Natalie interviews personal development gurus and inspiring people from all over the globe on her super popular online show!

Episode # 496   Digene Farrar - Healing From Trauma and Abuse

About The Episode:

On this heartfelt episode of The Inspiration Show, my special guest, and trauma survivor, Digene Farrar, shares her personal journey of trauma, recovery, and survival. During the show, she digs deep into her experience as a 9/11 survivor, and how this event brought to surface another event from her past; her sexual abuse as a child. This episode is dedicated to anyone who’s looking to turn their pain into strength.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

Episode # 496 Digene Farrar - Healing From Trauma and Abuse

NL: Well, good morning everyone. Hello and welcome to the Inspiration Show. My name is Natalie Ledwell and it is my pleasure to bring you an amazing guest again today for our show. But before I introduce my guest, I just want to remind you that if you are watching this show live on Facebook, don't forget to click the link after the show is over so you can take my 30-second quiz so we can figure out what is holding you back from success and to help clear that for you. So please help me in welcoming my special guest, Digene Farrar. How are you Digene?

 

DF: Fine, thank you.

 

NL: Today we're going to be talking about Digene’s new book, “Not My Secret to Keep”. It's a very interesting story. I was just saying to you before, I was going over the series of events that got you to writing this book and really helping heal women from traumatic experiences from early childhood. So, what we might do is just start a little bit with your background and your story because there is nursing in there and modeling, and there's a whole bunch of things going on. So just a little bit about your story and what that led up to writing the book...

 

DF: Okay, so as she mentioned, as Natalie mentioned, I'm a registered nurse and I had won a contest for “Women over 40” to go to New York to model with a big agency there, Wilhelmina models. I arrived in New York on September 4th, 2000 and I was there exactly a week later when 9-11 hit. I was staying in the models apartment about two blocks from the World Trade Center. As a nurse, I actually ran toward the towers to help thinking it was just a horrible accident. I arrived the same time firefighters and police officers arrived. I let them know I was a nurse and was willing to help in any way that I could. Unfortunately, I was there when the second plane hit and ended up running for my life along with everyone else. The aftermath of that, dealing with the post-traumatic stress from that day, brought up the other post- traumatic stress I had dealt with in my childhood, that of child sexual abuse. They both collided and knocked me literally to my feet... To the floor. I then went on this journey for the next seven, eight years of doing intensive therapy. Yes, dealing with post-traumatic stress, dealing with my history of child sex abuse. Going into that, as a registered nurse, knowing how much I didn't know and thinking what are people doing that don't have the gift that I was given of the therapy that was specifically for trauma. I thought the only way to make sense out of all of this that I've been through in my life, at that point, was to give back and try and bring in my nursing experience with my life experience and give that as a gift to someone that doesn't have the ability to get the trauma- specific therapy that I had. I basically wrote the book that I thought would be helpful for me in moving through the healing process. Does that makes sense?

 

NL: Yeah, writing is one of the most cathartic things we can do, which is why here in Mind Movies we often will recommend that people journal. Or, even writing a book, just to write the book and get it out, to get it on paper and acknowledge it and see it, and be able to look at it …. Like, get it out from going around in circles onto paper is really, really helpful.  I don't for one minute profess to be able to understand, or even able to know, what it might be like having those two major events colliding and how disabling that would have been. What was the first step? How are you able to pick yourself up the floor and at least take the first step?

 

DF: Right. It’s interesting that that's the question that you asked because it makes me think back…I basically ended up homeless in New York. So, aside from being thrown just into this world of chaos, I first had to find somewhere to stay and then figure out how to get back home to Seattle, Washington. Planes weren't flying and so I had met someone the day before that had a place that I could stay for a couple of days. I write about, through the book, just trying to take care of those hierarchy of needs- in getting a roof over my head, getting food. I would say once I made it back to Seattle where my husband resides, he had remained in Seattle, it was my friends that were like, “What's going on? You're not the same”. I had pulled back from people and that just internal thing, just trying to figure it out. I'm quite a private person even though I wrote about all of this in my book. But, I think with the help of friends, it helped me realized how disconnected I really was. I was disconnecting from my husband, couldn't get out of bed in the morning. and there was a PSA that went out with Harborview, which is our main hospital here in Seattle, saying if there were any people that were affected by 9-11 with lots of family members, they were offering a trauma therapy at Harborview center for sexual assault and traumatic stress. “Oh, did they say sexual assault and traumatic stress?” A light bulb went on. I called... And that started that healing process there. In the end, I actually ended up moving back to New York because I felt too disconnected here in Seattle and I wanted to speak with therapists and work with therapists in New York that had gone through the same thing that I had gone through. I went back to New York and did a lot of my trauma therapy there as well.

 

NL: So, is there a system or a structure that people can follow to help get them on that healing process?

DF: A structure or flow…  Well, for everyone it is so different. There are so many different therapies even. I would say that you have to read, you have to research, you have to connect, you have to interview with different therapists, talk about different modalities, and see which feels comfortable for you at your core. I think that's the first start.

 

NL: Yeah.

 

DF: For some it's group therapy, for some it’s individual.

 

NL: Yes, I agree. I don't believe that there's one fix for everything. What's really interesting is I heard not long ago that most people, most adults, suffer from some form of PTSD to some particular degree. If you've been in a severe car accident, if you have gone through an awful divorce… There are so many different things aside from child abuse and other things that we know of. We all to some degree have some kind of PTSD and have some kind of coping mechanism, or coping behaviors or patterns, that help us to cope with it.

 

DF: Yes.

 

NL: So, who are the readers that you think would benefit from your book and what are you hoping that they can actually get from reading the book?

 

DF: In terms of those that could benefit… Of course, survivors, as well as their loved ones. I do a part in my book, bless my husband's heart, I wrote a lot about our relationship and the difficulties that we experienced. I used him as the example so that others’ partners would be able to be supportive of them. I think it's good and I've heard from therapists and psychiatrists that the book has been helpful for them in seeing what the client leaves their office with, and how they cope so that they can better support them through it. I sort of tried to cover every base, but mostly for the survivor, their families and those that work with survivors.

 

NL: Yeah, I think it's such a needed message and something that is so important. So, tell us about what your life looks like now, Digene?

 

DF: I think my life is pretty good now. I actually just finished a play telling adult survivors of child sex abuse, “step into the light”. We just brought that into Seattle; it was our tenth performance. We travel throughout the Northwest and we partner with organizations that do the healing work and advocacy work in each city. We just wrapped that up two weeks ago and so we will rest up and get ready to do another one down in Eugene, Oregon in the future. But, life looks pretty good. Some highs and lows in there, but I would say the difference now is that I've got my little toolbox to pull upon when needed.

 

NL: Yeah. I was going to say: I'm assuming that you go through a whole lot of different modalities in the book?

 

DF: Yes.

 

NL: So, what's something that personally works for you that you find is really helpful?

 

DF: What helped me… I guess a lot of survivors are really good at disconnecting. What helped me was working with the therapist that was able to point out to me those areas and help me work back through it. For me, it was exposure therapy. Day in and day out we would just go through things and talk about them and revisit them until I was able to sit with them- until I was able to feel comfortable with them. So, that is what worked for me and I'm a tough cookie. You got an RN that worked cardiovascular intensive surgery and I'm like, “I got this. I know this. I know that”. You just really need someone that challenges you, so when you're feeling challenged that's when you know it's good.

 

NL: Yeah... So what I’m hearing you saying is, regardless of what modality or what therapy it is you're looking for, is that you really need to get support.

 

DF: Yes- be it with a group of friends, but you know.. Support is key. Be it your partner, your friends… I just can't say that enough. Support, support, support.

 

NL: Yeah, absolutely. So your story is massive within itself, but is there anyone that you've connected with through the play that you've done, or the book, that's really made an impact on you?  Has there been anyone that's been able to move past or been able to heal themselves...to move on to a fulfilling life?

 

DF: I'm not sure. I think I understood what you were asking me. For me, it is when we finish the play. At the end of each play, we do a Q&A. When you have survivors stand up and thank you and say how you sharing your story has made a difference with them, that is priceless and it doesn't get any better than that. For me personally, I think we all struggle to make sense of the various highs and lows in our life and it's just great. I can move forward. I feel like my job is done there. To have that feeling out of something that was so messy for so many years… It is my priceless peak moment.

 

NL: And that’s the thing. Sadly, if you are surviving from some kind of childhood trauma like this, you're not alone. But gratefully, you're not alone.

 

DF: Yes, isn't that the truth? You're not alone, but gratefully you're not alone.

 

NL: Yeah, exactly. So, Digene, thank you so much for joining me today. I mean this is such an important message.

DF: No, thank you.

 

NL: If people want to connect with you and get the hands on the book, where could we send them to do that?

 

DF: Okay. So the book is available on amazon.com. Www.digenefarrar.com. I think something will come up for your viewers and the book is ordered via my website, or on amazon.com.

 

NL: Wonderful. Well, thanks again, Digene. It has been such a pleasure talking to you.

 

DF: Thank you, Natalie.

 

NL: Awesome. So, guys, thank you for joining us today. Don't forget if you're watching this show live on Facebook, or later on our own YouTube channel, don't forget to click the link below the video so that you can do your 30-second quiz to figure out what's blocking you from success. Don't forget to click on the banner here so you can go to Digene’s website and get your hands on the book. If you're watching this on Mindmovies.com, don't forget to leave your email so we can send you the Manifesting with the Masters video e-course for free. So until next time...Remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We'll see you soon.

 
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