More Than You See 3.1: Mental Health and Relationships
10:41PM Nov 8, 2021
Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me for another episode and another season of the More Than You See podcast hosted by me, actor, filmmaker mental health advocate Deborah Lee Smith. Every Monday, at least for the next couple months, I'm going to come to you and share some resources, have a conversation, and generally just dive into all sorts of topics around mental health. I am not a licensed practitioner or therapist, but just a woman exploring my own mental health journey, and sharing it with you, my listeners. My hope is that this podcast brings you some joy, some understanding, and some tools so that you can build your own mental health toolbox.
Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me again. And welcome back to season three, episode one of the podcast. Now, if you are a longtime listener, welcome. I am so glad to have you back. And you'll see that this season, we're going to do things a little bit differently than we even did last season. For all of our new people, welcome back. Season One, I really dove into all sorts of very individual topics around mental health, I strongly encourage you to go check those out. We talked about COVID. We talked about the impact of quarantine, we talked about anxiety, generational trauma, all sorts of different and interesting things. And then season two was all interviews with creative people like myself, where we dove into their own interaction and experience with mental health because I think that it is so so important for us creative people to be very open and honest about our mental health journeys. Because yes, we experience all sorts of difficult mental health trauma just the way that everyone else does. And I think that sometimes there is that disconnect between people that we see on screen or see on TV, or we see them in whatever space and we think that they don't experience the same sort of trauma that everyone else does. And my goal is really to pull back that curtain and show that we're all experiencing life. Such a myriad of ways, but it all impacts us.
Now let's fast forward to today, November 8, which is the start of the third season of the podcast. Now, I have been debating about when I was going to start the season for quite some time. I've had a lot of people reach out and say how much they've missed the podcast. And I'm just like, so honored to hear that from you all. But I've also heard a real need for this More Than You See community, especially as we're going into the holidays.
I know that even though we are in a much better place. It's objectively as far as as COVID, and travel and all that kind of stuff, it's still going to be a different holiday then maybe what we experienced a few years ago. And you know, life is continuing to go on. So we've had the loss of people, we've had relationships get together, we've had relationships fall apart, we've had so many different things that of course impact our day to day life. And so I really wanted to make sure that I was here to stand beside you throughout this holiday season, which is what we are going to do.
Now the reason I wanted to start the season today is that November 8 is actually my ex- wedding anniversary. In case you were not aware, I used to be married. In the first episode of the podcast, I talk about how much the breakup of that relationship and that life of mine falling apart, impacted my mental health in such a huge way. I would not have created More Than You See if I hadn't gone through that breakup. And there's many other aspects of my life that would not be the way that they are today if I hadn't gone through that really dark and difficult time in my life. But it's led me to who I am today and where I am today. And I had several people share that they really wanted me to dive into relationships again, especially because we're going into the holidays and that - these relationships - it doesn't have to be a romantic partnership. It can also just be the relationships that we have with our families, the relationships that we have with our friends and how all of those things change throughout our lives. And I just felt like today was the perfect day to kick off this episode, because I know that my divorce impacted my life in a huge way, and I wanted to talk about that and be very open about that.
I have, for various reasons not necessarily talked as openly as I'm about to about my divorce. And I hope that you listening will get something encouraging, comforting and learn something maybe about yourself and certainly about me through this episode. So thank you again for being here today. And I'm going to share the top three things that I learned from my divorce on the anniversary of my ex-marriage.
Now, the first thing that I learned throughout my separation and the depression that followed that separation was that pain and growth certainly go hand in hand, I'm sure that you've heard before this idea that you know, a caterpillar has to turn into a complete mush inside its little chrysalis before it can become a butterfly. There's all sorts of different analogies in different cultures around the world that focus on this idea that, you know, pain and growth go hand in hand. But I think the thing that I learned that even further than that, is actually the importance of sitting in the pain, and the importance of, you know, again, like feeling your feelings in order to actually experience that growth. I know that I've had other relationships break up before where I haven't necessarily given myself the proper time to grieve and to sit in the uncomfortableness of what I have been going through and what I've been processing, and then I seem to repeat those patterns in the future, because I didn't learn enough from those past painful experiences.
I know that oftentimes, when you're going through something difficult, you know, friends and family will always say, you know, like, "you'll get through this and then at the end of this, you'll become so much stronger, and you'll learn so much, and all of these things." And I know that so often those flippant remarks can seem unhelpful. But I do have to say that if you haven't experienced this kind of emotional relationship trauma before, there really is some truth to that. But again, I think the most important thing is, is really just sitting in it and acknowledging that being human means going through painful shit, it really does. And I know that from my experience, I'm going to get emotional, from my experience, going through that separation, as well as other relationships that have fallen apart, that I'm so proud of myself for the amount of struggle that I can get through.
And this isn't to say that we should revel in the pain, I think that it really is just the importance of acknowledging our strength behind sitting in that pain. This idea of like, our muscles get stronger through stress and through you know, like you, you get stronger as you lift weights and all that kind of stuff. The same thing happens when it comes to emotions. And I know that I am able to love deeper and greater because of my pain in difficult relationships that I've gone through. And the way that I show up in the world is just going to continue to become deeper and more rich because I really am willing to experience love and also not run away from difficult emotions. So to wrap that, rambling up the first thing that I learned and the most important thing for me is just how freakin strong I am and how much my strength has grown through my difficult times. And I hope that this is something that resonates with you and something that you have experienced as well.
The second thing that I've learned is that sometimes people are in our life for a reason or a season, they like to say, and not necessarily for your entire life. I know that my ex- husband is a wonderful person, we're still on very good terms, but he really served a very specific purpose in my life. And we no longer have the same purpose. And that was one of the things that led to us separating. And that's okay, I think that sometimes these people show up in our lives. And again, this could be friends, this could be family, this could be relationships, this could be so many different things. But sometimes people or jobs or opportunities, or whatever they show up in order for you to learn something about yourself, about the world, about others, and then they might leave your life. I think the caveat to that. And the difficult trap that we sometimes get into is this idea that people are in our lives for, for a season, and yet we end up forcing them to be in our lives forever, because we don't want to disrupt the boat or we become so comfortable in the known. And change is really freakin hard and really scary. And sometimes we decide to stick with things that are comfortable, because it's easier. And I'm not saying that that's not that - that's a choice. It's a personal choice. I guess the only thing that I can really say from my own experience is that even though I loved my ex-husband greatly, and I think that he's a marvelous person. I really know, having been now three years past that separation, that he was he was in my life for a specific purpose. And he served that purpose. He gave me many amazing things. We never had children together. But we we built a business together, we had a lot of like really incredible gifts that we gave each other in our lives. And then it was time for that relationship to end. And at this point in my life, I am grateful to have had that, and grateful that I can now move on to a new season of my life.
And the third and perhaps the most important thing that I learned about getting divorced and something that I think is again, so so important, especially as we go into this holiday season, is the importance of being alone. And the importance of being okay, with being alone. Now, I have to tell you that that is something that I struggled with for a very long time and made me very, very uncomfortable. I love people. I love being surrounded by people. I love filling my days with others and making them happy and, and absorbing their energy to make me happy. It's just my favorite thing. But throughout my separation, I really learned how to, again, sit with my feelings and be okay, being by myself. And I don't think that I would have ever had that full realization and been able to be so comfortable with being by myself if I hadn't gone through this really difficult time. So I really am just so grateful that I had that experience of, you know, kind of being isolated in some capacity. Because when you go through a breakup, it can be so isolating, because you feel like no one else is understanding how you're feeling, that no one else can can sympathize or fully understand. And sometimes it feels like you're just on an island.
Now coming into the holidays, if you're planning on being by yourself, if that's something that serves you and lights you up and it's something that you're excited about, amazing. But it's also equally okay if you are coming into the holidays and going "shoot, I don't want to be by myself". And it's okay to reach out to people and see if you can find some connection to your chosen family outside of your normal community because it's okay to be alone. It's also okay to acknowledge that you don't want to be alone and that you want to find someone or something to help you feel seen, and loved, and celebrated during this holiday holiday season and just during the year.
My main takeaways with all of these three things, and the thing that I just want to leave you with today, is this idea that all of our experiences, all of our struggles, all of our interactions with ourselves and with others, and how other people show up in our lives, and what we learn about ourselves and all of those things - it's all evolving. It's all changing as we as we grow. And I think that the most important thing is to acknowledge these really difficult traumatic events in our lives, and learn from them. I know, I certainly have things that I'm continuing to work on all the time. But I want to really, you know, focus on this idea that this divorce, and you know, my marriage and my separation and all of those things, while it was so incredibly difficult and incredibly painful at the time, I learned so much about myself and about relationships and about the world. And I'm so grateful for that experience. I am.
I hope that if you are going through something right now, that's extremely painful, that this is just a little reminder that there is, you know, light on the other side of this. And, you know, I certainly, I certainly know that that's not always easy to acknowledge. But sometimes it's just important to hold on to that. And I'm here to remind you, that you and other people around you may also be struggling, because we're all more than you see. And that's okay. It's okay for us to have layers, that that is what makes us so beautiful, and so human. And I'm just so proud of you for showing up today and listening to this little podcast. I appreciate you so much for being here with me and for just honoring this aspect of my life with me. So thank you for that.
As I hinted out in the beginning, we're going to do things a little bit different this season. Today's episode is the start of a little three part series around relationships and around love. We are going to be diving more into this idea of family, and what you can do if you are having conflict in your family as we come into the holiday season and how that impacts our mental health. And then we're also going to talk about grief and loss. Because I've had several people who have reached out to discuss that they have lost family members from COVID, or from other different things over the past couple years. And they're finding it really difficult and really struggling with that right now.
The next two episodes are going to be about, you know how we can interact with our loved ones who are still with us, whether that causes us happiness or conflict. And then we're going to discuss what to do when we have grief in our life. And, and we are missing some aspect of our life in some capacity.
I am going to be posting all sorts of resources on the Instagram. So please make sure that you check that out. The link is in the show notes. If you are so inclined, I would be so honored if you wanted to share this podcast this episode with someone that you think might resonate with this. You can send me a voice message over on anchor the instructions for that are also in the show notes. You can also sign up for the newsletter that's also in the show notes. There's so many things in the show notes that shows all of the different ways that you can connect with me.
Again, this is your reminder for the week, that no matter what you're going through, no matter if you're struggling or you're happy or you're somewhere in between that you and everyone around you is More Than You See. Thank you so much for listening, and I will see you next week.