Mark Lukach || Navigating Crisis as a Family

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

“We didn’t recognize each other, or ourselves.  How do you reconcile this?  How do you go and redefine how we work together if who we are has taken some pretty fundamental changes?”

Mark and Giulia fell in love at 18 years old and launched into what looked like would be a lifetime of happiness.  Unexpectedly, three years into their marriage their fairy tale fell apart as Giulia encountered struggles with her mental health that neither of them fully understood or knew how to deal with.  

But this isn't just a story about mental illness; it's a story about how a family chose to navigate a crisis  and rebuild their lives based on love, not tragedy.

Mark talks about what led to Giulia's first bout with psychosis and her eventual diagnosis with bipolar disorder.  He shares how as a result they switched roles within their relationship, what it was like for Mark to battle his own depression just as Giulia started to get better, and how they learned to anchor into their new lives both together and individually.  

Both Mark and Giulia hope their son learns from their choice to focus on on love over fear and that life is beautiful, especially when they hold on to each other.


About Mark: Mark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer.  He is the author of a memoir My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward.  His work has been published in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Wired, and other publications.  He is currently the Ninth Grade Dean at The Athenian School, where he also teaches history.  He lives with his wife, Giulia, and their son in the San Francisco Bay area.  
Photo Cred: Alex Souza

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!



Show Notes:
Mark's website, Instagram, and where to find his book
Monica's interview for the Extraordinary Moms Podcast
SURVEY!!!!
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas


Seth Adam Smith || Sharing a Light in the Wilderness

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“Depression loves darkness . . . the only way to fight depression is to bring it into the light.”

I'm sure you read that article "Marriage Isn't For You" that circulated the internet a few years ago.  How am I so sure?  Because everyone read it, as in 100 million strong all over the world.

Seth Adam Smith is the author of that article, as well as four popular books (including his latest work of fiction!).  Seth talks about what it was like to have a VIRAL article and the three years-long mind trip it sent him on as he tried to live up to the internal and external pressure to keep writing pieces to resonate with millions.

Seth is much more than "the marriage guy" his article pegged him to be.  He's been writing for as long as he can remember. One of the common themes he writes about is depression, and he's been doing that long before it was the cool thing to do.

Seth has struggled with chronic depression since he was in third grade, and at his lowest low as a 20 year old, he attempted to commit suicide.  What has risen from his broken soul is completely transformative.  Seth has shifted his intense struggles to instead act as a force for good--or a "light in the wilderness," as he calls it--one that he holds high and proud, calling others to learn that life is worth living, and it is worth living well.

You won't want to miss what Seth says about how we all should want to be "broken," and how he blew my mind with his thoughts on perfectionism.  Please share this episode with anyone who you think can benefit.  (Hint: it's all of us!)


You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!





Show Notes:
Seth's Website, Blog, Instagram, and YouTube Channel
Seth's books: Here, Here, Here, and Here.
Monica's interview for the Extraordinary Moms Podcast
SURVEY!!!!
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas



Extraordinary Moms Podcast--Guest!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I have talked about how motherhood didn't come naturally for me.  This isn't news for you.  But I haven't shared this with then lens of how my struggles with eating disorders and perfectionism also tied into this rough transition as a mother.

I was honored to be a guest of Jessica Dahlquist's podcast, Extraordinary Moms Podcast.  She shared our interview together where I discuss at greater length why I was a perfectionist, what led to my eating disorders, my lowest lows, and how my recovery has taken ten (and going!) years as I also push back on my tendency to want to appear to be perfect.  We also talk about how difficult motherhood has been for me--much to my surprise--but what great lessons I've learned along the way.

If you love the podcast, please share it!  I'm really proud of Jessica and the incredible work she is doing.  I highly recommend you listen to more of her episodes and give her a follow as well.


Lauren Agostinelli-Gessel || Looking for Blessings Despite Chronic Illness

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"God didn’t take it away, but I have felt so many times that he has sent living angels to help me through, time and time again."

Lauren Agostinelli-Gessel has been through more in her young life than most do in an entire lifetime.  One week after getting married, she moved to Italy for months to receive a stem cell transplant and five rounds of chemotherapy.  This was a drastic measure to help with her vicious form of Multiple Sclerosis.

Lauren shares what led up to her diagnosis at 27 years old as a single mother of a two year old, how her fear of dying led to a marriage that wasn't right, what it was like divorcing with a little baby and a little boy while battling a debilitating disease, and how she found love again and married shortly before embarking on her intensive treatment in a foreign country.

M.S. is different for everyone.  Lauren talks openly about the physical side effects of her disease and how the hardest effects have been the mental and emotional.  And yet, Lauren looks for the blessings in spite of the very hard challenges life has dealt with her; she most often finds these blessings in those around her, her earthly angels.

You will not only learn so much, including how being dealt with hard life changes doesn't have to be the end of a happy life--you can look for the good and fight for your happiness.


You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!




Show Notes:
Lauren's email: MSIsNotTheEnd {at} gmail {dot} com
Lauren's blog, Instagram, and YouTube videos on her: here, here, here, and here
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress

Summer Dresses for the Park Days!

Monday, June 5, 2017


Yep, I'm still talking about dresses.  But this time, I'm talking about ones you can get dirty and spend days and the park with kids.

It's hot where I live in Northern CA, and while the humidity isn't as tangible as other states, the heat definitely gets to your bones more than it does in my homestate, Utah.  I've finally learned to wear skirts in the summer (jean shorts are uncomfortable to me); but now that I'm not nursing I'm even going to go one step easier (and cuter) and wear comfy dresses.

I've made it my duty to find cheaper dresses that I can wear all summer long, ones that are loose, breathable, easy to wash, stretchy, and can get dirty.  I have a huge fascination with those Sonnet James dresses, but I can't pull the trigger on one of them because although they're supposed to be "play dresses," if I pay around $100 on a dress, I don't see myself feeling OK with rolling in the sand with my kids at the park.
I picked up a few dresses from Piper and Scoot when they were having a 30% sale a month ago, but since then, I've bought a few (even cheaper) dresses from Brickyard Buffalo.  My favorites from that store are the striped, short sleeve dresses (I got it in two colors), and I also like this one.  They come and go though, so make sure you keep checking back.  I've also checked out Jane a few times, but haven't bought anything yet.  Finally, I've ordered some great ones from Gap and Old Navy--but to be honest, the Old Navy ones ended  up all going back--either too tight, too short, or too weird of dart placement.  Wait until there's a 40% sale at those places and order a bunch to see what works, and send the rest back!


Most days this summer, you'll see me in a dress like this one below (surprisingly breezy--although I'm looking for the same dress with short sleeves), Birkenstocks, fancy earrings from Target clearance that make me happy, and my oh-so-functional backpack full of drinks and snacks. That's how we roll!


What are your go-to summer outfits?  Any dress recommendations that fit my needs and don't take the bank?



Other moms are sharing about their park ensembles, and you can sign up to participate in a similar series at Kiana and Madeline's blogs:

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand
Erica at Good Job Momma // Alexis at Witt Family Happenings



Andy Proctor || Choosing More Happiness

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"There are things you can do to rewire your brain.  It’s not going to be fun, it’s not going to be easy.  But can you choose to do them?  Yes.  And will they make your life better even in the midst of depression?  Absolutely."

Andy is a "happiness nerd" who loves to share what he's studied and put into practice.  His specialty is positive psychology, which researches the science of happy people and ways we can apply what they do and how they think.

In the first half of our interview, Andy shares some of his favorite things he's learned about positive psychology and ways we can apply these lessons in our own lives.  In the second half, Andy shares how his research has impacted his personal life through very difficult times where he needed all the tools he could get; those times included: divorce, remarriage, his wife's traumatic onset of mental illness two years into their marriage, and the following unraveling of the foundation of their lives, including the development of Andy's panic disorder.

Andy is a relatable friend and teacher, and he inspires hope for all those who will hear him out, that we are all capable of more happiness in our lives, even in the midst of inner turmoil.


You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!



Show Notes:
Andy's Website (where you can learn more about his classes and read his fantastic blog)
Andy's Instagram
Andy's Youtube channel 
Andy's book
Referenced theories and books (some affiliate links): 
   Broaden and Build Theory
   Flourish
   Learned Optimism
   Social
   Meditation site
   When Panic Attacks
   Via Strengths Survey
   The How of Happiness
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


"If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." ~Gospel of Thomas

I heard this quote a few weekends ago from Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's workshop I attended.  I had already been working on this podcast and it gave me that serendipitous lightbulb moment I so love.  (Sidenote: each special themed podcast that I create, inspiration for that very theme is suddenly all around me.  It's pretty nuts!)

If you deny what is within you--your hopes, your dreams, your gifts, your capabilities, even your self-love--you're going to lose yourself.  Ain't that the truth?

For me, in order to find those things and dare to reach for them, I've had to use the mantra, "Fake It 'Till You Make It."

"Faking" to me doesn't mean lying--it means TRYING.  It means proving to myself that I can be better, that I can be stronger; it's about proving myself wrong (and sometimes, someone else:).

Let me tell you the most important lesson in this: the destination truly doesn't matter to me as much as that trying.  Even if you don't "make it," you are making YOU.

Even trying increases my confidence, my capabilities, and sets my life further along the path I'm hoping for.  So, celebrate what you've attempted, what you've learned, and how you've grown.  You might not get to the end goal that you want.  But that's not the point.

The point is how you're bringing out what is within you.


I share more on this topic in my podcast, including examples from my own life as well as stories from listeners who chimed in to share their own stories.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!





Show Notes:
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
Link to Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife's online course
RadioLab on lying (can't remember which!): here or here
Past Podcast mentioned with Courtney Rich
Past Podcast mentioned with Amber Brueseke
Past Podcast mentioned with Meg Miles
More Podcasts from About Progress

 
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