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009 - Erin Bozza Story

“It was easier for me to say that I was a recovering addict than to say that I have Bipolar 1.”


Erin Bozza tells us her story of Recovery and Bipolar 1, Anxiety, PTSD. She is a geographical changer and hopes to be example of hope. She talks about gratitude for her support group, getting the right medications and psychological treatment, and knowing her signs and triggers. She is on a journey of self discovery and understanding while studying to be a certified peer recovery specialist. Enjoy.


The Illuminate Recovery Podcast is about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Recovery. Shining light on ways to cope, manage, and inspire. Beyond the self care we discuss, you may need the help of a licensed professional. Curt Neider and Shelley Mangum are a part of Illuminate Billing Advocates. They are committed to helping better the industry and adding value to the lives of listeners by sharing tools, insights, and success stories of those who are working on their mental health.














https://anchor.fm/illuminaterecoverypodcast/episodes/009---Erin-Bozza-Story-etq2eo


Transcript (no grammar): it was easier for me to say that i was a recovering addict than to say i have bipolar one arabaza tells us her story of recovery and bipolar one anxiety ptsd she is a geographical changer and hopes to be example of hope she talks about gratitude for her support group getting the right medications and psychological treatment and knowing her signs and triggers she's on a journey of self-discovery and understanding while studying to be a certified peer recovery specialist enjoy welcome to the illuminate recovery podcast we shed light on mental health issues mental illness and addiction recovery ways to cope manage and inspire beyond self-care we will discuss you may need the help of a licensed professional my name is kurt neider i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid a conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i'm shelley mangum i am a clinical mental health counselor and my favorite role of all times is grandma i am a seeker of truth and i feel like life should be approached with tremendous curiosity i ask the dumb questions i fill in the gaps aaron baza is with us today and we are super excited to have her on the show and to share her experiences um so thank you aaron thanks for being here thank you for having me i've seen some of your contact on content on you know linkedin and you're pretty open about your story and so i thought yeah absolutely no that would be kind of an interesting place to start right just to hear what your story is and and you know you're obviously passionate about passionate about mental health and and what that means for you right you're putting out um to me valuable content and you know what's your why what's your story and all of that great well i think it's great what you guys are doing anything to bring you know i kind of agree with that that mentality and i think it's interesting how much stigma there is still even after all the work that's been done and the advocacy that's being done out there there's still a lot of stigma and shame around having a mental illness so something we truly truly think is important to advocate for so i love i love when we can join together and do that together i mean i've experienced some stigma myself like you know it's easier for me to say that i was a recovering addict but i was to say that i have bipolar one and uh i share my story because in hopes that somebody is listening who's afraid to share their story because of the stigma or they don't know how or they're ashamed or they're you know and hopefully i can reach just one person and you know help them through their journey well it's is incredible and i think bipolar is super difficult i don't think people understand it's not like you get a choice of whether you experience the symptoms of bipolar or not right it comes and your challenge is to learn how to manage it um and so so maybe it would be a great idea to kind of talk about and familiarize our listeners with what is bipolar one what does that look like and and then and then maybe share a little bit about your journey okay absolutely yeah i'm like the textbook bipolar one i've uh bought in flights before and gotten unclean on the whim um had massive shopping sprees and promiscuous uh you know just like the textbook definition of bipolar one i was i am and is that a little bit hard when you say i was but i am almost like it's and this is a hard thing for me too is because i hate i don't like the labels right because it's not who you are it's what you're dealing with it's part of your reality how do you see that right well i personally like labels because it better it helps me better understand myself um so it's not like labels define me i don't allow it to define me by allowing to educate myself more on my illness and the symptoms that go along with it yeah i think that's super wise and you're right you know it's just like someone that has diabetes or someone that has heart disease um you know those are they're not labels but they have to understand those illnesses in order to care for themselves in order to take care of themselves appropriately and understand what's happening to them so i i like that perspective absolutely thank you so talk a little bit about um about your journey if you would sure uh so i'll start uh day one because it's important um my biological mother gave me up to her sister when i was a couple of months old and i've been very blessed to have many fortunate things happen to me as much as i lived the wrong way and went down the wrong path i've always gotten a second chance of life and that experience where my mother gave me up to my real mom who raised me um was my first chance at life was my first blessing of life because had i stayed with my biological mother it could have gone a very different way i had a great childhood full of love we didn't have a lot of money but there was a lot of love i always knew that i was loved we always showed love um fast forward to age 13. i experienced some traumas at age 13 and turned to alcohol and weed and that was a comfort for me it was an escape and i didn't quite abuse it but i did it every weekend um you know went to parties smoked weed drank then at the age of 18 my father who raised me um and passed away and that was when i got the diagnosis of bipolar one anxiety and ptsd [Music] um that's also when i started to turn to harder drugs in order to cope with my symptoms and life life on life's terms i didn't really understand it my family didn't understand it uh i was kicked out of my family's home because the way i chose to live my life the way my illness brought me to my knees and led me down this path because unfortunately i do not have control over my life and my body and my mind when i'm in a manic state and i'll explain more what bipolar one looks like for me uh later um so uh 2012 i had nowhere to turn i burned all bridges i was living up couch to couch friends houses uh i was what you call a geographical changer i would move from state to state trying to run away from my problem but i always took aaron with me i always took my illness and my addiction with me so that never worked out for me um so i was at the end of my road and i reached out to my biological mom and uh i was on a very high amount of uppers i won't go into you know what exactly drugs there were but they were a hard drug and um i was highly mad and all of a sudden i got this thought in my mind that my biological mom husband and my half brother were trying to kill me and from there it just spiraled from there it started with one thought they kept trying to make me eat this pizza and no one else was eating and they kept forcing the pizza on me so one thought in my mind said that they're trying to poison me and it went to an extreme uh the cops were in on it they were my biological mothers husbands friends the hospital was in on it because i was in upstate new york and originally i'm from new jersey and the emergency room here are like packed you are surrounded by a bunch of people in the emergency room in upstate new york i was the only patient there so i thought that it was an abandoned building and these were people that were in on it and they were going to kill me i stayed in that reality for about two weeks i wouldn't take the medication because i thought the doctors were trying to poison me um and finally i came out of it and i had given the hospital mother my mother who raised me phone number now we hadn't talked for a number of years and uh you know i was like i really need your help i really need to um come home she was like okay you can come home i stayed in the hospital for about two months um and i went back home to new jersey and i got into this intensive partial hospitalization program for six months and that truly saved my life i learned so many skills skills such as dbt cbt opposite actions irrational and rational thoughts things that would help me manage my illness better um and i was clean from all mine and mood altering substances including alcohol i uh i was completely free of that and i was on psych meds and things were going really good um i had gotten this job and i moved very quickly up on the ladder at this job and things were going really great and uh fast forward to a couple of years you know i got this amazing boyfriend i got this beautiful home and i got this job as a property manager i was managing 183 apartments and i was my own boss i didn't have to answer to anyone i called the shop i wore many hats you know i was a little bit intense i was a little bit of the cleaning lady i've worn many different hats and um it started i think it was 2017 where i was like i can have one drink i can just socially drink and the drinking turned to weed the weed turned into harder drugs and before you knew it i was on my knees and you know my mania i get manic first and what mania looks like for me is very high energy i can go three to four days without sleeping and still have ample amount of energy i make impulsive decisions i'm very impulsive i make irrational decisions i have irrational thoughts i shop a lot i spend a lot of my money i'm very promiscuous um i have bought in like plane tickets before and just got up and went to a different state out of nowhere um just like the the feeling of being on top of the world and no one can stop me no one can bring me down and nothing can get in my way and you know for years i yearn that feeling i would look forward to coming out of a depression because what goes up must come down so after every manic episode i crashed and there was a depression um so i would look forward so much to my depression ending and going into a dramatic episode because i loved it i loved the way it made me feel i loved that i was able to do so many things at one point i was i had four jobs i was a property manager real estate agent i ran my own makeup business and you know i i did a little time work so i and my media allowed me to handle all those things at once and um but today today is a different story i fear my mania now uh i don't want it to come back it's so destructive i harm so many people anyone that comes in my way i i do great harm too and i harm myself um so mania is no longer my friend and i have this debilitating fear of it coming back um i was with my ex for six years almost six years and um i kept doing all these horrible things to him over and over again and he kept taking me back um he took me back like four times and he was like aaron i know it's not you i know it's your illness and we're gonna get through this together and you know that was just so beautiful to hear because i i am not my illness i am aaron and my illness does not define me it doesn't make me who i am it's just simply a part of me um and he would say things like i see the greatness in you you have such an amazing heart you care for so many people you'll do anything for some anyone but when your media takes over then i know it's not you you have excuse me you have shifted into this other person and um it's the truth you know what i can be like three different people i can be regular iron i could be manic erin or i could be depressed aaron things uh there's bipolar one and there's bipolar two the difference between the two is i'm bipolar one i experience long periods of time with my highs and lows um so i can go this last summer i was in a manic episode for five months and um this summer i lost everything i lost the job i started to get high with the tenants and party with the tenants as a property manager because i was my own boss no one was looking after me i had nothing and no one to hold me accountable for so i could do whatever i wanted so once my mania came kicked in then it was like this party girl kicked in and uh you know everyone wanted to be around her because she was so much fun and you know i lost my job i went and got treatment and lost my ex lost my beautiful home and um you know i just celebrated uh eight months clean and sober and i'm on two mood stabilizers and the antipsychotic and i believe and i go to a lot of support groups i go to a support group every day sometimes three times a day it's all different there's a group called dbsa it stands for depression bipolar support alliance um i actually facilitate that group and there's n a and then there's this um sober organization called cfc in new jersey it stands for coming full circle so i believe that in order to live a fulfilled functioning life every day i need to take my meds go to therapy see a doctor stay sober and clean and go to my supports it's not just one thing it's this whole big puzzle and little pieces to the puzzle to be able to live in everyday normal like like the uh normies so it is a struggle it is a battle every day i do need to fight my um thoughts every day um this summer which brought me to treatment was i had my second suicide attempt and um from the day that i made the attempt to december i was having suicide ideations basically suicide thoughts um i didn't necessarily want to die but my brain was telling me that i wanted to die thankfully i haven't had those thoughts since december we're in the month of march march 24th and but those are things that i need to fight off every day um you know that those irrational negative thoughts that tell me that i'm less than people are better off without me the world would be a better place without me i'm stupid i'm a terrible person you know i fought really hard with being a good person or not because of my illness but i came to the conclusion that i am a good person i've just done bad things and um you know it so it's okay that i did those bad things because i'm making up for them now i'm making events and hopefully my experience is and the guilt and the shame that i have and i'm also struggling with self-forgiveness that's a huge part of my journey where i'm trying to seek self-forgiveness but i believe if i do the next right thing and i use my experiences as uh learning stepping stones that hopefully it will never happen again and i just want to share the hope you know um i just finished the course to become a certified peer recovery specialist and what that is is basically another word for it is a recovery coach you work in the hospitals or rehabs as a peer and you help people for me the reason i want to do it is my i guess why my big why is to help people like me um who are in the same pain that i once was and show them that there is a way to overcome it show them that there is a light in every darkest places even the darkest places and um so that's i believe is my new calling and um you know i just finished the coursework i have to do my internship i'm very excited very excited to use my life experiences my strengths my hope and help others and hopefully make a difference in their journey because i can only keep what i have by giving it away and that pretty much sums up my story of where i am today well erin that's um that's uh quite the story and and i have a lot of questions for you hopefully i can i can kind of um articulate them in a way that that makes sense but but i think something that people don't understand is is the challenge of the manic right because like i heard you say the manic that's a that's that's a feel-good place and and now you fear the mania because you realize that you know that buying into that um does not have the outcome that you would want i mean those are my words but i'm kind of banking off of what you said consequences are greater than the actual part of the euphoria right um and so and so you've gone through these programs and learned some incredible skills um dbt dialectical behavioral therapy and cbt that cognitive behavioral therapy i'm imagining that you've you have a support network around you that that helps you through some of those pieces talk about your support network yeah absolutely i'm very fortunate to have an amazing support system and that's also that's a piece of the puzzle that i forgot to mention as such an important vital part of the puzzle um i live with my sister currently um and she is my main number one support person she's very involved in my recovery um i think she has found and read all the books on bipolar um you know she's she's always asking me like how many mood is do i feel a shift coming on always making sure i'm taking my meds and yes i do need to be held accountable sometimes but um you know i do feel as if that now comfortably i can take my meds without being made sure that i am i have friends that have been with me on this journey for 20 years they've seen every high every low and i've hurt them tremendously but yet they're still there for me and that's you know speaks volume i have um friends for 10 years that have stopped by me i have friends that i've met in the rooms of n a narcotics anonymous who can relate to my story um i have friends i met in my bipolar support group who can relate to my story um on average i text about 20 people a day if i'm just sending a motivational quote because that's my thing i like to think that i'm a walking affirmation but positive affirmation book um because my one of my life mottos is fake it to you naked so i really try to be as positive as i can even if i don't believe it and uh just force those motivational quotes in um but yeah support system is so important um without them i know my journey would be a lot harder and much more difficult if i didn't have them by my side yeah i agree i think i think you know whether you have bipolar or mental illness or not i think we all need a strong support network to remind us that we belong right and that we're loved you know however we show up so i love that you've created that and that's intentional on your part it sounds like that you've really created that and and you hold that you know you hold that support network with great value and you interact with them regularly intentionally yeah absolutely i'm wondering um you know you shared that you're on two mood stabilizers and you're on an antipsychotic medication is that is that a hope that you'll never have to have symptoms of bipolar again well um unfortunately i've come to the rationalization that there will be a day that my mania returns whether it be as strong as it once was because i'm not using substances anymore you know that just magnifies and intensifies the symptoms um you know hopefully it'll be a lot more manageable but i have realized that you know my symptoms may never go away but the medication does help manage it every day i'm on lithium laminto and respidol and they do they do help keep my symptoms at bay uh since january i haven't experienced any depression um no manic symptoms uh i actually for the first time in my life and i'm 33 years old i was diagnosed when i was 18. um i feel even i don't feel like it's a rollercoaster of highs and lows i feel like it's an even keel of things and um i'm very happy to say that because it's took many trials of different medications over the last couple of years i'm so happy that if i finally found a cocktail if you would that actually works for me um because many medications did not and you know i wasn't compliant with them of course because i would become manic and i would feel on top of the world or because medications take up to six to eight weeks to actually work and get into your system i would grow impatient and i would say you know forget this these medications are not working i might as well just stop taking them so i never really was compliant enough for the medication to work um but yeah to answer your question sorry to go off on a little tangent but um yeah the medication definitely helps manage the symptoms well and i'm glad you went off on that tangent because your story isn't unique to people struggling with bipolar that's that's really part of the symptomology that's part of the challenge is to be able to stick with the medication when you feel good right when that mania is starting to kick on and so i love that you've addressed that and talked about the challenge of staying you know compliant that's the word you use compliant but dedicated to taking that medication because you know that it helps and it makes a difference i'm i'm curious and and i think you kind of address this a little bit in the nature of your your mania is likely to come back even on the medication on some level um how how will you do you have a plan in place to recognize when it's coming back and what you'll do to protect yourself during that time i do i have what's called a wrap packet it's a wellness recovery action plan um and states all my triggers my first warning signs and i have a whole big list you know uh first and obvious one is that i'm not sleeping if i go a 24 hours without sleeping it's time to hand over my phone to my sister hand over the keys of my car to my sister give her my credit cards [Music] and they that may seem drastic but i'm willing to take those drastic steps in order for it not to evolve into this huge dramatic episode where i lose everything and have to rebuild my life over again for the umpteen time like i've had to pick up my pieces and clean up my messes so many times in life that i don't want to do it anymore so any little bit of a sign whether it be then drinking like eight cups of coffee going on social media right now i don't have any social media because it is a trigger for me i only do linkedin um going on social media posting um frantically um you know reaching out to people of my past that i wouldn't talk to um going online shopping doing online shopping um just those are you know my biggest warning signs so if i see an inkling of those i know that i need to turn my belongings and my things over to my sister that's a huge step and and here's my question for you and because because i don't know the answer to this but i think you might is when you're starting to feel that mania coming on will you be able to to take that action will you have the capacity to take those steps on your own in the past you know if you were to ask me if i was manic i would be in complete denial i would say why can't you just be happy for me that i'm actually feeling good that i'm no longer depressed why can't you just be happy for me and uh i can say today that i hope i should say i hope that my next manic episode i will be able to see because there is some sort of physical sensation that goes along with mania i get very hot i get very tense and um i like my mind it just it feels different so there are gold sensations that go along with mania um and i think i can that i can use the skills i've learned in partial hospitalization and iop to to you know one of the skills they like to use uh i don't know if it's called acronyms you know where like stop the f stands for something the t stands for something oh in the p stand for something so i can use that um practice of stop and you know check my surroundings think about my thinking observe and practice i think those is what is happening don't quote me i don't have my uh i don't have my um skills notes out at the moment but um so i can use those skills i've learned to either slow down the process or [Music] become more aware because in the past i was not aware of it in the slightest bit that's incredible and i love the detail that you go into of of creating a plan you know you're very intentional about creating a plan to try and keep yourself safe as you because you know that mania typically is what comes first and you know what that feels like you know what the signs are and you have a plan so once you hand over all of your things all your possessions to protect from those consequences what happens if you continue down the mania and your medication isn't managing it then what's next well you know um i would obviously contact my doctor and tell my doctor or if i can't contact my doctor i know i can lean on my support system and rely on them that they will contact my doctor for me and tell them that i'm exhibiting signs and it seems to be progressing and i need a med change or i need to be seen today or i need to go back into the hospital where i can safely be um i want to say watch but i can a hospital to me i always joke a stay at the hospital is like a vacation from reality you know you're in there for a week or two weeks and the outside world is like non-existent and you're just simply working on yourself so worst case scenario i would sign myself into a hospital that's and and that's um you know that's not light i i know people who who have been through your your path right many times with bipolar and and they have been successful at identifying the trigger pieces right those symptoms that start to show up in the signs of it and they do exactly what you just said they check themselves into the hospital to keep themselves safe while they experience this bipolar episode right and they have just like you it's it's not it has to be a decision that's made beforehand and it has to be an action that you take before it gets out of control and that that's a learning process in and of itself um it's not like you come with a a manual that says okay here i have bipolar and this is what i'm going to do it just doesn't work that way right it's usually a process of of you know i'm going to try this and it didn't work and i'm going to try something else and there's like you said those consequences that you don't want to have anymore and so it's it's an interesting journey i am i would really love to be able to have conversations with you in the future too and and maybe even have you on the program because i think the information you're sharing is vital for people to understand that in in a bipolar episode you don't have the capacity to make those decisions and probably are not willing to allow other people to help you make um good decisions sometimes shelley i just the best i could do is write it out just simply sit back and wait until the episode takes its course and i either crash and go into a depression or i come out of it like that's sometimes the best i can do and and that has to be enough right yeah but like you talked about you still you still are dealing with the ramifications the feelings the shame the guilt all of that that you've experienced based on your bipolar and that's tough that's a tough place and and i love how you've surrounded yourself with people that can give you positive feedback that can give you perspective of you know the difference i like the way you you know the aaron who's a normie i think that was the word you used the normie that you know the aaron that's depressed the aaron that is experiencing um manic you know a manic episode and um and i you know i i can see some of the strategies that you've put in place and that you've learned in order to help you manage something that you're going to probably live with um for for you know for your entire life and and starting to have that acceptance of this really is what it is it was very hard for me to come to that acceptance of you know it's never going away this is something that i'm going to have to learn to live with because it's never going to leave my side and you know i'm going to die with being bipolar you know i uh and i choose my words very carefully um i try not to say i am bipolar rather than i have bipolar um because yes it's uh going to stay with me it's just a like i mentioned earlier it's just a part of who i am um and i've come to an acceptance with that and it took me it took me a good 15 years to come to that acceptance but uh you know i'm here now and that's all that matters well something else that you mentioned that i think is fairly interesting and and complicates the bipolar situation and maybe then maybe the bipolar makes you more at risk of what you said ptsd or post traumatic stress disorder um some of the experiences that you've had in an episode in a bipolar episode episode um i i'm making an assumption here and you correct me is is contributing to that ptsd uh yes and no uh also um things have that have happened prior to my diagnosis that i didn't have any control of i usually say um when people say that i i have ptsd i kind of feel a certain way to it because i feel as if the trauma in my life i brought on when i think of trauma i think of bad things that have happened to you um there was one incident when i was a teenager i had no control over and uh you know it brought me to using drugs and alcohol um but the other instance like my psychotic break maybe i didn't have control i definitely did have control over it but i didn't do the maintenance i wasn't proactive about my illness which led me to there so you know i struggle with that diagnosis but i do experience some of the symptoms like flashbacks nightmares um certain i can't be in crowds sometimes uh i can't have my back face to people um i have trust issues so but you know it's just another part of who i am right and it just it's just another feature of what you have to be aware of right and how you have to take care of yourself um and that your journey your journey of healing or growing and learning is going to be lifelong as well because these are challenges that you have to face and figure out and they're not always going to stay the same because as you grow and learn and mature those experiences and the way it manifests are probably going to shift some too absolutely and you know my symptoms may look different than a couple of years from now than they do today you know and that i have to shift and resolve my treatment towards you know the different uh ways my symptom shows itself yeah which i mean just you can just i think everyone can hear your story and hear the challenge that really faces you in a compromised situation right with your episodes starting so i i am i'm i'm absolutely um uh i have so i'm so curious right i'm so curious and want to ask lots of questions because i know people that struggle just like you've struggled that still struggle and so i guess the question that i want to ask you is for somebody somebody who's struggling with bipolar and similar things that you've experienced and maybe a family member what's your advice to them and how would you talk to them to to help them understand what they're experiencing and what they can do to get help my number one advice would be listen to your support um when the people that love you and care about you are telling you that they know this is changing you and it's time to get help listen to them don't fight them on it and that's go ahead obviously you know go seek help don't be ashamed uh this is something that you cannot fight yes i mentioned that i have to fight every day to combat my thoughts but there's no running away from bipolar um you must face it you know there's a there's an i don't know if that's right word acronym but for fear it's faith everything and uh recover and that's the way i choose to live my life i take things head on but my biggest advice would be to listen to the people who love you and care about you i like that and and how who will they who would you recommend you know if somebody's getting ready to face this for the first time or you know knows that they need help where should they start [Music] um you know sometimes starting a support group may be a good start to get to know your symptoms and know yourself a little better if you don't want to go to a doctor right away um go to a support group find people who are in the community who are able to live productive be productive members of society um ask some questions you know how i'm experiencing this you know these groups that i run um they're peer support groups so they're peer run we're not professionals we're not therapists we're not doctors we can only give our experience and our support [Music] so i would not go to google definitely not i would not turn to dr google that's for sure because ah i've done that excuse me i've done that myself and diagnosed myself as a schizophrenic when i don't exhibit any of the signs but i was like hmm that seems right that seems like i sometimes do that but i was doing those things in a manic episode so you know it's not schizophrenic but schizophrenia but um yeah i would i would suggest checking out support groups in your area i love that advice and and if somebody i mean would you are you open to people reaching out to you and asking you for support is that something that you're interested in and if somebody if they wanted to reach you and connect with you um what's the best way for them to do that they can write me emails uh i don't feel comfortable giving out my phone number um but they definitely can write me an email or they can find me on linkedin that's the only social media that i have uh erin baza e-r-i-n-b-o-z-z-a fantastic and do you want to share your email or you just want them to find you on linkedin uh they could just find me on linkedin okay excellent i love that um you know i think a lot of people are going to relate to your story and i can't tell you um how much it means to me to have you share that and and be willing to share something that's been really really hard so that you you know for the purpose of helping others um because i think it's that why that you talked about that makes everything you've been through really worth it absolutely yes um it's pretty much the only way that i can turn such a negative story and the negative outcome and life experience into a positive one by helping others yeah you have to flip it right you can't stay in that negative so you have to find what is the positive angle to this yeah and that's a lot of work in and of itself oh yes it is it took me a long time to be able to combat those thoughts and change um those that thinking around and i can hear that you're still working on it like you're still in that practice and you're reminding yourself of what your skills are and those acronyms that you talked about with stop and fear and you're using your tools and i think that's incredible because that's that's really one step at a time right yeah just one more that i want i told you i'm a walking positive affirmation one more i want to tell everyone is hope hold on pain ends so hold on pain ends when you think you're at the end of the road and you can't see any light and you feel like if you have nowhere to turn this is all temporary and it will go everything must have an end so uh you know these are all things that are temporary they're not permanent and you can get through it we do recover i love that can i quote you on that one sure nice i love that um it's been an absolute honor and i'm pretty sure i'm not the one [Laughter] it's uh it's been a it's just been an absolute honor and privilege to hear your story and and have you share your your thoughts and ideas so i just want to thank you aaron for being willing to be vulnerable here with us thank you um and thank you to you and kurt for welcoming me and inviting me to do this wonderful experience uh you know i think it's really great what you two are doing by bringing awareness to something that was so hush-hush for so many years and i think it's great and i hope that you guys keep on doing it and keep bringing the word out and spreading that awareness and ending this stigma again thank you for giving me a chance to share my story thank you your pleasure thanks for being on

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