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, or find me at clairebidwellsmith.com. Join our Facebook group to connect with me and fellow NEW DAY listeners at facebook.com/groups/newdaypod. You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Thanks for listening. See you next week.