In this episode, I’m joined by author Tom Leveen. Tom joins me to share his story of how he’s been able to release fears that developed after experiencing trauma growing up despite still continuing to struggle with some of the after effects of that trauma.
Click the play button below to check it out!
Growing up, Tom was the youngest of seven kids but grew up essentially an only child with ten years between him and his next oldest sibling. Tom's parents were outwardly "good" people; supportive and encouraging of Tom's burgeoning creativity but there was a code of silence about his home life. Tom experienced physical and emotional abuse and felt that his abuse was normal.
At 19, Tom and his friends were unexpectedly jumped by another group of guys and they were unable to defend themselves. Tom initially felt it was not “that big of a deal”, until six months later there was another non-physical run-in with a different group of guys. Upon arriving at home, Tom suffered his first panic attack and what ensued was he not being able to leave the house for about five years, affecting many of his friendships and relationships.
Effects of the traumatic experience:
Tom has had severe anger issues throughout life. About four or five years ago, Tom was diagnosed with depression which he learned was the stimulus for the anger. His panic attacks and anxiety caused Tom to struggle with leaving his home. Tom felt worthless and continued the abuse by abusing himself through self-harm and running highly negative tapes in his head.
Overcoming the traumatic experience:
Tom's first step outside of his comfort zone was at a friend's insistence that Tom accompany him to a nightclub. After making it through that experience, Tom tiptoed into the world and strived to do more each week than the week before.
Tom worked hard to stop comparing himself to other people as he slowly worked toward his own healing, and he celebrates each small triumph every day. Tom stays active in the outdoors as a continuing means of healing and feels strongly that if it's good for your body, then it’s good for your mind.
He bathes in the love and support of his wife and family. Tom wishes everyone on the planet had the kind of support he receives from his in-laws.
What Tom does today: Tom is an author of young adult novels.
Given what you now know, if you could go back to when you were going through the tough times and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Tom's Answer: To quote the author Rob Bell, “You don’t have to live like this.”
Take Back Your Power: Owning and Releasing Trauma and Fear - Tom's post on Tiny Buddha
Tom on Social Media
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