How I Got Here.
Father of two…
I take pictures, write, and obsess.
You can find Joe bouncing around New York City or by a lakeside fire. I was on a Pearl Jam kick, and I am now starting my day with The Revivalists.
How I Got Here.
Father of two…
I take pictures, write, and obsess.
You can find Joe bouncing around New York City or by a lakeside fire. I was on a Pearl Jam kick, and I am now starting my day with The Revivalists.
I took my first drink at age ten, followed shortly after that by prescription drugs. The moment alcohol touched my lips and hit my brain, I finally felt like I was home. By age seventeen, I overdosed and was hospitalized. You would think this would have set off red flags, but I was off to the races instead.
I started a landscaping business in my mid-teens. I went to school and built a successful business during the day, but when night fell, I turned to alcohol and pills to relieve myself from the pressure of perfectionism due to shame. I never felt good enough. The drugs and alcohol took me out of my shame and self-hate. By my late teens, the days became harder and harder to manage sober, so I sold my business to become a bartender and standup comic. I was now surrounded by my first love all day, every day.
With standup and staying high as my main objective, I spent most of my twenties on the road, performing at comedy clubs up and down the East Coast. As much as the audience would fill me up and keep me away from the feelings I had been running from. Once I got off that stage. the loneliness, sadness, and shame would return. My addictions were driving me to dark and dangerous places, and the way I was living was no longer safe. Near the end of a lengthy stretch on the road, I found myself in a situation that shook me into reality; alcoholics call it “a moment of clarity.” I knew if I did not make a change, things would not end well for me. I returned home and never went on the road again. I performed in the tri-state area for some time, but you can make a living doing standup locally. During this time, I would have random blackouts, not the drinking kind.
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Still sober and going strong. I had a family, a house in the suburbs, and a successful business. Finally, I arrived at a place where I had accomplished and acquired enough to keep the shame away. I perfected the role in my family system and my false self. For the first time, life was good, and I felt like I had arrived and fulfilled the image I needed not to hate myself. My life was simple and predictable, everything I never had. I was happy and content. No one could have predicted what came next.
In the span of 18 months, I lost the business, life savings, wife, and kids half the time, was in bankruptcy, and moved out with a pillow, laptop, and suitcase, and experienced loss on a level I have never known. Everything I worked so hard for is gone, and I’m starting over with nothing. I stayed positive and put all I had into my children while learning to be single again.
Before I even started dating, I met the most dynamic woman. It was a storybook romance. Everyone could see it. I did not know you could feel this way about someone. While away on vacation, she told me she loved me and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me and raise our families together. I could not be happier!
While out for a jog, she was hit by a car, suffered a traumatic brain injury, and shattered her bones. I could not find her for hours, and she was almost gone when I did. When she regained consciousness, she did not know who I was. She had no memory of us being together one hour after we decided to spend life together. To make a long story short, I started falling apart as she got better. I buried all the fear, hurt, and sorrow while caring for her and her mother. When they didn’t need to be taken care of, everything I buried surfaced and fell apart in a way I had never experienced before. I could not function in any capacity. I fell into a hopeless abyss.
That was too much loss in such a short for me to handle. I threw away 17 years of sobriety and was back to blackout drinking within six months. I ran hard in the single and music scene for a few years. I was back to my seventeen-year-old self again. The addict in me took me over, and I was heading nowhere fast, and I could not find the breaks. Until I woke up in someone’s backyard in another borough, not knowing whose house it was, who I was with last night, or where my car was. I finally found the breaks and weened myself off of that lifestyle. When I did, I found myself alone and was bathed in shame. I was becoming agoraphobic, suffering from mercury poisoning, and not having a place to live. Just a few years ago, I had a family, a house, a business, and money in the bank, and today, I’m alone, physically ill, bankrupt, and living in a room. I could not feel any lower. This is the deepest shame I have ever felt. I could never name the feeling that had driven me for so long. This is the place where I Identified the driving force; it was shame. If i didn’t sit with it for so long, i would have never understood it. You have to feel your way through.
This was another moment of clarity. I had been putting so much distance from my feelings because I feared my body’s reactions. I have been looking for approval at every turn and drinking, drugging, gambling, working, obsessing just not to feel. I now know that nothing outside of myself could make me happy. That happiness is making peace with yourself. But how in the world do you do that?
Even with this moment of clarity, I was still a shell of a human being. A soft breeze could knock me over. Making coffee was a two-hour event in my head. I could not fight my way out of a paper bag. It is here where I learned to sit with my feelings. It wasn’t a conscious choice. I was so beaten down that I did not have the energy to pretend anymore. I could not live the lie anymore. I was finally able to see what I really thought of myself and all the things I had done to get love and attention. I felt humiliated at what I saw. I became what I felt about myself, nothing.
As I’m writing this, it’s bringing up painful memories. As I’m remembering the past, I can feel it. It never goes away. We need to learn how to live with it. We have to grieve it so it’s not an open wound but a scar.
How do we turn wounds into scars? We tend to the wounds. We get in there and feel the hurt, pain, and shame. We sit with it, let it take us over, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We learn how to stop self-abandoning and self-hating. We have to come out of hiding, we have to be seen, we need positive mirroring. We need to learn how to say no and to disappoint people. Most of all we learn how to forgive ourselves.
As I tried to make sense of my new way of being, I went to my go-to to sort out the crazy in my head, but writing no longer worked. I could not process it in my head, and I could not write it out. At this point, I’m estranged from my family and lost all connections with friends. It’s Christmas morning, the kids are with their mom, I’m all alone and don’t want to be here anymore. Knowing I could not do that to my kids, I had to figure something out quickly. I went to the office on Christmas day, plugged a microphone into my Mac, and started talking. To this day, I have no idea what possessed me to do this, but when I started speaking, I went to this place of harmony. I was in tune with myself. For the first time, I verbalized precisely what I felt when I felt it. From my heart and soul with no filter. When I pressed stop, I felt relief. It was out of me, and I wasn’t carrying it anymore. There was this relief I never felt before, and it lasted until later that evening when I started to judge and shame myself. Then, the negotiation started between my false self and my authentic self. Putting my thoughts down on tape felt right, but I shamed myself when I looked at it through the lens of my family system. There was a battle inside me: what felt right vs what looked right. What felt right won out for the first time over what looked right. I kept recording my thoughts and kept feeling better. I was outing myself to myself in these recordings.
I was in tune with myself. For the first time, I verbalized precisely what I felt when I felt it. From my heart and soul with no filter. When I pressed stop, I felt relief. It was out of me, and I wasn’t carrying it anymore. There was this relief I never felt before, and it lasted until later that evening when I started to judge and shame myself. Then, the negotiation started between my false self and my authentic self. Putting my thoughts down on tape felt right, but I shamed myself when I looked at it through the lens of my family system. There was a battle inside me: what felt right vs what looked right. What felt right won out for the first time over what looked right. I kept recording my thoughts and kept feeling better. I was outing myself to myself in these recordings.
Again, I don’t know what made me do this, but I let someone I trusted listen to one of the recordings, and he said to me, “How is this not a podcast?” my reply was, nobody can know how crazy I am. He replied, “You’re crazy if you don’t put this out there. I sat with that for a while, and at some point, I pulled the trigger and put up the first episode. As soon as I push publish, I feel like I hid under the covers and had my fingers in my ears. I was terrified that it was out in the world. That’s when the negotiation started again, the battle inside between the false self and the authentic self. The authentic self won with much help from all of you. I’m blown away by the feedback and the positive mirroring I have received from you. I never imagined that there were others in the world like me who understands my pain and struggles.
I have worked through my family system and the role I played in it. I’m at peace with myself. I finally feel good enough. I never envisioned this life I’m living, and believe me, this would not have been my choice, but this is where I ended up. It’s my life, and I’m living it my way. I found a way through the trauma, neglect, abuse, and shame, and I cannot keep it to myself in good conscience. This is why I coach. I want to be for people what I needed in that place of hopelessness. There is a way through; it is not easy, but it is worth it! Mostly, I’m still alone and grinding it out, but I’m living my best life because it’s my life, my way, and I have never felt better about myself. I had a choice: live with the dull ache of shame forever or go into my darkness, make peace with it, and learn how to treat myself the way I deserve to be treated and that’s just what I did, and you can do it too!
I live where I’ve always dreamed of living, in the heart of Manhattan. Since I’ve moved here, I feel like I’m on vacation. It’s never boring and free of judgment. I have met incredible people and seen amazingly talented musicians, performers, and comics. I want back to playing ball, my inner child has been screaming for some fun, and now I make time for that and will not compromise it for anyone. I know what I need, and I take care of my well-being. I don’t let people guilt and shame me anymore, and I’m getting good at saying no. I was stuck as an emotional child, I went back to the child, and I nurtured and cared for him the way he should have been. i no longer feel like an emotional child, emotionally, I feel like I’m in my 20s. Living in the world is much easier when you feel like a child. We must get back in touch with our emotional child to grow up emotionally. To do that, we need to relive the hurt and pain. The only way out is through. I wish all of you the best and hope you find the peace you desire
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Joe Ryan’s podcast makes me feel less alone as I grapple with recovery from abuse and childhood trauma. Because he is willing to share himself and his process so openly, and with insight and compassion, I feel seen and validated in my own process and am able to offer myself some of the compassion I witness Joe embodying for himself, and I feel the compassion he is offering to others walking a similar path.
In a journey that already feels so lonely, I am deeply grateful that Joe is offering his story and process to others in this way. Thank you for your bravery, your willingness, and the love and intention you put into this healing work.
Joe.. you have helped me understand myself in so many ways it is amazing. You help me understand I am the way I am because of my trauma. I listen to u all day at work. I have a lot of PTSD and obsessive thoughts the last year it has all “thawed out” and I haven’t found any peace or understanding until I found u on Podbean. I would like to thank u. It told me if I wanted to leave a review to come here. Thank you once again— Alicia
Just started listening this morning and I can relate to the things you shared. My childhood was a complete hole in hell. I feel so validated listening to all the things you shared. Thank you for doing the work and sharing your experience.
If I were to ever get a life coach he would be the one. This dude is SO vulnerable and honest and raw- absolutely beautiful. He speaks the truth that I need to hear and don’t come across in life. Grateful to listen to his talks. Love the short & direct format too.
This dude is out here saving lives. He expresses his pov so articulately and pointedly, no filter and no apologies, but all the while with a purpose. I didn’t know how much I needed to hear this podcast until I actually did. The work you do and the vulnerability that moves it is absolutely necessary and deeply valued. Thank you.
Joe Ryan is probably the most insightful human being I have ever encountered. I’ve worked with other therapists and coaches, but until I met Joe, I have never done work at such a profound level. With him as my guide, it didn’t take years to get me to transformation and self-understanding— the breakthroughs began in weeks. He deals with raw and real and takes you to places you didn’t even know you had inside you. I came across his podcast and coaching by chance, and they have been life changing. If you are thinking about working with him and are open to exploring an alternative pathway to peace of mind, you are at the right place.
Joe Ryan is the Anthony Bourdain of trauma and recovery! Joe gets right to the point and doesn’t sugar coat anything. I could have used this podcast years ago thank you Joe, for all you do for “Us’
You have given a voice to parts of me that I didn’t even know existed. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being brave enough to say all the things everyone else is afraid to say!
I find myself in tears (because I relate so much) every episode I listen to. Joe is so real, honest, true, and has an amazing way of putting everything I’ve been feeling, thinking, going through, growing through, been through, trying to get through into “just the right words”. I’m so grateful for finding this podcast. Thank you Joe
I’m for real blown away with how deep and vulnerable this podcast is. It resonates with my addiction and the chronic PTSD that is starting swallow me whole since I have gotten sober. It hurts. It’s so painful. His voice is so soothing and since binging them I do feel a little raw so maybe I’ll take a break but I know that I have to go through it to get on the other side. I have always been painfully self aware so I knew that I was going to have to relive my trauma but I did t know how to do it and this podcast has given me steps to take and I’m extremely grateful for that!
This is great stuff! All suffering from PTSD, trauma or narcissistic abuse. This podcast is as real as it gets! He has lived it and now helps others suffering. It’s worth taking a few minutes to check it out!
Wow, just listened to my first episode and was blown away. I got more out of the 17 minutes of the episode than working with any therapist. As someone who has been in recovery from severe childhood trauma for the past thirty years, I am looking forward to listening to all the remaining podcast. Peace, love and healing to you Joe, for doing this podcast and to all who have suffered childhood trauma.
I’m new to this podcast but so far it has been really great. I appreciate Joe’s honesty and vulnerability. I’m grateful for how he explains to ‘do the work.’ I’ve been stuck feeling like I’m supposed to actively do this or do that. He has confirmed for me that these layers will come up to the surface and the actual work is making space and letting them wash over me. Acknowledge them, grieve, take responsibility, or whatever it is I need to do for myself. Awesome podcast so far.
When I started listening to the show, I was just shocked and taken aback so often by the fact that what Joe is describing with his process, and experiences is almost parallel to my process and experiences. I love the extra insight, and inspiration. It feels really good to know I am not alone, and also to be reminded that working on myself and doing what I’m doing does matter, and does work. Healing is possible. Thank you for your insights and openness.
Looking back over the past couple of years, I think the topics that I discussed on my podcast today with Joe Ryan, host of “It’s Not You, It’s Your Trauma” resonate with me more than any other show I have ever hosted and is the reason I launched “The Antony Gordon Show” — i.e. — be real … be authentic … be you!
This podcast keeps me going. The information, the raw honesty, it’s just so deep. I have never felt like anyone understands me and here is someone who says what’s in my mind and I have never said. Thanks you! Thank you so much for doing this podcast!
Joe has a way of explaining trauma and recovery in a way that makes so much sense. After years of trying to put the pieces together, listening to him is helping it all fall into place. Grateful to have an honest and wise voice that lets me know I’m not alone and that gives me hope.
I stumbled across this podcast during a particularly difficult time of managing my emotions from a recent difficulty. Years of harming others with my words and actions due to my childhood trauma and resulting PTSD, have harmed many of my relationships an impeded upon my growth and maturity. Years of therapy have not helped me as much as this podcast. I encourage you to give this podcast a listen and promise it will enhance your life. Joe is authentic. He is compassionate and caring. I am so encouraged that I found him and will carry him in my pocket from now on. An invaluable resource.
Joe’s authenticity, willingness and ability to meet me in the deepest depths of my pain, and unwavering honest reflection, is a potent healing balm to wounds that, prior to beginning coaching with Joe, were heavily buried under shame, blame, guilt, and many, many other healers’ inability to hold and nurture them. The work that he is doing is life-saving in the deepest sense of what it means to live a full and free life. I am profoundly grateful for Joe’s voice and presence in this world.
Joe’s presence is a gift, his vulnerability and willingness to share it with the world is what I needed to begin the deep healing work that I know I’ve needed. With so few people talking about Trauma in any real and tangible way, Joe’s voice and presence gives a light to those of us who know something is amiss but with no guide or framework to lead us out of the pain and chaos, that can often become normalized comfortable discomfort.
Your voice is calm and soothing, and you discuss the brutally honest truths that many of us feel. Thank you for your work
Joe Ryan is amazing. This podcast struck a chord in me and I couldn’t stop listening to it. Joe’s podcast is the best CPTSD podcast/resource I’ve found. Give it a listen – it’s real talk.
I want to THANK YOU. Your podcasts have been exactly what I have been looking for. You are simple, concise, and direct in explaining and helping me understand how things in my childhood have affected me – and what the solutions are. Please know that you are making a difference and helping people change their lives!
I thank you for your raw and honest podcasts, sharing your vulnerability. Your podcast is such a support to me and my journey, so relatable and genuine. Thank you for helping us struggling out there
You have an amazing heart, such a knowledge of life, and a poetic way of putting it out into the world. You are inspiring and motivating to so many others who are where you once were
Love how every episode is 110% authentic. It doesn’t sound fake or scripted like a teacher preaching at you, it just feels like a real, raw talk from someone that truly gets it.
Your messages are wonderful and necessary, so people can understand their invisible trauma and heal from it. Thanks for being a powerful voice of recovery and healing
You have such depth, more than most of the medical professionals I have encountered along my recovery path. Your message is heartfelt, deeply intimate, and needed.
I feel compelled to tell you how much your podcasts have been helping me. After a lifetime of abuse at the hands of too many, your rawness, vulnerability, directness, and truth have made an impact.
I listened to your podcast on iTunes, Fantastic! As were your videos on Instagram. You’re very analytical, deep, honest and your voice is compassionate and calming.
Joe Ryan is the most authentic, genuine speaker you will ever encounter. I wish I had found him years ago! Thanks for the truth and all your help.
You are such an inspiration! Courageous and Brave! What you are doing is going to help so many people! You have inspired me too!! You have a good soul, how lucky those are that will cross your path and continue on this journey with you!!
i have found it hard to find podcasts revolving around mental health i’ve enjoyed that didn’t seem too “fluffy”. i am 22 diagnosed with ptsd along with the others that follow it, and that’s how i came across this. i listened to one episode and was hooked. i’ve gone through therapy, medication, etc, and i never felt more related to something until now. it was soothing hearing the conversations and stories, being able to have someone say exactly how i feel and what i’m going through is such a relief and has helped me be able to articulate how i express and explain things more. there are some things you know, but it’s just easier to act upon/believe/understand when you hear it from an outside source. i’ve already recommended it to my partner and my best friend. PLEASE give this a try. we all have some sort of trauma and even in listening it could help you understand how other people may work/think bc of their trauma. i am so thankful he made this podcast. this has truly soothed me in my in between time of no therapy and medication and if you have any experience with it that says a lot. i rarely leave reviews. ever. and never have on podcasts but, this is worth any and everyone listening to. i could literally go on and on but rather than reading this, click an episode and give this a try! 100/10 i cannot explain how thankful i am for him sharing himself. it means so much
Episode 38, family system boundaries. You nailed it. I plan to listen several more times until it sinks in to my skull. I want to start living again-for me. Thank you so much. Every single one of these “shares” are a true gift.
I’ve been in therapy and support groups for two years. None of the therapists or group members could articulate the struggle to recover. This podcast is able to find the words for what it feels like every day to recover from enmeshed family systems and the fallout it created in my adult life. It gave me self compassion to have patience for all my ups and downs along the way. I’m grateful.
As I write this review I want to cry. It’s almost like you can see inside my soul. I can connect to everything you say and have felt. Honestly I have been in therapy for many years And this podcast is doing more for me than all those sessions. The way you explain things is so understandable and relatable. I don’t know how to thank you.
If you’re looking for a place to experience raw truth, Joe’s podcast is the perfect place to be. As I navigate through my own negative thoughts and feelings from years of abuse, it is refreshing to hear that I am not alone in dealing with these feelings, thoughts, and reactions. Even more, I love Joe’s encouragement to continue recognizing emotions and making room for joy in our lives by dismissing the emotional garbage we are slammed with regularly.
I don’t know anyone that’s worked harder at recovery and growth than Joe and that comes shining through in his podcasts. Great insight and advice from a guy that’s walked through the fire himself.
I stumbled on your podcast while looking for trauma help. Boy am I glad I did- I have never listened to anyone that has such an honest message packed with so much insightful information! Every episode speaks to me so deeply I feel I am in a therapy session. You make more sense than anything I have listened to. Thank you Joe! I will be listening to all your episodes!
I needed this so badly. I am so grateful for your courage to speak this. It’s clear that you’ve done a ton of hard work. I felt so confused and alone, and this podcast has become a lifeline.
It’s so refreshing to listen to someone who has walked through this and is still walking through this, instead of an academic who is looking at it from afar. I feel really really understood in a way that I haven’t in so long.
I’m only 16 so i haven’t lived thru a whole bunch but this podcast is the most helpful thing i’ve ever listened to. Heard one episode yesterday and i haven’t stopped listening since. Please never stop.
After spending years following many people talking about trauma on social media, I am uninterested in sound bytes and the same basic descriptions of boundaries, codependency, narcissists, etc. Joe cuts to the heart of what we grapple with as trauma survivors. In each episode of this podcast, Joe offers poignant wisdom from genuine experience. He knows about recovery from trauma and anxiety because he has lived it deeply and continues to do so. With heartfelt clarity, he encourages the listener to take personal responsibility while moving forward into a life of courageous authenticity.
I really enjoyed the episodes I have listened to. Very engaging, I literally don’t think I even blinked the entire time I was hearing him. Joe’s openness and willingness to share his own narrative and pain is visceral. Deeply insightful and delivered in a clear unabashed voice that feels like real understanding. Thank you for your work here, I appreciate it!
I think this is the most enlightening person I’ve heard speak on trauma and fear. It is so much different when you know a person has lived what you feel everyday. He doesn’t hesitate to tell you how to get in touch with the feelings and work through them. He has mire to offer than any therapist I’ve ever spoken to over the years.
Buy Joe A Cup Of Coffee