Transcription #148

Hi there, my name is Chris gastic. And I developed a platform called through a therapists eyes, you know, on the show that we do a podcast that I’d like to introduce you to, we say that this is the human emotional experience. And we endeavor to figure this thing out together, because that’s really what we want to do. I try to blow up stereotypes and myths about mental health and substance abuse and disseminate like a lot of information. We laugh a lot, we talk about very serious topics, but we have a lot of fun. Look, I’ve been doing this work this life’s work of mine since 1995. So you know, in the show, I like to say, look, you can get personal insights from a therapist in your own home and in your car. But the truth is, really that’s what we endeavour to do to join with you and talk with us on social media. Best way to interact with this is the through a therapists Because we got a lot of really cool things on there that you really enjoy, but we’re on all the other social media platforms and wherever you get your podcasts, but I really want to ask you to join us because I think that you’ll gain a certain understanding of all the things that I’ve had through such a long career working with us so we enjoy doing the show and we look for you to come join us. Take care. Guys, Welcome to threads podcast life unfiltered. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. We are recording Episode 148. With Risa real, we’re gonna interview gear her about walking across United States to raise awareness for mental health, which mental health as you know, is a big topic on our podcast. But before we do that Ben’s gonna talk about what threads is real quick. Explain the direction for tonight and then we’re welcome here.

All right, well, thank you for listening. Glad you’re here with us Risa threads. podcast life unfiltered is a chance for us to have open and honest conversations about a few main areas. One of those that we hit we hit on almost every week, is the mental health topic. And we really believe that we live in a culture that undervalues mental health. And things are changing. There’s definitely some progress being made, thanks to people like Risa. But there’s just a, an ongoing stigma that we’re trying to undo. And every time that we get on our show, that’s one of our goals is to erase the stigma surrounding mental health. We want to create a space where it’s okay to talk about the things that are uncomfortable. And as we do that, we also tend to hit on topics relating to faith. Whether or not we’ll get there tonight is kind of a question mark. But that is certainly one area that we cover as well. And by doing this podcast, our goal is to set an example for our listeners of how to have a difficult conversation, how to talk about things that matter, things that might be a little bit difficult to dive into. We want to have those conversations here so that we can encourage you as our listener to have them in your own life. So that is the direction that we’re going tonight.

Yeah, as I said earlier, I introduce Risa already so what we’ll just jump in the icebreaker, what we typically do, Risa is like, Hey, how are you showing up tonight? We talked a little bit pre show how you are but tell us how you’re showing up tonight. How are you feeling?

I’m feeling fantastic. I had a really eventful day yesterday. And then I really long car ride home today. So just lots of different stuff. And so I’m good though. I’m excited for a lot of different things. showing up in a good place.

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. My Sunday’s been pretty chill to then a kind of a decent week dealt with a little bit of weather and rain, working outside that kind of jams things up. But today I had a good day went for a long walk with the dogs. And yeah, ready to get into some uncomfortable conversations.

I am showing up tonight after writing of 35 miles on my bike. I’ve been really for my own mental health journey is a lot of why I’m doing it. I set a goal at the beginning of the summer to ride 800 miles and I am very close. I will hit it this week Thursday, if all goes well. So I’m feeling pretty good about that. But I’m also feeling just the the burden, I guess of the commitment that I made. And there’s a big part of me that really just wants to say you know what, EFF it, I’ve done 90% of the work, that’s good enough screw the last 10% who needs it. So I’m really trying to commit myself to this project and see it through to the end, because I think there’s a lot of value in doing that. So that’s how I’m showing up just kind of like happy but also frustrated but also excited and just overall ready to be done with my bike riding.

That’s a lot of miles on a bike.

There’s a lot of miles. That’s a lot of miles. That’s really awesome though. Proud of you, even for coming this far, I know it sucks having to finish it. And it seems like a lot of work. But you’ve made it this far. You know? That’s pretty awesome.

Yeah, exactly. Thank you. So with that, we are going to jump into our interview with Risa. And for our listeners, you probably heard familiar interviews like this. But our goal with our guests is always just to create a space where they can tell their story, they can share their passion, and hopefully, find some people that will rally around the cause with them. And so that’s what we want to invite Risa into tonight. So we’ll start by having you talk to us about this walk that you did. We were just talking about the crazy amount of miles I’m doing on my bike, you walk the crazy distance. So start there, how far did you go? How long did it take? And why the hell are you walking so far,

I walked all the way from Burton, Michigan to Kansas City, Kansas, which is roughly 800 miles on foot, and it still we left on day 54. So it’s 54 days all together into five states. And I decided to just raise awareness. I agree with how mental health is not talked about enough. And it’s because it’s so wrong. It’s uncomfortable sometimes. And so I had to do something kind of crazy to be able to you only talk to me, I guess right now. You know, I can have my mental health. And that can be my story. That’s fine. But it takes doing something crazy to kind of draw the attention. That’s awesome.

So how does this walk? Well, you just told us how you have to do something crazy. And that’s a really good way to look at it. Because you’re right, if you’re just focusing on your own mental health, that’s not really doing much to to raise the awareness. So by going out and doing something crazy. How do you feel like the effectiveness was with that project, that task of raising awareness?

I think you’re like fantastic. I was on two new stations. On my very first day of the walk. I then have been on several other news stations. I’ve been on a couple podcasts. I just did a speech for Nami yesterday. And so I’m getting my story pretty far. And it’s not even just the people that are seeing me through social media, it’s also the people that have ran into me, a lot of people that would have never, ever met me, if I would have never done the walk. And a lot of the people that said that they really needed to have met. So I think I feel like it was very successful. And I don’t even know it’s like the numbers, the successful part. Anyone, anyone that’s able to hear my story, and it’s able to be like, it gives them hope. That’s what matters to me.

Hmm, that’s awesome. Yeah.

So I want to talk a little bit why I mean, obviously, we know why you’re doing this, did this and working for it. And I want to talk about like your end goal, which I think I know, too, but But why did you tell me a little bit about your story that got you to this point, because obviously all of a sudden, something triggered and you’re like, Okay, I need to do something because this is getting out of control.

So I pretty much have lived a lifetime of abuse. It started very early at a very abusive and traumatic childhood, I was very neglected, I was the second oldest, and there was five kids all together, my mother suffered with bipolar disorder. And she was she just didn’t cope well. I remember months with her just laying on the couch. And that was it. But I was in charge of being mom. And so therefore, by the age of 10, I was hearing for all of my siblings, including one who is handicapped completely. And so I did that all the way up until the age of 17, where I just had enough I commit I tried to commit suicide twice at the age of 16. Because I was just really struggling I was doing all of what a mother should be doing for four children. And that’s a lot as an adult, let alone a teenager going to school and because we didn’t have a lot growing up there was also bullying that played its part and so my childhood was just really, really rough. And then I thought that the easiest way was to just get out I thought that if I got out then it would all go away. And it did for a little bit until my family just kind of fell apart. And my brother was taken from the home from Adult Protective Services at the just wanting to be only weighed 47 pounds as a grown adult male. And it was because no one was taking care of him I had moved out and no one was doing it. So he began to lose weight and he just wasn’t cared for in the way that he should have been. And then my mom just kind of had a mental break decided she didn’t want to be a mom anymore, gave my siblings and other family members and went on a binge of doing drugs. And she passed away in 2017. And that wasn’t like the end of it. There was definitely a lot more that went into it because it was very toxic relationship and I was a very codependent, I took care of her that was that was my life all I’ve known is how to take care of people and because of that reason it also affected my relationships I got into relationship when I moved out with my children’s father and that was what it was and I had two kids with me didn’t want to hope and I decided that I deserved better and it we he didn’t understand mental health, I developed postpartum depression that was a really big problem. And because he didn’t understand he didn’t grow up in that kind of lifestyle, he had a very boring, easy going childhood and that’s okay, that’s okay but because of that he didn’t understand anything else that came along with not having that and we would have never worked out anyway so we decided to split up on my daughter’s first birthday. And then I devote I just went into another toxic relationship I was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend that I was only with for five months and I was in a very abusive relationship for a whole year with a guy that actually almost killed me and that’s how I’m here so he tried to kill me on January 14 of this year and I was able to get away I bled to Michigan and fear of my life and I decided I was done I was done going through the abuse those done barely surviving I was done just doing whatever it took and I decided I wanted to live and so therefore that’s what I did I made that goal of mine and I decided to stick with it and I did things for myself like self care and healing and writing and all of the things I should have been doing a really long time ago but finally decided to end because I felt like I was in a really good place I decided that because I’ve made it this far other people that they need to know that they can make it this far even through all of the abuse and so that’s why I decided to walk because I just want to show other people that it doesn’t matter where you come from you can still go anywhere that you want to I walked all the way on foot you know Kansas that’s pretty intense so if I can do that you can do whatever the heck you want to do

yeah that’s a good it’s a good like well that’s pretty intense your story is intense like you live through all that that’s way more

than it was Yeah,

I can empathize with you on having someone in a relationship that may not have experienced that as where I grew up in a abusive home does it sound like is as bad as your why no it’s not wasn’t as bad as yours because I had the things I needed but I just was abused along with it but it is hard to someone that’s not been in it you can explain it all you want but if you’ve not been in it it’s really hard to to empathize with somebody else so my wife You know, pretty normal childhood too. And it’s taken us a long time to kind of sync up with those things as I’ve been through years and years and years of therapy. No, I’m sorry you had to go through all that but you seem like you’re kicking ass.

Okay I’m not I guess I’m not really sorry about it. It’s definitely made me the person I know that any like people shouldn’t have to go through trauma and abuse. I don’t want that to be like taken that way but I definitely am not sorry for what I’ve been through because I would not be doing what I’m doing I would not be here today. I would not be talking to you guys. I’m okay with it. I’ve definitely came to peace with it. And I know that that’s a part of me and a part of my past and it doesn’t stop me so

that’s an amazing attitude. That is that is really amazing. You seem like your Gosh, this how much has happened to you? And then like six months later you’ve seen and don’t take this the wrong way. You’re just like yeah, I’m with it. I’m a badass, like, just turn around that you’ve made.

I put a lot of work into it. Yeah, yeah.

So my question for you is why Michigan? How did you end up here of all places? I mean, it’s a great state. Don’t get me wrong.

It’s it’s an All right. It’s a little bit better than Ohio. It’s all right there. I’ve seen some other states now and I definitely Michigan’s alright. I will not get too much, you know, but I got to Michigan because that’s where my grandparents live. My grandparents were the ones who drove all the way down to Ohio to get me because I wasn’t allowed to call the cops. He had engrained in my head that if I called the cops, I wouldn’t make it before they did. So I was able to wrestle my phone back from him and I called my grandparents when they made the three hour drive all the way down to come get me and so that’s what kind of happened. That’s how I made it Michigan. Okay. Awesome family.

Yeah, man, I’m glad you had some family to step in. Here. That means a lot because usually when you’re come from abusive homes, it’s hard to get family that you can trust.

Yeah, that was the only Yeah, they my grandparents are my biggest support system. And they’re pretty much all that I have. My mom’s passed away, my stepdad passed away and then my dad’s not a part of my life. So they’re what I have, and they’ve been really true. Really amazing. I’m very grateful to them.

Yeah, so my wife has a similar story to yours in that she was responsible for raising her siblings. Now she only had two. So, you know, a little bit different. But one of the things that she’s expressed is that when it comes to the cousins and uncles and grandparents, one of the laments that she has is where the hell were you when this abuse is taking place? Do you have any of those feelings with your family situation? I mean, you talked about how your grandparents were amazing. But was there ever a time that maybe you wish they were there to intervene, but they weren’t.

Of course, there’s always that wish of I wish someone could have saved me from that awful place that was literally killing. I, of course, we wish that However, because of the way that my childhood also was, there is plenty of times that we could have definitely been taken, taken from the home, we had CPS called on us almost every week, however, my mom had had it, where she manipulated us to lie to CPS, or to family members, or whoever it might be that shows up in our home. So my grandparents, didn’t they since they lived in Michigan, my my grandma also had to separate herself for her own sake, because of how, how my mother My mother was and how she had used her previously. And so they would come down for holidays. And they told me, you know, their goal was if they were able to do anything, they want to just be that good weather, anytime that they were around. And they did do that they are the only reason that I have any good memories of my time. So I guess I wouldn’t, I would change it in the sense of I wish that I wouldn’t have had to endure all of it. But I don’t think I changed it because and in the end, it wasn’t anyone else’s fault. But my my parents who should have definitely not been hiding and doing the things that they were doing. I guess there was just I can’t put the blame on them. You know, they weren’t the ones that are doing it. So

yeah, well, and you’re 26 Is that right? Well, that’s some maturity for a 26 year old. I mean, the fact that you can separate that so well, is really incredible. So props to you for that. That’s awesome.

Yeah, I can’t separate that. Because I still think back to all the people that probably didn’t know, you know, we grew up in a church, we grew up going to church. You know, I’m like, I know there’s people that knew what was going on.

There was for sure people that knew that was going on, but I guess it’s because of how our society is like, think about it. Children, you’re not allowed to talk What? What are you going to do? You’re going to see a parent yelling at their kid or you’re going to really go walk up to that stranger and be like, Why the heck are you yelling at them? That’s not okay. No, because we have been taught that it’s not my child. It’s not my business. It’s not my family. It’s not my household. It’s not my business. We don’t poke our nose and other people’s business. That’s how, how it was especially. Like my my parents generation. And even the generation before that everything was very private, you didn’t know what went on in the home, you didn’t know if the marriage was suffering, you didn’t know if the child was being used because it was not talked about and who dare even ask about it. So

yeah, I also feel and what we talked about a lot is even now in 2021, the Facebook and the Instagram, you see all the happy stuff and you’re like, Yeah, no, it’s kind of covering up you know, I’m not saying it you never see a lot of like, Hey, I had a shitty day, my mental. You know what I mean? They’re just like, oh, look at my beautiful child.

And then if you are posting about you know that shitty day that you had, then you then you’re automatically Well, you’re just seeking attention. Why are you posting on Facebook? Go do something about it. You know what I mean? Like, you can’t you’re you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t really and so I guess for me, I’ve just decided that I’m going to speak because for whole All my life I’ve been told not to so you know what? We I should switch it up. Maybe I’m doing something different. And maybe that’ll change my whole entire life. And as so yeah, so far. It has, it has,

I want to jump back into the walk a little bit. One of the questions we had is as you’re walking and I’m sure you had a lot of alone time when you were walking what was helpful or unhelpful and your thinking patterns to break through, like did you have any breakthroughs while you’re walking by yourself? Like, you know, oh my gosh, like the lights gone on. Like, this is the this is what I need to do.

I guess it was just really astounding to me the amount of love out there, I guess because of how everything was portrayed, obviously like on social media, or even when you’re just in your bubble, you’re in your own town, you’re in your own home, you’re in your own workplace. That’s your bubble and those are the people that you know, you know how they’re gonna react, you know how they are on a day to day basis, nothing changes. Yeah, that’s not that’s not how the world is. Everything changed. The changes even counted down like the culture and the way that people react or respond. It just is wild, how different places are and how different people are and how much love there isn’t. For me, it really clicked just how alone I was not. And what really made myself alone with myself be the person that was making myself alone was me I wasn’t reaching out I wasn’t asking for help. I was anyone ever told me I was anyone know that I’m struggling, if I’m not talking about it, if I seem okay, if I’m saying I’m okay, no one’s going to know. And so when you open up the platform to talk, like when I shared my story, so many people, were able to just kind of let out what feels like they were holding on to for years of just grief or whatever they had went through, they just spewed it out because it had been stuck in there for so long. And, um, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been through or what race you are, your gender, there are so many people that go through similar experiences that we do. And while it might not ever be the same exact story, because it can’t be, um, there are people that can empathize at least. And that’s what really mattered to me, I guess, the amount of love and how alone We’re not even in our problems.

So you found out as you were walking in, you’re connecting with people, yep, we’re way more open and to talk about that stuff. And then it kind of goes back to my Facebook thing like is that that’s the fake stuff. Like you’re acting like you’re bitching at somebody like you’re looking for attention. But you found when you were actually face to face, which I’ve always said people behind behind the keyboard. It’s not the true thing like when you know, and so when you actually talk to people like yeah, of course, you’re gonna run into assholes. That’s just why. But it sounds like you ran some pretty cool people that were willing to share their story, too. Yeah.

Can you tell us maybe about two or three of the people that you met on your walk? Sorry. So tell us about two or three people that you met on your walk and maybe what makes them stand out to you.

There were a few people that really stood out. I think the man that stood out the most was a guy that I met in Perry Michigan, and we had been walking all day we were exhausted. We didn’t get into town until like 1130 at night. And luckily a Burger King was open and we hadn’t ate I think we just tracked all day, I think we were just like we need to get to this place. That’s where we got to stop, because we had already planned out that we were going to camp out at the VFW property in Perry. And so we knew we had to get there. As we walk. You’re hungry. We stopped in this drive thru. You know, we walked through this drive thru of getting food. And we saw this man kind of just working his way through the parking lot. And we had, you know, we weren’t really paying too much attention, because like I said, we’re pretty tired. And as we got our food, he manages to somehow make his way all the way up to us. And he just looks this up and down. He’s like, are you guys doing it? We’re confused. Obviously, we don’t know what he’s talking about. He’s like, are you guys doing? Are you guys surviving? And I was like, Whoa, like, What do you mean? So he went on for we stood there in that parking lot for an hour to an hour and a half talking about this man and his whole life story and how he had lost his daughter’s drowning in a pool. And then because of that, the sister his sister and the baby mom walked in on the daughter in the pool. And so therefore they really had that trauma. The sister ended up committing suicide and then his his wife ended up overdosing from drugs because she got addicted. And then this son his son’s buddy had one was doing great, but the other one he had lost and was in prison and was not doing well. And he had lost himself to alcohol. He had drank himself so badly, he didn’t even know how long he had left to live because his liver was starting to feel that’s what they had told him. And he just keeps, he was at rock bottom. He didn’t know what to do. He the most that he could do is ask to likers how they’re doing it. And I guess it just really hit hard because it can be anything it can be anything that happens to you that gets you know, people would have looked at him and he’s just some drunk some homeless drunk on, you know, at the Burger King. But no, this guy has been through so much and stuff that most people wouldn’t even be able to handle. I wouldn’t have been able, I couldn’t imagine losing my daughter to something like that. I can’t imagine losing all those people that you care about. And so that really just stuck out. It stuck out to me because you can be anyone going through any sort of trauma and you can find whatever device that it is. That’s how your life goes. Wow, that was that was really intense for me. I think the other person that really stood out was the lady that I met that I would have never met if I hadn’t dropped my wallet on the trail now nine miles back, I did retrace walking is terrible. time but I would have never met this lady. If I hadn’t had to go back. She gave us a ride to the next town over. She was very nice. She talks about how she didn’t even know how she’s going to make it to tomorrow. She said that she was really struggling so bad that she didn’t think that she was going to in my mind. It was a place of like suicidal thoughts from What it sounded like. And she had just lost her brother to suicide a month before that, and she had just gotten out of a toxic relationship. And she had two daughters. And she just was really struggling. And she just was so thankful, like to hear that people cared and are doing something like, like what I was doing that I was bringing awareness to people like her and like her brother, and she just is she said that it’s so hard, especially in a small town that she’s from, even know that there’s even people that care about mental health or people that struggle, so that really mattered to me, would have never met her. But she really needed to meet someone like me that day.

Yeah, right place right time. Who knew that? Yeah, losing your wallet, which was I mean, I hate it. And yet, that time was able to be used to really pour into somebody who needed you. That’s incredible. Very cool. So you mentioned your kids. So I’m curious. What were their thoughts? Do they have an understanding of what mom was up to or talk to us about that aspect?

My daughter’s three. So she didn’t really kind of understand she was excited, because of all the supplies I was getting in my gear, so she’d love her take on it. And then my son, he is six. And so we can kind of understand he was actually really nervous. At first, he was really nervous. He’s like, Mom, I don’t want you to get lost. I was like, okay, buddy, I know. So like, that was a really big anxiety for him. So after I got my route mapped out, I sat down, and I showed him everywhere that I was going and then I showed them the different apps on my phone that would, you know, one thing didn’t work. And I can use this just in case and I just kind of gave him resources to know that I have all of these resources. So the chances of me getting lost is pretty unlikely. And that really helped him. And so then after that it was you need to take a picture of a tarantula or a big spider. And that was all he wanted. Picture. I took a few pictures of some spiders, and then we actually got to visit the St. Louis zoo. So I took a picture of Mr. Angelo there, because I do not want to see one in person.

Nice. Going

back, going back. Sorry, Ben, going back to the walk. Did you were you alone at? Did you have somebody with you the whole time? Or did you have I did

have someone? Okay, I had another man, he had heard about my story a couple of months, to three months whenever I was still planning it. And there’s actually going to be a couple more of us that we’re going to walk and then just things didn’t work out. And he was the only one that stuck along and he showed up and walk away.

Wow. Did you ever have any sketch things go on?

No, he did a little bit. In Kansas City. We slept in a park illegally, right downtown in Kansas City, Washington Square Park, not suppose sleep there. But lots of homeless people do. Some man that was also homeless told us that we were safe, because I guess it was his part. And he made buddy with us. And so he really liked us. And so he said, as long as we stay there, we’d be safe. So we stayed the night there. And that was what it was. I offered him some pop tarts The next morning, and we actually ended up getting a hotel the next the next night. And then before we left Kansas City, we took a lift all the way back to the park and we gave them my jogging, jogging story that we use to carry our water and our food. We gave them all of our extra food, anything that we couldn’t take on the plane, where that would be too much too much extra bulk I just gave. And so yeah, just getting all my supplies, and it’s not really good. So.

So I’m curious, this might be a loaded question. And if it is, I apologize. But you had the initial goal of getting to California is that right? Yeah. So what Yeah, teamster what happens when you cannot get

there? I guess nothing really changed. So like when I say I did the walk to draw attention. That was like the whole thing. If you see some girl that’s walking all the way from Michigan to California, that’s freaking crazy, right? And I guess for me, it was just, it was about the journey, not the destination. So well. It would have been fantastic if we would have, you know, met someone that was like because we did we almost didn’t make it to California. We had someone that we stayed at a campground with and they were like, Hey, we’re actually from California. We are heading back in two days, we’re just on vacation, blah, blah, we might we might be able to take you. And you know also there was plenty of opportunities that could have happened like that. We’re just a magic could have happened. But I guess for me, it was just it really was just about the dream. And all the places I got to see in between so

yeah, that’s great. So and it was 54 days total.

Yeah, yeah. Um, there was there was no way I would have necessarily made it to California on foot ever. I would have never made it to California unless going on been like, Hey, here’s a ride, because I did have the 53 day goal to come back because I do have children in school. So that was my timeframe. It would have been really cool. Like Kansas City was a really cool place to finish.

Yeah, no kidding. That’s a long way to walk my good. Yeah. So did you have that sag team of supporting Your team that followed you or what did that look like? Just

Nope, nothing. It was just we were doing it are pretty much it was me and Matt and we had about my backpack was about 35 pounds. And that’s what we had for all the way from Michigan until St. Louis, Missouri and then in St. Louis, we picked up a jogging stroller to carry our extra water and hopped on the Katy Trail. More water going through there, there’d be less towns. So that was it. That was it. We used Edie Edie was our strollers name so it was just me Matt and Edie.

Awesome that’s very cool. So I noticed that you talked about on one of your Facebook posts about a rail or a rail to trail that you walked on I love those yeah 140 miles

it was actually I think it was like if you take the rock islands for to Kansas City is like 260 something 259 miles I’m pretty positive Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, I read that and I was like, I want to go bike that because the majority of my rides this summer had been on a rail to trail Okay, yeah,

that’s a really that’s actually what we met the most was cyclists on the trail. We only met maybe one or two other walkers but there was a lot of cyclists who were writing the whole trail or we met also a lot of other people that were doing what we were doing and writing posts post and just a lot of really amazing people out there so it’s a really great trail to cycle there was a lot of issues I know when we were on it because of all of the rain and the flooding actually got right washed out so I know that a lot of bicyclists are having issues with that but not without leather issues. It’s beautiful. Yeah recommended.

So as you’re talking I’m just getting the picture of like, there are obviously people that are going about their day to day life going to work going to kids school practices, I mean, everything the life of a modern parent and in our time, but then there’s also this group of people that are on the trail like it sounds like it wasn’t just you who was out there doing crazy things on the trail. So what was that like to discover that group of people the travelers, I guess I’ll call them the one that

the crossers that’s what everyone like that’s what everyone it’s like a excepted name. I’m not sure there’s trail magic that’s the whole thing like it’s real magic means like we find some extra supplies he might have ran out of and someone else had like lifted earlier that day. But it was really amazing like it it really is a family like everyone supports you on that trail. If I remember stopping the rest of the times I just be sitting on my backpack and every cyclist that cross Are you okay? You know, are you guys doing okay? Because it was so hot. And so everyone checked in and so it’s just overall just really nice. And knowing that there’s so many other people out there doing what I’m doing just it made my heart so happy because there’s so much of the world to see. And I was a very under the rock type person for most of my life. And so knowing that other people are out there exploring to be happy.

Well, that is an incredible story. And I’m so proud of you I can empathize with a lot of things you’re saying so what’s what’s next for you as far as like adventure walks? Is that something that you’ve like caught the bug I think as you guys were talking about that trail and thing What if she walked the Appalachian Trail from life?

I want to Yeah, I want to do the Appalachian

it’s like what 700 miles something like so long.

That’s like that’s like the often the future type goal for me to like really training and have a group to go out with but in the immediate future kind of immediate, I really want to actually like you’re riding your bike. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been training riding my bike that I would love to ride those two posts, maybe next year. That’s the goal. Do maybe my whole the whole route that I wanted to do this year, but on a bike because I can get there a lot quicker. And that’s the goal. Just keep speaking, sharing my story, writing, sharing my photography, a lot of the things that I can do to help others. Yeah,

that’s awesome. Well, one question that I have to wrap us up is, upon returning home, I think we’ve all felt this, we go on a really cool trip or we do something really awesome. And then we come back home and it’s back to the mundane routine. Everything else. What was that transition like for you

is actually a pretty hard transition. Because I was out for a whole you know, month and a half. Just walking being outside not even being I feel like I call a home a box, but I really shouldn’t but that’s what it feels like whenever you you come back and you’re in a house and you haven’t been in a house for a month and a half. It feels like you’re in a box. And I just kind of had to settle back into it. And while there was There’s a lot of things that I was grateful for like AC and a nice shower every day. Those were really nice. There’s also things that I had to kind of take in like being around traffic and other people and big crowds. And it was it was pretty hard Actually, I actually took it pretty hard, but I just had to kind of get over it and realize that there’s, there’s a lot more still going on, I have all these other things that I’m doing and getting back into the routine of myself care really matters. So that’s what helps is just making sure I had implemented the self care that I needed.

Yeah, so how can people support you moving forward all other than maybe like sharing your story is there is there anything that you want people to do for you, or, or whatever speaking engagement, anything you want to say is in regards to that.

I just don’t really have I don’t want anyone to do anything.

But people get inspired, they get inspired.

So I guess the biggest thing for me to summer is just do it. Just do it. I don’t care what’s going on in your life. If you think that something would make you happier. If you think something would help you feel better at all, just do it. Um, nothing else is stopping you. But yourself and you matter to do whatever it is, like you matter enough to do whatever it is that makes you happy. So if you can hear my story, and if you can get any hope at all, then please just do whatever it is that makes you happy. That’s that’s what I want

people to do. That’s perfect way to wrap it up. And that’s very much the journey that I know Jason and I we’ve both been on. And our friend Mike, we’re in this fitness journey together. And our tagline that we use constantly is do tough shit. Just Yes, do it. At the end of the day, we can all make an excuse or a reason why we didn’t do it. But man, it feels good to be able to end the day and say I did that. So I think the biggest

Yeah, the biggest statement that I really enjoy is if you aren’t changing it, you’re choosing it. And I really swear by it.

That’s really good, too. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on our show. Like I said earlier, the maturity level that you have and the just your viewpoint of mental health and how far you’ve come on your journey and how you’re bringing people along with you. Like you’re kicking ass and taking name so keep it up.

Thank you for being on here.

Do you have any social media channels? Or where can people go to connect with you?

Yeah, I have a Facebook you can either find my personal Facebook at Risa real ri ss, a r e. l, where you can find my walk page and it’s called walking for the voiceless. I have a tik tok it’s called the sunshine walkers. I have an Insta. And it’s ri s s. Walker. Walker. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

This is how you know Risa is more hip than my 13 year old daughter says in stuff to like I say Instagram. Like Yeah. Well, Reza, we can’t thank you enough. We really appreciate it.

So Ben, we just talked to Risa real, which we thought was terrorists. upto Reza. And as you heard in the interview, she hated that because people thought her name was Theresa. It’s like, it’s not even close. But anyways, that was a pretty incredible interview. I man I I can’t believe the shit that she had to go through.

Yeah, and I said it a couple of times, but I just, I can’t get over the fact that she’s 26 like she’s come to some crazy points in her mental health journey, some intense progress that she’s made. She hasn’t even hit 30 yet. Like she’s going places.

I know. It was so close to the last you know, whatever. Yesterday in January and I’m like, it’s August. Like, you got your shit. I mean, I’m sure she’s working on it and she’s gonna have her ups and downs, but I was just like, man, girl, you are just rocking it out. And I was pretty impressed.

Yeah, I was kind of this whole idea of the crossers, I guess is what they call them. Just the fact that there’s these people from all different walks of life, just traveling, walking or cycling. I kind of want to be a crosser at some point in my life.

Dude, when she started talking about that trail, you perked up. So I saw your eyes go. Like Yeah, I

want to go. Yeah, I

want to be one of those. I don’t, I don’t know if I could do that, as she talked about that gentleman in Burger King. I see people like that all the time. And I want to be like Reza, I want to do something like that. But what keeps me from just saying, Hey man, what’s up? Like, that’s all it was like, Hey, what’s up? What is keeping us, me you anybody that from from doing stuff like that,

I think being a crosser. You have so much more time and you see the world through such a different lens. Because you’re not rushing to your son’s soccer practice, you’re not rushing to go get your daughter from dance, you’re not rushing to get food prepared for your family. It’s like you have a totally different mind space, where you see somebody and you’re like, Oh, I have nothing going on right now other than walking so I’m going to go connect with that person. I think that if perhaps we built in some time to our schedules, and just left it as like a buffer, I think maybe we would be more open to talking to the people at Burger King or whoever we come across. For me I see those people and my initial thought is I don’t have time to go address that like I’m so wrapped up in my own schedule.

Yeah, I do appreciate that honesty. I kind of look at it that way but I also look at like that guy like What a loser like in my head I’ll be honest I look like that I’m like I’m not giving anybody any money. Like I don’t care. I’m keeping on keeping on I’ve seen too many stories of fake beggars and stuff like that but that’s terrible. But I agree it’s part of that and it’s part of the buisiness like I’m on my way home from work I’m tired I worked all day I don’t really give a shit what’s going on in your life I need to get home to my nice warm house or my nice right air conditioned house so that I can walk bitch about something else you know what I mean? Like I don’t know I don’t know if I’ll ever be that person that you know goes up to people that are unfortunate you know or in unfortunate circumstances but I wish I

could it was just so I don’t know my eyes did get big a couple of times just thinking of this walk that she did and like that I don’t know it’s so it’s the word that comes to mind is impulsive. I don’t know if that fits her because I think it was pretty planned out it wasn’t just impulsive but maybe why impulsive comes to mind is because she didn’t have like a SAG team following her she was just her and her walking partner so I don’t know if that’s impulsive poor planning or what but for whatever reason that just kind of struck me as dang that’s a lot of commitment to go do this without having that type of support system there.

Well two things one is the audio kind of dropped out when you said sag so I thought you said the F rhymes with bag and I was like what that acronym cannot if that’s it it’s got to be changed like but she didn’t react and you didn’t go oh I mean or anything so I was like okay, it must be something else so support and gear. Yeah, I got it now I got it now. But uh also I think it was impulsive yeah she did plan it but I mean I think she I mean I’d be curious we didn’t ask her the time where she kind of like jumped ship and then it was like I’m out of here I’m doing this right I also love the way she was like yeah but California but we all know I wasn’t gonna make it to California because I think that triggered people to tune into our story so she’s almost got a little bit of like an entrepreneur advertising you know thing in your head like it’s not false advertising it’s like I’m going to try to go to California but I only had 53 days so this is as far as I made it.

Yeah that’s amazing. her grandparents sound like incredible people

yeah and the the story she told me about raising her kids and everything I just was like I couldn’t so bad but well guys I hope you enjoyed that interview. I know interviews have been we were consistent for a while and then we had a bad experience with one and then we we wrote them all off but I think this one kind of kind of hit the hit the ball out of the park

Yeah, I would agree with that i

say so. Guys, thanks so much coming up next week we have no effing idea because we haven’t planned for it hopefully tes ma sometime in October, which I’m really looking forward to we’re going to try to get Mike on I don’t know if you’ve heard of this Mike guy we may have mentioned him a time or two. And you know what, I’m just gonna say it because one of our friends is starting to listen to threads. If you know Yes, for Dennison, this is your shout out call out to get your ass on the show. We want you on the show. You’re one of our friends. So if you know that guy, send him a message and say hey, you need to get on threads podcasts. You need to sit down. Yes guys. So

yes, Bert, you’re a great guy. And threads is it’s lacking something without you I think you would bring a lot to the table.

Yes, I totally agree. And guys remember keep the faith do your work and live life unfiltered

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