Are you taking your mess and making it your message?
That is precisely what Lorilee Binstock from A Trauma Survivor Thriver’s Podcast does. She is a trauma survivor herself and has taken her story and message to her audience to help inspire others to thrive.
It is often said that when one person shares their story, they give permission to someone else listening to go second.
For help, resources, and community support, please join the Causepods Facebook Group if you are already producing podcasts for a cause or are thinking about launching one.
And if you would like to be a guest on Causepods, please fill out this form and schedule your chat here.
Hi and welcome to Cause I’m your host, Matthew Passi here because Bonds, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or they’re taking on global issues.
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All right, everyone, taking you down to the D.C. area and we were chatting with Lauralee Binstock. She’s the host and creator of a trauma Survivor Thrivers podcast. And this is all about providing a platform for people who have experienced trauma and are thriving as survivors. This is obviously going to get pretty deep and maybe somewhat troubling to folks. So I want you to take care of yourself as you listen. But what I think you’re going to hear is a lot of positivity, a lot of optimism, a lot of hope.
So, you know, I don’t want you to be scared off too easily. But Lauralee, thank you so much for joining us here on college sports today.
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. Without being too harsh or, you know, don’t want to tiptoe around the bushes too much.
Let’s talk first about your trauma that precedes the creation of the podcast in general, just so everybody understands what is going on, what you’ve gone through, and you know why this is your cause.
Something that just this February twenty twenty, I realized I for so many years I’ve dealt with, you know, depression, anxiety. I was also diagnosed bipolar. Come to find out this year, it wasn’t actually bipolar. It was trauma or PTSD from sexual abuse that happened when I was nine by my father. Back then, when I was nine, I didn’t think anything.
I just thought, OK, I needed to just go away and pretend it never happened. And I thought that everything would be OK. Unfortunately, you know, when I became a teenager, even 12, 13, I was just getting into a lot of trouble. I guess just you know, I was drinking at such a young age. I was smoking. I became hypersexual.
I felt like I was an all around bad person. And, you know, my parents thought I was just this bad person, this bad kid. And, you know, it led to self-harm. Suicidal ideations took me a while.
It took me almost over twenty years to realize that all of these different behaviors I was actually experiencing, it came down to PTSD.
So just this February, I attempted to take my own life.
I just it was really hard. It was my rock bottom. And I attempted to take my my life. But my husband, just by the grace of God, it didn’t work out. It failed, just like previous attempts before. And my husband said, we need to get you into residential treatment. So we went we looked at places and Sierra Tucson seemed like a great place, although I was skeptical. I’ve been to multiple therapists. So it was funny kind of driving in there.
And it’s and it was in Arizona, it said expect a miracle at the front.
And I was just like, what? What is this going to be about? Well, come to find out, I realized I was not bipolar and that it was trauma. And they actually did a lot of trauma, focus, work, a lot of holistic work that I couldn’t believe actually worked as well as MDR therapy and coming out. I felt like that trauma, that blockage, I had really opened up my creativity. I didn’t mention, but I was a journalist.
I was actually a morning show anchor and producer ten years ago when I overdosed and ended up in a psych ward in the county hospital. And it was terrifying. And I just I felt like, oh, this is just me, there’s something wrong with me. But when I went to treatment. I really and, you know, they diagnosed me bipolar 10 years ago at the psych ward, but when I went into treatment, they said this isn’t your fault.
These are all symptoms of PTSD, the substance abuse, hypersexual activity, just bad decisions leading to more trauma. And then once I got that all taken care of and settled and started my healing process at Sierra Tucson, I started thinking a lot. I wrote some scripts based on, you know, talking about mental health and thinking about putting together these different scripts, these pilots. I wanted to do research by interviewing people and I started interviewing people.
And then I realized, why don’t I just turn these interviews into a podcast? And also when I talked in front of other people about. My sexual abuse, once I was comfortable because I didn’t speak a word of it until this year, other people started coming out and saying, you know what, I’ve never talked about it, but I was sexually abused by my brother or I was sexually abused by a cousin. And they didn’t realize that if they talked about it, how much weight would be lifted off of them and they were able to begin their healing.
And even now, after I’ve started this podcast, people keep continuously reach out to me telling me about their story. And I feel like I’m doing some good because I never thought I would be able to get the help that I needed. I think you are doing way more good than you are giving yourself credit for here. You were doing a lot of good. I’m sorry that you’ve had so many struggles and I’m sorry that you’ve had so much ups and downs.
But as we are talking, you are. Happy, glowing, smiling, you’re just radiating a positivity about all of this.
I wonder how did you go from such a low to turning this into a high and and then wanting to share that with so many people? Like, what really do you think was the specific moment that made that happen?
I believe it was. When I talk to people about it, they actually told me that. There were people who had been in treatment for about a year in residential treatment. I mean, trauma, they expect, you know, a minimum of 45 days.
But the thing is, they were there for a long time because they were not actually talking about their trauma. They weren’t talking about the route. They were like they were talking about their eating disorders or their substance abuse. But the root of it was trauma and they were too scared to talk about it. So once they talked to me about it, they were able to talk about it in group. They were able to talk about it with their therapist.
And then that accelerated their healing and their recovery. And they were some people who were there for a year that who left before I did, you know, and they were expecting to stay there much longer.
I was just so encouraged by that.
You go down this road of healing, you start to feel more creative. You start to open up. What made you all of a sudden think that this warranted a podcast? And why was this medium, you know, your choice for? Sharing your message and sharing your experience. Well, I think it was mostly my maybe my background as a journalist, you said you were on television, so I’m curious, like, what made you think instead of going what was probably more familiar and comfortable?
Right. Like going and doing YouTube stuff, rather like you chose the audio medium. So just curious if there were something about podcasting in particular that made you say, huh, this might be more appropriate for what I’m doing.
When I actually got when I left college, I did a lot in radio. I worked for a NPR affiliate and I just loved it. But I thought, OK, I’ll just go the TV route.
But then after the TV were out and all that happened, I was like, you know, I want to just go the radio route. But that wasn’t working for me either. It was in two thousand nine when the recession was happening and nobody wanted to, you know, if anything, they were cutting back jobs. I was not really familiar with podcasting, but I did in one of my actually in one of the group therapy sessions, someone was talking about listening to a podcast and how they actually got a lot from that.
And I thought, oh, well, I’ve been thinking about maybe doing because even when I thought about doing a podcast and doing my research because I had these interviews, I guess I just didn’t realize that.
There is going to be a benefit for podcasting I wasn’t even moving toward, you know, I was just thinking, oh, maybe, maybe that’s something I should do. But it never materialized until somebody in therapy actually mentioned how helpful some mental health podcast was to them. And so I think that kind of drove me into being more aggressive in starting the podcast. Plus, I just love audio. I am doing I am turning these podcasts into YouTube channels now just because there were some requests, Generation Z folks, because that’s how they like to, I guess, digest their information.
I record my my stuff through manyways, you know, I’ll just drop it in to YouTube. I am doing that. It’s not what I love the most. When I worked in TV, I got a lot of horrible feedback about my hair, my makeup, just really ugly emails that I was just getting. And I think that’s another reason nobody ever really focused on what I was saying, because they were focused on what is she wearing? What why is her why does her makeup look like she, you know, wearing like enough makeup for a van full of hookers?
I actually got an email that said that. So and I mean, that was actually a nice email. So it was I think that also really kind of chipped away at my. Feelings of self-worth that were already started deteriorating as a child, I did like audio more, you know, I figured I’m actually in a better place now where OK, you want to send me a nasty email about what I look like then, you know?
But I feel like the people who are actually listening to my podcasts aren’t those people.
And I mean, the people who are sending those kinds of emails are probably the ones who need more help and then they’re willing to let on. Right. Like if you are and if you have that much vitriol in your system, that that’s how you want to express it. Right. Like that seems like a more of a you problem than you is in the person commenting then that there is anything remotely wrong with you as the content creator.
And that’s just a shame that we have there’s so much of that in the world.
It’s just it’s totally unnecessary and totally. It’s just garbage, really unnecessary garbage. You watch this podcast and like you said, what you discovered was one, right? It was the sort of cathartic experience for you to talk and to get this out there. And that’s sort to make you feel better. But you also said it was great because others were confiding in you, right? Oh, my goodness.
Yes. It was amazing how many people reached out to me through Instagram, Facebook, through my email, even calling me through Facebook, telling me about their stories.
And I was just so surprised by how many people did not get the support from their family. You know, one person was telling me, you know, I was sexually abused by my cousin and my family. They want me to get over it. Family get togethers wouldn’t be so uncomfortable. It’s a shame that people aren’t getting the support they need. And so I want to try to be that support for them. They you know, and a lot of them were saying, you know, I can’t talk to anyone about this because they just think I’m weak and it isn’t a weakness.
Mental illness, mental health should always be talked about.
No one who is going through life perfectly, especially in twenty twenty, you know, I want people to know that they’re not alone.
You know, they’re it’s not just me. And, you know, when other people reach out to me, I want to let them know that it is actually normal to not be OK all of the time. I mean, I think it’s crazy if someone said, you know, I’m never upset, I’m never depressed.
That person is you need to take a much closer look at that person. Right. Because you have this background in journalism and television.
Like, what do you think you’ve learned about podcasting or growing a podcast that you would want to share with others who are thinking about making a show for their cause?
I think it’s the cause. That’s the most important thing. It’s what you’re passionate about. You know, when I was doing my research and really thinking about it, I thought I needed all this equipment to get started. I thought I needed all these fancy things when really I started just GarageBand I movie. It’s free. That’s exactly Zouma. You know, I do pay a little extra so I can have more storage to record.
But I mean to be honest is just the only real time. It just it’s time that it takes up. But if you are really happy and passionate doing these interviews or telling your story, it is cathartic. It is a therapy in and of itself. And having that creative outlet is so important. But yeah, I wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on equipment. That’s that’s definitely something I wouldn’t do.
I would like to think that most of the people who are listening to this and who are thinking about getting into podcasting. Right, they have a mission first. They have a cause and then they do this. But there are still plenty of people, whether they’re in the calls related space or not, who all they want is a podcast. And then they struggle with it because it’s like, well, just to have a podcast for the sake of having a podcast is probably not going to be an effective strategy.
And I guess there are people who are like that. I just can’t I mean, I feel like finding why you want to do the podcast is the most important thing and then everything will kind of fall into place. If you’re looking for your niche.
That’s a really good, good way to describe it, obviously, is part of what your show is all about as part of what you do is part of the people that you talk to. The charity that we are highlighting today is Rain RIAA and the Rape Abuse Incest National Network RAINN dot org. It’s also about specifically about the kind of work that they do. And you know why this is such an important organization for people to support.
Well, Rainn, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network, it’s the largest anti sexual violence organization, and they actually run the sexual assault hotline, which is if you are struggling with abuse, the number is one 800 656 hope for me.
They’re a great resource. I find my statistics from them, their educational information about sexual assault, abuse. You know, they do a lot in that space, and if I knew more about rain growing up, I feel like my life would be a little different. You know, I feel like I would have reached out because the problem I was having as a child was. My parents, they’re worried about the stigma. You know, my parents are from the Philippines back then in the 90s, they didn’t believe in mental health, like they just assume you’re crazy if you needed to get help.
So even after my self-harm and I think it was even my suicide attempt, you know, they never took me to the hospital. They made me just deal with it. Kind of they treated me like I was sick, but they never took me to the hospital. And I made my second attempt. They still didn’t take me to the hospital. I feel like it was me crying out because I needed to talk to someone. And all they would say is, no, you don’t.
You just need to get over it. But I feel like if there was a number I need to call in, there probably was, but I just didn’t know about it. We didn’t have social media.
I don’t even think we had a computer where we had the Internet when this was all happening. And if we did, I didn’t know how to use it. I feel like being able to talk about rain, especially on cause pods, it’ll bring more awareness that there is a place you can call to get the help you need, especially in the space of abuse.
I’m curious and, you know, tell me if we’re getting too personal, but you know, the time since you first struggled, right. And you your parents wouldn’t help. They were worry about the stigma. Has that changed, given where you are today in the world? Has that turned around at all? Do you think that if you came to them today, that that would still be the concern or do you think it’s getting better?
I do think it’s getting better.
I think that if what happened then was happening now, I still don’t know if my parents would in this could be another thing.
You know, my dad was the one who abused me and it could have been him also not wanting me to talk to anybody. Just the fact that what they know now about me personally, about me going into treatment and this all happening to me, you know, my mom is like, oh, my gosh, I can’t believe this happened. If I knew if I knew, then I would then I would have I would have found gotten you help.
Why didn’t you tell me? But I feel like back then I wouldn’t I don’t honestly. I don’t feel like I would have been believed if I said anything back then.
I suppose when the incident is that close to home, it’s tough to. Get outside of it to get the help you need without incurring. Concern or, frankly, some sort of retribution, but also just, you know, in the case of your dad, like, well, could have been his personal liability if that word had gone out there. Right.
That’s not what this is necessarily all about. But I understand why then it was so hard on my even today. It might still be a problem. But I want to do want to highlight is that anybody who is hearing this, who is concerned about not being able to get the kind of help that you need, is concerned about, you know, if you you’re not going to be taken to the right care, you’re not going to be taken to the right medical professional therapy, whatever.
As Lauralee said, there is a place you can call and get some help. The link to rain will put the phone number in there. But just as a reminder, it’s 866 Hope six five six, hope four six seven three. Lauralee, this has been such a tough topic, I’m sure.
I mean, for you, you seem to talk about it with ease because you’ve been doing it. You’re doing it as your show. But I’m sure it’s been tough for a lot of people. What would you want to leave everybody with, given that the focus of your show is not the trauma itself, but is the thriving after the trauma?
I think that my main message there is hope, there is hope for you to get help. You know, I wanted to keep the secret. I was going to take it to my grave. And the truth was I actually did some work for an author who was sexually abused. And when he was doing interviews, he talked about how he was going to take it to his grave. But something happened where he felt like he needed to say something and that changed his life.
And I think that’s also kind of what started me on that path to let me think about what’s happening here.
And I never thought that I would be living the life I’m living right now, because in January, I saw no way out. I felt trapped in this dark hole where I felt that my only way out was to take my own life. And I don’t want anyone else to feel that, because even when I went into treatment, I still thought. There’s no way I’m going to get better, but when I actually worked on myself and I said what I’m saying out loud multiple times, it was just the weight was just continuously getting lifted until I never thought this life existed for me.
And I want other people to know that there is hope you will find your purpose. And I just don’t give up hope. It’s that there is that glimmer of hope and you just need to look for it.
Secrets are toxic. And I think that once people realize that they’re able to talk about it, it will set them free. That’s a beautiful message we’ve been chatting with Lauralee Binstock, she’s the host of a trauma Survivor Thrivers podcast. You can check it out and learn more about her in the show. An atheist podcast, Dotcom, of course. We’ll have a link to her website, her Google, Apple, Spotify links, as well as rain, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network’s website, their phone number, one 800 656 hope all that will be in the show.
Notes will be a couple spots that orig as well as all the ways you can connect with Lauralee on her social media accounts. Lauralee. Thank you so much for your candidness, for your openness, and for creating such a powerful and important forum for people who are struggling out there. And thanks for joining us this morning.
Thank you so much. I absolutely appreciate your time and letting me talk about my maicon. Thanks for listening to this episode, of course, iPods, if you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes of this episode in your podcasting app or at Cause Pontes dot org. There you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast, links on Apple, Google, Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here in this episode.
You will also find a cause Pogs dot org. But where to subscribe to this show on your favourite podcasting app, How to sign up to be a guest on this show and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause. And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends at Pottage, but you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for call spots.
And before I go, I should say thank you in particular. The show is edited and produced by Ben Kilroy of the military veteran dad’s podcast. And what a great job he has done. And all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas here at the podcast Consultive Dotcom. Once again, if you want to learn more, go to College Sports Dog. Thank you so much. And we will see you next time on Cause Pods.