27 Jan Putting Your Life Back Together
Putting Your Life Back Together
This is from an interview conducted with Dr. Danielle Dalaney by Denecia Jones
Denecia: Hi and welcome to Soul-Well Business. I’m your host, Denecia Jones. And today we want to talk a little bit about putting your life back together after a crisis. Our guest today is certified in crisis intervention counseling, specializing in addiction and recovery, rape crisis, and spiritual counseling. She is also an author. “Expect Delays, how to reclaim your life light and soul after trauma.” She has expertise with adults molested as children, LBGT issues, drug assistant rape, and working with survivors of domestic violence. She has a distinction of being the youngest and only women of color to own a sober companion company in the U S. We are honored to have you, welcome.
Dr. Danielle Delaney. Hi.
Dr. Delaney: Hi. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for making me part of your path. I’m happy to be here.
Denecia: Thank you. I am glad that you’re here as well. These are things that most people don’t really talk about and we need to talk more about it. Thanks for being on the show. Tell us a little bit about how this all started for you.
Dr. Delaney: Well, like you said, it’s a lot to talk about and it’s not the light and fluffy stuff of life. It’s the heavy stuff. It’s the business of recovering from trauma and abuse. And I learned about this originally from experience. I was kidnapped and assaulted in 2005 and my journey of recovery from that involved a lot of therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder treatments, and a lot of different doctors and therapists and support groups. And what I noticed was that it wasn’t being done really effectively. I felt like there was a lot to be desired in the field and the actual story, I mean, that’s the short version of what happened to me, it’s in my book, which is like you said, Expect Delays, how to reclaim your life light and soul after trauma. And it tells all about exactly what happened that night and exactly what my journey was for healing. And what I did was I needed to start my life over basically, I was terribly injured and of course had a lot of trauma response and PTSD from that event. And I took a couple of years to heal and I had to lose my apartment. I had to stay with my family and it was really difficult. And what I did is go back to school when I recognized that people weren’t really treating trauma the way that I felt it should be treated. I started to study not only sex crimes and adults molested as children and working with rape survivors, but I realized as I was doing my internships, that there’s so much overlap with addiction, every single person that would call the rape and suicide hotlines that you’re required to do as you’re getting that licensing, they were all intoxicated or they were all on something. It was very clear to me that they overlap, trauma and addiction are interlinked and kind of inextricable because that’s how people self-medicate when they don’t want to have the thoughts in their brain. They can’t cope with what’s coming in. Then I went back to school for addiction and recovery certifications and licensing and that led me to also realize that spirituality is a big part of that. I have a psychology degree from UCLA, and I went back to school for my doctorate in theology and divinity. That’s what I do now. I have a private practice in Hollywood and I own a sober companion company as well, where I send nurses and companions that could be counselors or doctors to stay with different people as they leave the inpatient facilities, mostly the Malibu ones. There’s about 60 out there, but also all around the world internationally. And I do phone, online and in-person one-on -one sessions, but I send companions worldwide. It’s been really very rewarding to see people heal and to watch that process up close and one on one. It’s important to me.
Denecia: It sounds like you have found your life purpose.
Dr. Delaney: I think so. Hard one, but I’m lucky that I found it.
Denecia: I have clients and they’ve had these issues where all of a sudden their family members are having issues with alcohol or cocaine, or they’re trying to kill themselves. What are some things that you think that a loved one would need to really consider when they’re in this particular situation or they’re around someone who’s in this dark space?
Dr. Delaney: Well, I think what loved ones need to do first… First of all, if it’s trauma-induced, if their addiction comes from molestation or rape, which often that’s, what’s in the history, it’s not about what it’s about. it may not be about the drug of choice or the alcohol. It may be about some trauma that’s underneath that, that they haven’t addressed. First, the most important thing is to believe them, don’t question them or anything like that. It needs to be believed. And that’s the ultimate number one piece of advice for any loved one whose loved one is going through this and they’re the loved one that’s trying to help them need to accept and believe them above all else. That’s number one. Then the next step is to kind of meet them where they are. Are they ready to go to inpatient treatment? Are they ready to go to therapy? Are they ready to look for a support group? And I think the first steps there it’s Google, let your fingers do the walking. It’s no longer the yellow pages, but you can just as easily Google I’m listed in psychology today. There’s many other outlets that also list practitioners and clinicians that can be helpful. And I advise people to really look at what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for domestic violence support, then Google therapists for domestic violence. If you’re looking for rape trauma support, look that up specifically, if you’re looking for addiction and recovery support, Google that specifically, and you’ll find people who specialize in those areas because you don’t want someone who doesn’t do what you need them to do and waste that person’s time, you know, to waste the client’s time. You want to make sure they get who they deserve, that they get the help they deserve. And it is really important and just to be loving and accepting throughout the process.
Denecia: This is something that I’ve never really shared with you, Danielle, and we’ve known each other for some time, but the other reason why I decided to have you on the show is because there was a point in my life where I tried to kill myself and I’m glad that you do what you do because thinking back in that time, it was masking issues from childhood. Never really facing it, feeling like most people do where you just keep on doing and doing things or buying and buying things or drinking or whatever it was to mask the pain, but eventually, it catches up with you. When someone’s in that space and they just feel like they’re just numb to the world, what are some things that they can do to seek their own help? Especially that they’re not telling their loved ones. My family thought that everything was okay. They had no idea, and my friends were shocked. What are some things that you have seen that work really well for people who just know that they’re stuck, but they just don’t know how to get out of that space as well?
Dr. Delaney: Well, I’m sorry that you’ve been through that, but I’m very grateful that you came through the other side, but I’m sorry you experienced that dark place and I’ve been there as well. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and the best thing that you can do is reach for help. We always say, it sounds like a trite platitude, but your closest helping hand is honestly your own. It’s to recognize that you’re in a dark place and that you don’t want to go there. It’s not like anyone wants to commit suicide and leave their loved ones with all of this pain and suffering. That’s what the rape and suicide hotlines were for. The Rainn, R A I N N, is an amazing organization. Their phone number is 800-656-4673 (HOPE). Calling that number, will get you the best help, and the best suggestions quickly. The hotline can provide therapist in the caller’s area and other support that can really open the door to better possibilities for less suffering fast. Another great resource is the suicide hotline, and that phone number is 800-273-8255.
Denecia: And those are important because when people are in that very dark place.
Dr. Delaney: Now there’s even a text line for people who don’t want to talk, that you can actually text the word. “BRAVE,” to 741741 what’s going on and get a text reply within minutes. There’s a lot of ways to reach for help. And it’s just really important to take that step to do so. And telling loved ones can be really important, but it’s very hard when you’re in that space to share and to feel comfortable telling someone and especially when it comes from some childhood trauma. And that’s the thing about being believed, you don’t know what a loved one’s going to say when you tell them what happened to you. And it’s a tough space to be in, but it’s definitely not insurmountable and you’re still here to tell the story and so am I. We know that there are things that can be done. Right. But calling those hotlines, absolutely an amazing lifeline to have. Absolutely.
Denecia: Right. Thank you so much for that. And with regards to support, I actually had a client of mine who had a situation come up where his daughter did try to kill herself and he was very shocked. What’s the attitude that people should have when this happens. Because when he called me, it was really interesting. It just seemed like he was in shock, but then he was like, well, she didn’t get it done though. Like it didn’t happen or just like, I found myself a little upset. I was a little triggered, but it also allowed me to see that sometimes folks are really shocked that a person that’s close to them would actually put that forward. And they’re like, well, if you really wanted to get it done, then you should have gotten it done. And that may not be the best approach, maybe.
Dr. Delaney: Best approach. Exactly. But the thing is, nothing instructs you on what to do. And even if you have instruction on what to do, your head’s not on straight. If you’re finding a loved one hanging, or if you’re finding a loved one unconscious because they took pills. So there’s anger, there’s guilt. There are am overload of many emotions that can come up. We can’t really fault anyone for having a quote-unquote bad reaction, but there is really no correct reaction. Of course, the best-case scenario is to say,” I love you. I’m here to support you. I want you here on this planet. I am happy you didn’t succeed. Your life matters to me and that your life matters.” And that is the response we would all hope for in that kind of circumstance, but for loved ones and parents and anyone who’s around a situation like this, it’s really tough to have a canned response because when you’re in crisis, anything can come out of your mouth and any emotion can come out of your psyche, It’s a tough call to make. But of course, the best-case scenario is to react with kindness and love and understanding and not with anger and not with any other sense of relief or guilt or anything else, but just getting them the help that they need and being present and being strong. It’s tough.
Denecia: It makes sense. Definitely. How long have you been doing this for now?
Dr. Delaney: Wow. I would say, I think on my psychology today profile, it started when I graduated in 2008, I guess 12 years, 12, 13 years time is flying. It’s hard to even calculate it. But yeah, it’s been quite some time and actually I’ve been a natural counselor since I was a child. I feel like people always come to me with their stuff and their issues. And I studied psychology at UCLA when I was 17 onward because I’ve always been fascinated by human behavior and also by spirituality and also by trauma and addiction because it was just surrounding me. I mean, we grew up in an affluent area, but that’s the truth is that addiction does not at all discriminate and it doesn’t matter your race or situation in life or how much money you have. I have celebrities that you would think they have everything and they have nothing. And they also don’t have their anonymity to go after AA or certain avenues of health that the average person can pursue without being recognized. Everybody with problems, it is just, it’s equally, it’s the great equalizer I should say. And I think that it’s always been sort of my calling, but I got distracted earlier on in life and went to the modeling and acting world and all of that stuff. I was in that world for 20 years. But it brought me right back to this moment, to doing what I do today. I feel like the journey brought me to where I was supposed to be.
Denecia: Amazing. Well, with regards to what you do on a regular basis, you’re saving lives and I just commend you for that. How do you take care of yourself? What are some things that you feel are important for folks who may be out there who are in the same field or in different fields? How do you make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and being well throughout the processes you can have a full cup and give to others?
Dr. Delaney: That’s a really good question. And I always go back to that old adage of you cannot serve from an empty vessel and people worry about me. I have friends and even clients and patients that say, are you taking care of you? And I’d say, yes, don’t I seem peaceful. And it’s because I do believe in, well, I’m quite the spa junkie. I am always going to a spa of some kind, whether it’s the Korean body scrub or having the massage therapist that comes up from the app that come over and works on you, or just where I live, there’s a jacuzzi and a gym and a pool. I made sure I had that because it’s important that I don’t want to have to take a vacation from my life to enjoy my life. Just going down there and having an evening in the jacuzzi and relaxing and waking up and drinking green juice and walking on the treadmill, just little things that make me feel good. And then also making sure that I have time for my personal life and my friends and my parents, and I don’t have a lot of it. I don’t have any high-maintenance friends that need to see me all the time they’re aware of what I do, but I do have sort of my go-to people for when I need to talk about something. And I have a therapist, I think every therapist should have a therapist. And we say that in our trade that it’s imperative. We’re not above feeling our feelings and we need to feel them to be able to do that properly for others and to have strong boundaries too. I do all of it, from a hot bath to a hot jacuzzi to a night out with a loved one to making sure I get enough sleep. That’s important. I think self-care is a big part of having a great career. You have to, you have to.
Denecia: Well, thank you, Danielle. I really appreciate Dr. Danielle Delaney. Excuse me. (Laughter)
Dr. Delaney: You can call me Danielle.(Laughter)
Denecia: I appreciate you being here. I didn’t share earlier with the viewers, but Danielle and I go back before she received her doctorate degree. And she’s just an inspiration, we knew each other back in the day before a lot of this has happened for you with regards to what you do. And I just want to thank you again for being of service to the community and just shining your light and allowing people to connect with you to help them shine their own light. For our viewers, how can they find you on social media and on the web?
Dr. Delaney: Well, you can find me everywhere. I’m at Danielle Delaney counseling.com. So that’s Danielle Delaney and counseling is C O U N S E L I N G.com for the website, just DanielleDelaneycounseling.com and then Facebook, DanielleDelaney/Facebook. Then let’s see, Instagram, @DaniDelaney. Feel free to also Google Danielle Delaney or Danielle Delaney counseling, it comes up in Psychology today. I’m pretty reachable. You can reach me through my website very easily. Anyone who is looking for me can find me. You can find my book at expectdelaysbook.com. And that gives you a lot more information too. And any appearances and articles and things that I’ve written or things I’ve done are all on DaniellDelaneycounselling.com.
Denecia: Thank you so much. I appreciate you.
Dr. Delaney: Thank you. Glad to be here.
Denecia: So, viewers if you liked this and want more tips and tricks on work-life balance techniques to keep you uplifted, inspired, and balanced. Like us and subscribe to our channel below. To all of the beautiful souls who are finding their way with grace and ease, thank you for joining us. Until the next time we meet, be beautiful and be well.