Interview with Nina Bingham, Author of Once the Storm Is Over

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. ~ C.S. Lewis

Today I welcome Nina Bingham, author of Once the Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing After the Suicide of My Daughter. In addition to writing, Nina is a life coach and clinical hypnotherapist. Educating not only from academic knowledge, she shares from her own hard-won life experience in a new and profound way. In private practice since 2003, she has treated individuals and couples with a wide variety of mental health issues.

Nina graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her professional life and her book, which will be out in February 2015. Additionally, I review her memoir on this blog on January 22nd.

Join me in welcoming Nina to my blog and gathering for discussion and questions in the comment section below.

First, Nina, thank you for your willingness to share such a personal story with your readers and my followers. I appreciate it is not an easy topic to discuss yet you have written an amazing book and have answered my interview questions graciously.

Nina, would you share with my readers a bit about your professional background aside from your success as a writer?

There’s a long history of mental illness in my family. My paternal grandmother was institutionalized with Clinical Depression, and my father was an unmedicated Manic Depressive (what is now called Bipolar Disorder). He self-medicated with alcohol, and was abusive as a result. Because of my family’s history, I earned an AA in Psychology. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I developed Clinical Depression, and became suicidal myself. When I couldn’t function anymore, I began taking an anti-depressant and rebounded. I wanted to use my experience to help others, so I returned to college and earned a BA in Applied Psychology, and had completed my academic program for my MS Mental Health Counseling Degree when my 15-year-old daughter began a downhill slide into severe depression after the death of her father. The family curse went from me to her. 

As a mental healthcare professional assisting clients experiencing grief, how do you help them find their way through the devastation of something like suicide where guilt is also an emotional response?

I normalize the experience of guilt and self-blame for them, so they understand it is the most common emotion shared among suicide survivors. We all look back and see where we could have done better or intervened sooner, or said something we wished we had said, or regretted having said things. Only people who loved greatly feel remorse greatly. And while I will forever wish I had done things differently, as time passes I can see that I did love her and I did get her help, that I did the best I could and knew to do at the time. I assure clients who are grieving a suicide, and even those who have lost a loved one by any means, that survivor’s guilt is common, and can be a heavy weight. My advice is to not grieve silently. Get support by sharing your feelings, and finding supportive people. They may not fall in your lap–you may need to go out and look for a support group or a counselor to talk to. But nobody should shoulder the burden of grief alone.

You yourself have experienced the loss of a daughter through suicide. What confounded you the most about not being able to cope with the depth of that grief on your own?

Because I’d been trained to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and had intervened to prevent client suicides in the past, it was doubly hard for me to accept that I had been unable to save my own daughter. Because of this I felt incredible, overwhelming shame. Because of the guilt and self-condemnation, it made it that much harder for me to seek support. Eventually I did find my way to a Psychologist who was very helpful in encouraging self-forgiveness. But what I feel helped me the most was to journal about my feelings, and to talk it out with a friend. I came to realize that suicide happens to every kind of person, in every culture, and mental health professionals are not immune. Today I am not hiding behind the stigma of mental illness anymore, and encourage everyone who has a mental illness to get comfortable talking about it. The more we share our own stories of our challenges and how we are coping and living successfully with these issues, the less societal stigma there will be.

Your memoir, Once the Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing after the Suicide of My Daughter, chronicles the lessons you learned during your grief and healing. Could you share briefly about your own healing and how it came about over time?

Key to emotional healing are the words “over time.” You’ve heard the saying, time heals all wounds. That’s true, but only if you express your pain and grief. Keeping the pain of trauma and loss too close to our chest can kill our spirits and hope for the future. Only when we give ourselves permission to be human–to make mistakes, and to see failure as part of the human growth cycle will we accept that we are not perfect, and in fact we are coded for error; making mistakes is part of how we learn and grow. Healing happens when we are willing to externalize the grief by expressing it. Not pushing it away from us and denying it or avoiding it, but looking at it squarely, facing it and saying: I am not perfect, but I did the best I knew to do at the time, and because of that, I deserve a little grace. Healing comes when we allow ourselves to stop running from the pain and to feel our real feelings.

Lastly, talk to us about writing your book and if you can, share with us any launch details.

This book was unintentional, meaning I didn’t write with the intention of sharing my story. It was my Psychologist who suggested I journal about my feelings, and get the grief on paper. To my surprise, I found that although it was difficult seeing my life and problems on paper, it was also miraculously transformative. The more I wrote the more I wanted to write, because it was like a salve that I could apply to the wound any time I wanted. Writing about my feelings was the biggest healing factor for me, because it’s difficult to deny what you’re feeling and thinking when it’s coming straight out of your pen! Journaling was like holding up a mirror in which I could see myself clearly, and that clarity really helped put things into perspective. My journal became this book where readers will be taking this journey through grief with me.

Once The Storm Is Over publishes February 2015 and you can find it on the book website, www.oncethestormisover.com and on Amazon.

Again, Nina, thank you for sharing your words and thoughts with us today.

Learn More About Nina:

Nina Bingham, Cht, AA, BA

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, American Pacific University, HI

Associates of Arts in Psychology, Santa Rosa Junior College, CA

Bachelors of Arts in Applied Psychology, City University of Seattle, WA

Masters of Science of Mental Health Counseling Academic Program Completed-Capella University, MN

Nina Bingham is an Author, Life Coach, and Clinical Hypnotherapist. Inspiring, sincere and whole-hearted, she educates not only from her academic knowledge, but shares from her own hard-won life experience in a new and profound way. In private practice since 2003, she has treated individuals and couples with a wide variety of mental health issues. She is the author of 3 books of poetry and one recovery workbook, Never Enough. Her fifth book, “Once The Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing After The Suicide of My Daughter,” is due out in February 2015. It’s the autobiographical confession of a counselor who lost her teen daughter to suicide. What she learned about love and forgiveness changed her life forever. It will change yours, too.

Connect with Nina here:

createyourlife.nina@gmail.com

www.oncethestormisover.com

www.ninabingham.blogspot.com

www.amazon.com/author/ninabingham

www.twitter.com/liv_enlightened

www.linkedin.com/in/livingenlightened

My Recipe for Writing a Book by Guest Joan Rough

Joan Rough is an artist, poet, and writer of nonfiction.  Her poems have been published in a variety of journals, and are included in the anthology, Some Say Tomato, by Mariflo Stephens. Her first book, AUSTRALIAN LOCKER HOOKING: A New Approach to a Traditional Craft, was published in 1980. She is currently at work on her upcoming memoir, ME, MYSELF AND MOM, A Journey Through Love, Hate, and Healing.
You can follow Joan’s blog on her website at http://joanzrough.com and on these social media networks:
Twitter: https:// twitter.com/JoanZRough
Facebook:
Personal page: www.facebook.com/joanz.rough
Author page: www.facebook.com/JoanZRough.Author

Please join me in welcoming Joan!


Joan Rough, Author

I’m getting close to finishing up what I hope is one of the last of the revisions of my memoir, ME, MYSELF, AND MOM, A Journey Through Love, Hate, and Healing.  Some of the work on this project has been easy. Some of it has been very hard. The toughest part, for sure, was making myself sit down and revisit the memories and places that I wanted to hide away forever in a dark closet whose door I never unlocked.  But struggling with recovery from PTSD and a bout with endometrial cancer, I knew I needed to clean up my act if I was ever going to be ready to pass onto the next level of existence, feeling good about myself, and the legacy I hoped to leave behind.

I’d watched both of my parents die without making peace with themselves or with those around them.  They were difficult, painful deaths that I believe could have been less emotionally charged had they taken the time to examine the baggage they’d carried around with them all of their lives.

I did not want to leave this world the same way they did. I sat myself down and had a long talk with myself about what I did want.  On the list were things like peace, clarity, authenticity, and the crazy idea of writing a memoir about the most difficult period of my life. That last item arrived with clanging bells, shrill whistles, and choral music performed by an invisible choir of characters, along with approval from my remaining family members and friends who wanted to know my story.

Continue reading “My Recipe for Writing a Book by Guest Joan Rough”

In the Rubble by Anne Peterson, Guest

Today I have the pleasure and honor of welcoming Anne Peterson, author of Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival. Anne has graciously prepared a post recalling how she came to write Broken and what the process of that writing was like. As I prepared Anne’s post for publication, I was struck by many of her words and their combined power as an affirmation of the healing benefits found in writing.
Please join me in welcoming Anne!


Broken CoverI knew it would be hard. I just didn’t realize how hard.

When I started writing my memoir Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, all sorts of challenges met me head on. You don’t write painful events without reliving them. And in my case, it was a full length movie.

Loss is hard

Loss has been a recurring theme in my life. I was actually introduced to loss when I was a little girl. Our neighbor called out for her son. Into the street he ran after his ball. He just never came back. All night long his mother wailed through open windows on that summer night.

But that wasn’t the only loss. They would come one after the other for years upon years.

Why write a book about loss? It’s what I’ve known.

Experiences are great teachers

We are products of the experiences that make up our lives.

We don’t have control over many things that happen to us. But we do have control over how we respond to them.

I found as I continued to pour my life into the pages of my book, I found healing. It’s not the first time I had shared these stories. For years, I’ve shared them to various groups of people. Highlighting how God taught me about his character through my pain. And what was the benefit? Apart from pain, I would never know God’s comfort. Continue reading “In the Rubble by Anne Peterson, Guest”

Writing as a Pathway to Healing by Guest Kathy Pooler

Today my guest is Kathy Pooler, author of Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse. My review of Kathy’s memoir is hereAs part of her WOW! Women on Writing blog tour, Kathy shares her thoughts and beliefs about writing as a pathway to healing. Join us in the comment section to share your own thoughts about the relationship between writing and healing.

Welcome, Kathy!


 

I know from personal experience that writing has a healing effect.

From the age of eleven when I received a pink journal with a lock and key, I have written my way through my life challenges. Writing in my journal always makes me feel like I have a safe place to go to unload my concerns and fears. And when I do, I can make sense out of what I am feeling. It feels like my concerns take on a different shape once they land on the pages. Often times when I go back to read my entries over, I will see something I haven’t seen before—a new insight or idea that might help me understand myself a little better.

What I didn’t know when I started writing but have since found out is there is scientific evidence that what I experience intuitively has a tangible health benefits.

Dr. James Pennebaker (http://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/) is a noted psychotherapist who has studied the therapeutic effects of writing on health. Now a professor of psychology at the University of Texas and the author of Opening Up, he chronicled his own journey of healing from depression through writing.

Recent research suggests writing may even ease the symptoms of serious non-psychiatric diseases. For example, blood tests show that subjects have more robust immune systems several weeks after completing writing exercises. http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun02/writing.aspx  this link refers to all material through quote on next page.)

Another leading researcher in this field of writing to heal is Dr. Joshua Smyth of Syracuse University. He is quoted by Bridget Murray, in this article as saying:

There is emerging evidence that the key to writing’s effectiveness is in the way people use to interpret their experiences, right down to the words they choose. Venting emotions alone—whether through writing or talking –is not enough t relieve stress. To tap writing’s healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions.

In a landmark study which appeared in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 1999), involving 107 asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients, Dr. Smyth discovered that

70 patients in the stressful-writing group (wrote 20 minutes /day for three consecutive days) showed improvement on objective, clinical evaluation than the control group. He concluded that “writing helped patients get better and also kept them from getting worse.

Both Drs. Pennebaker and Smyth acknowledge that writing’s effectiveness in healing will be dependent upon several factors, including a person’s willingness to find meaning in the memory and integrate it into a healing process.

Writing’s power to heal lies not in the pen and paper, but in the mind of the writer.

The journals I wrote in throughout my trials became the seeds for my memoir. Writing my way through the painful memories helped me to get on the other side of them and find a new meaning for the part they played in shaping me into the person I am today.

But there were many days, I put my manuscript aside; walked away and came back to it when I felt strong enough to face my past mistakes. I’m not the same person I was back then and it was excruciating to re-visit those times when I could have, should have made different choices…

Eventually, with the support of mentors and fellow writers, I did find my way to the other side. I began to forgive the young woman in my story who made so many self-defeating choices that had led to untold heartache for not only her but her children. I shed the guilt and shame I had carried around for twenty-five years and started feeling compassion for her. She did the best she could. She acted in good faith, albeit naïvely.

Writing my memoir helped me find my pathway to healing. My greatest hope is that others who have struggled or are still struggling will find hope for their own healing on the pages of my story.

And, if and when I have the chance to talk with my readers, I will tell them that writing helped me to find my pathway to healing. It’s research-based.

Get to Know Kathy Pooler:

Kathleen (Kathy) Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28.2014 and work-in-progress sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments:  domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.

She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.

She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com

Twitter @kathypooler
https://twitter.com/KathyPooler

LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-pooler/16/a95/20a

Google+: Kathleen Pooler
https://plus.google.com/109860737182349547026/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4812560-kathleen-pooler

Facebook:
Personal page, Kathy Pooler : https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.pooler
Author page: Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey: https://www.facebook.com/memoirwritersjourney

Pinterest  (http://www.pinterest.com/krpooler/)

One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.

Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the  “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.

Take a Look at Her Memoir:

Ever Faithful to His Lead Cover Ever Faithful to His Lead Cover

Ever Faithful To His Lead : My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse is a memoir, a true life tears to triumph story of self-defeating detours and dreams lost and found.

A young woman who loses sight of the faith she has been brought up with attempts to find her way in the world, rejecting her stable roots in lieu of finding adventure and romance. Despite periods of spiritual renewal in which she receives a prophecy, she slides back, taking several self-defeating detours that take her through a series of heartbreaking events.

When Kathy’s second husband, Dan’s verbal abuse escalates, Kathy finally realizes she must move on before she and her children become a statistic.

How does a young woman who came from a stable, loving family make so many wise choices when it came to career, but so many wrong choices when it came to love, so that she ended up sacrificing career and having to flee in broad daylight with her children from an abusive marriage? What is getting in her way and why does she keep taking so many self-defeating detours?

The story opens up the day Kathy feels physically threatened for the first time in her three-year marriage to her second husband. This sends her on a journey to make sense of her life and discern what part she has played in the vulnerable circumstance she finds herself in.

She must make a decision–face her self-defeating patterns that have led to this situation and move on or repeat her mistakes. Her life and the lives of her two children are dependent upon the choices she makes and the chances she takes from this point forward.

Paperback: 242 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Open Books Press (July 22, 2014)
ASIN: B00M17OXYO

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Some of the links contained in this blog are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. It’s free for you, but I receive a portion of the sales, which funds go to support this blog. I only recommend products and services that we know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not.

The remainder of Kathy’s tour:

Monday, October 13 @ Women’s Writing Circle
Kathleen Pooler sits down with Susan Weidener for a friendly conversation about how Kathleen crowdfunded her memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://www.susanweidener.com/

Tuesday, October 14 @ Lauren Scharhag
Don’t miss Kathleen Pooler’s interview with Lauren Scharhag as these ladies discuss the hot topic of memoir. Find out more about Kathleen and her own Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://laurenscharhag.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 14 @ Vera’s Version
Join Kathleen Pooler as she guest blogs about “How Writing Memoir Helped Me Find Self-Forgiveness” at Vera’s Version and shares insight into her memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://verasversion.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 15 @ About Amish
Kathleen Pooler and her memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse makes a stop to visit Saloma Furlong at About Amish where you can read Saloma’s review and get in a giveaway for an opportunity to read Ever Faithful To His Lead for yourself!
http://salomafurlong.com/aboutamish/

Thursday, October 16 @ Lisa Haselton
Join Lisa Haselton as she interviews Kathleen Pooler and we all learn more about Kathleen’s memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 17 @ Jerry Waxler
Author, Friend, and Fellow Memoir Writer Jerry Waxler reviews Kathleen Pooler’s Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse  This is a blog stop you won’t want to miss!
http://www.jerrywaxler.com/

Monday, October 20 @ Romance Junkies
Join Kathleen Pooler as she stops at Romance Junkies for an insightful interview about herself and her memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/

Tuesday, October 21 @ Mary Gottschalk
Kathleen Pooler shares her latest project: Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse as she visits with friend and fellow author Mary Gottschalk and fittingly writes about “Girlfriends Matter”. This is a blog stop you won’t want to miss!
http://marycgottschalk.com/home/

Wednesday, October 22 @ CMash Reads
Join memoir writer Kathleen Pooler as she guest posts at CMash Reads. Kathleen will share her story of “Writing Through the Pain” and tell more about her popular memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse.
http://cmashlovestoread.com/

Thursday, October 23 @ Bring on Lemons
Hear what Crystal Otto has to say as she reviews Kathleen Pooler’s Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse  Don’t miss this blog stop as Kathleen Pooler has graciously provided a copy of her memoir for one lucky reader to win via a giveaway!
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/