Speaker 0 00:00:00 Have you ever struggled with shame, depression, or anxiety after your brain injury? My guest today, Julie Cooch, is a life coach, mother of five, and just a really awesome human. I enjoyed our conversation greatly. She talks about being your own advocate, really taking considerations for your own health because doctors and other people in your life may have different ideas. The second takeaway was the importance of sleep. So she talks about a digital sunset and specific tips about how you can start routines to increase sleep and calm things down at night. Let’s take a listen.
Speaker 2 00:00:59 Hi everyone. Welcome to the TBI Therapist podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Jen Blin shot, where we explore the heart of brain injury.
Speaker 0 00:01:21 Hi, Julie. Welcome to the podcast.
Speaker 3 00:01:23 Hey, I’m so glad to be here. Thank you.
Speaker 0 00:01:26 It’s so great to have you. So, Julie Cooch is joining us today on the TBI Therapist podcast, and she is a brain injury coach and is sharing a little bit about her story and just some real great tips from someone who’s been through it as well as someone who’s sharing how to do this journey with other people. Totally. So, so Julie, I’ll just kick it off to you and tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re doing in this brain injury world.
Speaker 3 00:01:57 Yes. Um, this is where my heart is. I love helping people with brain injuries. I am a life coach for people with brain injuries. However you got them, I can help you. So I love helping them. I’ve had two brain injuries myself. I had a stroke and a concussion, and so it’s very near and dear to my heart. And I help my clients, um, with the pain of like who they used to be and mourning that loss. And I also help them accept who they are now and let go of the story that they tell themselves about what life should have been like. And then I also help them look forward to their future with a lot of hope and joy and excitement. So I think a lot of the times when we have brain injuries, we actually make it harder on ourselves because we have all of the symptoms of a brain injury, but then we pile on like a lot of guilt and shame and embarrassment on top of that. And I feel like that really keeps you from, um, recovering better and quicker.
Speaker 0 00:02:59 Yeah. So, so talk to us a little bit about how people can kind of get over out of, I call them like shame cloud. So a lot of times when I talk with folks, um, I always talk about shame as being kind of the clouds to your joy or the clouds to those, those things that you really wanna get to in life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So maybe talk a little bit Yeah. Talk a little bit about shame and what you have noticed either with clients or yourself.
Speaker 3 00:03:28 Yeah. I love how you said the shame cloud. Cause that’s exactly what it is. Um, and shame is, you know, it’s like when we tell ourselves that we are wrong or we are bad, you know, we’ve done something wrong. Us as a whole, as a person is, is bad, right or wrong. Instead of just being like, this thing happened and I don’t like this circumstance. Or instead of saying like, I am depressed, Right? That’s like shame. I feel depressed. Right? So for me and my clients, what what I do is I really help them to differentiate between these two things, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you are not your brain and injury. You are not your stroke. You are not your concussion. The this thing happened. And if we can get ourselves a little bit of separation okay. Between it, if we can get out of kind of the victim mode as well, I think that really encomp like gets you into the shame mode as well. You can get out of the victim mode and know that this has nothing to do with your value, with your worth. It has nothing to do with you as a person. This is something that happened that we can get through, but when we make it mean something about us who we are, our value, our worth, then, then there’s nothing left. But shame, right?
Speaker 0 00:04:41 Yeah. Yeah. It reminds me a little bit of, of bene brown, which you may have read a ton of bene brown, I don’t know. Um, but I’m sure she’s awesome. Yes. So her definition of shame is shame is, I am bad and, and guilt is I did something bad. And I think with brain injury it tends to be shame because like you’re talking about, we attach, my, the folks that I work with will attach themselves to the injury. Oh, you know, like this, this thing happened and now I am bad, I am dumb, I am slow, I am. So they start to attach those, those shameful messages to themselves, the personhood instead of saying like, Hey, this is a horrible tragedy that happened, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t affect the person that I am necessarily, It doesn’t affect my personhood, if that makes sense.
Speaker 3 00:05:31 Yeah. And Jennifer, that was totally me. When I had a stroke, I was in that shame cloud that you’re talking about. I met it, I let it mean so much about who I was, my value. I really valued my, um, my whole being on a to-do list, like how much I can get done, my productivity, all my accomplishments. And when you have a brain injury that’s all gone, you can’t get much done. Most of us can’t. Yeah. So I really had to reframe my brain to get out of that shame. And, but that’s what I did for, for years. I felt so much shame about who I was and so much embarrassment. I really hid. So I teach my clients how to get out of hiding, you know, how to love themselves again.
Speaker 0 00:06:11 Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:06:13 Like, I love you no matter what. I, you know, I said those things. I did those things. I couldn’t do those things, but I love you anyways. Right? Like, I do that to myself all the time. Still, you know, I, I may have said those things I didn’t mean, but I love you anyways.
Speaker 0 00:06:29 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is that, and like you’re talking to yourself through that. Is that
Speaker 3 00:06:33 Yeah. Yeah. And I teach my clients that too. Like, you can just love yourself despite what’s going on, despite your inhibitions or your shortcomings. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make, it doesn’t change your value at all.
Speaker 0 00:06:46 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I’m curious about what, you know, what the person with a brain injury, I’m thinking of the people I’ve worked with who are driven, uh, you know, they come from a career where they come from, like being the mom who could do it all. And then when they can’t do it all, it’s so hard for them to have that self-compassion, to have that self-love. So it’s the cognitive knowledge, like, yes, I should think I’m, I’m good. I should think that it was an injury. But inside I just feel horrible.
Speaker 3 00:07:20 Yeah. You know, you really have to go through this process of mourning your old self. You know, when someone dies, we mourn the loss of mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that loved one. We really mourn and we cry and we fill all the fills and it’s sad. And it, it takes time to mourn that. And it’s no different than changing from free brain injury to who you are now. You really do need to go through a process of mourning the loss of who you were and, and letting go of that person. And we love that person. She got us here and, and she’ll continue to help us, but part of her, we just need to let go of. Because if we don’t, we continue to just keep on looking to the past and we actually use the place to hurt ourselves now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Right. Because it’s like, I used to be so amazing, now I suck <laugh>, right? Yeah. So it’s really just beats ourselves up. So it’s a real morning process that we, that we let go of her so that we can embrace the new self. The new self is amazing. It’s so great, but we can’t see that if we’re always looking to the past and worrying about who we were then and when we’re gonna get back to that person.
Speaker 0 00:08:28 Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense. That, and and I hear that in people’s language so much. Like, you know, when will I, when will this happen? Or when will I get back to doing this? When will I get back to being okay with my job? Okay. With being at home.
Speaker 3 00:08:45 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And that’s all I looked forward to after I had the stroke. I, I wanted the doctors to tell me when I would be back to my old self mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s all I cared about.
Speaker 0 00:08:56 Right. And it makes a lot of sense for so many reasons in folks recovery. Cuz I think the family is rallied around you in that beginning, those beginning phases. They’re so worried about you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they’re checking to make sure, and then when you kind of quote unquote, and I’m doing, air quotes seem, Okay, then you’re back to normal. Right? Like, they don’t, I’m don’t understand that there’s, there’s all these things happening inside of you, which I can speak to the, I’m sure you could speak more to that invisible injury piece of looking Okay. But not feeling okay and not acting like you used to act.
Speaker 3 00:09:28 Oh, yeah. And I was really caught up in that because I cared a lot about what people thought about me, and I really wanted to, to portray this Julie that I was before. So I really tried to show up as who I was before, and I kind of pulled it off, but it left me exhausted mm-hmm. <affirmative> for days, sometimes weeks. And then also was I wasn’t being true to myself. So there’s also a problem there where I was being a fake version of myself. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so, I mean, after most, most of my, um, my injury was internal, so I had a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, um, panic attacks, things like that. I couldn’t get up off the couch. So that’s where it affected me the most. I didn’t have a lot of physical injury, so Yeah. Like I, I was speaking fine, Right. Sometimes I fumble over my words, I still do. But it was internal. So when people say, Gosh, you look so good for having a stroke six months ago. And I was like, Yeah. You know, And it, and it also, it actually kind of hurts because you’re like, I guess I should be better. I guess I should be further along than I am. I guess I’m not recovered as much as I should be recovered. Does that make sense?
Speaker 0 00:10:45 Right. Yeah. Cause I think, you know, there’s no yardstick for that. There’s no one really tells you like, where should I be in six months? Where should I be in a year, two years? No. And then socially we don’t have concepts or kind of norms around what to do after someone has a brain injury. So that like, they see you, you look quote unquote normal like you used to look, and that must mean that you feel better.
Speaker 3 00:11:13 Right. Right. And you know, it’s been 13 years since my first brain injury, since the stroke happened. And I will tell you that I am not the same person I was before the stroke. And I am a hundred percent okay with that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I have learned so much through having both of these brain injuries that I, I love that old Julie, like before the stroke happened. She is great, I love her. But the person that I’ve become and developed along the way with these brain injuries, you know what? I’m really happy to be me even with all my shortcomings, even with all the things that happen, I would not change a thing. I honestly wouldn’t. The thing that I’ve learned, the empathy that I’ve gained through having, you know, depression and anxiety and having a brain injury, two brain injuries has changed me so much. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. So no, I’ll never be hurt. But I stopped yearning to be that old person before the brain injury. Now I fully accept who I am now and I’m really glad about who I am and what I’ve learned through this process.
Speaker 0 00:12:16 That’s awesome. Yeah. And I’m wondering, I’m just going back a little bit to what you were saying about depression and anxiety, and those are frequently symptoms that I see with almost every brain injury. That there’s, there’s some pieces of depression and anxiety and sometimes trauma. And I’m just curious about what that was like for you. What was your hardest struggle during that time and how maybe you got got help or found your way out of those symptoms?
Speaker 3 00:12:44 Yeah, you know, I remember, um, when I was in the thick of a, I was sitting on my couch where I always was after my stroke. And I looked at the kitchen and I said, Okay, this time you’re gonna get up. You’re gonna make dinner for your family. I had two young kids at the time and I was gonna get up and just make some spaghetti. Right. And I, in my brain, I like went through the steps. One boiled water, two, put the nail in three, get ’em out, put some thoughts on, grab the cheese, like there’s dinner, it can’t be that hard. What is the matter with you just get up and do the dinner. Right? I was just like screaming at myself like, You can’t even make dinner like this simple dinner. What’s the matter with you? And I just remember crying and just sobbing because that was so hard to do.
Speaker 3 00:13:30 And I didn’t, I did, I could not get up and make a simple dinner for my family. I just felt so devastated and so down and everything was hard. Right. Laundry playing with the kids, you know, answering the phone. I couldn’t answer the phone. It was so, so challenging. Um, my kids remember one time they were playing in the tub and they were just having fun. They were yelling, they were fighting a little bit like kids do. They were, I have five kids now, but I just had two at the time. They were three and one. And, um, the noise was just driving me insane. I was just, it was making me feel so upset. And I went in there and I just screamed at these little kids, these darling kids. I screamed at them, I yelled at them. They started to cry and they were scared of their mommy.
Speaker 3 00:14:19 Right. And I just felt like it was all their fault that I felt so horrible. So about that point, I kind of hit rock bottom. Um, my husband took the kids to dinner and I was home alone. And I, I didn’t know that depression was any part of having a stroke. Like nobody told me, like, Look for these symptoms, look for these signs. You might be really anxious. You might have lots of depression. You might have extremely high and low mood swings. So I just was kind of felt lost. And so I felt really brave that night. And I got on my computer and I googled, what are the signs of depression? And that might seem like not a big deal to you guys, but that was a huge deal to me because that’s not who I was.
Speaker 0 00:15:01 Of course,
Speaker 3 00:15:02 I was a super go-getter. I was running marathons. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, depression was just not for me. That was for other people. Right.
Speaker 0 00:15:10 And, um, I’ve heard that so many times from, from people in brain injury recovery. Like, I’ve never had anxiety, I’ve never had depression. I’ve never had X, Y, and Z. So I think to not struggle at all with mental health before, which I’ve had both cases where someone struggled with mental health, you know, before, and so they knew that kind of what that felt like. And then after they’ve never experienced it and what that was like.
Speaker 3 00:15:35 Yeah. It was really humbling and really hard just to even open up my computer and type it in. And I found this article that said like, the top 10 signs of depression. And I had nine of the 10 and it was so hard. It was so, but I was embarrassed. Right. I had so much shame about being someone with depression, but I had been in this deep, deep pit of this despair for so long and I’d been trying to climb my way out of it by myself. And no matter what I did, I could not get out of it.
Speaker 0 00:16:13 So what did you do in those moments? Did anyone help? Did were you able to speak with someone who maybe was able to understand a little bit of what you were going through?
Speaker 3 00:16:23 Yeah. You know, I did. Um, after that I did go to my doctor and say, Listen, this is what happened. And she goes, Yeah, you know, people do get, typically people do get, you know, depression and, and lots of anxiety and things when they have a, you know, so I got on some medication, which was very helpful at the time, but it, I knew that it wasn’t a permanent fix. I knew that I needed to get help. Um, and I, and I didn’t wanna be the person that I was. Right. Um, so part of the help that I was getting is I started to see a life coach and she really helped me to just deal with my symptoms. She didn’t of course make any of the symptoms go away mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but she gave me all the tools I needed to deal with my symptoms because like I said, I’d wish so much that I was my old self.
Speaker 3 00:17:07 I always thought about her. You know, I always wish that, that this hadn’t happened to me and I just lived in the past so, so much. So my life coach, she really helped me to just let go of all of this. Um, she helped me to accept who I was with my symptoms, like nothing is going away. Right. Um, she helped me to love myself again. I went from completely hating myself to actually loving myself, which is was like a huge miracle. I I didn’t think that could happen. Um, she also helped me to be really excited about my future, to have hope again and to realize like I could still make my dreams come true even with a stroke, even with all these symptoms.
Speaker 0 00:17:46 Yeah. You know,
Speaker 3 00:17:47 So I, I really changed from being a victim of my stroke to being empowered because of my stroke.
Speaker 0 00:17:53 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I think that’s awesome. And I think it’s interesting to highlight that you use coaching versus counseling to manage depression symptoms, but you did see your doctor initially, so you saw your doctor mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then you chose to kind of work through those emotions through coaching, which I think is a wonderful option because there’s not enough trained counselors in the brain injury world. I know that as a counselor and a psychologist mm-hmm. <affirmative> that I, I have very few people I can refer to. So if there is, is someone who can provide support for you, I think that you should find that person. And it could be coaching that might be a better fit. If you’re not clinic, I would say clinically depressed, I would, I’d want you to always see your doctor first. And I could put like maybe a link to like a depression screener, um, just for folks if they, you know, are interested in, in wondering from hearing you if they have depression. I think it’s, it’s, it’s good just to know what the resources are for folks.
Speaker 3 00:18:51 I absolutely agree. And you know, if, if one of my symptoms had been, you know, suicidal tendencies or, you know, thoughts of suicide, then I would not have gone that route at all. I would not have gone to a coach. I would’ve definitely gone to a therapist. So, you know, after, after looking and assessing my symptoms, that’s why I went to a coach. But I was also really prideful. Right? Like, I also was like, I don’t need a therapist. You know, I was still very prideful at the time, which now I’m like, no, everybody needs a therapist. <laugh>. We all do. Or a life coach or somebody. We all, you know, especially Elizabeth with brain injuries, I still have symptoms. Right. I have a therapist and a life coach right now. It’s amazing. I love it.
Speaker 0 00:19:33 Same <laugh> like, you know, I did too. So,
Speaker 3 00:19:37 So that was just where I was at the time and, and that was able to help me. But, but everybody’s route is very different. So, you know, you go, if you have a broken femur, you go to the right doctor, just make sure you get to the right person, whoever that is.
Speaker 0 00:19:53 Yeah. And sometimes that takes trial and error. I’ve found. I, you know, I always tell people when they come to work with me, I want to make sure that this is a good fit. I wanna make sure that you feel comfortable. And if not, then we need to find someone where you do feel comfortable. That’s so important. Absolutely. And there’s great research on the fit, but if we’re talking about therapy, the fit between the therapist and the client, and if they feel comfortable, the treatment is more effective. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I would think, I don’t know the research on, on coaching and the fit between client, which I, I feel like I wanna look up cuz it seems so interesting. You know, I’m sure that would be the same. Like, do I feel comfortable? Do they kinda share my values is so important. Okay. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I think we talked about, we, we definitely talked about the breakdown, right? And the spiritual awakening piece, you know, that a lot of times can come out of the breakdown. And I’m just wondering, was there a hopeful moment? Was there a moment where you saw like the sun piercing through those clouds of shame or an aha moment for you?
Speaker 3 00:20:57 Yeah, you know, there really was, um, after I started to feel better, I started to feel empowered, right? Because as soon as I let go of that strong tie between my value, right? And, and my to-do list, as soon as I let go of that and my aha moment was really like, listen, it does not matter what you accomplish, what you do, None of that matters. What matters is, is that I live the best life I can with what I’ve been given. We’ve all been given, you know, certain challenges and the moment I released that link between my accomplishments and my value, I was able to totally break three and, and get better. That really was a huge key for me. Cause as long as I base my value on what I could get done, I always sucked. I was always bad because I just had so many bad days. I always failed. It was always a failure. And so as soon as I let go of that and went, Listen, I just get to exist on this earth and that is my job, and I just get to decide how I show up and, and my value is not set on anything that I get done during the day. And that was a huge shift for me. Yeah. It was the best thing that could have ever happened though.
Speaker 0 00:22:24 Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:22:26 I love myself no matter what. Even if I sit and each, you know, Doritos and watch Netflix, right. Which that doesn’t feel good, but I don’t go, Oh my gosh, I’m a horrible person. I have so much shame. I go, uh, I didn’t handle that situation that great. You know? Right. And then I move on and then I move on. I go, Okay, that’s not how I want to be, but I don’t cover it with all that, that shame cloud like you talked about.
Speaker 0 00:22:52 Yeah. Mm. That’s wonderful. I think it’s so important. I think that’s what I’m hearing from you is the distinction on value that I’m valuable because I’m, I’m a human and I exist on this earth and I don’t have to have all the things either behind my name or accomplishments that you were talking about. You’re a marathon runner that I didn’t complete, you know, 10 million marathons and have all these medals from, from those goals, right?
Speaker 3 00:23:20 Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Speaker 0 00:23:23 Yeah. Okay. So I’m wondering if you can share some insights, tips or hacks, anything that you wanna share with folks about recovery and what’s worked for you.
Speaker 3 00:23:38 Yeah, I would love to. I feel like my whole life is a one hacka another after a brain injury. You have to tweak things around and figure things out. Um, for one thing I feel like the, the most important thing is you need to advocate for yourself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So only you know you best, Right? Your doctors, they’re doing their best. Um, your therapists, they’re doing their best. All people are helping you, your family, they all are doing their best, but only you know, you. So, you know, take a step back from everything and you decide what you need for recovery. Right. And really try to get in tune with, with you know, what doctors you need, what tests you might need. All of the things. Yeah. So I really wanted to advocate for myself because nobody cares about my health as much as I do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> turns out, turns out it’s me that cares the most. Right. So do the things that help you. And then there’s so many hacks along the way to help, Right? Like get enough sleep. Sleep is huge.
Speaker 0 00:24:39 That is huge.
Speaker 3 00:24:40 Brain injury needs so much sleep. We don’t, we, we as Americans, right? Like we don’t value sleep like their countries do. Or like, the less sleep you get, the stronger and tougher you are, but your brain is healing. It needs so much energy and it it gets that when you sleep. So get enough sleep.
Speaker 0 00:24:57 Yeah. Right. So important. I think I was reading that upwards of 70, 70% of people in the initial phases of the recovery have sleep problems. And then 30% ongoing can have persistent ongoing problems with sleep after a concussion or brain injury. I’ll have to look at the study and see if, what if it was an ABI or a concussion. But I, and I’ve known that just seeing folks come, come in the office and sleep is one of the biggest issues. And I know it would affects their mood a lot for sure. You know, they had a crappy night of sleep and they come in and they’re just like, everything sucks <laugh>. Like, and I’m like, you’re tired, you’re exhausted. I get that’s probably the big part. So any tips about sleep that you found that
Speaker 3 00:25:43 Has spark? Yeah, I would say like making routines for your sleep. So, um, set up routines beforehand, right? Like if you, if you always are brushing your teeth, you know, before you go to bed, like set that routine up and try to, try to make it set at at the same time, right? Like, if I brush my teeth, then I get into bed. Lots of things I like to do is I like to take a bath before I go to bed. That just helps me to relax. I put some basals in there, it settles down my mind. And so that’s kind of, I set up a good routine for myself. So I, I usually take a bath, I do my bath salts. It, it calms me down a little bit. It helps me to, you know, stop being so jittery on the day or whatever happened.
Speaker 3 00:26:23 And, um, give yourself plenty of time to, to rest in, you know, to get into bed and to, and to settle into sleep. Right? We all know like a darker room is gonna be good. A cooler room is gonna serve you very well. Um, don’t eat a lot before you go to bed. That’s also a thing, right? If you can, if you can stop eating like three to five hours before you sleep, that’s also gonna help you sleep better. Um, I think I try to drink about a hundred ounces of water every day. Of course not right before you go to bed. <laugh> that does
Speaker 0 00:26:55 Not help you sleep.
Speaker 3 00:26:57 Let’s not do that. But you out the day, if you can just increase your water, that really helps your system move and get going. So I would say, you know, that healthy parameters for your sleep, like that is your self care. So set up. I know like, I like to see a late too, but I regret it the next day and, and maybe days later I, so you really wanna just go, this is my self care, I’m getting enough sleep and that’s gonna really help your recovery so much better.
Speaker 0 00:27:29 Yes. I like that you have a habit and narrative of the bath and the salts. You know, I love when people have certain things that help them wind down and they’re the same types of things that they do every single night. Yeah. For me it’s a novel. Like I don’t, I can’t read anything that’s brainy before bed. And I used to, and then I would be like writing in my journal, like, okay, I gotta remember X, y, and z and I do have a notepad just in case like, my brain won’t. So I do a, if I need to do a brain dump, I can do it.
Speaker 3 00:27:57 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Speaker 0 00:27:59 But that novel will just kind of kinda escape in my mind away. And it’s a nice little ending to the day.
Speaker 3 00:28:05 That’s perfect. Yeah. I I also,
Speaker 0 00:28:07 That’s really, which I know some people can’t tolerate the reading, so I know that’s a gift that I can do.
Speaker 3 00:28:12 Go ahead. Also like a digital sunset, right? We talk about getting those lights away from our eyes and we’re, we all love our phones. I love my phone. Right? Right. Having a digital sunset an hour, you know, start with like 20 minutes before you go to sleep. Right. And then don’t look at your phone for 20 minutes and work your way up until you have a full hour before you sleep that you don’t look at your phone. That’s really gonna help you get more rest. It’s gonna help your rem sleep, it’s gonna help your deep sleep, It’s gonna help you just get a better night’s rest. Yeah. A digital sense is really gonna be super helpful. So I do it, I do an hour before I go to sleep. I get off my phone, I plug it in and then I, I, you know, don’t look at it.
Speaker 0 00:28:53 Awesome. Get the phone out of the bedroom please. <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:28:58 Right, right. I, yeah. And I plug it in in my closet so I have a plug in my closet. Or you could do it by your toothbrush, by your, in your bathroom.
Speaker 0 00:29:05 So
Speaker 3 00:29:05 There’s lots of ways to do it.
Speaker 0 00:29:08 So important. So important. Okay. And I just have some quick fun questions for our last little bit. I could talk to you all day, but we should probably fun. Yeah. So some, some fire questions. Um, we did talk about habits, so I’m not gonna really gonna ask about routines cuz I think you talked about doing some of that. But I will ask you about your favorite holiday food and who it reminds you of.
Speaker 3 00:29:39 Oh, that is so fun. What a fun question. I love holidays. Um, I love mashed potatoes. Yeah. I love my father-in-law makes the most amazing mashed potatoes in gravy. And it reminds me of, um, my first daughter when she was about, I wanna say like six months old. I was just like, I wanna do everything by the books and no flu, no solids until, you know, this time. And I was just really trying to do everything correctly. And we are, my husband and I were at a party and he, I was talking to someone, I look over at him and my eyes just got huge because I saw him feeding mashed potatoes to my baby. I was six months old and I’d been working so hard to like do everything right and only breast milk and solid weight till nine months, you know. And I looked at him, I, I just was like shocked, like, what are you doing beating our baby <laugh>? You know? Oh, it’s so funny now though, looking back at it because I just remembered like the shock. Like, you’ve ruined everything. All the hard work is gone.
Speaker 0 00:30:46 You ruined my baby.
Speaker 3 00:30:47 Your baby is, she’s never gonna graduate from high school now. You know, it was like that kind of mentality.
Speaker 0 00:30:53 I’m a mom so I know. It’s why I am like izing. I just, I get it cuz we like, we have these things in our mind. We’re like, it has to be this way.
Speaker 3 00:31:00 You don’t understand it’s so important, you know, in your first child. So I always laugh like I’m such a different person now, but I just always laugh, like my freak out on him. Like, what are you doing? Mash potatoes, There’s probably milk in there, you know, <laugh>, Right.
Speaker 0 00:31:14 So funny.
Speaker 3 00:31:15 <laugh>. So yeah, that would be
Speaker 0 00:31:17 My, And she was okay, right?
Speaker 3 00:31:19 She lived, she lived, She she’s a junior. You’re now <laugh>. <laugh> probably gonna graduate too.
Speaker 0 00:31:24 Oh, great. <laugh>. I know. It’s good news. Mashed potatoes are declared safe. So
Speaker 3 00:31:29 Yes. Let’s be safe guys. It’s all good.
Speaker 0 00:31:31 <laugh>. Okay. Uh, one of my last questions is what is one thing you would tell your younger self if you could, This could be your pre-injury self, this could be any younger self that you wanna talk to.
Speaker 3 00:31:44 Oh, Jennifer, this is such a great question. I would say for me, one of my strengths now is my vulnerability that I’m able to say like, I’m having a bad day. I don’t feel great today. Um, mom’s feeling anxious. You guys, you know, like I’m able to just express how I’m feeling now and that’s a huge strength for me. Um, I’m not ashamed of, of what’s going on. And my pre-stroke self, I would never admit that I would never be vulnerable. Right? I always wanted to hide or, or just put on this front like I’m good. No, no, everything’s great, everything’s good. No, I’m fine, I’m fine. And that really turned out to be a really challenging way. And to be just do life and for recovery, that doesn’t help because it’s not true, right? When, when we’re recovering, we have so many emotions happening.
Speaker 3 00:32:38 So I would just say don’t be ashamed of who you are. Like there’s nothing wrong with you at all. Whatever you’re feeling you’re supposed to be feeling and just processing through those emotions is going to help you get rid of those emotions or help them to be less intense. I don’t wanna say get rid of ’em. It just helps ’em to be less intense, Right. So yeah, don’t hide, don’t hide from yourself. Like own your truth, whatever your truth is. If my truth is I’m having a really challenging day, just own it. Like, hey universe, today is a challenging day and it, it feels lighter, it feels better, It feels like you’re being honest with yourself and I’m able to move forward and do life better because you know of my vulnerability.
Speaker 0 00:33:22 Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. That’s great.
Speaker 3 00:33:26 Thank you.
Speaker 0 00:33:27 Well awesome. How can people connect with you? Is there anything you’re putting out in the world that you’d like to tell people about?
Speaker 3 00:33:35 Yes, of course. Yes. So, um, you can go onto my Instagram, which is Julie Cooch coaching. That’s j u l i e k U C h coaching. That’s my Instagram and Facebook. And then you can also go onto my website, same name, julie cooch coaching.com. I would love anyone with their brain injury, with any help that they need. It’s my passion. I love doing it. I was where they are and I can definitely help you get out of your stuckness for sure.
Speaker 0 00:34:05 Awesome. Well thank you so much for being on TBI therapist and I can’t wait to just continue conversations with you. This was really fun.
Speaker 3 00:34:14 Me too. Thank you so much Jen. Have a good one.
Speaker 0 00:34:16 Thanks.
Speaker 3 00:34:18 Bye bye.
Speaker 4 00:34:24 Thank you for joining us today on the TBI Therapist podcast. Please visit tbi therapist.com for more information on brain injury, concussion and mental health. The information shared on today’s podcast is intended to provide information, awareness, and discussion on the topic. It is not clinical or medical advice. If you need mental health or medical advice, please seek a professional.